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.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Afterlife, deception, fraud, heaven & lies: Say It All Together Now: The ‘Proof of Heaven’ Author Made Everything Up

“If he’s willing to fabricate the details, isn’t it at least possible that he’s making up the major points, too?”

Church, parenting & youth: 3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

“What is it that sets apart the kids who stay in the church? Here are just a few observations I have made about such kids, with a few applications for those of us serving in youth ministry.”

Funerals: Do Funeral Homes Charge Too Much for Their Services?

“The following are ten observations that are a combination of experience in the funeral industry and my heart felt intention to meet the needs of the people I serve – needs that often include an economical funeral.”

Gossip: Ways to Stop Gossip

“I have never found gossip to be helpful to the people involved or to the Kingdom of God. I have literally become a hater of gossip because I have seen it destroy so many people! Gossip hurts innocent people who are caught in the middle, it exaggerates the situation, and it keeps the one who did wrong loaded with guilt and frustration, and from experiencing the fullness of God’s grace.”

Healthcare: Diagnosis: Insufficient Outrage

” We could make the system better. We could ensure that everyone has access to the same set of prices, like the Medicare fee schedule. We could end the “fee for service” positive feedback loop — in which doctors and hospitals earn more for every procedure they do, which leads to overtreating patients — and instead have a flat fee. But the incentives will never be perfect. Ultimately, society needs individuals to be guided by ethical standards. And in medical care, those standards are getting pretty darn low.

“Too many of us have passively accepted the situation as being beyond our control. Medical care in America could use a dose of moral outrage. It would be best for all if it was self-administered.”

Islam, Jesus, Koran, Muslim & Qur’an: Jesus in the Qur’an: Christology Outside Theology

“Here are some things I learned about the Jesus of the Qur’an … Qur’an affirms Jesus identity as a servant, but in doing so it disqualifies him as being “Son of God” because the nature of a servant’s status is unfit for the divine. Jesus could never be the Son, because he is the servant. … Jesus’ death is denied. His death was only apparent. It is believed to be a false story created by the disciples. …  Jesus is a messenger and teacher who prepares the way for Muhammad, he announces the coming of Muhammad. … Jesus’ spirituality is “other worldly” and eschatological. As such it is seen as incomplete or insufficient. Muhammad provides the realism.”

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

 

Caregiving & stealing: 5 Signs a Caregiver Is Stealing From You

“Be careful, proactive, and alert. Here, some of the key warning signs that a caregiver is on the take.”

Children & death: Talking to Your Children about Death by Caleb Wilde

“The implications of this study suggest that, despite all of the challenges involved in talking to a child about death and even in the very demanding circumstances of a child facing his or her imminent death, it is most often better to go ahead with such conversations.”

Church: Are Churches Any Better Than Nightclubs? by Pete Enns

“… it’s hard to be real in church because the whole system seems to work better if you’re not. Which is not good. The problem, though, is what to do about it.”

Church, dropouts, & younger folks: Why Are Young Adults Leaving Church? A Comprehensive Answer by Matt Dabbs [required reading]

“There has been a mass exodus of young adults from Christian churches (including but not limited to Churches of Christ) over the last few decades. … There are a variety of reasons young adults leave the church in their early 20s. They are not all leaving for the same reasons and not every reason is the church’s fault (which tends to be the chorus out there … the church is fully to blame. Not really). I believe there are four categories that all work together into a devastating mix that have resulted in this movement.”

Giving: Atlas of Giving Predicts Gloomy Year for Churches

“Atlas of Giving, a Texas based firm that specializes in forecasting financial trends for non-profit organizations, is predicting that 2013 will be a ‘gloomy’ year for the religious community.”

Just for fun: Barn Owls at Church

“Three young barn owls looking out of the quatrefoil of a church in North Norfolk, England.”

Small groups: * How Do Groups Fit into the Overall Strategy of Your Church? by Eric Geiger; Friendship in Small Groups by Scott Boren

* “Church leaders must know how their groups (classes, Bible fellowships, etc.) fit into their overall discipleship strategy/process, and many don’t. They simply have groups. Once leaders know how groups fit into their overall church discipleship plan, they must harmonize their group leaders, training, and content with the overall discipleship plan.”

* “It is easy to idolize the success of the organization of the church to such a degree that we sacrifice the core of the Gospel, loving people to the point of living in friendship with them. This is a subtle trap where the organization takes priority over the people.”

this went thru my mind

 

Abortion: Why Abortion Should Not Be Politically Decisive for Christians by Craig M. Watts

“Unfortunately, the abortion issue has allowed many Christians – and conservatives as a whole – to claim to be working to defend the most vulnerable when in fact they are turning attention and national resources away from those who are most desperately in need. The good that actually could be done to protect life isn’t done because pro-life Christians lend their support to politicians who are most likely to block funding for programs for children and families of the weakest and most impoverished. The abortion issue ends up serving as a smokescreen behind which certain politicians work in the interests of those who are the most rich and powerful.”

Action: The Simple Power of One a Day by Seth Godin

“There are at least 200 working days a year. If you commit to doing a simple … item just once each day, at the end of the year you’ve built a mountain.”

Conversion, culture, men & singing: American Men Don’t Sing by Alistair Begg [required viewing]

“… you can really tell that American male has really been converted when he begins to sing during worship.”

Disconnection & youth: The Tragic Geography of Disconnected Youth

“More than one in seven young Americans are ‘disconnected’ from work and from school, according to a report released Thursday …”

Freedom, politics & speech: Freedom for What? by K. Rex Butts

“Everyday my Facebook feed is inundated with political stumps. … My problem is with the vitriolic nature and dishonesty many of these stumps carry forth.”

iO6: Everything You Need to Know About iOS 6

“Here’s everything you need to know, from how to update your device(s) to getting started with Apple’s latest OS upgrade.”

Slavery: How Many Slaves Work for You? [take the survey]

“What? Slaves work for me?”

Small groupsWhy I’m a Fan of Small Groups…Now; * A Better Way to Care for the Hurting [required reading]

* “The truth is, I used to not like small groups very much. … Over time, I’ve become a raving fanatic for small groups … Here are four things that changed my opinion over time. Notice I said, over time. It’s hard to change one’s opinion on this instantly. The only way I know to do so is to be part of a good one.”

* “… small groups. It’s the primary means by which our church does pastoral care …”

this went thru my mind

 

Boredom & youth: Engaged in the Fascinating by Terry Rush

“… as a kid I wanted nothing to do with churches when I got older because of one thing; superficially boring. What has changed my perspective?”

Facebook: Facebook May Let Kids Under 13 Join With Parent’s Help by Ruger Yu

“Facebook is really going after the youth market.”

Frisbee: Frisbee – God’s Favorite Sport by Jon Acuff

“You’ve had that same thought too right? I’m not the only one am I?”

Preaching: If I Could Just Preach What I Really Believe … by Dan Bouchelle

“One of the secret dreams of many preachers and missionaries is having the freedom to preach exactly what they believe about every subject. Because few of us started a work from scratch, almost all of us find ourselves in a community of faith with some deeply ingrained beliefs and practices with which we disagree.”

Productivity: Five Ways to Cope With the Productivity Squeeze by Glynn Young

“The reality is that virtually all of us work jobs that used to be done by at least two or three people.”

Resurrection of Jesus: Things Which Ought to Be Better Known about the Resurrection (video)

“The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the central tenets of Christian faith. Yet Dr. Peter Williams is concerned that there are some important details the average Christian doesn’t understand very well. So, in this video lecture, he walks us through some of those issues.”

Sermons: 3 Questions to Ask When You Hear a Sermon by Wayne Stiles

“Even Jesus had listeners who missed it.”

Standing desks: * Best Standing Desks by Mark Lukach; * Ernest Hemingway’s Standing Desk [I use the exact same arrangement as Hemingway; now if I could only write like him]

* “… why would I want to buy a standing desk at all?”

* “Other famous users of standing desks included Winston Churchill, Lewis Carroll, Donald Rumsfeld, Charles Dickens, Otto von Bismarck, Henry Clay, Thomas Jefferson, John Dos Passos, and Virginia Woolf.”