links: this went thru my mind

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Afghanistan, Iraq, ISIS, veterans & war: The Truth About the Wars

“If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I think we’re there.”

Church, expectations, inclusion, mission, perceptions & welcome: 3 Ways ‘All Are Welcome’ Is Hurting the Church

“Churches — like individuals — are called to know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and discern a clear and specific mission to where Jesus is calling them to act. Many times churches actually do have in mind a particular subset of people with whom they’d like repopulate their congregation. Many times this particular subset looks an awful lot like the current membership of the church, albeit 20-30 years ago. Often, though, neighborhoods and needs have changed. And a vital ministry — perhaps to immigrant workers, to retired folks, to single adults — is forgotten in light of chasing the ever-elusive ‘young families.'”

Corporate worship, hymns, music & singing: My Journey Away from Contemporary Worship Music

“I make this plea to my fellow ministers, do not neglect these milestones from ages past.”

Economics, income inequality & politics: A Change That Isn’t Coming

“…  until the two parties put forward lasting and structural fixes for these problems the pain and outrage are only going to intensify. And as the pain grows the American electorate will continue to lash out blindly and schizophrenically, alternately punishing the party in power and hoping for a change that isn’t coming.”

Joseph Smith, Latter-Day Saints, Mormons & polygamy: It’s Official: Mormon Founder Had Up to 40 Wives

“The biggest bombshell for some in the essays is that Smith married women who were already married, some to men who were Smith’s friends and followers.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Children & parenting: How to Raise a Kid Who Isn’t Whiny and Annoying

“I’m raising children in a privileged world. We have food. Money to save for an education. At 2, my daughter has a room that is bigger than any room I’ve ever occupied in my life. We can afford the fancy Easter dress. When we have a bad day, we can afford to get a special treat. I’m glad I’m raising a child in this environment. … But now that we are here, I wonder if we really are doing things the right way … I do know that as a parent, it begins with me. I set the limits. …

“This is where we begin. My refusal to compare myself with the other mother I see on the Internet and to build a life that embraces the important and repels the petty. And I only hope that lesson extends. If not, I am building a backlog of ‘Oh, you want to see not fair?’ lectures. Just in case.”

Christianity, church, class, race & social distinctions: The Race Card of the Early Christians – What They Can Teach Us Today [essential reading]

“For the first two hundred years, the Christians only addressed each other by their first names. The reason? Because their last names indicated their social position in society.

“Here was a classless, raceless society where all social distinctions were erased.

“To their minds, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, rich and poor no longer existed. The early believers saw themselves as part of the same family . They were a new race . . . a colony from another realm, not of or from this earth. Yet for this earth.”

Church, discipleship, ministry, & success: Maybe Our Churches Need Less of ‘More’ [essential reading]

“… what if God’s metric for “good” has very little to do with ‘more?’ … Instead, I’m talking about all of the insidious ways we succumb to the pressure to do and have more.”

Doubt, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, & Mormons: Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt

“A survey of more than 3,300 Mormon disbelievers, released last year, found that more than half of the men and four in 10 of the women had served in leadership positions in the church.”

Poverty & upward mobility: In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters [consider the map, even if you don’t read the article]

“A study finds the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities … The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas. … ‘Where you grow up matters. … There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.'”

this went thru my mind

 

God & natural disasters: * What Jesus Might Say About Sandy by Mark Galli; * 5 God Excuses to Avoid After a Natural Disaster by Kent Annan [required reading]

* “”Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

* “‘We might not understand, but it’s all part of God’s plan.’ Or ‘It was meant to be.’ … do we want the kind of God that the logic of our straw-patched statements creates?”

Millenials: The Care and Keeping of 20somethings by Nicole Unice

“…  how does a leader of any age work with 20somethings? What do they offer us, and what can we offer them? In my own practice of counseling and ministry, I’ve found there are four essentials to understanding the next generation.”

Latter Day Saints/Mormons: Ministering to Mormons

“If we are going to be effective in reaching this culture, we can’t simply try to change people’s doctrine. While doctrine is important, reaching Mormons is not primarily a doctrinal issue. Mormonism affects a person’s entire worldview. So we have had to think deeply about how we address their culture, not just attack their beliefs.”

Muslims & world population: The Future of the Global Muslim Population

“The world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years … Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades.”

Sharing the good news: Evangelism with the Never-Churched by Jack Jackson

“When evangelism is seen as a journey lived in relationships, never-churched persons can address their questions, hear the gospel articulated, and then respond to the invitation to take the next step in faith.”

this went thru my mind

 

Andy Griffith: * Andy Griffith: A Life Remembered; * Sheriff Who Gave Stature to Small-Town Smarts; * ‘Andy Griffith’ Theme Song Also; * What Faith, Family Meant to Andy Griffith; * Andy Griffith: Celebrity Profile

Archaeology: Temple Mount Time Bomb

“… ordinary cement was used in the repairs of walls and pavements. Large areas of new pavement have been laid in the southern part of the Temple Mount, again with ordinary cement in between the joints. This causes a greater flow toward the outer walls, which simply cannot absorb so much water. … It is only a matter of time when large sections of the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount will collapse. When that happens, the Muslims will predictably incriminate the Israelis, when, in fact, they only have themselves to blame.”

Calvinism: Why are Young People So Drawn to Calvinism? by Matt Dabbs

“Calvinism is all over the place. Many of the best known young preachers are Calvinists. Many of the most well read blogs are from a Calvinist perspective. … What is the story?”

Change & the United States: Things I Would Change About America If I Could by Ben Witherington

“I could easily come up with another top twenty, but let’s fix these things first.”

Counseling: How Pastor-Counselors Differ from Secular Counselors by Justin Taylor

“Every counselor brings a ‘message': an interpretation of problems, a theory that weighs causalities and context, a proposal for cure, a goal that defines thriving humanness.”

Dreams: Are Your Big Dreams as Big as Your God? by Wayne Stiles

“As Christians, we have more to do than get up, work hard, and come home for a few hours of television … only to rise and begin again.”

Fireworks: * How Fireworks Work ; * The U.S. Spends $600 Million on Fireworks [infographic]

Flags, patriotism & worship: * If You Love That Flag, Don’t Put It in the Sanctuary by Robert A. Ratcliff; * Just Jesus & Unjust July 4th: Why I Don’t Celebrate Independence Day (Annual Unpopular Post) by Kurt Willems

“… placing the flag in the sanctuary presents us with two untenable options: either ignore the flag, and treat your country with disrespect; or honor the flag and commit an act of idolatry. I’m sorry, but this is not one of those times when we can have it both ways. The only good option is the third one: leave the flag out of the sanctuary. If we love that flag, we won’t make people choose between it and God.”

* “Even if one holds to the possibility of a ‘just war,’ historically, the victory we celebrate as Americans every 4th of July, does not count. May we quit appealing to pseudo ‘just war’ theories and start appealing to just Jesus, because the only Independence Day worth celebrating is Easter – which reminds us that violence doesn’t win because the tomb is empty!”

Hospital visitation & introverts: How to Hack Your Introversion and Warmly Visit Someone in the Hospital (Even If You’ve Never Met) by Eric McKiddie

“Jesus went out of his comfort zone for you. Go out of your comfort zone …”

Humor: The Percontation Point: A Desperately Needed New Form of Punctuation by Marc Cortez

“Finally, a punctuation mark for those of us who think sarcasm is the highest form of communication but are afraid that other people will miss the point.”

Ministry: An Example to Follow by Jeff Anderle

“What if I burned up all my exit strategies and climbed up on the altar and said my life is not my own, but it belongs truly to the sheep to which you’ve called me, Lord. What if …”

Mormons: I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian by David Mason

“I want to be on record about this. I’m about as genuine a Mormon as you’ll find — a templegoer with a Utah pedigree and an administrative position in a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also emphatically not a Christian.”

Online habits: Are People Sharing Too Much Online?

“… 78% of ex-cons believe that social media is one of the essentials steps to identify the next target.”

Prayer: A Prayer for America

Preaching: Preaching the Good News as GOOD News by John McClure

“… the heart and soul of preaching is the good news of God’s redemptive grace and mercy.”

Salvation & Southern Baptists: Thoughts about “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” by Roger Olson

“Recently a group of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists wrote and signed ‘A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. I certainly have no objection to a group of non-Calvinists pushing back against the tidal wave of Calvinism surging over contemporary evangelical and Baptist life in the U.S. (and other places). … I have thought, upon reading some of their writings … that they are Arminians who just don’t want to wear that label. Now, however, I’m not so sure. Here is their statement about original sin and depravity …”

Social media: 15 Social Media Scams

“From Facebook phishing lures to Twitter and Tumblr hoaxes, here are 15 scams to watch out for on social networking sites.”

this went thru my mind

 

Criticism: 5 Ways to Handle Criticism Like a Champ by Mark Altrogge

“… after 31 years as a pastor, though I should be used to feedback, I still squirm when told my opening preaching illustration was lame or my counsel didn’t part the clouds and cause angels to sing.”

Millenials: Young ‘Millennials’ Losing Faith in Record Numbers

“… 1 in 4 young adults choose “unaffiliated” when asked about their religion. But most within this unaffiliated group — 55% — identified with a religious group when they were younger.”

Mormonism: Go West, Young Religion: Mormonism on Exhibit by Edward RothStein

“For a glimpse of how Mormons see themselves, though, it’s worth visiting the Church History Museum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here [Salt Lake City, UT] … The Church History Museum is at 45 North West Temple Street in Salt Lake City … or lds.org/churchhistory/museum.”

Shepherding: * When Elders Get It Right by Dan Bouchelle; * Staying at Your Post: Reflections on John 10:11-18 by Alyce McKenzie

* “I had just witnessed elders shepherding each other in a real and vulnerable way. I heard mature men bear their souls and tell some of the most painful stories from their past. I saw God’s power made perfect in weakness. I saw men who often expressed feelings of inadequacy as shepherds excelling in that very role. I saw a redemptive community at work.”

* “… Wallace Hartley … left work as a bank teller for a career in music … and he worked some eighty maritime voyages before joining the Titanic as bandmaster.”