links: this went thru my mind

 

Church, relationships & the marginalized: What of the Marginalized Christians?

“When Jesus ministered to people in the margins, the majority of them were people who were in the margins of Judaism, the church. They were already a part of the faith.”

Computing: 8 Essential Browser Tips & Tricks

“The Web browser is a funny thing. It’s one of the most-used computer programs, but many people don’t really understand it. … Today, I’m helping you get the most out of your browser with a few simple tricks that you really need to know.”

Justice, penal system, prison, punishment & solitary confinement: Solitary Confinement: 29 Years in a Box

“Prisoners in solitary confinement tend to be restricted to cells of 80 square feet, not much larger than a king-size bed.”

Marriage: How Do I Get My Wife to Love Me Again?

“A man seldom understands (this man included) how different a woman is from a man.”

Ministry: Three Smooth Stones for Ministry

“Ministry is about the two most unpredictable forces in the world–the Spirit of God and human beings. There’s little predicting to be done, or little cause and effect logic to be implemented when these are the primary mediums involved in your work.”

Non-resistance, nonviolence, pacifism & violence: The Case for Non-Resistance– Part One [essential reading]

“The nations of this world employ physical weapons of offense and defense. When Jesus announced His new nation, He needed to clarify the character of His nation with respect to the use of force.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceFaith & genocide: “God is Innocent” : Rwamasirabo on the Genocide in the Church at Nyange, Rwanda

“… bright hope in the face of grotesque betrayal.”

God & violence: The “Third Way”: Seeing God’s Beauty in the Depth of Scripture’s Violent Portraits of God [required reading]

“… if we assume that we must dismiss Scripture’s violent portraits of God to solve this problem, we are going to find that we will have to dismiss a great deal of the Bible! In fact, once you subtract divine acts of violence and divinely sanctioned violence from the biblical narrative, it is not clear that any coherent narrative remains! …

“I consider both the Synthesis and the Dismissal Solutions to be unviable for followers of Jesus. And for all who understand Jesus to reveal a non-violent God while also embracing all Scripture as God’s Word, this means we have no choice except to look for a third alternative. My claim is that this “third way” is present, at least in a seminal form, in the NT itself.”

Nuclear weapons: Hiroshima and the Transfiguration: A Meditation

“I believe that the continued existence of nuclear weapons will make their use inevitable. I believe that when this happens, the consequences will be uncontrollable and yield evil beyond our wildest imagination. I believe that the only way to prevent this occurrence is to abolish nuclear weapons multilaterally and verifiably. And I work toward that end because I believe that world-gaining and soul-saving are diametrically opposed.”

Sentencing & prison: With Holder In The Lead, Sentencing Reform Gains Momentum

“I think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons.”

War: Father And Son Coaxed From Jungle 40 Years After Vietnam War

“Four decades ago, Ho Van Thanh fled the fighting in his native Vietnam, disappearing into the jungle with his infant son, Ho Van Lang. This week, father and son emerged for the first time — an enfeebled Thanh carried in a stretcher, and Lang wearing only a loincloth made of tree bark.”

this went thru my mind

 

Baby boomers: Last Chances for Churches to Reach 50 Million Americans

“Here are a few (hopefully) helpful facts about the Baby Boomers and churches. Of course, our findings depict the majority of Boomers, not all of them at any one time.”

Baptism & rebaptism: Benjamin Franklin on Rebaptism

“In the years prior to the Firm Foundation (begun in 1884) there was practical unanimity on the question of whether one who had been previously immersed to obey God but without the knowledge of its saving import should be rebaptized. The answer was an unequivocal ‘No.’ … Anyone immersed upon a confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, thought Campbell, was legitimately baptized and needed no further “re-do″ when they later learned that baptism was for the remission of sins.”

Children, manhood, movies & the learning of gender roles: How Movies Teach Our Kids about Gender [watch the 12 min. TED talk video; required viewing]

“What are movies teaching our kids about gender, about what it means to be men and women? That’s the question Colin Stokes asks in this recent TED Talks video.”

Colors: A Designers Guide to the Psychology of Color [infographic]

“Color is far more powerful than we give it credit for.”

Computing, privacy & security: How to Sacrifice Your Online Privacy for Fun and Profit [required reading]

“You have value—and not just as a good friend, loving family member, and upstanding member of society. You’re also a valuable commodity that companies buy and sell. Your age, browsing habits, and friends lists are all hot properties. And yes, all this data is recorded, packaged, and sold to the highest bidder by your favorite websites.”

Culture & sin: Americans Reveal Their 3 Favorite Sins

“‘Temptations and America’s Favorite Sins,’ a survey conducted by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, concludes that the moral struggles that vex most Americans aren’t the salacious acts that drive the plotlines of reality television shows. Most Americans are too worn down or distracted to get snared by those vices, the survey concludes. The top three sins seducing most Americans: procrastination, overeating and spending too much time on media.”

Drugs & prison sentences: The Drug Laws That Changed How We Punish

“Half a century ago, relatively few people were locked up, and those inmates generally served short sentences. But 40 years ago, New York passed strict sentencing guidelines known as the ‘Rockefeller drug laws’ — after their champion, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — that put even low-level criminals behind bars for decades. Those tough-on-crime policies became the new normal across the country.”

Loving your enemies: Love Your Enemies … Sort Of?

“‘Love Your Enemies … It Pisses Them Off’ or ‘… It Makes Then So Damn Mad’ or ‘… Nothing Annoys Them So Much.’ No doubt these lines are supposed to be funny. But in fact they diminish the love Jesus called for by delighting in the negative response some people might have when they are greeted with unexpected love. Such statements infer that the very aim of loving those at odds with us is to strike a blow against them, albeit of an unconventional sort. Yet the love that Jesus advocated was not some sort of unconventional blow but a blessing.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible translation: Famous Bible Translation Mistakes Throughout History by C. Michael Patton

“Here are some of the more infamous and fun mistakes that translators and printers have made throughout the years.”

Cancer: Cancer in the U.S.A. [infographic]

“One in four people will die from some form of cancer in the United States.”

Community & meals: Meals Matter to the Mission by Tim Chester

“… the meals of Jesus represent something bigger. They represent a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance. Jesus’ meals are not just symbols; they’re also applications. They’re not just pictures; they’re the real thing in miniature. Food is stuff. It’s not ideas. It’s not theories. It’s, well, it’s food, and you put it in your mouth, taste it, and eat it. And meals are more than food. They’re social occasions. They represent friendship, community, and welcome.”

Criminal justice, forgiveness, justice, prison, punishment & reconciliation: Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice?

“… Andy felt her say, ‘Forgive him.’ His response was immediate. ‘No,’ he said out loud. ‘No way. It’s impossible.’ But Andy kept hearing his daughter’s voice: ‘Forgive him. Forgive him.'”

Fear: Fear: This is a Heart Issue (Part I) by John T. Willis [required reading]

“Fear is a character of the heart which is necessary for human life. Therefore, fear is a gift of God. Fear is absolutely essential for all human beings to be who God created us to be. But, all human beings can abuse God’s gifts. In this and the next blog or blogs, we will discuss briefly what the Bible teaches about fear.”

Government assistance: Don’t Force Us to Obey the Bible! by James McGrath

“Time and again, I have heard conservatives say that taxing the rich to care for the poor is antithetical to Biblical teaching because it is essentially forcing people “at gunpoint” to give, rather than allowing them to be charitable of their own free will. Typically, those same people want to see other aspects of their religious values, from marriage to prayer, enforced through legislation.”

Guns: If You Choose to Own a Gun by Tim Archer [required reading]

“… some suggestions for Christians who choose to own guns …”

Just for fun: Real Life Hobbit House

“This is so awesome, it almost hurts.”

Les Misérables, mercy & politics: The Political Theology of Les Misérables by Richard Beck

“Two candlesticks–one act of mercy–saved them all. And in contrast to Javert and Enjolras I wonder if those two candlesticks isn’t the political theology we are all called to embrace.”

Ministry, spiritual formation & writing: * The Writing Pastor: An Essay on Spiritual Formation by Peter R. Schemm Jr.; Out of the Cave by Peter J. Leithart

* “None of us will likely have the influence of Augustine or Luther or Bonhoeffer. But our writing still matters. It matters because it can help us to make progress in our own hearts and minds. So as an exercise in pastoral ministry, we will explore some benefits that come to the soul of a pastor through the discipline of writing. These apply particularly to pastors but are not limited to the vocation of pastor. Each benefit is personal and formative: (1) depth of mind, (2) clarity of thought, (3) pace of life, (4) quiet and solitude, (5) the ministry of words, and (6) a life of prayer.”

* “A writer has control in the cave he never has outside.”

Romans: Romans by Douglas Moo [links to 53 lectures & discussions]

“Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.”

this went thru my mind

 

Children & technology: Why Parents Should Educate Their Kids About Tech

“How young is too young for a child to have a cell phone? With the average preschooler now more able to play video games than ride a bike or tie a shoe, and with three-quarters of all middle school- and high school-age kids already owning a phone, it’s an increasingly difficult question for today’s digital parent to answer.”

Conflict resolution: The Male Church Leader’s Guide to Female Conflict Resolution by Kelley Matthews & Sue Edwards

“In our experience, male ministers tend to handle conflict without taking into account the gender of the parties involved. Big mistake.”

Facebook: Facebook Strips ‘Privacy’ From New ‘Data Use’ Policy Explainer

“The idea that apps your friends install can access your information disturbed many of Facebook’s commenters. As one put it: “Strongly disagree — why should I be dragged into apps my friends are involved with?” You already are. Facebook’s current terms allow apps to tap into all of the information that the app’s users have access to …”

Giving: Church Giving Dropped $1.2 Billion in 2010 Recession by Annalisa Musarra

“According to the 2012 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, the almost $29 billion contributed by church members represented a 2.2 percent decrease in terms of per capita giving. The $1.2 billion decline in 2010 was nearly three times as large as the $431 million in losses reported in 2009.”

Ministry: Magic Christianity: The Power of Superstitious Habits by Dan Bouchelle

“I’ve known many people in churches who have left a church after many years because their congregation changed something about the worship, structure, or vision without being able to explain why they were opposed to the change. They just cited the general claim of “I am not comfortable with that.” We all have our preferences for some styles and methods over others, but there is a fear common in churches that what feels uncomfortable is not just a matter of preference but wrong, even if we can’t explain why. It is rooted in fear and no small amount of magical thinking. … The problem is theological first and foremost.”

Pacifism: Ask a Pacifist by Rachel Held Evans

“These were tough questions, but our friend Tripp York responded with wit, wisdom, and grace. Tripp teaches in the Religious Studies Department at Virginia Wesleyan University.”

Prison: Religion in Prisons: A 50-State Survey of Prison Chaplains

“From the perspective of the nation’s professional prison chaplains, America’s state penitentiaries are a bustle of religious activity. More than seven-in-ten (73%) state prison chaplains say that efforts by inmates to proselytize or convert other inmates are either very common (31%) or somewhat common (43%). About three-quarters of the chaplains say that a lot (26%) or some (51%) religious switching occurs among inmates in the prisons where they work.”

Social justice: The Idolatry of Nation by Scot McKnight

“Which leads me to ponder whether or not the many today who are now entranced by social justice are expressing not so much a dimension of their faith but a stage on the way of losing that faith. Has social justice become an idol? Has it become a substitute for God, for personal engagement with God?”

The Hunger Games: Indicting Violence: A Pacifist Review of ‘The Hunger Games’

“Ultraviolent throughout, Collins books are not on the surface pacifist. But this peace advocate absolutely loved the books and recommends you read them. Why? Because it’s an honest look at the roots and limits of violence. Her indictment of violence by portraying violence is an enormous gift.”

Wolves among the sheep: Why Impostors Love the Church by Russell D. Moore

“The New Testament warns us, of course, about spiritual impostors. Sometimes these “wolves” are there to introduce subtly false doctrine. But, just as often, it seems, these spiritual carnivores hold to true doctrine, at least on the surface. But they use this doctrine and service for predatory ends.”