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 4 helpful articles

1. A Grave Climate Warning, Buried on Black Friday

“On Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the federal government published a massive and dire new report on climate change. The report warns, repeatedly and directly, that climate change could soon imperil the American way of life, transforming every region of the country, imposing frustrating costs on the economy, and harming the health of virtually every citizen. …

“The report is a huge achievement for American science. It represents cumulative decades of work from more than 300 authors. Since 2015, scientists from across the U.S. government, state universities, and businesses have read thousands of studies, summarizing and collating them into this document. By law, a National Climate Assessment like this must be published every four years.”

2. 100 million Americans have chronic pain. Very few use one of the best tools to treat it. [required reading]

“Overall, the takeaway is that ‘pain isn’t just something that happens to us,’ says Beth Darnall, a professor of anesthesiology at Stanford University. ‘We are participating with pain by how much attention we give to it, by the contents of our thoughts, and our appraisal. How awful and negative is it? How helpless and hopeless do you feel about it? Do you feel [like] a victim; do you feel at the mercy of your pain?'”

3. An exploding meteor may have wiped out ancient Dead Sea communities

“A superheated blast from the skies obliterated cities and farming settlements north of the Dead Sea around 3,700 years ago, preliminary findings suggest. Radiocarbon dating and unearthed minerals that instantly crystallized at high temperatures indicate that a massive airburst caused by a meteor that exploded in the atmosphere instantaneously destroyed civilization in a 25-kilometer-wide circular plain called Middle Ghor, said archaeologist Phillip Silvia. The event also pushed a bubbling brine of Dead Sea salts over once-fertile farm land … People did not return to the region for 600 to 700 years …”

4. Tel-Burna – Day on a Dig [10 min. video]

What a typical day on an archaeological dig in Israel is like.

links to 5 helpful articles

1. 1.5 degrees [required reading]

“The burden of climate change falls first and heaviest on the poorest nations, who of course have done the least to cause the crisis.”

2. Solving Microplastic Pollution Means Reducing, Recycling—and Fundamental Rethinking

“The problem is only expected to balloon as plastic production increases exponentially — from … 300 million metric tons today [to a] … projected 33 billion metric tons each year by 2050.”

3. Remembering the Forgotten War

“Although more than 320,000 Americans served in the Korean War — and more than 33,000 were killed in action — it is still our Forgotten War, a kind of also-ran in our historical consciousness.”

4. A Potter’s Village — A “Potter’s Field?” — Matthew 27 — An Aramaic Inscription from Jerusalem

“Recently it was announced that a Potter’s Inscription was found in secondary usage (= spolia) near the International Convention Center in West Jerusalem. Is it possible that the “Potters’ Field,” mentioned in Matthew 27, was located near here?”

5. Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

“Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological research shows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E. — about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic. … Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia.”

links to 4 helpful articles

1. Why I Sing [essential reading]

“Fundamentally, singing reminds me that there is goodness and beauty in an ugly and sometimes evil world. Every time we come together to make music, we declare out loud what we intuit deeply in ourselves–that evil and ugliness cannot and will not have the last word. Therefore, singing for me is not an act of escapism, of forgetting the hard things around us, but rather resistance, a form of declaration, of demonstration, that the deeper story of life is one of goodness, of truth, and of beauty.”

2. 100 years later, the madness of Daylight Saving Time endures

“Why do we still do it?”

3. Fleeing fish, upended lives

“Marine life is facing an epic dislocation. The U.S. North Atlantic is a prime example. In recent years, at least 85 percent of the nearly 70 federally tracked species there had shifted north or deeper, or both, when compared to the norm over the past half-century, according to the Reuters analysis of U.S. fisheries data.”

4. Was Philip martyred at Hierapolis/Pamukkale?

“In 2011 they were convinced that they had located the tomb of Philip the Apostle (Matthew 10:3).”

links to 5 helpful posts

1. Sweating Our Faith by Mike Glenn

“Most of us … live mundane lives well within the limits our natural abilities. Most of us rarely, if ever, enter to the realm of living in faith.”

2. We Don’t Need to Go Back to the Early Church

“We must always go back to the teachings of the early church, the New Testament, but the church itself was a mess. Much like today. We are a mess, too, so we go back to the teachings that went to our messy brothers and sisters. We learn from them and the teachings — not to be like them, but to be faithful to our risen Lord.”

3. As You Pass Through the Valley of Weeping by Richard Beck

“You can read the Psalms for years and still you’re interrupted by their poetry.”

4. Ein Harod – How to Move From Fear to Faith by Wayne Stiles

“Some situations today will seem as bleak, hopeless, and full of fear as Gideon’s seemed to him at Ein Harod. Circumstances and emotions will demand we doubt what God has clearly promised. But our confidence and faith must remain fixed on what the Lord has said, not in what we see.”

5. Willful Ignorance

“… even more deep than willful ignorance is the sign that many have adopted a motive of self-enhancement above what reality is telling us — going for a ‘win’ in the face of a pending larger ‘loss.’ This is where willful ignorance becomes an observable and dangerous spiritual problem — the expression of egocentric and ethnocentric thinking and acting.”

links: this went thru my mind

Here are links to five articles I’ve found to be interesting.

Apologetics, archaeology, manuscripts & Mark’s Gospel: Earliest Fragment of Mark’s Gospel Apparently Found

“Craig Evans, who is most certainly a careful scholar, has announced the discovery of a piece of Mark’s Gospel that may well date to 80-90 A.D. making it by far the earliest portion of any NT book yet found. … We must await the publishing of the materials and the evidence for these claims, and then the vetting of the claims by peer scholars, but thus far, it looks like Craig is on to something big!”

Children, divorce & parenting: ‘Kids Are Resilient’ and 7 Other Lies Divorcing Parents Should Stop Believing

“As a former divorce mediator, and current couples and family mediator, I have heard every excuse that parents use to feel better about breaking up their family.”

Climate, ecology, global warming, nature & pollution: Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

“A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. ‘We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,’ said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. … Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide, partly as a result of climate-change-driven warming.”

Deception, false claims, heaven, lies & personal testimonies: Boy Says He Didn’t Go To Heaven; Publisher Says It Will Pull Book [required reading]

“Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.”

God, suffering & the problem of evil: If God Is in Control, Why Does Bad Stuff Keep Happening? [essential reading]

“You can never look at the way the world is and read God’s purposes off from the way the world is. It’s always more puzzling and confusing than that. … Part of our trouble is that in the Western world, we’ve assumed that God is, as it were, the celestial CEO of this thing called the universe incorporated. And then, as one of Woody Allen’s characters says: ‘I sort of believe in God, but it looks like He’s basically an underachiever.’ In other words, He’s not a very good CEO, He’s not good at running this show. But actually, the world is much more complicated than that. It’s not simply a machine or a business with God as the CEO. God is involved with it in ways which it’s hard for us now, particularly in the modern world, to grasp.”

links: this went thru my mind

Here are five links to some thoughtful reading.

American history & Native Americans: The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More

“The opening of a national historic site in Colorado helps restore to public memory one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated on Native Americans.”

Children & parenting: Giving Your Kids the Gift of Discouragement

“… let’s distinguish “discouragement” from being a downer or jerk or disheartening your children. A certain kind of discouragement is designed to make folks feel badly about themselves and their abilities. That’s not what we’re after. To discourage someone is simply to persuade them against an action. Encouragement, then, is to give support or confidence for an action. Parents cannot be one-note. We have to both encourage and discourage, lest our children be ill-equipped to face the world, deal with reality, and run amok. Discouragement allows the people we love to focus more intently on God’s gifting in them.”

Climate change, environment, perception, pollution, persuasion & public opinion: Why Doesn’t Everyone Believe Humans Are Causing Climate Change?

“Only 40% of Americans attribute global warming to human activity, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. This, despite decades of scientific evidence and the fact that Americans generally trust climate scientists. … while the scientific community had converged on a consensus, the general public had not, at least not in the U.S. … Whatever we can do now will be heroic for our great-grandchildren, and whatever we do not do will be infamous.”

Marriage, perseverance & promises: When Marriage is No Longer Exciting

“How might a worldview that exalts the sweeping, passionate adventure shape our expectations of a covenant promise that remains, even in the dullest years?”

Remarriage: Four-in-Ten Couples are Saying “I Do,” Again

“In 2013, fully four-in-ten new marriages included at least one partner who had been married before, and two-in-ten new marriages were between people who had both previously stepped down the aisle …”