links: this went thru my mind

 

Ancient world, cartography, maps, Roman Empire & travel: Digital Map of the Roman World

“… until now there has been no digital map that can be used as background layer for use in a fashion similar to modern mapping applications like Google Maps. Thanks to Pelagios, this is work that I have undertaken …”

Anger, Christianity, harmony, meanness & peace: Five Reasons Christians Can Be So Mean to Each Other

“It’s just all so exhausting some days. … Why are we so quick to be mean to each other?”

Corporate worship, singing & songbooks: Worship Songs Aren’t Just for God

“… there is a horizontal aspect of singing–the church singing to and for each other–that has been largely lost in a lot of the contemporary Christian worship experience. And I think this is important because our almost exclusive focus on the vertical experience–singing songs to God–has meant that we’ve marginalized from our singing huge swaths of the human experience.”

Edification, lament & prayer: * Learning to Lament: Giving Voice to the Winter Christian Experience; * Pounding on Heaven’s Door

* “… it seems that in many locations within Christianity there is a great hesitancy to give voice to any negativity regarding our relationship with God. Again, the reason for this seems to be the assumption described above, that any distress, complaint or negativity in the God-relationship is symptomatic of a lack or loss of faith. Thus the voice of complaint—the hot cry of lament heard in the psalms—is silenced within the faith community. The assumption behind this sort of spiritual formation is that giving voice to complaint and questioning would undermine faith.”

* “… I’m not done kicking this door.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Busyness & the speed of life: What Slowing Down Teaches You That Rushing Never Will

“The mother of a child with Down syndrome joins her daughter’s rebellion against hurried living.”

Christianity, culture & society: A Shocking Conclusion About American Christianity [required reading]

“The only way someone can think most of what goes on in American churches is authentically Christian is not to read the Bible, the church fathers, the reformers, and the great thinkers and evangelists of all denominations. … I am afraid that it is becoming increasingly harder to find the gospel in America. It is either wrapped so tightly in the flag as to be virtually invisible or relegated to a footnote to messages about ‘success in living,’ being nice and including everyone. … How like New Testament and historic Christianity is ours? What have we lost?”

Community & complaining: The Monday Rule [essential reading]

“…  the Monday rule … might be stated this way: ‘If you have concerns or the feel the need to complain, do it Monday (or another day of your choice). Please don’t do it Sunday–or when the church is gathered for worship.’ … One of the greatest services leadership can provide the church is the effective handling of the church’s concerns, which includes the timing of such dealings—not just making sure they are heard. Implementing the Monday rule will do more for your church’s weekend assemblies than nearly anything. … A couple of assumptions can be made reasonably about people who complain chronically on Sundays. First, they lack a sense of the impact of their comments on others—especially staff or those whose spiritual frame of heart impacts others that day. Two, they lack spiritual focus during times that are unique in the practice of the church—and their complaining will spread this across the Body if not checked. Three, they likely do this because of proximity. They want to get it dealt with right then—because it could consume their time and energy to do it another time. So, they’d prefer to use yours on their terms rather than deal with the problem another way.”

Compassion, difficult people, ministry & relationships: People are Such Absolute Jerks (and So Can You)

“I’m convinced that we’ve got to put the oxygen masks on ourselves before we help others.”

Gospel, heaven & salvation: The Gospel Isn’t About Heaven [essential reading]

“The gospel is as much about earth as it is heaven. As much about before death as it is after death. It is the message that Jesus, the one true King, is expanding his reign onto earth. This, after all, is what Jesus called gospel: ‘Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'” (Mark 1:14-15)

Gratitude, humility, mindfulness & the ordinary: Cherish the Ordinary

“We become bugged by ten things in our day that didn’t pan out as we had wished without noticing we were able, still, to swallow our food, drive our cars, read the paper, hear the radio, and go to the bathroom. … Decide to cherish the ordinary.  Men, women, and children are suffering from a terrible (yet acceptable and unnoticed by the masses) disease called ingratitude for the simplest of gigantic blessings.  Stop complaining, whining, and/or sighing. Treasure right now.”

Honesty, nationalism & the pledge of Allegiance: Why Christians Might Want To Abstain From Reciting “The Pledge Of Allegiance”

“… I think we’re having the wrong discussion on this issue entirely. Instead of a constant cultural debate over the wording of the pledge, I think a better question is: ‘Should a Christian recite the pledge of allegiance at all?'”

Preaching, relevance & teaching: Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible

“‘It is well and good for the preacher to base his sermon on the Bible, but he better get to something relevant pretty quickly, or we start mentally to check out.’ That stunningly clear sentence reflects one of the most amazing, tragic, and lamentable characteristics of contemporary Christianity: an impatience with the Word of God. …  the tragedy of a church increasingly impatient with and resistant to the reading and preaching of the Bible.”

this went thru my mind

 

Alzheimer’s: New Research Offers Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

“The ravages of the disease … not only affect the 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s but also the 15 million-plus unpaid men and women who care for them.”

Difficult people: * Dealing With Difficult People by Sean Palmer; * Tackling Armchair Quarterbacks by Dan Rockwell

“The Reflexively Oppositional will always be with us …”

“Receiving criticism indicates you’re doing something. Get used to it. … In some cases, you invited their criticism by excluding them. You didn’t invite their input or participation. Worse yet, they felt ignored when they spoke. … In other cases, you invited their input but they rejected the direction you’re leading. In all cases, armchair quarterbacks wrongly believe they have deep insights.”

Distractions: What to Do When People Ignore You for Their iPhone by Jon Acuff

“I’m going to stop talking. Wait until they realize I have. And then hold up a small sign that says, ‘Are you still listening?’ You with me?”

Fluorescent bulbs (CFL bulbs): Stony Brook Study Reveals Harmful Effects of CFL Bulbs to Skin

“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation. … incandescent light of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells …”

Food stamps: More Texas Seniors Receiving Food Stamps

“The fastest-growing group of Texans receiving food stamps is the 60-64 age bracket. In the past six years, those residents receiving food assistance – now issued in the form of a benefit debit card – has jumped by 106 percent …”

Immigration: * More Exploding Immigration Myths by Tim Archer; * The American Way of Eating by Matthew Soerens

“Sadly, some of these myths reside in my mind or at least in my feelings. Others are commonly held misconceptions about immigration, ones that may or may not affect how we deal with the issue.”

“If you want to get rid of illegal immigrants,” says Alabama sweet potato farmer Keith Smith, “quit eating.”

Israel: Israel to Revive Jordan River by Todd Bolen

“… the Jordan River has shrunk over the years but a new plan will bring the stream back to life.”

Just war: Is Christian Just War Just Like Jihad? by Lee Camp

“… we come to a doubly troubling possibility: First, that the mainstream Christian Just War tradition may, in fact, be closer to the teaching of Muhammad than that of Jesus. Second, that we American Christians have too often failed to live up even to the ethic of the Just War tradition: we seem pleased with its logic that war may be justified, but ignore the limits it imposes upon the ways we fight.”

Medicaid: More on Medicaid Refusal: Questions for Governor Perry

“Expanding Medicaid is a great deal for Texas and refusing to do so is not something the Governor should decide by himself before Texans have had a full and thoughtful conversation about what’s at stake for our state, and then the Legislature needs to decide on a course of action. Our state has an opportunity to help millions of Texans xget the quality, affordable health care they need, and we should not pass it up.”

Mental health: Study: People Who Are Constantly Online Can Develop Mental Disorders

“Researchers at the University of Gothenburg recently studied more than 4,100 Swedish men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 for a year and found that a majority of them who constantly use a computer and mobile phones can develop stress, sleeping disorders and depression. Sara Thomee, lead author of the study, said there was a ‘central link’ between computers and mental disorders.”

Politics: * President Obama and Common Grace by K. Rex Butts; * ISideWith

* “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

* “Take the presidential election quiz and see which candidate you side with.”

Theodicy: Where Is God When I’m Hurting? by Kathy Vestal

“Why does God not heal all the sick, raise all the dead, stop all the earthquakes, and right all the injustices of the world?”

this went thru my mind

 

Accountability: Why I Don’t Believe in Christian Accountability | A Response by Mike Breen

“God is constantly speaking to us and is inviting us to himself and his unfolding Kingdom. His desire is that the words he speaks deep into us will change the way we see the world around us (Repentance) and result in us living differently (Belief).”

Bible interpretation & science: Misreading the Bible’s “Scientific Accuracy”

“The point is whether God guided the Biblical authors to write in such a way that they spoke better than they knew about future scientific findings.”

Charles Siburt: For Charlie by Dan Bouchelle

“Like the rest, I am deeply conflicted at the news that Charlie’s battle with cancer is drawing to a close and Charlie is in his final days with us on this side of Jesus’ appearing to set all things right. I’m thrilled Charlie will soon be with his Lord. I grieve over the hole his departure will leave behind.”

Christian conservatism: Christian Conservatives Seldom Conserve the Real Tradition by Richard Rohr

” To be fair, many progressives and liberals are just as bad.”

Church potluck meals: Food, Glorious…Potlucks?

“If food is relational, what are we saying to our friends and neighbors when we invite them to church and offer them overdone Mostacholi à la bland with a side of 15 layer Jell-o dessert?”

Cremation: Cremation: Is It Okay? by Edward Fudge

“Our confidence finally rests not in a scientific explanation, or in metaphysical theories about immortal souls, but in the personal faithfulness of the living God who made us in the first place and in whose keeping we safely sleep until he raises us on the Last Day …”

Defining Christ’s mission: What Was the Mission of Christ? David Lipscomb Answers by John Mark Hicks

“I am often amazed at how some contemporary writers–missional and emergent–seem to believe that they have embraced a new vision for the mission of God. It also amazes me that some more traditional writers–some Evangelicals and some New Calvinists–regard the missional emphasis as a new understanding of the gospel. David Lipscomb (1831-1917) reminds us that such emphases are not new.”

Difficult people: How to Deal with Difficult People and Have Constructive Conflict by Joe Wilner

“When we encounter these extreme personalities it can feel like they are trying to make our life miserable, but more often than not, it’s simply learning about these peoples’ tendencies and how to interact in a more tactful way. Some conflicts are unavoidable and shouldn’t be smoothed over or suppressed, though it’s learning to deal with our differences, and how to understand, resolve, and learn from these interactions that’s important.”

Discipleship: Favorite Quotes: James A. Harding by John Mark Hicks

“Our greatest trouble now is, it seems to me, a vast unconverted membership. A very large percent of the church members among us seem to have very poor conceptions of what a Christian ought to be. They are brought into the church during these high-pressure protracted meetings, and they prove to be a curse instead of a blessing. They neglect prayer, the reading of the Bible, and the Lord’s day meetings, and, of course, they fail to do good day by day as they should. Twelve years of continuous travel among the churches have forced me to the sad conclusion that a very small number of the nominal Christians are worthy of the name.” (Feb. 1887)

Food5 Myths Haunting Your Healthy Foods by Jonathan Bechtel

“The bottom line in all these myths is that people mistakenly assume various certifications as proxies for nutritional quality, but their presence bears no meaning to the quality of food you eat when you hold other things equal. The best way to ensure you’re eating right is to consistently consume a diet of fresh foods with minimally processed ingredients, and spare yourself the confusion of deciphering the legitimacy of the latest fads of the health food industry.”

Form & function: Form Versus Function by Timothy Archer

“How do we know when fulfilling the function is enough and when to insist on the exact form?”

Google Reader: Make Google Reader Pretty with Reeder for Chrome by Bobby Travis

“Google Reader is the best RSS subscription collector out there — but only as a base. In practice it has one of the ugliest user interfaces I’ve ever come across. … Thankfully, some enterprising folks have used browser technology to re-skin Reader into something that actually makes content easy to consume. One of the best is Reeder for Chrome.”

Grief: Good Grief – the E-Book by Ben Witherington

“Mark Galli, senior editor at CT liked the Good Grief articles so well, that Christianity Today is turning them, plus another 35 pages of my reflections that don’t turn up on this blog, into an e-book which you can read on Kindle, and see the pictures in color on Kindle Fire. In addition, there will be a sample in the April print issue of Christianity Today. Finally, all profits from this book are going to be donated to a worthy charitable cause Christy would have supported.”

Leadership: Leading the Leaders (Someone Has to Steer) by Tim Woodroof

“When leadership of the elder group is passed (sequentially and regularly) to different men—with different personalities and preferences … with varying levels of leadership skills and experiences … influenced by diverse constituencies and sensibilities … with assorted understandings of and commitments to the stated goals and directions of the church—the result can be nothing other than confusion and ambiguity and ineffectiveness.”

“Masculine Christianity“: Call No Man on Earth Father: A Comment on “Masculine Christianity” by Richard Beck

“I particularly learned a lot from J.R. Daniel Kirk’s response (who knew the translation of El Shaddai had anything to do with mammary glands?).”

New creation theology/renewed earth theology: From Lipscomb to Wallace on “New Creation” Theology by John Mark Hicks

“My interest in this post is new creation theology, that is, the belief that God will renew this earth, unite heaven and earth, and dwell with his people upon that renewed earth for eternity. This was a rather commonly held view among 19th century Stone-Campbell folk though, of course, not the only perspective. It was certainly the understanding of the theological trajectory connected with the Nashville Bible School, particularly in the thinking of David Lipscomb and James A. Harding. By the end of WWII, however, renewed earth theology had all but disappeared. What happened?”

Small groups: Four Practical Reasons for Small Groups by Rick Warren

“We may attract attenders through preaching, but disciples are made in small groups.”

To-do lists: Using Your To-Do List as a Second Brain by Nate Klemp

“How do you break out of the must-remember-mind? How can you draw your attention away from endless mental to-dos to the experience of this moment? The answer is – you need a second brain, a brain dedicated to holding on to all those emails, tasks, and calls you can’t stop thinking about. Enter the to-do list.”

Work: When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Workload by Michael Hyatt

“Here are six things you can do to cope. … Acknowledge you can’t do it all. … Accept the fact some things won’t get done at all. … Practice workload triage. … Categorize your tasks by priority. … Practice intentional neglect. … Do the next most important thing next.”

this went thru my mind

 

Aging: Aging Well with Dr. Dan Blazer (part 1)

Calvinism: Links to parts 1, 2 & 3 of Scot McKnight’s series entitled Calvinism: My History.

Children & prayer: Teaching Children to Pray by L. Cecile Adams

Christmas: * The Visual History of Christmas Trees (infographic); * Would the Real Saint Nick Please Stand Up? by Michael Fletcher; * Blessed are the Entitled? by Rachael Held Evans

Cynicism: Why Cynicism Might Kill A Generation by Stephen Altrogge

Doubts: Doubts by Brian Mashburn

Dropouts: Why Do Christians Leave the Faith? (links to parts 1-4 of a projected 6-part series):
The Fundamental Importance of Apologetics (part 1)
Breaking-up with a God Who Failed Them (part 2)
The Problem of Responding Badly to Doubt (part 3)
The Relative Unimportance of Non-Christians (part 4)

Emergent: Did Youth Ministry Create the Emerging Church? (links to part 1 and part 2)

Facebook: How to Handle Unwanted Friend Requests

God: Links to parts one, two, and three of Roger E. Olson’s series entitled Is There Hierarchy in the Trinity?

Health: * Why Sitting is Killing You (infographic); * Occupational Knowledge International (OKI “works to build capacity in developing countries to identify, monitor, and mitigate environmental and occupational exposures to hazardous materials in order to protect public health and the environment.”) The work of these people, evident from their site, will make you think about the true, human cost of what you buy, use, and throw away.

Internet security: Everyone who is online needs to have some savvy and street-smarts to avoid being duped online. Test your savvy at identifying Internet dangers by taking OpenDNS’ Think You Can Outsmart Internet Scammers quick quiz. See if you can discern the difference between legitimate websites and phishing sites.

KJV: The Bible of King James by Adam Nicolson

Pacifism: Pacifism vs. Christology (links to parts 12 & 3 of a series)

People: * 5 Kinds of People You’ll Face in Ministry by Bev Hislop; * Leaders: Find the Devil in Pew Number Seven by Joe McKeever

Personal development: What Will You Be Like in the Next Ten Years? by Jim Martin

Philemon: Five Pastoral Insights From Philemon

Small groups: 6 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Leading Small Groups by Marc Cortez

Time: * Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Time; * Online countdown timer

Wealth: The Global Rich List