links: this went thru my mind

 

20’s, choices, decisions & wisdom: 10 Ways to Ruin Your Life in Your 20s [essential reading; spot-on]

“No one ever plans to ruin their life. … but it does happen. It happens far too often. And it happens because of the choices we make, even though that is not a result that anyone would ever willingly choose. Most of those choices take place when people are relatively young—old enough to be making important decisions about their life, but young enough for those decisions to snowball and grow to have disastrous consequences. … How can we avoid making such mistakes? Below are 10 things people can do to ruin their lives while still in their 20s. It is a list of what not to do, or things to stop doing immediately if you don’t want to suffer the results.”

Beauty: The Race We’re All Losing

“If beauty is fleeting, why do we chase it? … Our clay will never turn into the beautiful clear glass we are wanting because it is meant to clay.”

Change, development, spiritual growth & spiritual maturity: Bearing Fruit in Old Age

“If I am the same person today I was ten years ago, I have stagnated.”

Church & spiritual health: * Pain, Relationships, and the Body of Christ [essential reading]; * 5 Church-Types to Probably Avoid

* “It’s easy to say that I’d like to start a new church that will ‘do things right.’ Or choose to withdraw from the gathered body all together, focusing on my relationship with God outside the confines of organized religion. So here are some tempering thoughts, presented in no particular order …”

* “With all of those caveats aside, I want to share 5 different sorts of churches that I personally would avoid if I were moving to a new city and were not a pastor of a church.”

Doubt & outreach: 3 Things to Remember in Discussion with Doubters

“Saying your church is a safe place for doubters doesn’t make it so. … Doubting is never just intellectual. … Strengthened faith should lead to the strengthening of other people.”

God, perception, understanding & worship: The Myth of Worshipping an Identical God

“… we worship our individual projection of God, not a perfectly identical God. And this projection is formed by hundreds, if not thousands, of individual experiences, lessons, traditions, people, and revelations we each have had. In a sense, our personal view of God is like a thumbprint. It’s that unique.”

Nonviolence: At Gunpoint

“Daniel told us he’d kill anyone who tried to come in and take his family away from him.”

Parenting: Teen Spirit

“Helicopter parenting has crippled American teenagers. Here’s how to fix it.”

Oral interpretation & Philemon: David Rhoads Performing Philemon [5 min. video; outstanding!]

“David Rhoads performing Philemon at SBL 2103 in Baltimore, MD.”

Teachers & teaching: What Can You Do?

“Do at least one thing really well, and that will mean doing at least a few other things barely adequately. As the saying goes, ‘If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly,’ and a lot of duties imposed upon many of us nowadays are worth doing … but just barely.

“If, instead, we try to do everything asked of us reasonably well–say, at a ‘B-‘ level–we’ll feel ‘B-‘ about it all. And exhausted in the process. And that’s a lousy way to live.

“Work at something, at least one thing, at an ‘A’ level. It might be small. It might not even be noticed by others. But you’ll know you did a great job of it, and the feeling of excellence you draw from that task will inspire you in the rest of what you do.

“Meanwhile, practice ‘prudent neglect’ of the stuff that doesn’t matter much.”

this went thru my mind

 

Christian perception & persecution: * The Difference Between Persecution and Being Corrected by Robert Cargill; * Christians and Persecution, Then and Now by James McGrath [required reading]

* “Just because you didn’t get what you want doesn’t mean that you are ‘persecuted.’ It means you can’t have everything.”

* “American Christians have no idea what they are talking about when they cry persecution. And as someone married to a Romanian, and thus who experienced something which, if still not like Nero’s time, was far more truly persecution than what most Americans have ever experienced, I do not find it merely inaccurate. I find it offensive. It is cheapening the term and thereby minimizing the plight of those who really do face persecution.”

Confrontation, courage & fear: Courage is Not the Absence of Fear by Michael Hyatt

“Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the willingness to act in spite of my fear.”

Facebook: Facebook’s Privacy Settings

“With the latest privacy update, however, Facebook has made it easier to find some of the most important privacy settings. When you’re logged into Facebook, you’ll notice a new lock icon with three horizontal lines in the top toolbar.”

Noise, silence, silent retreats & stress: The Buzz on Silent Retreats

“If you feel bombarded by emails, phone calls, text messages and the daily stress that comes with them, there could be a solution for you. Some people have found relief in perfect silence.”

Prayer: Why Some Prayers are Answered and Some Aren’t?

“If every petitionary prayer were answered on the time specified by the petitioner, God might even be thought of as an instrument or tool for earthly benefits.”

imagine you, on food stamps (6)

 

Let me ask you a question. I’ve asked it of a number of people through the years. It has two parts. Let me encourage you to be very specific in your answer. Don’t think your answer very long, just blurt out what first comes to your mind. What we’re aiming for here to reveal your first reaction; your gut instinct. Here’s the question:

Whenever someone says the phrase “food stamps” (here in Texas, it’s known as SNAP benefits), (1) what mental images or words immediately pop to your mind and (2) what do those images or words have in common?

Have you got your answers fixed in your mind? Good. Now are you curious as to what sort of answers I’ve received to that question? Let me share with you some of the most common responses I’ve received:

Part one: lazy people, bums, the guy on the corner who stands there all day long with a sign in his hand that says “Hungry and will work for food,” illegals, blacks and Mexicans, people who live off of others and who know how to work the system, dope heads, crooks, hookers.

Part two: they’re beggars and users.

Now without commenting at all on any of the preceding or its perceived connecting point, let me present you with another list, this one composed of answers I hear relatively rarely in response to my question.

Part one: broke, children, disabled, elderly, homeless, illiterate, migrant, sick, under-employed, unemployed.

Part two: they’re people who are vulnerable now and vulnerable to all sorts of further troubles and harm.

Which gives rise to two more questions in my mind:

(1) Am I missing something or are we missing seeing people in need?

(2) What would Jesus make of all of this; what might he say?

ct: blinded by the light

[From reflections on the account of Jesus healing the man born blind (John 9:1-41)]

Learning to see Jesus entails a training that challenges our presumption that we are already in the light. The man born blind is able to see Jesus because he had the advantage of being born blind. We fail to see Jesus because we have the disadvantage of being enlightened. It turns out, moreover, that we cannot will our way out of our enlightened darkness. Rather, we must be confronted by a light so brilliant that we are able to see the darkness our pride mistakes as light. An extraordinary claim, but what do you expect? We are Christians after all. We worship a crucified God – that takes some getting used to. (Stanley Hauerwas, A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching, p.35)