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.”

this went thru my mind

 

Church: * 10 Reasons to Be Involved in a Church; * The Main Reason People Leave a Church by Thom Rainer [required reading]

* “… give church another chance. By getting involved, you’ll discover that what you once viewed as a chore is actually a blessing. Here are 10 reasons why.”

* “… the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.”

Computers & computing: Is Google Set to Kill Off the Password?

“The search giant [Google] is experimenting with USB keys, mobile phones and even jewelry that can act as a physical ‘key’ to give users access to their account. The firm’s security bosses are set to publish their findings next month – and say they could soon be commonplace.”

Divorce: How Divorce Affects Young Adults’ Religiosity

“… children of divorce make up the leading edge — or what she calls the ‘broken leading edge’ — of a growing number of adults who say they are spiritual, but don’t affiliate with a particular religion.”

Pornography: Chronicling Porn’s Damaging Effects

“It has never been easier to access pornography, and massive amounts of it.”

Racism: The Flames of Heaven by Jonathan Storment

“… I don’t think racism is really a white problem, or a black problem…it’s a human problem. … I would think the church would be the one group who could do something about this.”

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

 

Americans, insensitivity, perceptions, respect & travel: America the Rude by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“… believers in other countries find some things about us challenging.  … mostly, they find us rude. They don’t like to mention it, but I’ve heard this in almost every country I’ve visited.”

Church & success: How Do YOU Define Success? [required reading]

“Two weeks ago, while at Catalyst, Andy Stanley rocked my world. Talking about how we define our ‘wins’ in the ministry world, he shared that for North Point a win on Sunday morning is when an unchurched person shows up, is helped, and comes back next week with a friend. He went on to share that there are people who have an issue with that definition because it doesn’t include anything about people accepting Jesus, to which he responds a win has to be something we can control… and we can’t control whether someone accepts Christ or not.”

Elections, faith & government: The Impossibility of Being President and Following Jesus by Kurt Willems [required reading]

“The early church, convinced as it was that Jesus commanded his followers never to resort to violence, understood that certain jobs were inconsistent with being fully devoted disciples of Christ. Of course, working as soldiers or magistrates were not the only ways to have one’s commitment to the faith called into question. Any profession that promoted actions and attitudes inconsistent with holiness were deemed opposed to following Christ. This wasn’t some sort of fundamentalist legalism, but rather quite obvious ways to not be in line with the way of the Kingdom (similar to how we might view blatantly sinful jobs such as: willful prostitution, pornographic film producers, or drug dealers).”

Nones: 32% – A Third of Young Adults Not Affiliated with a Religion

“The growth in the number of religiously unaffiliated Americans — sometimes called the rise of the ‘nones’ — is largely driven by generational replacement, the gradual supplanting of older generations by newer ones. A third (32%) of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation, compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older (9%).”

this went thru my mind

 

Church & men: Why Men Still Hate Going to Church: An Interview with David Murrow

“Ninety percent of churches are under 150 on Sunday morning. Many of them have tremendous growth potential. Their buildings are paid off and they sit in a strong financial position. But many are graying and failing to reach young people. The problem is that they’re trying to reach young people by reaching young women. They do things like improving the nursery or starting a ladies’ Bible study. Those things aren’t wrong, but you’re never going to get guys that way. You might get a few people right away, but what you don’t realize is that you’re hobbling your church for the long term.”

Hurricanes: Hurricanes Since 1851 [infographic]

“… here’s a bottoms-up view of known tropical storms and hurricanes dating back to 1851.”

Parenting, politics, respect & speech: A Mother’s Plea To Christians During This Election Season by Tara Edelschick

” … if I want our three children to be healthy citizens in a democracy, I get little support from our culture this time of year.  To be sure, I don’t get support from the secular circles in which I run; but it’s more upsetting to me when the vitriol I see comes from within my faith community.  This post, then, is my plea – as a mother – for civil, Christian political discourse.”

Religion & nones: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation

“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).”