links: this went thru my mind

 

Archaeology: Digging for The Past and Future

“In Jerusalem, the capital of a modern country enthralled by its past, a unique national archaeology campus is being built. The project—commissioned by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and officially named The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel—combines three major components: storage of the national archaeological treasures (some two million items); restoration labs for objects made of various materials, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, mosaics, and glass, textile, and clay finds; and a national archaeology library and archive. … Construction of the 350,000-square-foot project, which was funded mainly by private donations, began in 2012 and is to conclude in April 2016.”

Books, learning & reading: Kids Don’t Read Books Because Parents Don’t Read Books [essential reading]

“Is the problem that kids don’t read books, or is the problem that nobody reads books because our culture has become anti-academic and anti-intellectual?”

Compassion, poor, poverty & social justice: Unconventional Ways to Fight Poverty [essential reading]

“Here are four ways you can fulfill your calling to care for the least of these that you may not have thought about before. … Change the way you talk about poverty. … Respect the dignity of the poor. … Do your job well. … Rethink ethical buying habits.”

Endurance, history, human dignity, life & resilience: The Symphony That Saved a City

“… the whole city had found its humanity.”

Fasting: Sharpen Your Affections With Fasting

“Fasting can be an expression of finding your greatest pleasure and enjoyment in life from God.”

Pentecost: Did You Miss Pentecost Last Sunday?? Do You Know Why?

“… where is Pentecost in our churches?  I have scratched my head trying to figure out why there is virtually no acknowledgement of Pentecost …”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible interpretation: * It’s Biblically Impossible to Be Biblical; * Beware of Thinking Biblically

* “While ‘biblical’ could technically mean ‘influenced by the Bible,’ it has become a code word for ‘possessing the one and only way to interpret the Bible on a particular issue.’ In our zeal to follow the teachings of scripture, we have sought a definitive, once and for all time way to read a book that has always been a work in progress. … There is no ‘biblical”’ way of doing things. There is only a biblically informed and Spirit-led way of doing things. And that information and leading may evolve and shift over time.”

* “… I’m very cautious about that phrase, about ‘thinking Biblically.’ Not of thinking Biblically, but of using that phrase to legitimatize teachings and opinions that are sometimes terribly wrong.”

Choices & decisions: Never Settle for Second Best with God by Wayne Stiles

“God’s best for us seldom comes immediately. But it’s always worth the wait. How often have we run ahead of the Lord instead of waiting for His best? A lonely believer marries an unbeliever. An eager couple makes a poor financial decision. A family joins a church for its location in spite of its doctrine. Many people fail to see God work in their lives because they fail to wait on Him to supply.”

Missions: Are We Only Interested in Low-Hanging Fruit? by Mark Woodward [required reading]

“… can we as a fellowship see beyond the low-hanging fruit? Can churches of Christ do the hard work in hard places for many, many years? Can we commit to sowing seeds that may not bear fruit for generations?”

Poverty & social justice: * Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor; * The Good News on Poverty (Yes, There’s Good News) [13 1/2 min. TED talk by Bono]

“Today, many states and counties do not offer lawyers to the poor in major civil disputes, and in some criminal ones as well. Those states that do are finding that more people than ever are qualifying for such help, making it impossible to keep up with the need. The result is that even at a time when many law school graduates are without work, many Americans are without lawyers.”

“Bono ‘embraces his inner nerd’ and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.”

The Bible mini-series: * Q: What Do Roma Downey and Writers of the Bible Have In Common? A: Neither Sticks to the Script. by Pete Enns; * The Bible—Part Three by Ben Witherington

* “… failure to stick with the biblical script is something we see a lot of in the Bible itself.”

* “The saddest part of all this is twofold: 1) millions were spent on this project filmed overseas with no little time and expense expended, but 2) it could have been soo much better. So much better. I do think they intended well. I have no problem with the selectivity and even with paraphrasing things to get at the spirit of this or that narrative. But they needed to do a better job of listening to whatever scholars were advising them. They have avoided irreverence but are flirting with irrelevance by not doing a better job.”

Values: Topsy-Turvy Values: This is a Heart Issue by John T. Willis

“Which is more important: To spend time with another person or to play games on a new gadget?”

make poverty personal (4)

 

 While renewal may have started with the Bible’s wild ones, it was only actualized when a partnership between the margins (the prophets) and the center (kings and priests) occurred. The center’s willingness to give up privileges and not only listen, but also give all they had, to the alternate visions named by the edges, created real change. Why are the margins so important to the renewal of societies? Put simply, the marginalized are the litmus test of whether the ideals and values of a society are working out. The center may at best see the overall picture and be ready to respond, but the margins live the failures of that picture. If Hebrew history offers anything today in our struggle today against stubborn poverty, perhaps it is that when the center does not listen to the margins, there is a spiraling and tragic decline of both the center-leaders and the nation as a whole. The requirement of solidarity between wild edges and the established center is something faith communities, organizations, and governments today need to hear again and again. It is especially important if we are to end oppression of the margins by the center. Freedom from oppression requires changes by the powerful center, not just the margins.

Make Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker (Baker Books, 2009); pp. 84-85

making poverty personal (3)

 

I have noticed lately that the only places I hear Proverbs quoted is by prosperity preachers or in cute greeting cards. Few others seem to love or even know what to do with this collection of sayings attributed to King Solomon. Yet, what Proverbs has to say about poverty would please neither. …

Are we content to blame the poor for being slack and not being righteous enough, or assert that the rich are only rich because they are diligent? Some Christians are content to live their lives by such notions – but obviously only the ones who are not poor! … let’s look at a few other proverbs that would not make rich Christians feels so smug:

  • “The field of the poor may yield much fruit, but it is swept away through injustice.” (13.23)
  • “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honor him.” (14.31)
  • “It is better to be of a lowly spirit among the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (16.19)
  • “Better the poor walking in integrity than one perverse of speech who is a fool.” (19.1)
  • “If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard.” (21.13)

I don’t think these proverbs have ever been engraved on complimentary “golden eagles” given away to those who donate to televangelists’ ministries.

Making Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker (Baker Books, 2009); pp. 72-73

make poverty personal (2)

 

Read Leviticus 25.8-55. What most strikes you about these laws?

To read these laws is to see what is possible for today’s world. …

It was one thing for the Hebrews to defeat an enemy and topple oppression; it was quite another to to develop a community able to be God’s people in the world, staying true to the liberation they had experienced. God, therefore, provided a whole range of laws and commandments, setting out a code to live by so that the oppressed did not quickly become the oppressors. …

The first concern was to ensure that the Hebrews stayed close to the living God … The second concern of these laws was to restrain the powerful and protect those who are weakest among them, so that all could live in health and peace …

The laws outlined in Leviticus 19 and their equivalents in Deuteronomy have a whole range of community laws that are about protecting the weakest in society and restraining the most powerful. Imagine if the spirit of these laws was evoked today. What would the world look like if each community was proactive in remembering the poor in daily life (Lev. 19.9-10; Deut. 24.19-22), wages for workers were paid fairly (Lev. 19.13; Deut. 24.14-15), justice for each person was upheld (Lev. 19.15; Deut. 16.18-20), care and responsibility was taken in the interest of others (Lev. 19.16-18; Deut. 19.15-20; 22.8), all people were treated equally (Lev. 19.33-34; Deut. 24.17-22), and no one was cheated (Lev. 19.35-36; Deut. 25.13-16)? This is not the UN’s declaration of human rights from the twentieth century, but laws that are over three thousand years old.

Making Poverty Personal: Taking the Poor as Seriously as the Bible Does by Ash Barker (Baker Books, 2009); pp. 51,52