links: this went thru my mind

 

American history & the Fourth of July: Debunking the Fourth: Top 10 Unsightly Facts about the American Revolution

“The majority of the Founding Fathers weren’t Christians, but deists.”

Annihilationism, conditionalism & hell: Ask a Conditionalist (Annihilationist) … Edward Fudge Responds

“Conditionalists begin with the premise that only God is inherently immortal. For humans, immortality is God’s conditional gift, bestowed at the resurrection but only to the redeemed. Those who reject God’s grace throughout life do not live forever. When John 3:16 says the options are eternal life or perish, conditionalists say that means just what it seems to say.

According to conditionalism, at the end of the world, the good and bad alike are raised to face judgment. The righteous enjoy eternal life with God; the lost are sentenced to hell. But God does not keep billions of them alive forever to torment them without end. Instead, those in hell suffer such precise pains as divine justice may require, in a destructive process that ends in extinction. This is the second death, the wages of sin. Eternal punishment is eternal destruction, eternal capital punishment.”

Christianity, civil religion, nationalism, & nominalism, & the United States: 7 Marks of A Stereotypical American Christian

“Obviously, many Christians are more complex and inspiring than the attributes listed above, but we need to start realizing the influence American culture has on our faith. Unfortunately, many of these stereotypes are still perpetuated by American Christians who have strayed away from Christ’s example of sacrificial love and are using religion to serve their own misguided agendas. Nobody is perfect, but we need to start emulating Christ instead of subtly allowing our social surroundings to dictate our spiritual priorities.”

Climate change: Bill Nye The Science Guy Explains The Basics Of Something You Should Really Know [4 min., 34 sec. video]

“If you know anyone who’s having trouble wrapping their head around climate change as a human-driven crisis, this video could really come in handy.”

Culture, evangelism & outreach: Christians and Cultural Engagement

“… Jesus established a relationship in which he could speak and have it heard as a word of grace rather than a ‘I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong’ word of condemnation.”

Children, fatherhood, parenting & singles: The Rise of Single Fathers: A Ninefold Increase Since 1960

“In comparison, the number of single mother households increased more than fourfold during that time period, up to 8.6 million in 2011, from 1.9 million in 1960.”

Communication, credibility, gossip, lies, slander, speech & words: Don’t Believe Everything You Read or Hear

“Slander is a serious sin, and according to Paul, slanderers will be barred from the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).”

Divorce & marriage: Jesus Never Moves On

“…  he has chosen me, he has set his love on me, and nothing will cause him to abandon me. He will never give up.”

Doctors, health & medicine: Common End-of-Life Medical Terms

“Here are some terms likely to be used in such situations as defined by Dr. Darlene Nelson, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at the Mayo Clinic.”

Head coverings, interpretation & women: Head Coverings in Worship: Why Female Hair is a Testicle (parts 1 & 2)

“Recently, my colleague Trevor Thompson, who is a New Testament scholar here at ACU, shared with me some of the work of another NT scholar, Troy Martin, who is a friend of Trevor’s. One of Martin’s areas of expertise is using ancient medical texts to illuminate NT passages, particularly passages that seem confusing to us. In various studies Martin makes the observation that some of these confusions stem from the fact that we don’t share the same medical understandings of the NT writers and their audiences. When ancient medical terms or ideas are used we often miss the meaning. A good example of this comes from 1 Corinthians 11.2-16.”

Ministry & preaching: * I Am a Preacher; * 10 Things You May Not Know About Senior Pastors

* “I offer this in tribute to all the brave men and women of God who bear up under the weight of our call. I hope it articulates some of the ambiguity, beauty and tension wrapped up in saying ‘yes’ when God summons you to the pulpit.”

* “… I know this is a representative list for many.”

Poverty: Greg Kaufmann on the Truth About American Poverty

“Greg Kaufmann, poverty correspondent for The Nation, says the poor in America are stereotyped and demonized in an effort to justify huge cuts in food stamps and other crucial programs for low-income Americans.”

Tipping: Tipping: To Ban or Not?

“If I had my way, we’d take this idea to its logical conclusion and get rid of the practice of tipping altogether. Just outlaw it …”

Worship: Ready to Worship

“As we prepare ourselves for worship each week here are three things we should keep in mind.”

this went thru my mind

 

Assumptions & daily living: 4 Assumptions You Can Make About Your Day by Jim Martin [required reading]

“Assume that you will experience interruptions and distractions. … Assume that you will need to extend grace to others. … Assume that you will have opportunities today. … Assume that you have enough time to do what really needs to be done.”

Children & television: Is ‘Secondhand’ TV Taking a Toll On Kids? by Amanda Gardner

“According to a nationwide study, a much bigger proportion of kids’ TV exposure comes indirectly, from television that’s on in the background while they’re doing other activities. The average child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years absorbs nearly four hours of this so-called background or ‘secondhand’ TV each day, the study found. And this indirect exposure, by detracting from play, homework, and family time, may have possible consequences for kids’ well-being.”

Church: The Way We Understand Church is Going to Change by Matt Dabbs

“Here are the things we need to address in order to find healthy change and growth as God’s people …”

Complaining, communication, leadership & relationships: When ‘Some People’ Complain by Matthew Kelley [required reading]

“…  triangulation involves three parties. Person A has something to say to person B, but instead of drawing a line of communication directly between A and B, person A gets person C to pass the word along. The concept of triangulation in interpersonal communication originated from psychologists who studied highly dysfunctional families.”

Singles: What Happened to Singles Ministry? by Adam Stadtmiller

“The last 25 years have seen the church alter the way it relates to and reaches singles. The fervor to target singles directly is no longer front and center. On the contrary, ministry to singles is seen as a burden to many churches. What started out as a brilliant success has disintegrated into the realms of an epic fail. Singles ministry proved to be harder than the original pioneers expected. It took too much time, too many resources, and produced too few sustainable results. We are now living in the post-singles ministry era.”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible reading & prayer: Using the Bible to Avoid Prayer by Dan Bouchelle

“Prayer is more important to me now than time in the Word. Both are important, but I have learned that I need to read less and slower, meditate more, and pray most.”

Decisions: How to Say ‘No” When You Feel Pressured to Say ‘Yes’ by Michael Hyatt

“Do you have a difficult time saying no? I do. … But at some point, you realize that you can’t say yes to everyone else. Attempting to do so puts at risk your own agenda and the things that matter most.”

Singles: Are Churches Adjusting to This?

“For the first time ever, Census found, less than half of all U.S. homes — 48% — were husband-wife households.”

this went thru my mind

 

Anti-intellectualism: The Role of Education and Authority In the Church by Paul Smith

“… every time we tear down someone because they have a greater education than we do we tear down that part of the body of Christ. Not only that, but we tear down our future. We guarantee that our sons and daughters will choose fields of expertise other than Bible and theology, because everyone knows you can’t be a good Christian and be smart at the same time. Can somebody help me here? What is it about ignorance that is so appealing?”

Archaeology: A Sumerian Temple at Ur by Claude Mariottini

“… archaeologists have found a Sumerian temple in the ancient city of Ur, the traditional place of Abraham’s birth. According to the archaeologists, the temple is dated to 2500 B.C.”

Bible: Wishing the Bible was a Self-Help Book by John Acuff

“The Bible makes a pretty horrible self help book. Sometimes, that’s what I want it to be. … Perfection is my secret goal, not a deeper relationship with God. But unfortunately, the Bible is refusing to cooperate.”

Church: Church, Jesus, Faith, and the Institution by Patrick Mead

“… we are only institutionalized as much as we want to be. When men grab too much power, the bunnies and snowflakes move along. But faith doesn’t cease and neither does kingdom work. If you are in a church that is in conflict or is over controlled, you have options. You can leave or you can stay quietly or you can stay and work on changing things. But you don’t have the option of leaving the larger fellowship of believers and you don’t have the option to be a “loner Christian” when Christ called us to community. So whichever decision you make – stay with the group, snowflake.”

Communication: 5 Strategies for Becoming a Better Conversationalist by Michael Hyatt

“… conversations should be like a game of ping pong. You wait for the ball to come over the net, then you hit it back to the person on the other side. Then you do it all over again—and on it goes. In a good conversation, there is both give and take. This is something we have intentionally tried to pass on to our own children.”

Community: The Wisdom of Stability by J.R. Daniel Kirk

“Stability in Christ is always stability in community.”

Forgiveness: Broken Trust in God’s Country

“‘A hundred years from now, what will be the difference about how much money we had here?’ asked Emery E. Miller, a village resident and a proponent of the alternative plan, at the first creditors meeting. ‘But a hundred years from now, there will be a difference in how we responded to this from our moral being, from a moral level — the choices we made to forgive or not to forgive.’”

Google & your privacyHow to Opt Out of Google’s New Privacy Policy (Sort Of)

“Google’s new privacy policy will take effect on March 1. It consolidates Google’s 70 or so privacy policies across its products – from Gmail to YouTube to Blogger – down to one, and will pull data from users logged in to Google.”

Kind words: Don’t Wait for a Funeral to Give a Eulogy by Michael Hyatt

“We should start eulogizing those who mean the most to us before they leave us.”

Lies, damned lies & statistics: Santorum, Stats, and Dropout Rates of Religious College Students by Ed Stetzer

“This past Thursday (February 23), Rick Santorum told talk show host Glenn Beck that ’62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.’ … Long story short: There are dropouts (and returns), but there is no statistical difference that the dropout rate among those who attended college than those that did not attend college.”

Ministry: 10 Things About Pastors You Need to Know by Joe McKeever

“He is a flawed, fallible human like the rest of us, and not some saintly somebody unacquainted with temptation and failings.”

Singles: An Unmarried Boomer

“As Baby Boomers age, their propensity for divorce—even in later age—is creating a generation of middle-aged unmarrieds. Now, as the first Boomers are turning 65, this ‘singlehood’ trend could have implications for the quality of life of these older Americans.”

Tradition & traditionalism: Pelikan on Tradition & Traditionalism

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”

this went thru my mind

 

Advice: Best Advice I Ever Got

“… we asked a host of influential leaders to share with us the wise words that changed their lives forever.”

Bible reading: Reading the Bible for Understanding and Not Just Information [quote]

“One enemy of good reading is confusion about which mode of attention is appropriate to a given book. I am certain that this very confusion makes it almost impossible for anyone to read—genuinely to read—the Bible. In both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, narrative and other more-or-less literary forms are dominant, which seems to call for a strategy of reading for understanding similar to what one might use in an encounter with, say, Homer; but these books’ status as sacred text suggests, to many modern readers anyway, that their purpose is to provide information about God and God’s relation to human beings. “Strip-mining” the Psalms, or the Song of Solomon, or even the more elevated discourses of the Gospel of John, “for relevant content” might not seem like a promising strategy, but many generations of pastors have pushed it pretty hard, as though the Bible were no more than an awkwardly coded advice manual.” (Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, p.99)

Churches of Christ: * 102,000 fewer people in the pews since ’03: Churches of Christ in decline * Why Should I Stay?

* “Another striking number: 708 fewer Churches of Christ in the U.S. in the last nine years. The nation’s 12,447 congregations represent a 5.4 percent decline since 2003.”

* “… this is an important question for any Christian Fellowship to answer: ‘why should I stay?”

Compassion: Seeing Her by Richard Beck

“Two weeks ago I was asked by our Psychology Club to share a few thoughts for their Club chapel. The theme for the chapel this semester is to share about characters in the Bible who have affected or inspired your spiritual walk. I selected the unnamed concubine from Judges 19. Judges 19 is, perhaps, the most horrific episode in the Bible. I expect this may be the first, last and only time the students hear a message from this text. I started by reading the whole chapter. When I ended it was pretty quiet in the room.”

Criticism: A Passing Thought on Receiving Criticism by Dane Ortlund

“Seems to me there are two wrong ways to receive criticism and one right way.”

Garbage/trash: What’s In Your Trash? [infographic]

“The average family of four throws out 880 pounds of food a year; that’s about the weight of an adult cow.”

Immaturity: “I’m Not Being Fed” (and other stupid things Christians say) by Brian Jones

“Show me someone who keeps whining about not singing enough worship songs, or “being fed,” or doesn’t want the church to focus on evangelism, or missions, or feeding the poor, or singing secular music on Sunday, and I’ll show you a freakishly immature Christian. The sad, and sometimes scary thing, is that 99 times out of 100 they simply don’t realize it.”

Men & women: On Jesus’ Choosing Twelve Males by J. Daniel Kirk

“According to the economy of the world, with its measures of greatness, to be the twelve is to be exemplary, in the place to lead, to exclude others from leadership, to stand close to Jesus and guard the gates of who else can draw near. And to the extent that we look to Jesus’ selection of them, and the apparent marginalization of the women, as paradigmatic for male leadership in the church, we show ourselves to be people whose minds have not yet been transformed by the very story to which we are appealing.”

Politics & race: Race, Politics, and Christianity in the American South by Richard Beck

“… sociologist Bradley Wright cites statistics that show evangelical Christians to be one of the most racist groups in America. To be sure, only a minority of evangelicals fall into this category, but relative to other Christian groups as well as to non-Christians evangelical Christians are the most likely to hold a candidate’s race against them in a political election. And as most people know, evangelicals tend to vote Republican and are plentiful across the American South. This racist strain in southern Christianity greatly disturbs me as I encounter it frequently where I live. So what changed in the South? … The American Civil Rights Movement.”

Prayer: Six Ways to Help People Pray by Michael McKinley

“Pray big prayers. Think beyond the hospital visitation list. Pray prayers that reflect God’s sovereignty over the whole world. Pray for the spread of the gospel in foreign nations; pray for an end to human trafficking worldwide; pray for religious freedoms to spring up in oppressive regimes.”

Singing: Singing in Worship – Cause or Response? by Paul Smith

“You see, we teach that our songs and prayers and sermons and fellowship are all “worship.” We go to extravagant lengths to make the “worship” meaningful. But, if we have not prepared the gift long before we arrive, all we are doing is manipulating our fickle human emotions with gimmicks, whether we use instruments, praise teams or simple acappella singing.”

Singles: One’s a Crowd by Eric Klineberg

“More people live alone now than at any other time in history. In prosperous American cities — Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and Minneapolis — 40 percent or more of all households contain a single occupant.”

Visitors: 6 Reasons Why I Do Not Attend Your Congregation by Chris Gallagher

“This is written from the perspective of a visitor. Last year, my family and I took the entire month of February away from local ministry and traveled to various congregations, both near and far, and enjoyed some time visiting. We learned much about the attitudes of congregations towards visitors and it is reflected in the words below.”