links to 10 items worth your time

1. ‘No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible’

“In the assurance of eternal life given at baptism, let us proclaim our faith and say: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, communion of saints, forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.”

2. America Is Addicted to Outrage. Is There a Cure?

“Outrage has become the signature emotion of American public life.”

3. Mall’s end

“What will retail look like without stores? … enclosed-mall construction has all but stopped. … a question looms: what will happen to all this commercial real estate?”

4. Screening the human future: YouTube, persuasion and genetically engineered children

“Listening to He [Jiankui] is more like being yanked down a slippery slope.”

5. Genocides

“If we had lived back when our ancestors did, would we have spoken for justice? We do live in a time like our ancestors. … If you hold back from rescuing those taken away to death, those who go staggering to the slaughter; if you say, ‘Look, we did not know this’ — does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it? And will he not repay all according to their deeds?” (Proverbs 24.11-12 NRSV)”

6. Women in Proverbs

“The Book of Proverbs and women. What it says about and by women surprises.”

7. Climate change: Where we are in seven charts and what you can do to help

“… how warm has the world got and what can we do about it?”

8. Meet Zeno, the Tiny Sub Discovering the Secrets of Israel’s Coasts [very interesting!]

“…the Archeosub – an autonomous underwater vehicle, or AUV, called Zeno. It’s a tiny unmanned submarine that will be able to discover, survey and monitor large areas of the seabed.”

9. Levels of Literacy in the New Testament World

“… at least in urban settings, some meaningful levels of literacy were much more common that some have previously asserted.”

10. The 100 Best Pens

“Gels, ballpoints, rollerballs, felt-tips, and fountain pens — we tried them all.”

links to 5 items worth your time

1. How Loneliness Is Tearing America Apart [essential reading]

“When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics. … In the ‘siloed,’ or isolated, worlds of cable television, ideological punditry, campus politics and social media, people find a sense of community in the polarized tribes forming on the left and the right in America. Essentially, people locate their sense of ‘us’ through the contempt peddled about ‘them’ on the other side of the political spectrum.”

2. America’s Epidemic of Empty Churches [essential reading]

“… 6,000 to 10,000 churches die each year in America—and that number will likely grow. Though more than 70 percent of our citizens still claim to be Christian, congregational participation is less central to many Americans’ faith than it once was. Most denominations are declining as a share of the overall population, and donations to congregations have been falling for decades. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated Americans, nicknamed the ‘nones,’ are growing as a share of the U.S. population.”

3. The Honest Truth about Honesty and Truth by Ben Witherington

“Our country is suffering not merely from dishonesty. It is suffering from truth decay— an inability to recognize the truth even when it’s slapping them in the face.”

3. My Evangelical Church Is Gaslighting Me, But I Refuse To Fall For It Anymore

“I stopped attending church regularly almost two years ago, but I am more invested in my spiritual life than ever before. Although I’ve lost the majority of my local Christian community, save for a few precious friends, I still cling to the true teachings and example of Jesus to inform my politics and moral code.”

5. Is the Book of Acts Historically Reliable? – an interview of Craig Keener by Alisa Childers

“On today’s podcast, I talk with New Testament scholar Craig Keener about how he came to faith in Christ, and what led him into the world of scholarship. We talk about skeptical claims brought against the reliability of the book of Acts …”

links to 4 helpful articles

1. Before Somebody Gets Hurt [essential reading]

“What we hold in our thoughts, we soon hold in our hearts. What we hold in our hearts, we soon do in our lives. So, my friends, hold Christ so that we live Christ. The world needs to see a viable alternative to violence.”

2. The problem with people is that they outnumber you

“One more reason to put in the effort to find the good.”

3. Shepherd’s Care: Time – the Inescapable Fact

… we must face the greatest challenge as leaders with respect to our use of time: we must be prepared to disappoint others.”

4. The Non-Angry Bob Dylan

“Can it be that in this day and age, when everyone seems angry, that Bob Dylan, once again countering the culture, is one of the few people who is purposefully not angry?”

links to four helpful articles

1. The Art of Spiritual Grandparenting [essential reading]

“What role do we have, or does any older family member have, for children who are not our own but for whom we care deeply?”

2. Why Anger is a Wasted Emotion [essential reading]

“… the question I raise is this: When their fellow citizens are suffering on such a terrible scale, what are the most engaged, most resourced Americans doing with their lives?”

3. Gamla in the Galilee

“It was important for the Romans to destroy Gamla because it was the central Zealot stronghold east of the Sea of Galilee. The Zealots were among the most radical of the Jewish groups supporting the revolt. Moreover, since Gamla was near the main road connecting Israel to the great Jewish centers in Babylon, it was the natural entry point for any help the Zealots hoped for from their brethren in Mesopotamia. … Gamla is one of very few places in the Roman empire where a battle site was abandoned and never resettled.”

4. Advice for loud people on working with quiet people

“This is my advice for working with quieter people in workplaces, classrooms, or ministry settings. It is drawn from my own experience as someone who’s on the quiet side and from insights of people I know.”

links: this went thru my mind

Here are links to five articles that I’ve found to be interesting and helpful reading.

Achievement, expectations, humility, service, success & the will of God: God’s Not Looking for Heroes

“We don’t all need to be heroes. Jesus is the Hero. The Hero came 2000 years ago. So He’s already the Hero. He’s not looking for heroes, He’s looking for co-laborers. The challenge is, most people want to be co-stars, not co-laborers. If you actually understood what it was to be a co-laborer, you could labor wherever you are.”

America, culture, individualism, materialism, nationalism, patriotism, values & war: American Values Are Not Necessarily Christian Values

“… [there can be] no excuse for conflating country and church. We can appreciate and even respect the nation in which we reside, but we must not forget that our status is as foreigner and exiles. (1 Peter 2:11)”

American Sniper, cinema, deception, distortion, evil, film, movies & payback: Clint Eastwood’s Sniper, and the American Messiah [essential reading]

“This is the problem with the white-hat black-hat narrative of Hollywood: when ‘they’ do what ‘we’ do (though ‘they,’ of course, poor saps, are just not as efficient in their killing as ‘we’ are) it is evil, but when Americans do it, it is heroic. Eastwood’s Kyle insists he is doing what he does because he does not want terrorists in our neighborhoods here. Yet he participates in the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11; a country who was headed by, no doubt, a despot but a despot who had furthered his hold on power by the support of our own country; and when those people fight back because they don’t want foreign invaders in their streets, it’s ‘evil’ like Eastwood’s Kyle has never yet imagined.”

Anger, bitterness, forgiveness, hatred & resentment: A Holocaust Survivor, Spared From Gas Chamber By Twist Of Fate

“Anger doesn’t get you anyplace. Hate doesn’t get you anyplace.”

Attention span, authority, church, commitment, Facebook & social media: 5 Ways Facebook May be Harming Your Church

“What effect does ‘social media’ technology have on the way we view church? What effect does it have on the way we conceive of life in the body of Christ?”