links to 4 helpful posts

1. How the Baby Boomers Introduced One of the Gravest Spiritual Dangers of Our Era [talkin’ ’bout my generation; essential reading]

“If we are constantly searching for a better place, we’ll miss what he put us on the earth for, we’ll live small and shallow lives, and we’ll get older and grouchier.”

2. Older People are Worse Than Young People at Telling Fact from Opinion [our bs detector fades away with the rest of us; essential reading]

“The research tacks against the idea that younger people who are extremely online (or ‘digital savvy,’ in Pew’s terms) might be more exposed and/or more susceptible to misinformation. But the real correlation with poor performance is exposure to television news, which has fallen off among young people but remains very high among older people. This shouldn’t be surprising, if we consider the evolution of American media over the past 60 years. Someone born in 1958, now 60, witnessed two revolutions in media before the internet: talk radio and 24-hour cable news. Both blended facts and opinions in new and unprecedented ways, and they matured with the cohort of Americans who are now over the age of 50.”

3. Almost Half of U.S. Births Happen Outside Marriage, Signaling Cultural Shift

“Forty percent of all births in the U.S. now occur outside of wedlock, up from 10 percent in 1970 …”

4. Five Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls are Fake

“… this should serve yet again as a prime example for why unprovenanced archaeological objects should not be published and displayed in museums. The days of the black-market trade of unprovenanced Dead Sea Scrolls fragments must come to an end!”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Age, Boomers, faith, mid-life, & generations: Aged Out of Church [required reading]

“… Boomers are leaving the church in numbers that we usually think of when we talk about the exodus of the Millennial generation: “‘…during the past 20 years the percentage of unchurched Boomers has risen dramatically, jumping up 18 points! At 41 percent, they are now the generation most likely to be unchurched, surpassing the 39 percent level among Busters.'”

Attitude, complaining & grumbling: Grumbling & Complaining

“My heart has been a grumbling one recently. I could give you a few reasons I think why my grumbling is necessary or warranted, but the truth is that even talking about those situations would invite more grumbling. People talk about it being necessary to say how we feel, but I usually think there is more merit to say less about how we feel, and more about who God is in spite of our feelings.”

Bible, literacy, Millenials & reading: American Bible Society Report: The Bible in America, 2014

“Now there are just as many Americans skeptical of the Bible as there are engaged with the Bible. According to the fourth annual State of the Bible survey, 19 percent said that they were skeptical of the Bible. This number is up from 10 percent in 2011. This trend is even more pronounced among the Millennial generation (who range in age from 18-29).”

Children, courtesy, manners & parenting: Ten Forgotten Ways to Teach Politeness to Children

“Not every day is going to be a rip roaring success when trying to teach our children politeness, but if we are consistent, we will eventually see them get it right more than they get it wrong.  And, when they have successful and pleasant encounters with others, we are setting them up to be more successful in life.  These ten skills will serve them well all through adulthood, too.”

Culture & sin: 5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church [essential reading]

“What if the biggest threats to the church weren’t the things we thought they were? What if the very foundation of our country’s culture actually resembles the culture of our churches? We may find that we’ve been blind to more subtle and subversive influences that are having a greater impact on the church than the issues that consume us. Here are just five overlooked cultural norms that are contrary to the Kingdom and are sinful within the Kingdom, unknowingly supported by many of us. …  Competition … Celebrity … Patriotism … Fear … Individuality.”

Gospel, moralism & preaching: Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think it Is) [required reading]

“… one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this — the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.”

Marriage, relationships, technology & Twitter: Frequent Twitter Users Are More Likely to Cheat on Their Spouses, Get Divorced: Study

“Comparing his two studies, Clayton was surprised to find that the length of time a couple had been together did not affect whether they would be negatively affected by one partner’s Twitter activity.”

this went thru my mind

 

Architecture, boomers, church buildings & millenials: Will Big Church Buildings Become Dinosaurs? by Timothy Archer

“I’m optimistic about the future of the church; less so when it comes to buildings.”

Civil disobedience: When and How I Changed My Mind About Civil Disobedience by Tony Campolo

“… I didn’t know what to do with that story, except to reflect on it time and time again until I changed my mind about civil disobedience.”

Civility, job, rudeness & work: You’re Rude Because Your Boss Is Rude

“What drives employees to be rude? Over 60% blame their bad behavior on being overloaded at work. They say they have no time to be nice. Mental overload and stress short-circuit our capacity to be fully attentive about anything — even those with whom we work.”

Complaining, leadership & whining: Even Whiners Can Lead by Dan Rockwell

“The line between the whiner and the leader is optimism. … The next time you hear yourself whining, take responsibility. Stop complaining about what others aren’t doing. Do something yourself.”

Generation Z: Gen Z Shows Brand Loyalty

“… Gen Z members, aged 18 to 23 … Gen Z is the first generation born into a digital world. They are true digital natives who have grown up in the age of technology. The only world they know is a digital one — where they can connect anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. As a result, they are highly promiscuous when it comes to media consumption; they will be the first generation to consume more media online than offline.”

Ministry: A Game-Changinging Perspective: Knowing the Difference Between a Decentralized and Fragmented Ministry by Will Mancini [required reading]

“Most ministry activity is fragmented not decentralized because there simply no clarity of shared intent, no cultivation of shared values, and no development of shared abilities within the church. In short, their is no shared vision, just many little mini-visions everywhere a ‘piece’ of the ministry gathers.

The few ministries that operate a decentralized ministry have gone to great lengths to build a well defined vision first. Something other than a central pastor or central church building define the what, why and how of reality where ever groups, classes or events meet. That something always brings shared meaning in the form of  ideals, goals, dreams, tools, approaches, stories, etc.”

this went thru my mind

 

Baby boomers: Last Chances for Churches to Reach 50 Million Americans

“Here are a few (hopefully) helpful facts about the Baby Boomers and churches. Of course, our findings depict the majority of Boomers, not all of them at any one time.”

Baptism & rebaptism: Benjamin Franklin on Rebaptism

“In the years prior to the Firm Foundation (begun in 1884) there was practical unanimity on the question of whether one who had been previously immersed to obey God but without the knowledge of its saving import should be rebaptized. The answer was an unequivocal ‘No.’ … Anyone immersed upon a confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, thought Campbell, was legitimately baptized and needed no further “re-do″ when they later learned that baptism was for the remission of sins.”

Children, manhood, movies & the learning of gender roles: How Movies Teach Our Kids about Gender [watch the 12 min. TED talk video; required viewing]

“What are movies teaching our kids about gender, about what it means to be men and women? That’s the question Colin Stokes asks in this recent TED Talks video.”

Colors: A Designers Guide to the Psychology of Color [infographic]

“Color is far more powerful than we give it credit for.”

Computing, privacy & security: How to Sacrifice Your Online Privacy for Fun and Profit [required reading]

“You have value—and not just as a good friend, loving family member, and upstanding member of society. You’re also a valuable commodity that companies buy and sell. Your age, browsing habits, and friends lists are all hot properties. And yes, all this data is recorded, packaged, and sold to the highest bidder by your favorite websites.”

Culture & sin: Americans Reveal Their 3 Favorite Sins

“‘Temptations and America’s Favorite Sins,’ a survey conducted by the Barna Group, a Christian research firm, concludes that the moral struggles that vex most Americans aren’t the salacious acts that drive the plotlines of reality television shows. Most Americans are too worn down or distracted to get snared by those vices, the survey concludes. The top three sins seducing most Americans: procrastination, overeating and spending too much time on media.”

Drugs & prison sentences: The Drug Laws That Changed How We Punish

“Half a century ago, relatively few people were locked up, and those inmates generally served short sentences. But 40 years ago, New York passed strict sentencing guidelines known as the ‘Rockefeller drug laws’ — after their champion, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller — that put even low-level criminals behind bars for decades. Those tough-on-crime policies became the new normal across the country.”

Loving your enemies: Love Your Enemies … Sort Of?

“‘Love Your Enemies … It Pisses Them Off’ or ‘… It Makes Then So Damn Mad’ or ‘… Nothing Annoys Them So Much.’ No doubt these lines are supposed to be funny. But in fact they diminish the love Jesus called for by delighting in the negative response some people might have when they are greeted with unexpected love. Such statements infer that the very aim of loving those at odds with us is to strike a blow against them, albeit of an unconventional sort. Yet the love that Jesus advocated was not some sort of unconventional blow but a blessing.”

this went thru my mind

 

Acts 5, Ananias, God, Sapphira & violence: How Do You Explain the Violent Judgment of Ananias and Sapphira? by Greg Boyd

“Knowing that God’s true character looks like Jesus voluntarily dying on the cross for his enemies, we will always know that something else is going on if God appears to act in ways that are contrary to this enemy-loving, non-violent character.”

Bragging, jealousy & rejoicing: Solving Your ‘You Problem’ by Sean Palmer

“I would only feel as if  they were bragging, if I felt something else first: JEALOUS!”

Church & faith: Together by William Willimon [21 min. sermon video clip; required viewing]

“Where the heck did you get the notion we wanted you to be comfortable? … The way of Jesus Christ is just too difficult to attempt it by yourself. …. the only way that you can be saved is by bringing all of us along with you. It’s together.”

Church & generations: A Head, Heart, or Hands Church? by Dan Bouchelle [truly required reading; as in “if you read only one thing this month”]

“I grew up in a church designed for the head. That is not a criticism. It is just a description. We did not trust emotions because they were easily manipulated and clouded thinking. Actions were important and we believed ‘good works’ were essential to faithfulness, but what really mattered was getting your theology straight. … The church of my heritage lost many of the boomer generation who walked away looking for a church with a heart. … Ironically, now that boomers make up the majority of leaders and have the most control in our churches, the emerging adult generation has shifted the criteria for validity again. Young adults today, and the culture in general, are not looking for a powerful experience of God or ballast for a head-heavy church. … What this generation longs for is not more heart but something to do with their hands. … While the young adult generation is not anti-logic or emotionless, they just aren’t impressed with their church options. They may show up for the show and agree with most of the teaching, but they will give their time and money to something that changes lives in tangible ways.”

Church & phones: The Cold, Hard Truth About Phones in Church by Jon Acuff

[I won’t spoil it for you here. Go look at it. There’s a powerful parable here, not just a smile.]

Leadership & worry: 7 Encouragements for Leaders Who Worry by Ron Edmonson

“Having a strong faith is no guarantee your emotions won’t play tricks on you at times.”

this went thru my mind

 

Anti-intellectualism: The Role of Education and Authority In the Church by Paul Smith

“… every time we tear down someone because they have a greater education than we do we tear down that part of the body of Christ. Not only that, but we tear down our future. We guarantee that our sons and daughters will choose fields of expertise other than Bible and theology, because everyone knows you can’t be a good Christian and be smart at the same time. Can somebody help me here? What is it about ignorance that is so appealing?”

Archaeology: A Sumerian Temple at Ur by Claude Mariottini

“… archaeologists have found a Sumerian temple in the ancient city of Ur, the traditional place of Abraham’s birth. According to the archaeologists, the temple is dated to 2500 B.C.”

Bible: Wishing the Bible was a Self-Help Book by John Acuff

“The Bible makes a pretty horrible self help book. Sometimes, that’s what I want it to be. … Perfection is my secret goal, not a deeper relationship with God. But unfortunately, the Bible is refusing to cooperate.”

Church: Church, Jesus, Faith, and the Institution by Patrick Mead

“… we are only institutionalized as much as we want to be. When men grab too much power, the bunnies and snowflakes move along. But faith doesn’t cease and neither does kingdom work. If you are in a church that is in conflict or is over controlled, you have options. You can leave or you can stay quietly or you can stay and work on changing things. But you don’t have the option of leaving the larger fellowship of believers and you don’t have the option to be a “loner Christian” when Christ called us to community. So whichever decision you make – stay with the group, snowflake.”

Communication: 5 Strategies for Becoming a Better Conversationalist by Michael Hyatt

“… conversations should be like a game of ping pong. You wait for the ball to come over the net, then you hit it back to the person on the other side. Then you do it all over again—and on it goes. In a good conversation, there is both give and take. This is something we have intentionally tried to pass on to our own children.”

Community: The Wisdom of Stability by J.R. Daniel Kirk

“Stability in Christ is always stability in community.”

Forgiveness: Broken Trust in God’s Country

“‘A hundred years from now, what will be the difference about how much money we had here?’ asked Emery E. Miller, a village resident and a proponent of the alternative plan, at the first creditors meeting. ‘But a hundred years from now, there will be a difference in how we responded to this from our moral being, from a moral level — the choices we made to forgive or not to forgive.'”

Google & your privacyHow to Opt Out of Google’s New Privacy Policy (Sort Of)

“Google’s new privacy policy will take effect on March 1. It consolidates Google’s 70 or so privacy policies across its products – from Gmail to YouTube to Blogger – down to one, and will pull data from users logged in to Google.”

Kind words: Don’t Wait for a Funeral to Give a Eulogy by Michael Hyatt

“We should start eulogizing those who mean the most to us before they leave us.”

Lies, damned lies & statistics: Santorum, Stats, and Dropout Rates of Religious College Students by Ed Stetzer

“This past Thursday (February 23), Rick Santorum told talk show host Glenn Beck that ’62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it.’ … Long story short: There are dropouts (and returns), but there is no statistical difference that the dropout rate among those who attended college than those that did not attend college.”

Ministry: 10 Things About Pastors You Need to Know by Joe McKeever

“He is a flawed, fallible human like the rest of us, and not some saintly somebody unacquainted with temptation and failings.”

Singles: An Unmarried Boomer

“As Baby Boomers age, their propensity for divorce—even in later age—is creating a generation of middle-aged unmarrieds. Now, as the first Boomers are turning 65, this ‘singlehood’ trend could have implications for the quality of life of these older Americans.”

Tradition & traditionalism: Pelikan on Tradition & Traditionalism

“Tradition is the living faith of the dead, traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. And, I suppose I should add, it is traditionalism that gives tradition such a bad name.”

this went thru my mind

 

Absolutely required viewingDon Tapscott on Gov 2.0 with the U.S. State Dept (75 min. video; speech begins at 2:32; he shifts into high gear at 13:14; Q&A starts at 57:00)

Archaeology: Tomb of Apostle Philip Found

Bible: How the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us

Church & welcome: 10 Signals That Say “You Are Not Welcome In This Church”

Church & politics: Why Last Saturday’s Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was Dangerous

Claims: “We Go Only By the Bible”

Cross: The Fence of Matthew Shepard

Elders: * Effective Elder’s Meetings * They Met to Consider this Question * Elders: How Should Elders and Staff Relate to Each Other?

Generations: To stop the flow of young people leaving Churches of Christ, intergenerational relationships are vital

Notice the comment by Ed Dodds: “Change Gov 2.0 to Church 2.0 in Don Tapscott on Gov 2.0 with the U.S. State Dept and one thing you’ll discover is that ‘the young folk’ don’t practice geo-locking in their thinking; churches, employers, universities, politicians still do.” This comment/link is also referenced in the “Required Reading” link below.

Hispanic ministry: A Spanish Service Is Not Enough: It’s Time to Feed the ‘Hellenized Latinos’

Nationalism: * Baptizing the American Dream * You Might Be a Christian If…

Pacifism, violence & war: * Fighting for Peace * Jesus Christ, Faith, and Freedom * King, Lipscomb and the Spirit of War

Parenting: Turn Your Homes into Heaven

Proverbs & Twitter: Solomon Invented Twitter

Reading: 12 Reasons I Have Decided to Read One Book Per Week

Self-confidence, shame & subversion: On Subversion and Shame: I Like the Color Pink

Tim TebowThe Secrets of Tebow Hatred by Michael Medved