links: this went thru my mind

 

 

Archaeology & the Bible: 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

“… at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.”

Camels: The Mighty Mysterious Camel

“Some of the headlines are rather sensationalistic.”

Church: * The Impossibility of the Ideal Church; * Church is the Clay Community

* “I was reminded of this passage in Life Together in which Bonhoeffer reflects on the clash between our imagined ideal church experience and the actual communities we encounter …”

* “If we want a community that lacks cracks, we won’t find it. But the truth is, it is the cracks that make us beautiful because the cracks remind us that we are undergoing the pressure God has called us to endure. What some see as ugly and distasteful, I argue are the marks of authentic people in authentic community. So you can say the church isn’t meeting your needs or there isn’t anything there for you but make sure you aren’t taking the cheap way out in order to avoid cracks in your own clay because they are already there. Let’s just be honest about that too.”

Food stamps/SNAP benefits & hunger: Picturing Hunger in America [required reading]

“‘Hunger Through My Lens’ has a dual mission: to empower people who are living in poverty and to promote awareness about hunger issues. Sponsored by the non-profit group Hunger Free Colorado, the program gives digital cameras to food stamp recipients and asks them to chronicle what it’s like to be hungry in America. … the stories behind the photos tell about the complications and suffering that poverty brings.”

Johnny Cash: * The Theology of Johnny Cash: Part 1, I Walk the Line; * The Theology of Johnny Cash: Part 2, Sinner & Saint; * The Theology of Johnny Cash: Mark Love on the Outlaw, Sufferer and the Gospel; * The Theology of Johnny Cash: Part 3, The Man in Black [required reading; the series in progress is excellent!]

“A few months ago I read Robert Hilburn’s excellent new biography Johnny Cash: The Life. Highly recommended. Hilburn’s biography got me so into Johnny Cash that I’ve been listening to him almost constantly. So I thought I’d devote posts this week and next to the theology of Johnny Cash.”

Light bulbs: Guide To Changing Light Bulbs

“… the transition to energy-efficient lighting has changed that. Halogens, CFLs, LEDs, watts vs. lumens — the array of choices on the market today can make selecting the right a bulb an exercise in confusion. So here, we try to demystify the new light bulb landscape.”

Race & immigration: Race & Immigration

“By 2050, most Americans, in this country, will trace their lineage to Africa, Asia, or Latin America. … That is the elephant in the room.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Christian faith, compassion, empathy, love, poverty & wealth: * Rich People Just Care Less; * The Surplus Population [required reading]

* “A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power.”

* “God has chosen the poor. We do not. … Where in our churches today do we ever hear words like those James writes in 5:1-6?”

Christianity & politics: God’s Kingdom: The Concession Prize? [required reading]

“It seems like trusting God — for some of us, at least — becomes a viable option only after our candidate loses.”

Food stamps/SNAP: Six Myths About Food Stamps

“In the middle of the worst economy and job situation in decades Republicans in the House voted to cut $40 billion from food stamps. This will kick 3.8 million people out of the program by 2014, then 3 million more each year after. … In the months leading up to this vote … the … propaganda machine invented a number of justifications for cutting the program. Here is a take-down of some of those myths and lies.”

Race & racism: When White People Don’t Know They’re Being White [required reading]

“I could give example after example of ignorant cultural and racial blunders in the church, but for the white hands who hold the historical and institutional power, it basically boils down to this: We want to say that everything that happens in church is about Jesus, but it’s simply not. There’s a whole lot of culture and power and history and social structure in there as well. Until we acknowledge how these realities shape our thinking, we’re going nowhere. We say we want to be a ‘church of many nations’, and cheer on videos like the ones above, but sometimes our arrogance, ignorance, and unwillingness to listen communicate that we really view ‘the nations’ as our minions, not our partners. …

“I know, I know.  It all sounds a little harsh, right? I’ve been right there with you, defending myself, confident that my intentions are pure. However, regardless of our intentions in these endeavors, the fact stands that the impact of our actions can be isolating and downright hurtful to people of color.”

Wendell Berry: Full Show: Wendell Berry, Poet & Prophet [56 min. video]

“People who own the world outright for profit will have to be stopped; by influence, by power, by us.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Anger, culture, morality, outrage & thinking: Addicted to Outrage

“I fear that outrage has become an addiction for many people of faith. I’m caused to wonder if certain endorphins are released when we feel anger over a just cause; an emotional, pseudo-spiritual ‘rush’ that just keeps us coming back for more. In order for us to feel ‘righteous,’ has it become essential that ‘indignation’ be an inseparable companion? ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers… twerkers.’ Reread the context of Luke 18:9-14 to be reminded of why Jesus told this parable.” The more I am consumed by moral outrage, the less time I have to dwell on those things that are ‘true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute; things that are excellent and worthy of praise,’ (Philippians 4:8).”

Community, generosity, greed, poverty, stinginess & wealth: As We Become Richer, Do We Become Stingier?

“…  the effects that wealth has on people: ‘We become more individualistic, less family and community oriented.’ … Greenfield’s findings and theories dovetail with a variety of other studies and research projects, including Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, Bowling Alone, which explores the decline in community relationships in the U.S.”

Faith, grace, law, OT, NT & works: Law and Grace, Faith and Works

“When we think that what Jesus did was substitute one written code for another, we fall into the trap that Paul condemned in the Galatian letter. When we depend on law, any kind of law, then we are no longer depending on grace.”

Fasting, peace, prayer this Saturday & Syria: A Fast for Peace September 7th [count me in, too; how about you?]

“… a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.”

Food stamps, poverty & the poor: On the Edge of Poverty, at the Center of a Debate on Food Stamps [required reading]

“No matter what Congress decides, benefits will be reduced in November, when a provision in the 2009 stimulus bill expires. Yet as lawmakers cast the fight in terms of spending, nonpartisan budget analysts and hunger relief advocates warn of a spike in ‘food insecurity’ among Americans who … ‘look like we are fine,’ but live on the edge of poverty, skipping meals and rationing food.”

Jesus, sin & sinners: * He Looked Like a Sinner; * Jesus is Not Mr. Rogers

* “Jesus didn’t look like a saint. Jesus didn’t look holy. He hung out with prostitutes and drank too much wine. He was a convicted criminal. He was given the death penalty. And he died under God’s curse. Jesus looked like a sinner.”

* “Jesus wasn’t always the nicest guy.”

Leadership, momentum & morale: 16 Practices that Reignite Momentum

“Working on positives more than negatives. Avoid taking the wind out of people’s sails.”

Singing: Love the Lord with All Your Voice

“Singing is a forgotten—but essential—spiritual discipline. … We might ask … why we could not simply speak the words of Scripture as if they were our own. What is gained by singing them? Just this: In song, we learn not just the content of the spiritual life, but something of its posture, inflection, and emotional disposition.”

Restoration Heritage & the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian History Magazine Puts a Focus on Stone-Campbell Movement

“Restoration scholars Richard Hughes and Doug Foster served as advisers on the project and ‘provided a fair amount of content, along with other well-known authors/scholars in the movement’ … Download the full issue for free.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Church, friendliness & welcome: A Wee Rant on the Unwelcoming Church

“… over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing some very literal – and very disturbing – signs around some churches that I’ve visited; signs which indicate, at the very least, some serious confusion about the nature and raison d’être of the community that gathers together in the name of Hospitable Love.”

Grief: Six Reasons Mourners Don’t Ask for Help

“If you don’t ask for the help that you need, chances are you won’t get that help, support or encouragement you long for. That applies in all times in life, but it is especially true when you’re grieving the death of a loved one. … Generally speaking though mourners do not communicate their needs effectively for these six primary reasons …”

Justice, Martin, racism & Zimmerman: * A Prayer for Peace; * 3 Things Privileged Christians Can Learn from the Trayvon Martin Case * Finding Justice for Trayvon: Seven Actions Steps for Our Outrage

* “Our prayer today includes prayers for peace in our country following the legal decision in Florida over the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman …”

* “… before we spout our opinions, join sides and dig in our heels, we need to pause for a moment and humbly ask ourselves, what is really going on here? Is it possible that I’m missing something? And how should I respond as someone who takes my cues from Christ’s words and example, rather than my own personal experience?”

* “Push back against racism when you encounter it. … Stop being so touchy about our own racial bias. … Talk about racism. … Educate yourself on racial injustice. … Listen. … Focus on what you can do. … Diversify your world.”

Poverty: Missing: The Food Stamp Program

“When counted as income, SNAP benefits cut extreme poverty nearly in half, a new study shows. Most families who get the aid have an adult who is working.”

this went thru my mind

 

Apologetics, historicity of Christianity & scholarship: Epiphany – Five Reflections from a Life Time by Paul Barnett [required reading]

“Theology to be true depends on what happened historically.  If the Word did not actually become flesh in Bethlehem in the latter years of Herod, then the theology stated in John 1:14 is just empty words, akin to myth.”

Church guests, first impressions & welcome: The Other Side of Evangelism: The Importance of Receiving Those God Sends Our Way by Matt Dabbs

“We can go out and reach out to people all day but if we don’t receive them well then we may never gain access to getting into any deeper conversation with them than whatever they hear on their first visit, because they may never come back.”

Christianity & politics: Louie Giglio and Inauguration Day Prayer by Scot McKnight

“Louie Giglio did the right thing when he chose to back out of offering the Inauguration Day Prayer. He could have done the right-er thing by never accepting such an invitation. …

“Christian leaders and pastors need to be at the Prayer Breakfast or the Easter Breakfast, but not on the Inauguration Day platform — unless they line up with that platform’s agendas, and the most political ones and the most vocal ones and the most inflammatory ones are the ones that will determine suitability. Louie, you didn’t belong there. May all of us learn the lesson that Caesar is Caesar and Jesus is not Caesar.”

DiscipleshipHow To to Measure Discipleship by Geoff Surratt

“How do we measure discipleship? It is relatively easy to measure church attendance, giving, or small group participation, but how do we measure church members becoming more like Christ? … I think there are six vital areas that point to a growing disciple … Separate studies by the Willow Creek Association and Lifeway on discipleship came to the same conclusion; the single biggest factor in growing as a disciple is reading the Bible every day. It’s the magic pill of discipleship.”

Economy, education & food stamps: More Ph.D.s Needing Food Stamps

“While more than 293,000 master’s recipients needed public assistance in 2010, up from 102,000 in 2007, nearly 34,000 doctorate recipients used food stamps and other assistance programs. That’s a sizable increase from the 9,800 doctorate holders who needed support back in 2007…

“… one in six Americans received food stamps in 2011. That’s about 52.5 million people …”

Evil & hope: When the Children Cry by Paula Harrington

“Our hope isn’t in the United States nor is it in better or worse gun laws. Our hope is in the Christ.”

Grace: Grace, Electricity, and Sex by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“I grew up in a church that believed in God’s grace. We believed in it just like we believed in electricity. We believed it existed and we needed it. We were thankful for it. We knew we depended on it and would be in deep trouble without it. We didn’t want to give it up or live in a world without it. But, we didn’t understand how it worked and felt obliged to restrict its distribution to safe outlets so as to prevent its abuse, which would be our undoing. Grace was like sex. We liked it, but we didn’t talk about it freely because it was more than a little embarrassing. It made us feel exposed and vulnerable. Like with sex, people who got obsessed with grace could go overboard, losing both necessary discipline and holiness.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bibliolatry: Harm in Holy Things

“Many Christians are much more at ease with studying the Bible than coming to Jesus. Reading a Book is safer, more comfortable than relating to a Person, especially an enigmatic, revolutionary Person like Jesus.  Insidious pride lurks in our hearts when we presume to know the Book, possess it, revere it and then misuse it to fence off undesirable types of people from our tidy lives. People, well-intentioned, begin to substitute finding something new and refreshing in the Bible without ever relating to the holy, very present God.”

Communication, courtesy, relationships, respect, smartphones & technology: How Smart Phones Lower CQ [required reading]

“Technology is not the enemy. And cold turkey approaches are unrealistic. … But we can reclaim control over our technology, rather than merely being seduced by its pings. A few simple ways to begin, when you travel and when you’re home.”

Faith, politics & prayer: * What President Obama SHOULD Have Said About Louie Giglio by Michael Lukaszewski; * Four Myths about Louie Giglio’s Inauguration Prayer (Or Lack Thereof) by Rachel Held Evans

* “As the President of the United States, I ask for the prayers of all Americans, those who share the beliefs of this administration and those who do not.”

* “We also have to be careful of using the word “bully” to describe what happened with Giglio, especially when we are dialoguing with folks whose experience with ‘bullying’ may very well have included physical violence, decades of merciless taunts, hateful slurs, and mistreatment at the hands of Christians.”

Food stamps & welfare: Spike That Email About Welfare And Work; Fact Checkers Say It’s Not True by Mark Memmott

“If you’ve gotten the “Death Spiral” email that’s apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here’s the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers: It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.”

Humility: Well Done Dr. Neller by Jonathan Storment

“… each of us have a canon within a canon. That is, everyone who reads the Bible, privileges certain verses over others, and it’s important to acknowledge which passages we lean into. Because, he said, this will affect the way you do ministry and the way you view God.”

Investigation, learning, questioning, teachability & tradition: When Cute Little Bunnies Talk Theology [required reading]

“Of course, the point of this bunny dialogue is applicable not just to creationism but to other issues of theological disagreement where the familiarity and safety of an ‘authoritative tradition’ collides with thoughtful and needed exploration that challenges that authority.”

imagine you, on food stamps (9)

 

Now I know you’re curious as to what exactly I plan to eat in January so, let me just go ahead and tell you while explaining some of the rationale behind my purchasing choices. I refuse to bore you with a daily “journal” of what I ate, so do let me bore you here in a single post with the details of the lion’s share of my eating plan.

CerealFirst, I’m a breakfast person. If I could eat only one meal a day, it would be breakfast. And so for the sake of that meal, I’m willing to make some sacrifices elsewhere through the course of the day’s menu. What that means in practical terms is that I’ll stick with my normal diet for breakfast in January. What is that? Nothing exciting, to be sure – and quite likely to be viewed as “boring” or just plain “nasty” to some of you reading this – but here it is: (1) a bowl of Kashi GoLean cereal (50 cents) with (2) a splash of Silk Pure Almond “milk” (40 cents) and (3) either a banana (25 cents) or a single Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax granola bar (25 cents). This is what I eat for breakfast probably 360 days out of the year and have done so for the past two or three years. Such has served me well, providing me with a healthy start to the day that gives me energy without weighing me down. By the way, if I go the granola bar route instead of the banana, that works out to 255 calories with 16 1/2 grams of protein and virtually zero grams of saturated fat. Healthy.

Second, if I eat nothing else, I eat some vegetables every day and commonly avoid fried foods almost completely. While I realize fresh vegetables are the healthiest way to go, I elected long ago to go the microwave route. I’ve found that the Green Giant “Healthy Weight” offering (sliced carrots, sugar snap peas, black beans, and edamame) appeals to me and I was able to catch these on sale for $1.00 per package early this week at Target and so, I stocked up the freezer. Throw in a little bit of tuna, grilled chicken breast, or whatever and a person has all that’s necessary for a simple, low fat lunch or supper. This meal, along with breakfast, should provide the vast majority of the protein and fiber necessary for each day.

Third, while the preceding will be the foundation for my nutrition in January, the groceries that made up the sack of groceries I received from our church pantry – along with misc. food items I procure along the way over the course of the month – will round out the makings of my month’s meals. This is where the real variety in my eating will happen. If I slightly exceed my $4.00 budget one day, I’ll make up for it by cutting back in some slight fashion the day before and/or the day following.

And having said all of that, let me say one last thing: while you might see a post or two in this series during the month of January, don’t expect for me to break radio silence on this subject until Feb. 1.

Until then … anyone care to join me in this project?