Faithful ones have perished from the land; there is no righteous one among humanity. All of them lie in wait for bloodshed; they hunt each other with nets. Their hands are skilled at doing evil. Official and judge alike ask for a bribe; the powerful speak however they like; this is how they conspire. (Micah 7.2-3)
Attention, focus, health, noise, stress & thinking: I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.
“… there is no physiological habituation to noise. The stress of audible assault affects us psychologically even when we don’t consciously register noise.”
Health care, health insurance & Obamacare: What You’ll Actually Pay for Obamacare
“Millions of Americans won’t have to pay full price for their Obamacare health insurance next year. But just how much they’ll have to fork over depends on a couple different things.”
Injustice, racism & white privilege: Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store [4 min. video; essential viewing]
“… she used her white privilege to educate and to make right a situation that was wrong. That’s what you can do, every single day.”
[The world’s major religions … more than half the world’s population live inside this circle … where Google Street View is available … global internet usage based on time of day … map of contiguous United States overlaid on the moon … worldwide annual coffee consumption per capita … and more.]
Parenting, safety & social networking: Your Kids Can Be Social, But They Need to Stay Safe [infographic]
“Here are the five rules … * Ask your child to show you the sites they use. * Ask your child to set profile settings to private. * Ask your child about their online friends. * Ask your child to only share photos that wouldn’t mind showing you first. * Ask your child to tell you if they are worried about something online.”
Weddings: Weddings: Too Expensive?
“On March 7, 2013, XO Group Inc. released results of their annual Real Weddings Study … This report surveyed over 17,000 brides to find out how much they spent on their weddings. Here are some highlights …”
Daily risks, health, life expectancy & situational awareness: That Daily Shower Can Be a Killer by Jared Diamond
“The other morning, I escaped unscathed from a dangerous situation. No, an armed robber didn’t break into my house, nor did I find myself face to face with a mountain lion during my bird walk. What I survived was my daily shower. … This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I’ve learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.”
False teaching & heresy: 7 Steps to Becoming a Heretic by Mike Leake
“Heretics usually start by staring in the mirror and saying, ‘Today, thou shalt be a difference maker.'”
God & suffering: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? [93 min. video link]
“… a Veritas Forum discussion held at MIT in 2011. This presentation features four MIT professors, two Christian and two non-Christian. The forum begins with a ten minute presentation by each person presenting their world view or their story. The last half of the video is a question answer panel session.”
God & politics: Divine Rhetoric: God In The Inaugural Address by Scott Neuman
“President Obama mentioned him five times in Monday’s inaugural address — God, that is. In modern times, religion has become so intertwined in our political rhetoric that the failure of any president to invoke God in a speech as important as the inaugural could hardly escape notice. … But the inaugural references to a Supreme Being have evolved over time.”
Guests, greeting & welcoming: Making Visitors Feel Welcome (Part 1): The Greeters by Sarah Bowler
“How can we make the people in our church feel welcomed?”
Immigration & injustice: The Truth About Immigrant Detention Facilities by Matthew Soerens
“Last week, I read the following passage in Amos, speaking of God’s judgment on the people (and, in particular, the rulers) of Israel: ‘They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed (Amos 2:6-7). … Because their profits increase the more people that they detain, companies like GEO have a strong incentive to encourage the federal government to detain more people.”
Short-term missions: Musings on Missions and Evangelism: Are Short-Term Missions For Us or Them?
” … I have begun to change my feelings about who STMs are about.”
Work: God at Work: The Priesthood of Burger-Flippers by Jonathan Storment
“On average, most of us will work 100,000 hours in our lives, the majority of our lives will be spent doing our job. And if the only thing you ever hear from church is about how you should work/serve/volunteer more inside the building, there’s a chance that you might miss out on how important God thinks your job is.”
While renewal may have started with the Bible’s wild ones, it was only actualized when a partnership between the margins (the prophets) and the center (kings and priests) occurred. The center’s willingness to give up privileges and not only listen, but also give all they had, to the alternate visions named by the edges, created real change. Why are the margins so important to the renewal of societies? Put simply, the marginalized are the litmus test of whether the ideals and values of a society are working out. The center may at best see the overall picture and be ready to respond, but the margins live the failures of that picture. If Hebrew history offers anything today in our struggle today against stubborn poverty, perhaps it is that when the center does not listen to the margins, there is a spiraling and tragic decline of both the center-leaders and the nation as a whole. The requirement of solidarity between wild edges and the established center is something faith communities, organizations, and governments today need to hear again and again. It is especially important if we are to end oppression of the margins by the center. Freedom from oppression requires changes by the powerful center, not just the margins.
Make Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker (Baker Books, 2009); pp. 84-85
I have noticed lately that the only places I hear Proverbs quoted is by prosperity preachers or in cute greeting cards. Few others seem to love or even know what to do with this collection of sayings attributed to King Solomon. Yet, what Proverbs has to say about poverty would please neither. …
Are we content to blame the poor for being slack and not being righteous enough, or assert that the rich are only rich because they are diligent? Some Christians are content to live their lives by such notions – but obviously only the ones who are not poor! … let’s look at a few other proverbs that would not make rich Christians feels so smug:
- “The field of the poor may yield much fruit, but it is swept away through injustice.” (13.23)
- “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.” (14.31)
- “It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (16.19)
- “Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool.” (19.1)
- “If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.” (21.13)
I don’t think these proverbs have ever been engraved on complimentary “golden eagles” given away to those who donate to televangelists’ ministries.
Making Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker (Baker Books, 2009); pp. 72-73