links to 4 helpful articles

1. What’s behind the dramatic rise in 3-generation households?

“… the number of kids living with their parents and grandparents – in what demographers call a three-generation household – has nearly doubled over the past two decades.

“… the share of multigenerational households was rising before the Great Recession – it actually started in the 1980s.”

2. Bonhoeffer’s Answer to Political Turmoil: Preach!

“When all hope vanishes, when fear enters the boat, Christ manifests his presence and power over fear.”

3. There Is Mercy In Heaven, But The Road To It Is Paved By Our Merciful Acts On Earth

“What do you wish for, what do you pray for, my dear brothers and sisters, when you come to church? Is it mercy? How can it be anything else? Show mercy, then, while you are on earth, and mercy will be shown to you in heaven.”

4. Earth has two extra, hidden ‘moons’

“… each Kordylewski cloud is about 15 by 10 degrees wide, or equal to 30 by 20 lunar disks in the night sky. This translates to an area in space about 65,000 by 45,000 miles in actual size — nearly nine times wider than Earth. The clouds themselves are enormous, but the individual particles that comprise them are estimated to measure just a micrometer across.”

links to 3 interesting articles

1. Then They Came For Me

“Niemöller’s life is a paradigm of socio-ethical sanctification. Any reading of this book will help pastors especially to become more patient with themselves and with others, and perhaps encourage them to tell their own stories honestly — stories of growth and changing course.”

2. Alzheimer’s disease: mounting evidence that herpes virus is a cause

“It’s important to note that all studies, including our own, only show an association between the herpes virus and Alzheimer’s – they don’t prove that the virus is an actual cause. Probably the only way to prove that a microbe is a cause of a disease is to show that an occurrence of the disease is greatly reduced either by targeting the microbe with a specific anti-microbial agent or by specific vaccination against the microbe. Excitingly, successful prevention of Alzheimer’s disease by use of specific anti-herpes agents has now been demonstrated in a large-scale population study in Taiwan.”

3. This Is the Most Lucrative Moment in History to Catch Bass

“The number of BASS-affiliated college clubs has increased to 179, from 71 in 2012. And participation in high school clubs has boomed even more, to over 10,000 members from 793 in 2013. At least seven colleges now offer bass fishing scholarships.”

links: this went thru my mind

Bible study, books, interpretation, preaching, reading & sermon preparation: A Cautionary Word to Pastors About Internet Resources [especially wise advice for all, and insightful for understanding the needs of ministers]

“… there is a reason a lot of the resources online that have to do with the Bible are free. There is some truth to the old dictum ‘you get what you pay for.’ Some of the resources are simply junk, some are so badly out of date and out of touch with the current ministry scene that they are hardly useful, and some of them are so arcane it requires scholarly help to make good use of them. And this brings me to the second point.

“There is a need for critical judgment to select useful online resources that may indeed help one’s ministry. Critical judgment about not only technical scholarly works, but about mid-level works can only be developed over time and with good guidance. … I would stress, for the good of your soul as well as the good of your ministry, that you need to read good books, and I mean read them at a depth level, not superficially cherry picking this quote or that quote …

“What feeds good teaching and good preaching is continuing to feed your head with good resources, and to study them in some depth. You need to set aside more than an hour or two a week for such study and preparation, and the main thing you should do during that time is just read—- not outline sermons or lessons, but read…… read….. read.”

Birth of Christ, genealogy of Jesus & the birth narratives: An Amazing Genealogy of Jesus Infographic (and What It Means for XMas)

“The infographic represents both Matthew and Luke’s genealogies, showing the legal emphasis (in Matthew) meant to prove Jesus’s royal Israelite bloodline, and the biological emphasis (in Luke) traditionally linked to the family genealogy in Mary’s home. The ‘big names’ are given larger placement, with often humorous bits of info. Just a quick scan reveals how diverse, even scandalous, this genealogy really is – including kings and killers, prophets and prostitutes.”

Collection, contribution, donations, electronic giving, mobile giving, money & offering: A Case for Church Mobile Donation

“We are coming close to the time whereby a church not being able to accept online donations would be as bad as a church not being able to accept a check.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, nonviolence & pacifism: No, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Didn’t Try To Kill Adolph Hitler

“… there is no evidence that [Bonhoeffer] was actively involved in planning or attempting to assassinate Hitler– a basic fact accepted by the academy but seemingly missing from common internet discussions on Bonhoeffer.”

Prayer: When We Talk With God

“Surely one of the grandest transfers God has made in my life would be that of prayer.”

links: this went thru my mind

Art & happiness: Why You Need More Art in Your Life (and 5 Ways to Get It) [required reading]

“If you want to find more creativity, satisfaction, and happiness, the single best solution I know is adding more art to your life.”

Christian movies, end times, Left Behind, rapture & second coming: Why ‘Left Behind’ Should Be … Left Behind

“… while Left Behind may prove itself to be a mediocre box office success, it represents a severe misinterpretation of what the Bible actually says about the topic. To put it bluntly, and perhaps to the chagrin of some readers, the idea of a ‘rapture’ is simply not biblically based (and that’s where I’ve lost a third of you!) It represents, instead, a theology based on escapism and in the process does damage to what the Bible really does say about ‘the last days.'”

Death, euthanasia, hospice & quality of life: Doctors Wanted to Extend Life. Instead They Extended Death.

“If you look at people who want euthanasia it’s not who we think it is. It’s not people writhing in pain. It’s not people who can’t breathe because of emphysema. It’s people who are depressed and hopeless and don’t see meaning in life. I don’t think the right answer to that question is, ‘let’s give them some pills to knock them off.’ They need meaning back in their life. They need therapy or medication. Euthanasia, I think the research shows, is much more like suicide than it is like a medical treatment.”

Discernment, moral blindness & power: How Can It Happen? [essential reading]

“… ‘every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with’ moral blindness. That is, as power increases moral blindness increases. Without it the power could not increase; without it the moral blindness would not increase. Instead of acting, the morally blind person is filled with stupor and quiescence.”

Introverts, ministry, preaching & relationships: The Introvert Behind the Pulpit

“For these preachers, devotion to ministry requires balancing need for solitude with passion for sharing God’s word.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Anger, faith, outrage & righteous indignation: A Handy Guide To Christian Outrage

“I fear we are so focused on defending the Bible that we have lost sight of Christ.”

Church: 6 Things the Church Can Learn from Jimmy Fallon

“The Church could learn a few things from Jimmy Fallon, the new host of the “Tonight Show.” And it’s no surprise, really. Jimmy has said in interviews he once wanted to be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church and was influenced early in life by his experiences as an altar boy. But he never felt he could really be a priest because he couldn’t keep a straight face. As a priest myself, it’s always good to be reminded that our image in culture is often a dour one when it should be a joyful one.”

Cinema, film, movies, Noah & the Great Flood: Noah’s Co-Writer Explains the Film’s Controversial Theology

“What we want the film to make you think about is the core question of Genesis: The nature of goodness and wickedness in men’s heart, and whether that should be responded to with justice or mercy, the relationship between mankind and the world around him to the sacred. Those are the questions we grappled with.”

Creation, interpretation, new heavens and earth & re-creation: Guest Post: A New Earth or a Renewed Earth? Reflecting on a Theology of the Last Things

“From the words of the prophets in the Old Testament leading up to and culminating in the teachings of Jesus and then passed along through the writings to the early Church, there is a sense that God isn’t giving up on the creation that was called “good” from the very beginning.  In fact, there is very clear Scriptural evidence that God has always had every intention of renewing and restoring the entire created order, rather than destroying it. This is a strong assertion, being that it contradicts the teaching and understanding of many Christians who believe that God will one day destroy the heavens and the earth…and then take them away to a spiritual heaven to live for eternity.”

Forgiveness, photography & reconciliation: Portraits of Reconciliation

“Last month, the photographer Pieter Hugo went to southern Rwanda, two decades after nearly a million people were killed during the country’s genocide, and captured a series of unlikely, almost unthinkable tableaus. In one, a woman rests her hand on the shoulder of the man who killed her father and brothers. In another, a woman poses with a casually reclining man who looted her property and whose father helped murder her husband and children. In many of these photos, there is little evident warmth between the pairs, and yet there they are, together. In each, the perpetrator is a Hutu who was granted pardon by the Tutsi survivor of his crime.”

Nonviolence, pacifism, personal security & police protection: Non-Violence and Police Protection

“… while I believe I am called to swear off all violence, I don’t believe it would be hypocritical for me to call the police if someone were to break into my house, even though I know that these police carry guns and may perhaps use them against the thief.  Consider that immediately after Paul told Christians to love enemies, to never retaliate, and to leave all “vengeance” to God  (Rom.12:17-21), he went on to teach them that one of the ways God “exacts vengeance” is by using the sword of government, which is why Christians are to “submit” to it  (Rom.13:1-7).”

Success: The Intoxication of Success

“In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. … The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.” [quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

this went thru my mind

 

Belief & doubt: How to Smartly Engage with the Young Doubters in Your Midst by Andrea Palpant Dilley

“Thirty-six percent of young people surveyed said they didn’t feel free ‘to ask [their] most pressing life questions in church.’ That’s a problem. Providing a space for open intellectual inquiry is essential for maintaining healthy conversation with people on the margins.”

Evangelism: Jesus 101 by Matt Dabbs

“This booklet is written to help guide you through the Gospel of Mark so that you can learn about Jesus, understand who He is, what He did, and find out what that means for you today.”

Memorial Day: Memorial Day by J. Daniel Kirk* ; * RE-Membering Memorial Day by Kurt Willems

* “This is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a great day to be an American. And a dangerous day to be a Christian. … Let’s be careful how we remember today. Let’s be careful what we remember today. There is freedom that is bought with the price of precious blood. And it could never be gained by the swords, or guns, of war.”

* “Remember that violence always disrupts shalom. Jesus died, absorbing the violence of a military machine’s ultimate weapon for insurrectionists – the cross. This death unleashes the potential for shalom once again… something war can never bring.”

Pacifism: * Bonhoeffer Says; And a six-part series of posts by Paul Smith: * Pacifism and the Sermon on the Mount; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Definitions and Positions; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Brief Old Testament Survey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Gleanings from the New Testament; * Reconsidering Pacifism – A Personal Journey; * Reconsidering Pacifism – Final (and disjointed) Thoughts

* “I pray that God will give me the strength not to take up arms.” [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

* “In the past several weeks I have been engaged with the related concepts of pacifism and discipleship in a number of ways. … As I have read, studied and mentally debated with these giants of my faith I have been forced to think, and to rethink, my understanding and my conclusions on this subject. Over the next few posts I will share with you my convictions, and the Scriptural and theological foundations which underlie those convictions.” [Paul Smith]

Parenting: Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why My Kid and I Read the Sad Psalms by Micha Boyett

“Faith is complicated for me. I didn’t want it to be complicated for my kids.”

Sermon on the Mount: The Sermon on the Mount: Study Guide by Richard Beck

“… a condensed but comprehensive moral inventory of the Sermon.”