links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceCrime prevention, intelligence, police, terrorism & violence: G.K. Chesterton’s Nightmare

“Thirty years ago, a British newspaper took an unscientific survey of current and former intelligence agents, asking them which fictional work best captured the realities of their profession. Would it be John Le Carré, Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum? To the amazement of most readers, the book that won easily was G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, published in 1908.

“This was so surprising because of the book’s early date, but also its powerful mystical and Christian content: Chesterton subtitled it ‘a nightmare.’ But perhaps the choice was not so startling. Looking at the problems Western intelligence agencies confront fighting terrorism today, Chesterton’s fantasy looks more relevant than ever, and more like a practical how-to guide.”

Drones: Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars

“More than two months after President Obama signaled a sharp shift in America’s targeted-killing operations, there is little public evidence of change in a strategy that has come to define the administration’s approach to combating terrorism.”

Inspiration, interpretation, Scripture & violence: The Cross and the Witness of Violent Portraits of God

“… since the ultimate author of Scripture is God, any given passage may have a number of meanings that go beyond what the human author intended. (This “surplus” of divinely-intended meaning is traditionally referred to as the “sensus plenoir” of Scripture). …

“So the question I’ve been wrestling with for the last several weeks is, how [such might] … help us discern how portraits of Yahweh causing parents to cannibalize their children (e.g. Lev. 26:28-29; Jer. 19:9; Ezek.5:10 ) or commanding genocide (Deut. 7:2) point us to the enemy-embracing, non-violent, self-sacrificial love of God revealed on the cross?”

Value of human life: Why Should We Value Human Relationships?

“As God’s image bearers we are all equal. We are equal in dignity and worth. We are created equally in His image. We are also fallen equally (Romans 3:23). Genesis 1:26 explains that God created man in His image. Of all of God’s creation, we are the only ones created in His very image, we have dominion over the rest (Genesis 1:28). It is a profound mystery (God is spirit so we do not bear His physical image, John 4:24) and yet a great privilege. Understanding our equality as image bearers changes everything we think about as it relates to our human relationships. As image bearers we should view others as God views them.”

this went thru my mind

 

Baytown & Mont Belvieu: Chambers Town Center

A look at the plan for the the construction of Chambers Town Center near the intersection of I-10 & Hwy. 146 in Baytown, TX.

Church, idolatry & ministry: When Church Becomes an Idol

“… what does this look like when church itself is the ‘idol’ a pastor is venerating?”

Criticism, listening, preaching, respect, selective hearing & sermons: Sick of Sermons [required reading]

“Chronic critique of sermons is an illness. …  Some sufferers have lived with this condition for so long that they have found ways to manage it: committing to ministries that pull them out of the sermon … venting … or using the sermon-time for completely unrelated spiritual exercises. The long-term prognosis is grave: spiritual malnourishment. The table that God sets for us has two parts, Word and Sacrament, and Christ is the bread of both. But we only get what we’re willing to receive. How can we fight this illness that has us always excusing ourselves from the table during the first course and frequently ruining the appetite of others? I recommend aggressive treatment.”

Discouragement, faith, humility, passion, perseverance, & zeal: Maintaining a Holy Fire When You Feel More Like an Unholy Fizzle

“… because we live in Christ we must wait for him to do the work. This is nearly a mockery to the flesh-driven personality. God, through the Spirit, opens doors and closes others. My exhilaration is when He opens them. My frustration is when none open and I impatiently knock harder.

“How do we maintain a holy fire when some days feel more like an unholy fizzle? Believe God works…and then wait on Him.”

Holiness, OMG, speech, respect & words: Is It OK for a Christian to Drop OMG’s?

“Remember, it is the trademark for the unbeliever to take God’s name in vain …”

Inspiration & interpretation: The Inspiration of Scripture: 2 Timothy 3:16

“In short, I tend not to read 2 Tim 3:16a as an assertion about scripture, but as an identification of which writings the author is talking about.”

Modesty: Modesty: I Don’t Think it Means What You Think it Means

“And so biblical modesty isn’t about managing the sexual impulses of other people; it’s about cultivating humility, propriety and deference within ourselves.”

Parenting: Dear Parents With Young Children [essential reading]

“You are doing something really, really important. I know it’s not easy. I see you with your arms overflowing, and I know you came to church already tired. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.

“I watch you bounce and sway trying to keep the baby quiet, juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag as you find a seat. I see you wince as your child cries. I see you anxiously pull things out of your bag of tricks to try to quiet them.

“And I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you cringe when your little girl asks an innocent question in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper.  I hear the exasperation in your voice as you beg your child to just sit, to be quiet as you feel everyone’s eyes on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.

“I know you’re wondering, is this worth it? Why do I bother? I know you often leave church more exhausted than fulfilled. But what you are doing is so important.”

Reading: * Read Your Bible: But How? (Lectio Divina); * Americans’ Reading Habits Over Time

* “I’ve benefited from reading large portions of Scripture–whole narratives, books, and multiple chapters–in one sitting. I’ve also benefited immensely from slowing down and meditatively just reading a few verses at a time. Lectio Divina is a way of reading Scripture that encourages that. It’s reading, as many have said, for transformation and not just information. …

“It goes like this: * 1. Read: What does the passage say? 2. Pray: What is God saying to me through this passage?  (short phrase or single word) 3. Listen: How is God calling me to respond to what he’s saying? 4. Respond: What will I commit to God to do in response?”

* “… the percentage of Americans who read a printed book in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population in 2011 to 67% in 2012.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible, contradictions, credibility, & inspiration: Do Contradictions In The Gospels Make Them Untrustworthy?

“What we’re dealing with in the gospels are legit eyewitness testimonies. And you can trust them because of the contractions, not in spite of them.”

Church & ministry: 3 Reasons Why the “Safe” Argument is Killing Churches

“… the next time we sit around a discussion table and someone says, Wouldn’t it be safer . . . . , well, we should ask: 1) is that the view of God we read about in Scripture?; 2) what opportunity and people will be lost by us failing to act; and 3) what opportunity for people to serve, create, and grow spiritually will be missed? If ‘Safety is First,’ then that means our mission is not first. And that, my friends, is why so many churches are not growing. Tradition, safety, keeping the peace–these have become our mission. And that does not reach people for Christ or grow the church.”

Consumption & oppression: 5 Resources About How Our Consumption Affects Others

“… think about how your possessions and your consumption affect people in other countries.”

Dallas Willard: Give ‘em Heaven [5 min. video]

“Fourteen-year-old Larissa Heatley, Dallas Willard’s only granddaughter, delivered a personal tribute at his memorial service. She is sharing her message with us today, giving us a sweet, intimate glimpse into their relationship.”

Discipleship, love, ministry, respect & spiritual maturity: A Door Mat Christianity by Les Ferguson, Jr. [essential reading]

“Love your ministers lavishly. Chances are you have no idea what they are sacrificing–sometimes even their own self-esteem. If you like to make jokes at the preacher’s expense about only working one day a week or keeping his moving boxes close to hand or how much money he makes, Stop! Stop now. He may laugh with you, but it takes a toil. Eventually he becomes a doormat whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. Even when he can’t or won’t see it for what it is, his spouse sees it and suffers too. Doormat Christianity is hurtful, destructive, and ultimately damaging to the spirit within. Loving others means saying this is wrong!”

Disrespect & leadershipWhy You Must Confront Seemingly Indispensable but Disrespectful Team Members

“This is the tough stuff of leadership that no one wants to discuss. But it is the necessary stuff. You can’t develop people and take them to the next level unless you are willing to speak into their lives—for their benefit and for your team.”

Extreme faith & legalism: The Little Way and the New Legalism of Radical Christianity

“… St. Thérèse can be an important resource for Protestants struggling with the call to be a “radical Christian” and the resultant shame when our lives seems pretty normal and ordinary.”

Time management: Top 10 Time Savers for the Stuff You’re Too Busy to Do

“We’ve all had days where we feel a little rushed and can’t be bothered with things … Make all those chores easier with these time-saving tips.”

Worship: The Difference between Congregational Worship and a Concert

“… with regard to the main thrust of Christian congregational worship.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible & trustworthiness: The Reliability of the Gospels and the Telephone Game [5 min. video clip; interview of Darrel Bock]

“Darrel Bock explains why “The Telephone Game” is a terrible way of explaining the oral transmission of the Gospels. Oral cultures were much better at passing information reliable than we tend to think.”

Debt, income, middle class, money & The American Dream: Debt and Income Inequality by Richard Beck

“In short, there is a moral asymmetry in how we view debt. … As incomes fell or leveled off since the 70’s, households have held onto to middle class lifestyles by going into debt. Either credit card debt or mortgage debt (those second loans on houses that fueled the housing crisis). And one could argue that the political and economic ‘powers that be’ were more than happy to extend this line of credit to Americans because it masked the real erosion of income that was taking place. Debt kept the middle class docile, feeling like the American Dream was still a reality while it was fading rapidly away. The facade of the middle class was being propped up with debt. It was a house of cards waiting to collapse.”

Heaven & hell: The Most Important Thing People Need To Know About Hell (And Heaven Too …) by Jonathan Morrow

“… the most important thing we need to know about heaven and hell is this: The essence of heaven and hell is relational because heaven (i.e., eternal life) is primarily defined as life with God and hell as life without God.”

Marriage: 7 Ways to Keep Respect as a Husband by Ron Edmonson

“You need respect. It’s a man’s greatest need. I’m convinced. … then it makes sense that if you ever received it you’d want to do your best to keep it.”

Militarism: Old Testament, Militarism, and Idolatry by Preston Sprinkle

“It’s common for Bible believing military personnel to use the Old Testament to support a certain warfare policy. But what would happen if they went all the way and took God as His full word? America’s military, for example, would be by volunteer only and would not be funded by taxation. America would not stock pile superior weapons … and it would make sure its victories were determined by God’s miraculous intervention, not by military might. Rather than outnumbering our enemy, we would deliberately fight out manned and under gunned … There would be no training, no boot camp, no preparation, other than fasting, praying, and singing worship songs (2 Chron. 20). If America really was the ‘new Israel,’ God’s holy nation (as some believe; I don’t) or the nearest equivalent, then we need to take our queue from God and his inspired manual for military tactics. But as it stands, many Christians will be content to cut and paste selected verses that align with America’s worldview to give our military some religious backing. Some call this bad hermeneutics, others call it syncretism. The Israelite prophets called it idolatry.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible & inspiration: Reasons for Believing the Bible is God’s Word by Roger Olson

“… there is a vast difference between the Bible and other so-called ‘holy books.’ The difference between the Bible and others book people claim to be inspired is a difference in kind, not just in degree.”

Change: Ten Reasons People Resist Change by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“Diagnosing the sources of resistance is the first step toward good solutions. And feedback from resistors can even be helpful in improving the process of gaining acceptance for change.”

Columbine shooting: 7 Myths about the Columbine Shooting by Trevin Wax

“I thought I knew the basic facts about the deadly shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. I was wrong. Here are seven common myths about that tragic day.”

Ministry: My Big Ministry Blind Spot by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so,” quipped Will Rogers. And, it is still true—painfully true. I can now see that I operated under many illusions through the years as I sought to serve the Lord and the church (two related but not identical activities). I falsely assumed if I had faith, modeled grace, worked hard, lived right (or as close as I could manage), followed scripture, and sought to be Spirit-led rather than rule-bound, God was honor-bound to bless my work with success as I defined it.”

Preaching: Preaching: The Fear and the Fortune by Terry Rush

“My fortune is that I get to preach the Word. There is no better opportunity for me. What a life!”

Sin & judging: The Sin We Shouldn’t Judge by Jonathan Storment

“… Jesus isn’t saying that we should judge, he’s just saying we have to start with ourselves first.”