this went thru my mind

 

Bible literacy & reading: What People Quote vs. What They Read

“… people read the Bible primarily as a loosely organized collection of inspiring quotes surrounded by confusing babble … this way of reading the Bible is a rejection of the flow and structure of the canon.”

Children, parenting & technology: Resisting the Siren Call of the Screen [required reading]

“The message we communicate to our kids, she writes, is: ‘Everybody else matters more than you.’ Children, she declares, ‘are tired of being the ‘call waiting’ in their parents’ lives.'”

Church, community, discipleship, faith & fellowship: Passing on the Faith in a Makeshift Choir Stall

“It’s hard to pass on the faith … when people of different age groups don’t engage each other intimately.”

Faith & youth: On Moralistic Therapeutic Deism as U.S. Teenagers’ Actual, Tacit, De Facto Religious Faith [essential reading]

“Here we summarize our observations in venturing a general thesis about teenage religion and spirituality in the United States. … The creed of this religion, as codified from what emerged from our interviews with U.S. teenagers, sounds something like this …”

Tradition: Breaking Tradition [essential reading]

“… every tradition, at one point, was a break with the status quo. Every tradition started off with trying to do something new and fresh and compelling. And over time, what was once revolutionary becomes static and codified. We stop paying attention to what the tradition was trying to do, and only focus on what it did.”

this went thru my mind

 

Banks, money, oppression & payday loans: Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States

“While the banks, which include giants like JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, do not make the loans, they are a critical link for the lenders, enabling the lenders to withdraw payments automatically from borrowers’ bank accounts, even in states where the loans are banned entirely. In some cases, the banks allow lenders to tap checking accounts even after the customers have begged them to stop the withdrawals. “Without the assistance of the banks in processing and sending electronic funds, these lenders simply couldn’t operate,” said Josh Zinner, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, which works with community groups in New York.”

Corporate worship, judgmentalism & maturity: Thumbs Up? Thumbs Down? by Terry Rush [required reading]

“In ministry, in outreach, in worship, and in study, life is about God being glorified. Too many across the broad range of Christian concepts plop themselves down upon padded pews to judge the hour’s program. Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Yet Jesus didn’t construct a court of judgment. He is building a church that would give Father attentive glory.”

Church names: Should Your Church’s Name Include Its Denomination?

“Churches with denominational references (vs. none) in their name are: Four times more likely to be perceived as ‘formal.’ Three times more likely to be perceived as ‘old-fashioned.’ Almost three times more likely to be perceived as ‘structured and rigid.’ Three times less likely to be perceived as ‘open-minded.’ … The main caveat is age … In general, older Americans are more comfortable with denominational church names than are younger people. People age 65 and older are especially likely to see non-denominational names as the church trying to hide what they believe … and as making them feel uncertain … as well as to see denominational names as welcoming new visitors … and as a church they might consider visiting … On the other hand … Younger adults are also more likely to see non-denominational names as welcoming to new visitors …, as a church for people like them …, or as one they might consider visiting …”

Learning: The Lesson You Never Got Taught in School: How to Learn! [very interesting]

“A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and came to some surprising conclusions.  … Be aware that everyone has their own style of learning, the evidence suggests that just because a technique works or does not work for other people does not necessarily mean it will or won’t work well for you. If you want to know how to revise or learn most effectively you will still want to experiment on yourself a little with each technique before writing any of them off.”

Marriage: 25 Years of Evangelizing My Husband

“On Sunday mornings I would tear up. If only my husband was sitting next to me at church. If only he would thumb through a Bible. If only he could hear this sermon. From my balcony view, I would glare at the backs of other husbands, arms draped over their wives’ shoulders. Surely these husbands led nightly devotionals, volunteered at Vacation Bible School, and prayed before meals. If only …”

Ministry: A Letter to the Church, from a Pastor by Ron Edmonson

“I’m blessed with so many pastor friends. I have the opportunity, through my blog and personal ministry, to interact with hundreds of pastors every year. After hearing many of their concerns, I decided to write a letter to the church. Obviously, I can’t and won’t attempt to speak for every pastor, but this will represent many.”

Parenting: * Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls by Kate Conner; * Dear Boys

* “All attention is not equal.  You think you want attention, but you don’t.  You want respect.  All attention is not equal.”

* “You’ve got to wake up in the morning determined to meet your potential head on, to no longer judge your success by the products that they’re peddling, but to judge yourself by standards that have existed since the beginning of the time: Am I going to make excuses or am I going to make something happen? Am I going to make my life count or am I going to waste it?  Am I going to make my life about what I have or about who I am?”

Small groups: Why Small Groups Don’t Fail by Scott Boren

“Small groups work when leaders operate like shepherds. They do the under-ground, consistent, steady work of caring for the sheep. That is hard to promote and measure. It’s different from developing programs in the church which can be seen and measured as we build buildings, develop budget-dependent programs and attract more and more people to a centralized venue. Small group ministry happens without such clear sizzle. But it’s the way people grow and it’s the way that we impact the world with love.”

Time management: Respect Yourself and Take Back Control of Your Calendar

“Your time is your life. So when you surrender control of your calendar to other people, you put them in control of your destiny. Our digital world has broken down the natural boundaries on how and when people can tell you what they think you should be doing.”

this went thru my mind

 

Complaining: * The Complaining Christian by K. Rex Butts; * Responding to the Complaining Christian by K. Rex Butts

* “… I do wonder how any Christian can contemplate the passion of Jesus and yet complain and manipulate.”

* “In some cases, some complaints are simply the frivolous wines of immaturity and are not worth responding to. So at first, it should be recognized that we need to exercise some discernment in knowing when and when not to respond as well as how to respond. When we do/must respond, here are a few suggestions I believe will greatly help both in the short and long term.”

Grief: What Good Grief Looks Like When a Daughter Dies by Ben Witherington

“The first point immediately confirmed in my heart was theological: God did not do this to my child.”

Leadership & ministry: Did You Know That Ministry Can Make You Feel as if You are Losing Your Mind? by Jim Martin

“Anxious leaders live in a constant state of reaction. For them, a good Sunday morning is when no one complains. Yet, is this the way God wants us to evaluate our assemblies? Somehow I can’t imagine Paul evaluating the church based on the reactions of people.”

Obedience, desire, & duty: C.S. Lewis on Why We Should Do (and read) the Things We Do

“A perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch, which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it’s idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (or own loves, tastes, habits etc) can do the journey on their own!”

Offensive & unoffensive: Offensive Jesus? by Michael Kimpan

“Jesus was not at all offensive to the disenfranchised, to the oppressed, to the despised and rejected. Jesus was not all that offensive to sinners. In fact, he was attractive to them. Sure, he was a stumbling block to many… and offended many as well. Namely, the religious.”

Reconciliation & forgiveness: David Lipscomb: Forgiveness and Unity After the Civil War by John Mark Hicks

“Forgiveness only takes one–I forgive my enemies. Reconcilation takes two–a mutual search for peace. But reconcilation cannot happen unless forgiveness comes first. That was true for Lipscomb postbellum and it is true for us post-September 11.”

Religiously unaffiliated: The Religiously Unaffiliated in America by Peter Berger

“At the core … the sharp rise in the number of Americans who declare themselves in surveys as being without religious affiliation. People who study religious statistics, and who also have a sense of humor (the two qualities are not necessarily contradictory), call this demographic ‘the nones’. … In the 1960s the “nones” comprised 5-7% of the population; by the mid-1990s they had grown to 12%; in 2011 the percentage was 19%. … the incidence of ‘nones’ is highest in the age group 30-49. … all ‘nones’ grew by about 18% between 2006 and 2011, but young ‘nones’ grew by about 90% …”

Teenagers: 5 Tips for a ‘First Contact’ With a Teenager by Doug Fields

“… that’s really where we want to be anyway… isn’t it? Getting them talking, so we can listen and learn more about them?”

The Sinner’s PrayerDavid Platt: The Sinner’s Prayer is Superstitious & Unbiblical by Matt Dabbs
[a 3 min. video excerpt of a sermon by David Platt]

“If you ask me what to do, let me point you to Peter, Jesus, and Paul rather than the opinions that are floating around today.”