links: this went thru my mind

 

Fiction & reading: Why Do We Read Fiction?

“I often hear people say that they struggle to appreciate fiction. Life is short, and they’d rather spend their time on books that are more informative or useful. … fiction allows us to see the world through someone else’s eyes.”

Government, hunger, politics & poverty: Why Hasn’t Any President Since Lyndon B. Johnson Made Ending Hunger and Poverty a National Priority?

“Truth is charity–all charity–amounts to only about 5 percent of the food we distribute to folks in need here in the U.S. The federal government’s nutrition programs, such as school lunches, the WIC program or SNAP – formerly known as food stamps –makes up the other 95 percent. Just to put that into context, that’s $96.9 billion from the government compared to $4.1 billion of food distributed by all charities in 2011. That is a huge gap that charities wouldn’t be able to fill if Congress cuts vital programs.  But the best tool to fight hunger is job security with fare wages.”

Judgmentalism: The Subtle Sin of Judgmentalism and How It Works [essential reading; would that every Christian would reflect on this piece!]

“If you are prone to criticism and judging others, chances are you will be the last to know it.”

Noah & The Great Flood: The Flood Story: Test Your Knowledge

“With the showing of the movie “Noah” in our country and around the world, people are talking about the flood and whether it really happened. In the process, many people who have a meager knowledge of the Bible are writing about Noah and the flood and in the process, they are introducing mistakes into their discussion of the flood.”

Stress: * 3 Ways To Stop Being So Stressed Out; * Indifference is Ideal

* “The key to overcoming stress is not to work harder but to get perspective.”

* “…  in caring less, I grew to care more.”

Violence: Let There Be Violence?

“Many Christians today are critical of the violence they see in other religions — especially Islam — but there’s an inescapable cognitive dissonance if you are appalled by the violence done in the name of one religion but not by the violence done in the name of your own.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Contribution, generosity, giving, offering & tips: * Why We Give (or Don’t) [required reading]; * Is It Stealing From God to Split Your Tithe Between the Church and Other Charities?

* “Why do we give to others? Why do we choose not to? New research seeking answers to these questions has important implications for Christians. For example, not all of our giving is altruistic.”

* “Three views on what it means to give faithfully.”

Education, income, social injustice, wages & work: What’s Wrong With This Picture? [infographic]

“Low-wage-workers are far more educated than they were in 1968 … but we’re paying them less.”

Nonviolence: She Survived a Standoff with a Gunman — Could You? [essential reading]

“Now she is the only one standing between the gunman and 800 children at an elementary school just outside Atlanta. Tuff began her day by reading Psalms 23: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’”

Stress: * How Couples Can Cope with Professional Stress; * When a Vacation Reduces Stress — And When It Doesn’t; * The Best Way to Defuse Your Stress; * What to Do When You Can’t Control Your Stress

* “Each couple will have to find their own solutions, but learning to cope with stress together is a fundamental skill for thriving at work and at home.”

* “Poorly planned and stressful vacations eliminate the positive benefit of time away.”

* “Think of stress as a monster, who lives in your body and feeds on uncertainty. The monster’s most satisfying meal starts with the sentence: ‘What will happen if … ?’”

* “When your anxious thoughts come at you, rather than grappling with them, you let them just be. Observe them.  Notice them. And simply direct your attention to something other than your thoughts, such as your breath. This may not be easy at first, but if you are having one of those days, it is likely to be much more successful before any meeting that provokes anxiety in anticipation of it. Also, practice makes perfect. If you practice this method often, you are likely to get better at it over time.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Attention, focus, health, noise, stress & thinking: I’m Thinking. Please. Be Quiet.

“… there is no physiological habituation to noise. The stress of audible assault affects us psychologically even when we don’t consciously register noise.”

Health care, health insurance & Obamacare: What You’ll Actually Pay for Obamacare

“Millions of Americans won’t have to pay full price for their Obamacare health insurance next year. But just how much they’ll have to fork over depends on a couple different things.”

Injustice, racism & white privilege: Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store [4 min. video; essential viewing]

“… she used her white privilege to educate and to make right a situation that was wrong. That’s what you can do, every single day.”

Maps: World Maps That Make You Go, “Hmm.”

[The world's major religions ... more than half the world's population live inside this circle ... where Google Street View is available ... global internet usage based on time of day ... map of contiguous United States overlaid on the moon ... worldwide annual coffee consumption per capita ... and more.]

Parenting, safety & social networking: Your Kids Can Be Social, But They Need to Stay Safe [infographic]

“Here are the five rules … * Ask your child to show you the sites they use. * Ask your child to set profile settings to private. * Ask your child about their online friends. * Ask your child to only share photos that wouldn’t mind showing you first. * Ask your child to tell you if they are worried about something online.”

Weddings: Weddings: Too Expensive?

“On March 7, 2013, XO Group Inc. released results of their annual Real Weddings Study … This report surveyed over 17,000 brides to find out how much they spent on their weddings. Here are some highlights …”

this went thru my mind

 

Busyness & hurry: The Perils of the Quickaholic by Pete Wilson

“Margin is essential for the unexpected!”

Catholicism: How to Elect a Pope

Infographic

Expectations, jobs, stress, work & workload: Dealing With a Crushing Workload

“The workload isn’t going away. This isn’t just a temporary artifact of a struggling economy, it’s mass-scale experimentation with a new way to do business in the connected economy. To thrive moving forward, you and I need to develop some tools to deal with the pressure.”

Gambling: Tech Industry Sets Its Sights on Gambling

“Look out Las Vegas, here comes FarmVille. Silicon Valley is betting that online gambling is its next billion-dollar business, with developers across the industry turning casual games into occasions for adults to wager. At the moment these games are aimed overseas, where attitudes toward gambling are more relaxed and online betting is generally legal, and extremely lucrative. But game companies, from small teams to Facebook and Zynga, have their eye on the ultimate prize: the rich American market, where most types of real-money online wagers have been cleared by the Justice Department.”

Hispanics: Hispanic Population Trends

“Pew Research has compiled key findings from a new analysis of the Hispanic population …”

Immigration & immigrants: A Portrait of U.S. Immigrants

“… a new analysis of the nation’s foreign-born population …”

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

 

Anger: Why are You So Angry? by Jim Martin

“James Houston … suggests that three kinds of anger are often seen in people. People who are angry with a controllable anger. … Pleasers who are angry. … Givers who are angry.”

Bible interpretation: Looping Arguments in Romans by Brian LePort

” I think Romans is best understood if interpreted in a series of loops.”

Critics & criticism: Seven Characteristics of an Effective Critic by Thom Rainer

“A few days ago I had a long conversation with a critic of me. Actually, it would be better to say that he is a critic of a decision I made. He would not want to describe himself as a critic of me in the general sense. Rare is the person who actually enjoys criticisms. I certainly would not be among that unique group. But this man made the criticism tolerable. And he certainly gained my respect by the way he handled it. Immediately after the conversation, I began to think through how he had approached me. I thought about his words, his body language, and even his preparation for criticizing me. I realized I had a case study on effective criticism. I also was able to note seven of the characteristics of this conversation where he criticized me.”

Emotions, music, singing & worship: Music, Singing, and Emotions: Exploring the Connections by Rob Smith

“Music, singing and emotions: what are the connections?”

Facebook: How Can I Block Facebook Game Invitations?

“Drives me crazy, every time I log in to Facebook I have a bunch of invites to join FB games from different friends. But I don’t want to play games on Facebook and I can’t figure out how to block the invitations. I mean, if I click on the “X” to get rid of the invite, I see a new one the very next day. Help!”

Happiness & joy: A Simple Way to Increase Your Joy by Tony Schwartz

“… the deceptively simple notion is that small choices we make can deliver big consequences.”

Health: The 2,000-Year-Old Wonder Drug

“In 2011, British researchers, analyzing data from some 25,000 patients in eight long-term studies, found that a small, 75-milligram dose of aspirin taken daily for at least five years reduced the risk of dying from common cancers by 21 percent.”

Just for fun: Pigeon Interruptus — A Fish That Hunts Pigeons On Land

“We are in southwestern France, along the river Tarn, where there’s a small hunk of gravel at the river’s edge where pigeons like to gather. What the pigeons don’t know is that right next to them, hiding in the water, is a European catfish. At extraordinary risk to themselves, these catfish will leap onto the beach, snatch a moving pigeon, and then, bearing the struggling bird, they roll or push themselves back into the water.”

Stress: 12 Ways to Thrive Under Stress by Dan Rockwell

“Over 50% of the workforce feels: Overwhelmed by workload. Too many tasks prevent them from completing tasks. There’s no time for self-reflection.”

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?”