links: this went thru my mind

 

Capital punishment & the death penalty: Secret Drugs, Agonizing Deaths

“In the name of security, states are now withholding vital information about their death penalty procedures — from death row prisoners’ lawyers and from judges, whose stamp of approval they need to impose the ultimate sanction, as well as from the public, in whose name the sentence is carried out.”

Children, compassion, morality & parenting: Raising a Moral Child [essential reading]

“Despite the significance that it holds in our lives, teaching children to care about others is no simple task.”

Church: * The Church as a Hospice for the Dying [essential reading]; * What the Church May Need is What the Church Does Not Want

* “It seems to me that it’s better to think of the Church as a hospice, rather than as a hospital. … The Church as hospice makes good, Gospel sense. And, there are very practical implications in this metaphor as well. When people tell the pastor that they are leaving the church because their ‘needs’ aren’t being met, all the pastor has to do is remind them of what the Church is, and point out that their ‘needs’ are indeed being met: They’re being given an opportunity to die to their ‘needs’ in order to experience more of the resurrection life of Christ. So, the church really is meeting their needs; they just don’t know it.”

* “… I wonder if the Christian element in America has grown fat and sassy.  Have we fallen into a dangerous religion of indifferent slumber? Persecution may not be at our doorstep; but I do think it is traipsing up the sidewalk. This will never be the thing we want.  Yet, it may be the very thing needed to move us from our glut of mediocre indifference.”

Crucifixion: Roman Crucifixion Methods Reveal the History of Crucifixion

“… Hershel Shanks looks at evidence of Roman crucifixion methods as analyzed from the remains found in Jerusalem of a young man crucified in the first century A.D.”

Faith & science: 9 Groundbreaking Scientists Who Happened to Be Christians

“There’s a general sense that science and religion are two camps, and the two can never meet without fighting or, at the very least, stepping mighty carefully around each other’s views. There might be a very little bit of truth to that—a few noisy emissaries from both sides have been known to go out of their way to discredit the other. However, what is frequently lost in all this is that the history of science is rich with believing Christians, for whom the process of discovery did not jeopardize their faith, but enforced it.”

Fear: Do Not Let Fear be the CEO of the Church

“How many times have we said or at least heard, I’m afraid of what this might lead to?”

Passover: Passover as Jesus Knew It

“It was a joyous, celebratory occasion: work was temporarily stopped, families were reunited, food and wine were plentiful, and hopes and dreams were in the air. At the heart of the festival was a story: an account of a chosen people liberated from slavery centuries before through God’s gracious deliverance. But there was also a tragic irony: Israel was no longer free. This time the oppressors were not the Egyptians, but Rome. Together, these ideas created a lethal cocktail of deep religious yearnings, nationalism and resentment. ‘It is on these festive occasions that sedition is most likely to break out’ noted the historian Josephus wryly (War 1.88), and most of the riots recorded in his works seem to have occurred at Passover in particular.”

Prayer: Did Jesus Send a Mixed Message About Repetition in His Teaching About Prayer?

“… Jesus is talking about different things in these two teachings.”

this went thru my mind

 

Apologies, civility, & humility: The Sorry State of the Apology by Dorothy Greco

“The apology seems to be at an all-time high, and simultaneously, an all-time low.”

Attitude, church, expectations, ministry & vision: 10 Dangerous Church Paradigms by Ron Edmonson

“I’ve been in church all my life. Along the way I’ve seen and learned a lot. Almost all the insight I have into church has come by experience. I have observed, for example, that paradigms can often shape a church’s culture. A paradigm in simple terms, is a mindset; a way of thinking. In this case, a collective mindset of the church, often programmed into the church’s culture. If the church is unhealthy part of the reason could be because it has some wrong paradigms. In that case, it will almost always need a paradigm shift in order to be a healthier church again.”

Bible interpretation, hermeneutics, & humility: CENI – Having a Humble Hermeneutic by Matt Dabbs

“My goal in this post is to … to remind us that we must be humble in how we interpret scripture and what we bind or don’t bind on other people.”

Cell phones & privacy: Create a Temporary Number

“Burner gives you a free number that lasts for one day, five voice calls or 15 texts. If you need more, you can buy a new number or extend your current number for a few dollars. Calls and texts don’t count against your monthly limit. The app allows you to permanently delete – ‘burn’ – any number at any time. This takes it out of the service and permanently deletes it from your phone.”

Climate change, ecology, environment, global warming, & preachers: New Research on Protestant Pastors’ Views of the Environment

“When asked to respond to the statement ‘I believe global warming is real and man made’ …”

Culture, history, immigration, prejudice, & the United States: Why I’ve Stopped Saying ‘We are a Nation of Immigrantsby Kevin Miller

“As innocuous as it sounds, the ‘nation of immigrants’ line is an abbreviated version of the prevailing narrative of national origins that makes white people like me the norm while making others, well, ‘others.’ Without appearing to do so, it subtly shapes my thinking about
who is and isn’t a true or real American.”

Evolution & science: Biological Evolution: What Makes it Good Science? (parts 1 & 2)

“Is the contemporary theory of evolution an example of good science? The answer to this question completely depends on how you define ‘science,’ and what you think makes science ‘good.’ … In conclusion, when measured against the standards of a good scientific theory, modern evolutionary biology clearly qualifies as good science.  Ongoing debates within evolutionary biology exist about mechanism, rates, and causes, but not over whether evolution occurred.  Such a question has been largely settled by the last 150 years’ worth of research.”

Grandparenting: A Letter to the Grandkids On Baptism by Mark Woodward

“Grandad would just like to write this letter to all of you, those baptized already and those who will be.  These are just a few things I really want you to know about your baptism that I’ve been thinking about.”

Leadership: Leading From Psychological Brokenness

“The High Calling talked to four experts about how psychological pathologies impact leaders and their organizations. In a series of four articles, we’ll examine the topic. First, let’s explore what we mean by psychological pathology.”

Marriage: So What IS Marriage by Patrick Mead

“… if you think THIS is complicated, wait until you study a bit and see how complicated sexual identity is.”

this went thru my mind

 

Compassion, illness, prayer & service: Jesus My Patient [required reading]

“A prayer from Mother Teresa and used by her Sisters of Charity in their care for the sick, poor, and dying …”

Creation & faith: Seeing God in the Stars

“Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is an astronomer, author, and speaker. … As senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, she studies star-forming regions of our galaxy using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. As director of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she helps improve communication between scientists and faith communities.”

Immigration & the poor: Do Illegal Immigrants Actually Hurt the U.S. Economy?

“Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. … Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent. The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive.”

National debt: Our Debt, Ourselves

“I want to present a calmer view, by emphasizing six facts about the debt that many Americans may not be aware of.”

Shane Claiborne: Ask Shane Claiborne … (Response) [essential reading]

“… non-violence doesn’t mean getting stepped-on. The call to non-violence is to disarm violence. A part of the way we do that is suffering with those who suffer.”

this went thru my mind

 

Aging, hearing & dementia: Straining to Heard and Fend Off Dementia

“Dr. Frank Lin, an otolaryngologist and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, describes this phenomenon as ‘cognitive load.’ Cognitive overload is the way it feels. Essentially, the brain is so preoccupied with translating the sounds into words that it seems to have no processing power left to search through the storerooms of memory for a response. … Compared to individuals with normal hearing, those individuals with a mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss, respectively, had a 2-, 3- and 5-fold increased risk of developing dementia over the course of the study.”

Anxiety & stress: Anxiety, You’re Not the Boss of Me

“I will conquer because I will not allow anxiety and panic to kill another day of my life. It’s my life, and anxiety can’t have it anymore.”

Ash Wednesday & Lent: * Ash Wednesday: Beginning of the Lenten Journey; * Ash Wednesday: When Darkness Reigns by Jonathan Storment; * Homily for Ash Wednesday by Tim Gombis

* “Lent has also been understood as a time of preparation for the renewal of our baptismal covenant. In the early church, candidates for baptism spent as long as three years preparing to be baptized. The last 40 days were known as the “scrutinies,” when candidates examined themselves and church leaders determined whether they were ready to be baptized. Later, Lent became that time when all Christians were invited to consider their need for spiritual renewal. This was common practice by the time of the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.”

* “… Ash Wednesday was going on long before Protestants and Catholics ever split. It’s an annual reminder that Christians have observed every year, for thousands of years It’s when we remember that from dust we came and to dust we will return.  It is profoundly ancient and biblical.”

* “A homily given on Ash Wednesday at Midtown Christian Community, Feb. 17, 2010.”

Children, parenting, relationships & technology: Raising Personable Children, Even If They’re Glued To Phones

“The biggest limitations that we talk about all the time is just making sure that our kids still interact with each other, and [are] articulate in conversation with adults … And with our oldest son interviewing for jobs and things like that, we wanted to make sure that they had good eye contact.”

Church dropouts & youth: Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church [required reading]

“We all know them, the kids who were raised in church. They were stars of the youth group. They maybe even sang in the praise band or led worship. And then… they graduate from High School and they leave church. What happened? … The statistics are jaw-droppingly horrific: 70% of youth stop attending church when they graduate from High School. Nearly a decade later, about half return to church.”

Depression, Millenials & stress: * Who’s Feeling Stressed? Young Adults, New Survey Shows; * 7 Habits of Highly Miserable Twenty-Somethings

“Millennials [ages 18-33] are … more likely to be told they have depression or an anxiety disorder.”

“… here’s what I believe are the seven habits of highly miserable twenty-somethings, and then how we cure each one.”

E-mail & iPhone: Is ‘Mailbox’ for iOS Worth the Wait?

“Whether you’re a seasoned GTD ninja or daily drown in a deluge of email I think you will find Mailbox a breath of fresh air.”

Faith & science: The MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins: the Belief Gap [very interesting]

“We present a detailed survey of how different US faith communities view origins science, particularly evolution and Big Bang cosmology. We find a striking gap between people’s personal beliefs and the official views of the faiths to which they belong. … the main divide in the origins debate is not between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science.”

Focus & solutions: The Silver Bullet by Tim Archer

“We need to decide to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.”

Minimum wage & poverty: The Impact of a $9 Minimum Wage

“The federal minimum wage has lost 30% of its purchasing power in recent decades, according to the law project. If the minimum wage had kept pace with the cost of living since 1968, it would now equal $10.56. The White House says that raising the wage to $9 restores its inflation-adjusted value to where it was in 1981.”

Sexualization: Sexualization and Christianity: How Should We Respond? by Jennifer W. Shewmaker [required reading]

“Sexualization is treating other people and/or oneself as an object of desire, with value primarily coming from sex appeal and physical attractiveness … Churches should be fighting against these messages of sexualization and objectification with all that we have. … And yet, if you take a hard look at some of the messages that are being sent to girls and women through church curriculum, Christian books on girl and womanhood, and mega-church sermons, I’m afraid that you will find many of the same messages. … What can Christians and church bodies do to stand against sexualization? How do we send a countercultural message? Here are some practical ideas …”

Silence: What Your Silence Tells Others

“For extroverts, finding silence during a week is very important even though silence is not their natural leaning. For introverts, finding silence is easy since they prefer less stimulation on any given day. For both groups, silence speaks volumes.”

this went thru my mind

 

Creation, God & science: God Did It by Carolyn Arends

“It wasn’t science that changed my position on creation, but biblical scholarship that convinced me that Genesis does not prescribe any particular scientific view.”

Facebook: Why Must It Be Facebook Pages vs Groups? [part 1]

“Facebook Pages are visible to the WWW. … Facebook Groups on the other hand, are not visible to the WWW.”

Giving: An Armchair Advocate’s Guide to: 24 Hours of Giving [infographic]

“Everyday we are surrounded by opportunities to give. Despite our packed schedules and shorter attention spans, there is no act too big or too small. … we present our latest infographic: An Armchair Advocate’s Guide to 24 Hours of Giving. We hope you find it a helpful reminder to use your time, treasures and technology for social good each day.”

Mercy ministry & the poor: Finding a Better Way for Mercy Ministry by Jamie Dunlop

“… how should your local church support mercy ministries? Sometimes we think the answer falls into only one of two categories—the options in the story above. In the first category, which I’ll call ‘programmed ministry,’ churches build a mercy ministry into their institutional life. They will fine-tune their budgets, staff, and vision statements to make sure that the ministry is integral to who they are as a church. In the second category, which I’ll call ‘organic ministry,’ the church simply leaves responsibility for mercy ministry in the members’ hands. The first category wires mercy ministry into the institutional church; the second leaves it to individual Christians. While both of these approaches may be appropriate in different situations, both can at times fall short. … Therefore, it’s worth considering a third level of support, which I’ll term ‘responsive ministry.’”

Stress: 7 General Suggestions for Handling Stress by Ron Edmonson

“How do we handle the stress of daily living?”

this went thru my mind

 

Afterlife, heaven & near-death experiences: Proof of Heaven? by Roger Olson

“This is folk religion, not Christian belief. Churches need to pay attention to Christians’ tendency to base their beliefs on popular culture, stories of private experiences, rumors, urban legends (‘evangelegends’), novels, etc. And they need to counter this tendency with strong biblical and theological teaching about what the Bible and Christian tradition really say about, for example, life after death.”

Bible application & interpretation: If My People [2 Chronicles 7.14] by Brad Morrow [required reading]

“… we can’t hijack the verse and use it as a promise of spiritual revival for America or wherever Christians reside; that would misuse the verse.”

Climate change & global warming: Katharine Hayhoe: Evangelical Christian, Climate Scientist [3 brief video clips; less than 7 minutes total]

“Katharine Hayhoe is a highly-respected expert on climate change. An associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, her focus is developing new ways to quantify the potential impacts of human activities at the regional scale. … As an evangelical scientist, Katharine Hayhoe is already a member of a rare breed. As a climate change researcher who is also married to an evangelical Christian pastor, she is nearly one of a kind. In these three videos, Hayhoe divulges her beliefs about God, climate change, and the difficulties of believing in both those things.”

Clutter, possessions & stuff: 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home by Joshua Becker

“The decluttering journey doesn’t need to be as painful as some make it out to be. … Consider this list of 10 creative ways to declutter your home.”

Evangelism: Evangelism: What is It and How It Would Look? by Terry Rush [required reading]

“Evangelism: it isn’t a one-way for all. It is all-ways to win one.”

Holy Spirit: 5 Misunderstandings About the Holy Spirit by Jack Levison

“Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions.”

Militarism: Are American Evangelicals Seduced by Militarism? by Preston Sprinkle

“… America is becoming more and more militarized. I would also argue … that America’s recent militarism is an aberration of its original ideals. … God does not think too highly of military might. In fact, He condemns it as idolatry.”

Ministry, pain & shepherding: * From the Shepherd’s Nook: Pain by John Frye; * My Top 10 Youth Ministry Fails by Brandon Baker

* “For whatever convoluted reasons, I avoided conflict for many years in ministry. I liked to think of myself as a “peacemaker,” but what I was really was a pain-avoider. Later in ministry I got some very wise counsel about my jitters regarding conflict. I avoided conflict because it kept me distant (safe) from my own personal pain.”

* “These certainly are not the only mistakes I’ve made and my psyche has probably blocked out some of the worst ones.”

this went thru my mind

 

Alzheimer’s: Is Alzheimer’s Type 3 Diabetes? by Mark Bittman

“The idea that Alzheimer’s might be Type 3 diabetes has been around since 2005, but the connection between poor diet and Alzheimer’s is becoming more convincing … The studies are increasingly persuasive, and unsurprising when you understand the role of insulin in the body.”

Awe & creation: Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky? by Robert Krulwich

“If you took 10 drops of water (not extra-big drops, just regular drops, I’m presuming) and counted the number of H2O molecules in those drops, you’d get a number equal to all the stars in the universe.”

Christianity & culture: When Christianity is at its Greatest

“Sometimes the priorities and perspectives of American Christians who are striving to bring America back to its alleged Christian roots end up being against the gospel. An examination of the Christian faith before it was legal helps us to put things in proper perspective.”

Divorce & statistics: Curing Pastoral Stats Abuse: How Not to Be a Stats Abuser or Confuser by Ed Stetzer

“It is a mistake of category to take census Christians (those who identify as Christians on a survey form), and use statistical quotes as if they are representative of born-again genuine followers of Jesus Christ (in other words, not all who identify as “Christian” fit the description of a genuine believer).”

Ministry: Willingly Walking into a World of Pain by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“This is what congregational ministry is really like.”

Politics & poverty: VIDEO: Obama, Romney Answer Faith Leaders’ Call to Address Poverty in Election [required viewing]

“Christian leaders asked, and the presidential nominees answered. The poverty rate in America is still at a staggering 15 percent and 46.2 million Americans remain in poverty — what is your plan to address the problem? The Circle of Protection, composed of Christian leaders from across the religious spectrum, released President Barack Obama’s and GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s video responses today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.”

Smartphones: 10 Smartphone Habits You Should Avoid

“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. … This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters, meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked.

“This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”

Suffering: Suffering, Tragedy and Doubt: 5 Mistakes Christians Make by Derek Flood

“Here are five things we Christians often get wrong, and what we can do to fix them …”

Time management: * Ministry Inside.94 by Jim Martin; * How to Avoid Procrastinating When You Feel Overwhelmed by Lucille Zimmerman

* “I have found the following practices to be helpful as I attempt to manage my time …”

* “Here are some tips we can all use in order to avoid procrastination …”

Vocation: 7 Tips for Finding Your Vocation by Brad Jersak

“A vocation is a ‘calling’ that can span over many careers.”