links: this went thru my mind

 

Adultery: The United States of Adultery

[This is an interactive map. Houston is #2 in the country, beat out only by three-time winner Washington D.C.]

Birth of Jesus & Christmas: * Baby Jesus Meek and Mild, Overthrew an Empire – Wild!; * Is There A Dragon In Your Nativity Set?

* “May your Christmas be a time when you ponder the summons of a subversive kingdom. May you choose to peacefully follow the baby in the manger to the cross and through resurrection, proclaiming with the angels that a new era has begun; an era when the people of God can undo the works of oppressive ‘empires.’ Merry Christmas.”

* “Every nativity set needs a red dragon. If you don’t remember that part of the story, you might want to read chapter 12 of Revelation.”

China, Christianity & persecution: China’s Hardship-Hardened Church

“Vibrant amid persecution, it seeks faithfulness over freedom.”

Contribution, generosity, giving, possessions, sacrifice, stewardship & wealth: The Scary Truth About Christian Giving

“Over the past 40 years, self-identified evangelicals have given between 2 and 3 percent of their incomes to churches and Christian organizations. Stewardship is a crucial part of the Christian life, and according to these figures, it is sadly lacking.”

Criticism, hatred & humility: Haters

“Never criticize what God is blessing.”

Firearms & guns: Gun Country

“They bring families together and they tear them apart. They kill innocent people and protect them. The United States continues to love and revile its hundreds of millions of firearms. Here is a look at that complicated  relationship, told through the personal stories of Americans.”

Insurance & the uninsured: Mapping Uninsured Americans

“Census data released Dec. 17 show where the uninsured live.”

Love & truth: 3 John: When Love is Abused

“He abused his power; he abused the love entrusted to him.”

Poor & poverty: In the War on Poverty, a Dogged Adversary [required reading]

“Without the panoply of government benefits — like food stamps, subsidized school lunches and the earned-income tax credit, which provides extra money to household heads earning low wages — the nation’s poverty rate last year would have reached almost 31 percent, up from 25 percent in 1967, according to the research at Columbia.”

Warfare: The Great War’s Ominous Echoes

“… the era just before World War I, with its gas lighting and its horse-drawn carriages, seems very far-off, it is similar to ours — often unsettlingly so — in many ways.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

V-for-violenceCruel & unusual punishment, injustice & the penal system in the U.S.: Serving Life for This?

“… nonviolent offenders serving life sentences without the possibility of parole …”

Gun violence & movies: Movies Rated PG-13 Feature The Most Gun Violence [required reading]

“Parents who rely on movie ratings to decide what their children can watch may think that PG-13 films have fewer villains flashing guns than R-rated movies. But they’re wrong. The PG-13 movies actually show more gun violence, a study finds. …

“[Researchers] found that the amount of violence in films has more than doubled since 1950 … From 1985 to 2012, the amount of gun-related violence in R-rated movies stayed pretty much the same, and the amount for those rated G or PG actually dropped. It was the PG-13 movies, which are typically the big summer blockbusters, that saw a huge surge in gun violence. The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.”

Martin of Tours: Feasting Martin of Tours on Veterans Day by Shane Claiborne [essential reading]

“I absolutely love that the Church celebrates Martin of Tours, the ‘patron saint of soldiers,’ on the same day as Veterans Day. Ironically, Martin … refused to fight, left the military, and coined the phrase: ‘I am a soldier for Christ… I cannot fight the wars of man.’ I can’t imagine a better person to remember on Veterans day.”

Martyrdom: Are There Really 100,000 New Christian Martyrs Every Year?

“… when you hear that 100,000 Christians are dying for their faith, you need to keep in mind that the vast majority – 90,000 – are people who were killed in DR Congo. This means we can say right away that the Internet rumors of Muslims being behind the killing of 100,000 Christian martyrs are nonsense. The DRC is a Christian country. In the civil war, Christians were killing Christians.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Drone warfare: Confessions of a US Drone Operator

“A former US air force drone operator has described how he is haunted by his time as a ‘remote killer’ functioning in ‘zombie mode’ in missions over Afghanistan and Iraq that claimed more than 1,600 lives. Brandon Bryant, a retired airman who operated remote-controlled Predator aircraft from US bases in Nevada and New Mexico, offers a rare military insider’s perspective on the US drone program …”

Guns: Bringing America Back to Life

“Other than car accidents, gun violence is the biggest killer of young people in the US.  One child or teen dies every 3 hours, 7 a day, over 50 a week. … I’ve seen a lot of the world, with travels taking me to about a dozen countries a year and this is what I’ve seen: In one year, guns murdered: 27 in Australia, 59 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 190 in Canada… and 10,177 in the US. …

“… [in the U.S.] we have around 90 guns for every 100 people, almost as many guns as people. The runner up was India, with about 4 guns per 100 people.”

Mass shootings: Explore the Data on U.S. Mass Killings Since 2006

“Mass killings — defined by the FBI as four or more victims, not including the killer — have occurred across the U.S. at the rate of about one every two weeks since 2006.”

Syria: * Syria Explained: How It Became a Religious War [required reading]; * In Syria, Doctors Risk Life and Juggle Ethics

* “How did Syria go from an internal uprising to a wider clash drawing funding and fighters from across the region? In a word, Middle East experts say, religion.”

* “The country’s once-functioning health system is in a shambles. More than half of its public hospitals have been damaged in the two-year-old civil war and 37 percent are out of service entirely …”

War: Justifying War: A Conversation with Nigel Biggar

“Professor Nigel Biggar is the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford. He also directs the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics & Public Life. … His most recent book is In Defence of War, published by Oxford University Press. This week he spoke to David Lincicum and Michael Law about just war, human nature, forgiveness as a non-religious act of morality, and whether Christianity is inherently pacifistic — and he tangles with Stanley Hauerwas over realism.”

this went thru my mind: on violence

 

V-for-violenceAmerican Civil War: The Great Civil War Lie

“Civil War buffs have long speculated about how different the war might have been if only the Confederacy had won formal recognition from Britain. But few recognize how close that came to happening — and how much pro-Southern sympathy in Britain was built on a lie.”

Americans & the military: Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

“… the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces. Three developments in recent decades have widened this chasm.”

Guns & suicide: Which Combination of God and Guns Produces the Fewest Suicides?

“Back-and-forth columns prompt one analyst to do the (hypothetical) math.”

Turkey: Turkey: What to Know and How to Pray

“I’m praying: * That the protests geared toward the government will lead the people away from increased Islamization and to greater religious freedom. * For the safety of ‘workers’ serving there right now. * For the safety of Turks and for a just end to the violence. * That Turks in Turkey (and the 75 million Turks around the world) will turn to Christ in the midst of the tumult.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceChristianity, guns, idolatry & power: * The Weakness of the Pentagon and the Power of the Cross; * A Meditation on the 10 Commandments (#3)

* “Christians are people who know that the Word is mightier than the sword. Our weapons are not worldly, but powerful: the preaching of the Word who has made peace and the celebrating of the Word embodied in broken flesh and poured-out blood.”

* “What are some of our graven images today? A gun is an idol. It is an idol of the false god of power. It can also be an idol of the false god of safety and security. If I trust in the killing power of cold steel and lifeless wood, I am rejecting the power of the life-giving and life protecting God.”

Gun control & the media: Gun Control and the Media

“In the four months since the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, the tone of the conversation about gun control on Twitter has shifted sharply several times in apparent response to ongoing events, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of nearly 21 million tweets from December 18 through April 21.”

Gun control & the public: Mixed Reactions to Senate Gun Vote

“Overall, 15% say they are angry this legislation was voted down and 32% say they are disappointed. On the other side, 20% say are very happy the legislation was blocked, while 19% say they are relieved. … States with two senators voting no: AL, AK, AR, GA, ID, KS, KY, MS, NE, ND, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, WY.”

Violence: “God is pissed off and so am I”: Pastor Phil Jackson on Gun Violence

“If you have never held a mother, father, or crying child who has had to bury a family member because of gun violence, you might not understand the need to make the tough changes. If you have never seen the eyes of a student looking to you for hope as life seeps from their body or sat with a mother asking God why her child is gone — why her child had to die — I doubt you will understand the pain and the effect of what guns are doing on the streets of Chicago. If you have never had these experiences, you might not understand my sense of urgency when I say that I want to see the end of cheap and plentiful guns in my neighborhood. … My thoughts about the protection of constitutional rights are always accompanied by my thoughts of protecting the young people in my neighborhood.”