links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Christ’s cross & violence: Does Jesus’ Cross Inform a Christian View of Violence? [required reading]

“After reading a bit of Miroslav Volf, and some of his work on the cross of Christ and human violence, I am convicted by some of his conclusions regarding what the Cross says about violence. … Seeing Jesus’ death on the cross as Jesus’ challenge to violence itself, Volf suggests four considerations …”

Christian faith, Martin Luther, rationalization, the Sermon on the Mount & violence: Pacifism: A Place to Begin

“Some of the saddest lines I have ever read by a Christian, let alone one of Luther’s status, are these. … Utter nonsense.”

Cities & crime rate: 2012 Metropolitan Crime Rate Rankings

“Includes murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.”

Violence: A Brush with Violence [required reading]

“We need to be working alongside God and Jesus to redeem all that is wrong in the world. This means we must be working to end the violence that has overtaken our society. … Where do we begin? … We must do something. Here are a few suggestions.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Aliens, brotherly love, dehumanization, illegals, immigration & respect: I Don’t Know What an “Illegal” is … [required reading]

“In our culture, the way these folks are framed (‘named’) is by calling them ‘illegals.’ I am very convicted about this. … I feel I should say ‘I do not know what an illegal is. I know only humans.'”

Bible reading, lectio divina, reflection, Sermon on the Mount & transformation: Ten Minute Transformation: Ten Minutes of Lectio Divina That Can Revolutionize Your Life (Matt. 5) [required reading]

“It’s a good question. If the Christian faith is only about going to heaven, then why do we stay here on earth?”

Bible study, college & faith: Open Letter to New Testament Students

” … if I am doing my job, you are probably going to undergo a slow process of discovering that what you thought was a book is, in fact, a bunch of books; you’re going to find out that what you know is often incorrect; and what has spoken to you has been edifying, but that text may not ever be able to speak with that same voice again.”

Busyness, culture, stress & the United States: 8 Things You May Not Know about Busyness in America [infographic]

“…  eight things that we should all keep in mind about our ‘busy’ lives.”

Brotherly love, humility, others, patience, understanding & sincerity: The Thing I’d Love to Forget About the People I Disagree With [essential reading]

“…  it’s a bit disconcerting to confront the reality that it’s possible to wrestle with the same God and walk with the same limp and yet reach different conclusions. Perhaps it is in the wrestling itself that we can find some common ground.”

Discipleship, knowledge, questionnaires, spiritual formation & transformation: Christianity: Has Education Replaced Transformation

“American Christianity is turning into a massive question-and-answer quiz, and I’m probably going to fail. The Bible isn’t a textbook — but people treat it that way, and “Christianity” is becoming a pass-or-fail test. … “

Sin: Have We Grown to Overlook Sin?

“…  we tend to elevate the sin of another which is different than ours.”

what I’m doing during Lent this year

 

journalWith the vision that I should commit to doing something “out of the ordinary” over the course of the next forty days to deepen God’s tracks in my heart, I’ve decided to hand write out (not type) Jesus’ five blocks of speech in Matthew’s Gospel over the course of the next forty days. That is, I’ll put the words of Matthew 5-7,10,13,18,24-25 down on paper with a pen.

Just exactly how much material is that? That works out to eight chapters over the course of forty days (or a little under 200 words per day). Or to use last night’s State of the Union Address for comparison, President Obama’s address (as prepared for delivery) was 6,607 words in length while in the chapters enumerated above, Jesus speaks 7,227 words (in the CEB rendering). That’s enough material to be challenging without it being too much to digest in one day. Very doable.

Why do this? Because I want his words written on my heart.

What translation will I copy? Though I’d like to use the Common English Bible (CEB) – my default translation of choice – I’m going to deliberately use a different one for this project – N.T. Wright’s Kingdom New Testament (KNT), simply because it’s different from what I use most of the time.

One more question. Why do this now, starting the project on what some know as Ash Wednesday? Because I’ve found that by deliberately doing such project during a time period in which many others are also seeking growth in the Lord (such as during Lent or other times in the liturgical calendar) doors of conversation are opened to me with others that I know I would not otherwise experience.

Anyone care to join me?

this went thru my mind

 

Belief & doubt: How to Smartly Engage with the Young Doubters in Your Midst by Andrea Palpant Dilley

“Thirty-six percent of young people surveyed said they didn’t feel free ‘to ask [their] most pressing life questions in church.’ That’s a problem. Providing a space for open intellectual inquiry is essential for maintaining healthy conversation with people on the margins.”

Evangelism: Jesus 101 by Matt Dabbs

“This booklet is written to help guide you through the Gospel of Mark so that you can learn about Jesus, understand who He is, what He did, and find out what that means for you today.”

Memorial Day: Memorial Day by J. Daniel Kirk* ; * RE-Membering Memorial Day by Kurt Willems

* “This is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a great day to be an American. And a dangerous day to be a Christian. … Let’s be careful how we remember today. Let’s be careful what we remember today. There is freedom that is bought with the price of precious blood. And it could never be gained by the swords, or guns, of war.”

* “Remember that violence always disrupts shalom. Jesus died, absorbing the violence of a military machine’s ultimate weapon for insurrectionists – the cross. This death unleashes the potential for shalom once again… something war can never bring.”

Pacifism: * Bonhoeffer Says; And a six-part series of posts by Paul Smith: * Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Definitions and Positions; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Brief Old Testament Survey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Gleanings from the New Testament; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Personal Journey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Final (and disjointed) Thoughts

* “I pray that God will give me the strength not to take up arms.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

* “In the past several weeks I have been engaged with the related concepts of pacifism and discipleship in a number of ways. … As I have read, studied and mentally debated with these giants of my faith I have been forced to think, and to rethink, my understanding and my conclusions on this subject. Over the next few posts I will share with you my convictions, and the Scriptural and theological foundations which underlie those convictions.” [Paul Smith]

Parenting: Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why My Kid and I Read the Sad Psalms by Micha Boyett

“Faith is complicated for me. I didn’t want it to be complicated for my kids.”

Sermon on the Mount: The Sermon on the Mount: Study Guide by Richard Beck

“… a condensed but comprehensive moral inventory of the Sermon.”

this went thru my mind

 

apostles: The Apostles by Andrew Todhunter

“They were unlikely leaders. … Yet 2,000 years later, all over the world, the Apostles are still drawing people in.”

criticism: Knowing When to Criticize by Ron Edmonson

“When do you criticize and when do you let it go? That’s always a dilemma. We don’t want to be seen as critical, but not saying something may enable bad behavior.”

democracy: People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say

“… no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, ‘very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is …'”

ecology: Pace of Ocean Acidification Has No Parallel in 300 Million Years

“While the present-day release of carbon dioxide is slow on a human time scale, it is essentially instantaneous on a geologic time scale.”

grace, judgment & works: Saved by Grace, Judged by Works? by J. Daniel Kirk

“Every time the New Testament indicates the basis of the final judgment, that basis is the works of the people who are being judged.”

parenting: The Messiness of Raising Children (Our Attempt) by Jim Martin

“… we did this imperfectly.”

politics: Lipscomb, Politics and the Sermon on the Mount by John Mark Hicks

“The antagonism between the principles laid down by Christ and those of civil government is so marked that in history, the statement, that they regulate their conduct by the sermon on the Mount, is equal to saying they take no part in civil affairs.”

vision: Airplanes Have No Rearview Mirrors by Paul Smith

“I love the history of the American Restoration Movement. I also love reformation history, medieval history, and both pre-and post Nicene history. But history can only be instructive, it can never be determinative! We must learn to cast our eyes upon the ultimate, upon the ‘last days,’ so that we can truly live as God’s people and Christ’s disciples in our own age. The ultimate gives meaning to the penultimate. Christ’s return teaches us how to live today.”