links: this went thru my mind

 

Animals: Zoo Animals and Their Discontents

“The notion that animals think and feel may be rampant among pet owners, but it makes all kinds of scientific types uncomfortable. … That may be changing. A profusion of recent studies has shown animals to be far closer to us than we previously believed …”

Baptism: Six Things I Don’t Believe About Baptism

“… not an exhaustive list. But it’s a start.”

Church, evangelism, Nones & outreach: Five Toxic Church Environments Turning Away Nones

“… nones … They are currently the single fastest-growing religious group of our time and currently represent 20% of the US population.”

Discipleship & social media: Will Social Media Destroy Discipleship?

“The Internet becomes dangerous when it keeps us from deeply investing in real one-on-one relationships. God is an extremely relational God. He is one God in three persons. He is literally made up of relationship. We are created in His image. We are wired to be relational, to encourage, be with, and love other people. Discipleship is God’s joy and passion for His people. Discipleship is God’s plan for redemption.”

Hitler, home invasion, nonviolence, pacifism & self-defense: What If Hitler Invaded Your Home? [essential reading]

“Some trust in horses and chariots, some trust in Smith and Wesson, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Humility, ministry, preaching & weakness: A Word to Those Who Preach

“…  our role is to tell Him thank you for the ways He is choosing to use us to reach the world.  You most likely assume that you are not a big deal.  Good.  We aren’t. However, we are in His eyes when we walk in humility alongside the Spirit of Jesus.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Busyness, church, fellowship & programming: Has Christianity Become Too Busy?

“Jesus is famous for many things—like performing miracles, claiming to be God, and dying on the cross—but one of his most underappreciated characteristics was his ability to just hang out. … Today, many churches leave little room for just hanging out. Instead, we do everything we can to contrive an extraordinary experience. Therefore, churches scheme, plan, design, create and facilitate multiple platforms for ultimate experiences to happen—but they often don’t.”

Chernobyl, nuclear power, pollution & Ukraine: Chernobyl: Capping a Catastrophe

“Against the decaying skyline here, a one-of-a-kind engineering project is rising near the remains of the world’s worst civilian nuclear disaster. … If all goes as planned, by 2017 the 32,000-ton arch will be delicately pushed on Teflon pads to cover the ramshackle shelter that was built to entomb the radioactive remains of the reactor that exploded and burned here in April 1986. When its ends are closed, it will be able to contain any radioactive dust should the aging shelter collapse. … The arch … allow(s) the final stage of the Chernobyl cleanup to begin — an arduous task to remove the heavily contaminated reactor debris for permanent safe storage. …  the Chernobyl arch alone will end up costing about $1.5 billion, financed largely by the United States and about 30 other nations. And making the site of a radioactive disaster truly secure can take generations. Engineers have designed the Chernobyl arch to stand for 100 years; they figure that is how long it may take to fully clean the area.”

Churches, demographics, evangelism, generations, Nones & outreach: The Gospel and the Nones [essential reading]

“Here is a fact: the median church size in America is now at 108 (down from 140). Churches are shrinking, the Nones are rising. … What’s the problem?”

Christians, Islam & Muslims: Why I Defend Muslims [essential reading]

“I’m ready and eager to talk about the uniqueness of Jesus, the wonder of the Gospel, and I’ll even talk about what distinguishes Christianity from other faiths, but I’m not going to do it by smearing our neighbors and their religion with half-truths and caricatures.”

Holocaust: Holocaust Remembrance Day

“… Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) … extends from Sunday evening until Monday evening, April 27-28

Rest: The Lost Practice of Resting One Day Each Week

“‘He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.’ —Benjamin Franklin.”

Self-perception & thinking: Are Your Beliefs Keeping You Stuck?

“Beliefs about myself. … Beliefs about others… Beliefs about the world.”

this went thru my mind

 

Alternative energy, ecology, gas & oil: Life After Oil and Gas

“You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it. … how much we really “need” fossil fuels is worth pondering.”

Ambition, competition & envy: Envy: This is a Heart Issue by John T. Willis

“… competition is huge in American society and throughout the world. Everyone yearns to SUCCEED and to EXCEL. This is why we have the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, etc. All of this is interesting and attracting. But spiritually, under God through Jesus Christ there is an entirely different way of thinking and living.”

Children, church & ministry: What If the Kids Don’t Want Our Church?

“… you could complain about the fact that these kids just don’t appreciate what you’ve done for them. Or, you could suck it up and bless them on their next wild adventure.”

Ecology & environment: Overfished and Under-Protected: Oceans on the Brink of Catastrophic Collapse

“The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing. … The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the start of The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and is predicted to be 150% more acidic by the end of this century, according to a UNESCO report published last year. … The Census of Marine Life reported that phytoplankton, the microscopic plants producing most of the oxygen from the oceans, have been declining by around 1% a year since 1900. … ‘There’s a real lack of public and political awareness of these issues,’ says Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at the UK’s Oxford University.”

Faith, Millenials, Nones, religion & relationships: Relationships are the New Religion for Many

“Relationships have replaced religion for many Millennials … In 2009, LifeWay asked 1,200 people ages 18-29, to name those things that were “really important” to them in life. Over 60% mentioned family, 25% mentioned friends, but only 13% mentioned spirituality or religion.”

The Bible mini-series: Understanding Caiaphas — The Bible Series

“The character of Caiaphas presents one of the greatest challenges for any Jesus film or Passion play, and many have failed the test, making Caiaphas a cartoon, caricature baddie who makes no historical sense and who is offensive to boot.”

this went thru my mind

 

Change: Five Secret Objections to Change by Ron Edmonson

“Show me an objection to legitimate, needed change and you’re almost guaranteed to find one of these hidden in the crowd somewhere. Probably multiples of them.”

Children, Easter & parenting: Preparing Your Children For Easter Without Rabbits! [required reading]

“For our children, Easter has become more about baby chickens, bunny rabbits, and egg hunts and hardly anything about Jesus! Part of the reason is that the story is sad, brutal, and gory. We have sanitized the lives of our children to the point that the real Easter story just doesn’t work. We need a Disney version for our young children. On the other hand, my 8-year-old, 7-year-old, and 5-year-old grandsons have all seen Star Wars, and some of them have seen at least the first episode of Lord of the Rings. They have all seen the Narnia movies—and they have all been to funerals. I think they can handle the basics of the passion story. I’d like to just suggest to you today a schedule of possible readings and activities to do with your young children.”

Church: Seven Ways to Kill a Church by Scott Elliott; * Bullies in the Church; * And Then the Conference Uninvited Me to Speak by Jen Hatmaker [required reading]

* “Be immature – Gripe, complain, nitpick, and criticize others. … Fail to get people involved. Don’t ask people to do anything. … Ignore the youth. Refuse to teach them anything meaningful about the Christian faith. … Pretend like worship isn’t important. Show up late and leave early. … Forget about feeding the flock. Give the congregation upbeat and entertaining messages with little or no substance. Never move beyond the basics of Christianity. … Convince people that leadership does not matter. Choose leaders who are biblically ignorant and spiritually immature. … Never look beyond the church building. Forget there is a world full of people who need help. Do not feed the hungry.”

* “There are books on school bullying—and more than enough data to support techniques for dealing with the problem. But when it comes to the church—there’s very little information. Nevertheless, there can be bullies in the church.  And most don’t fit the bully stereotype. Consider, for example, a few of the bully personalities that are more commonly found in the church …”

* “The Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be ‘disengaged’ by the time they are 29. 80 percent. Gone. … 73 percent of Nones came from religious homes; 66 percent were described by the study as ‘de-converts.’ … [But] as far as I can tell, Jesus is still the easiest sell on earth, because if you don’t love a guy who healed lepers and pulled children onto His lap and silenced the religious elite and ate and drank with sinners, then you just don’t know Him.”

Happiness: One Thing You Must Stop Doing to Be Happy

“The quickest route to happiness is to stop the pursuit of finding happiness and start the process of being happiness.”

Connectivity, technology & the Internet: * This is the World You Live (and Lead) in Now; * Danny Hillis: The Internet Could Crash. We Need a Plan B. [121/2 min. TED Talk video]

* “Mobile technology and digital social networks have changed our habits, rhythms of life, the way we connect, and get news and information. … They are not just tools. They are ways of being in the world. They have become an integrated part of our culture, our lives, and, indeed, the practice of faith.”

* “Internet pioneer Danny Hillis argues that the Internet wasn’t designed for this kind of scale, and sounds a clarion call for us to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on if — or when — the Internet crashes.”

Evangelism, outreach & questions: What Gives??

“Good answer!”

Poverty & social mobility: Why Social Mobility In The United States Is A Total Myth

“… 44%, of American adults who are in the bottom 20% in income were born to parents who were also in the bottom 20%; nearly half, 45%, of adults in the top 20% had parents who were also in the top 20%. Most Americans who were born in the middle 60% had parents who were also born in the middle 60%.”

Presence: Do You Have Time to Be Present? by Jim Martin

“Life is about being fully present in the one life that I am living — to the honor of God. What are your greatest challenges to being fully present with others?”

this went thru my mind

 

Lifelogging & privacy: Meet Memoto, the Lifelogging Camera

“… Memoto, a Swedish start-up, wants to capture with a small, wearable camera that automatically takes photos of the wearer’s surroundings. The square-shaped device can be clipped onto a collar, a jacket or worn around the neck on a string. It snaps photos at 30-second intervals, and switches off only when it is dark, face-down or placed into a pocket. … The device costs $279 and includes a year of free online photo storage. … The company has already received 3,000 orders, and it hopes to begin shipping devices by late April or early May. … There is no off switch or even a way to delete photos captured by the device.”

Nones: Trends in the Religious Unaffiliated, the “Nones,” by Age

” … rates of the unaffiliated rose rapidly in the 1990s and more slowly since. … rates of the religiously unaffiliated have increased rather steadily in all age groups.”

Perception & poverty: * The Poor and The Fundamental Attribution Error by Richard Beck [required reading]; * Hassled by Larry James

* “… we tend to revert to characterological, trait-based, personality-driven, and dispositional factors in explaining behavior. For example, I might look at your work ethic and conclude that you are lazy. The problem is intrinsic to your character. Your personality is flawed and is to blame. You’re a bad apple. Another way of describing the fundamental attribution error is to say that we tend to downplay or ignore the power of situations. When we see bad behavior we don’t tend to look at the environmental context, the situational causes and pressures. We tend to go looking for bad apples.”

* “… most of us have no clue as to how hard it is to be extremely poor and alone on the streets of a city like Dallas, Texas. We simply must do better than this.”