this went thru my mind


Alternative energy, ecology, gas & oil: Life After Oil and Gas

“You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint. The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it. … how much we really “need” fossil fuels is worth pondering.”

Ambition, competition & envy: Envy: This is a Heart Issue by John T. Willis

“… competition is huge in American society and throughout the world. Everyone yearns to SUCCEED and to EXCEL. This is why we have the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, etc. All of this is interesting and attracting. But spiritually, under God through Jesus Christ there is an entirely different way of thinking and living.”

Children, church & ministry: What If the Kids Don’t Want Our Church?

“… you could complain about the fact that these kids just don’t appreciate what you’ve done for them. Or, you could suck it up and bless them on their next wild adventure.”

Ecology & environment: Overfished and Under-Protected: Oceans on the Brink of Catastrophic Collapse

“The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing. … The ocean has become 30% more acidic since the start of The Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and is predicted to be 150% more acidic by the end of this century, according to a UNESCO report published last year. … The Census of Marine Life reported that phytoplankton, the microscopic plants producing most of the oxygen from the oceans, have been declining by around 1% a year since 1900. … ‘There’s a real lack of public and political awareness of these issues,’ says Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at the UK’s Oxford University.”

Faith, Millenials, Nones, religion & relationships: Relationships are the New Religion for Many

“Relationships have replaced religion for many Millennials … In 2009, LifeWay asked 1,200 people ages 18-29, to name those things that were “really important” to them in life. Over 60% mentioned family, 25% mentioned friends, but only 13% mentioned spirituality or religion.”

The Bible mini-series: Understanding Caiaphas — The Bible Series

“The character of Caiaphas presents one of the greatest challenges for any Jesus film or Passion play, and many have failed the test, making Caiaphas a cartoon, caricature baddie who makes no historical sense and who is offensive to boot.”

this went thru my mind


Anger, envy, Facebook & jealousy: Envy & Jealousy on Facebook – What New Research Has Revealed

“Several new studies have revealed that Facebook makes countless people feel bad about themselves leading to anger and hate against other people. Why? Because of envy and jealousy.”

Christianity & Islam: Worshiping Jesus in the Mosque

“Can people from other religious traditions genuinely follow Jesus without becoming ‘Christians’? The question is a point of much dispute within today’s missions world. Those who follow Jesus yet don’t formally express Christian faith are said to belong to insider movements. And no insider movement has received more attention than Muslims who embrace Christ yet stay within their Islamic community.”

Listening: Who’s Listening?

“Everything that Jesus did on earth was intentional, and the foundation of his ministry was listening to and responding to people’s desire to be understood, to be known by God. How do you think uneducated fishermen felt when Jesus (a teacher) asked them to follow him? What kind of effect do you think Jesus’ invitation to follow him had on Zacchaeus, a tax collector (the scum of the earth)? How do you think women felt when Jesus invited them to follow him, in a culture where only men followed rabbis? How do you think the bleeding woman felt when Jesus stopped everything he was doing to listen to her—and then to heal her?”

Prayer: Eugene Peterson on Prayer as Basic to the Christian Life

“Prayer is basic because it provides the primary language for everything that takes place on the way of Jesus. If we go to a shopping mall in North America, we speak English to get what we want. If we go to a restaurant in France, we speak French to order our meal. If we travel in Greece, we speak Greek to find our way to the Acropolis. And if we decide to become Christians and follow Jesus, we pray.”

friedman’s fables (3)

There is a curious connection between the way people think and the way people bond. To the extent they tend to frame life’s issues in black-and-white, either/or, on-and-off-alternatives, to that extent their responses to the challenges of life will lack resiliency. And the more likely it is that their bonds will become binds. On the other hand, to the extent individuals are unafraid of ambiguity and can even come to appreciate its value, then the repertoire of their relational responses is broadened, and that in turn will enrich the alternatives in their style of thinking.

Jean and Jane

Jean and Jane were very good friends. But Jean and Jane were in no way alike. For Jane was very friendly, always cheerful, always happy. But Jean was more reflective, rarely laughing, rarely smiling.

While Jean stayed pretty much to herself, even in groups, Jane was the life of every party. While Jane entered any room and immediately attracted a crowd, Jean entered any room and remained so inconspicuous it was if she were not there.

Jean was not really less attractive, yet she attracted less. Jane was not really a superficial butterfly, yet she was never alone.

As time went on Jean began to worry about the difference. “Why is it,” she thought, “that Jane always has more fun? Why is it that I, on the other hand, am always so unhappy? Does Jane simply know better how to win friends and influence people? If so, where did she learn it, and why haven’t I, Jean, learned it?” Jean reflected on her own patterns and came to see there was no clear reason for their difference.

She and Jane were the same age, had about the same physical attributes. Ok, Jane was a blonde. But some men liked brunettes. They each could sing; each played about the same game of tennis. Ok, Jane was a better swimmer, but she couldn’t play golf!

The more Jean thought about Jane, the more depressed she became. It was not just envy. Jane was the reflection of her, Jean’s, own potential. Jane, right now, in the present, was all that Jean ever wanted to be but somehow found herself unable to be. As Jean brooded about this problem, things worsened. She isolated herself more. Then she functioned less. Eventually she stopped going out at all. And who would have wanted to be around her anyway?

Throughout this time, Jane continued on her way. Almost every evening the phone rang. At the club she was invited to every activity. For she was, after all, a pleasure to be with. Even at work others admitted that they worked harder in her presence, and she almost never had to eat by herself.

Finally, Jean, with great effort, managed to establish a relationship – with a therapist. Weekly she went, and she began to discuss her problem, how no one seemed to want her, how she was usually, left out of things, if not completely ignored, how jealous she was of Jane. Slowly, she talked about her own behavior. Carefully, she revealed her inner feelings. Hesitantly, she discussed her past.

As time went by, she made some progress, but it always seemed to be overshadowed by Jane, who, if this was possible, became even more popular than before. Thus Jane continued to be a reminder to Jean of what a woman could be. “Hah,” thought Jean one day, about six months after she had begun to work on her problem, “why if Jane ever had to see someone for professional help, she’d probably be through in a matter of weeks.”

It was in the midst of one of these doldrums that Jean, upon entering her therapist’s office, was astounded to see Jane coming out.

“Hi, Jean,” said Jane in her usual cheery way.

“Hi,” responded Jean, surprised.

“What are you doing here?” asked Jane sweetly.

“Me?” said Jean. “Why I’ve been coming here for almost a year. This is my regular weekly appointment. What brings you here today?”

“Well, we had to switch today. I’ve been seeing the doctor for several years now,” said Jane, still her usual eager self. “I wish I could cut down to only once a week.”

“But how often do you come?” inquired Jean, incredulously.

“Usually three times, but sometimes if I”m desperate he fits me in for a fourth.”

“Desperate!” exclaimed Jean.

“Oh, yes,” responded Jane. “You know, Jean, I can’t tell you how surprised I am to find you here. You always seemed so sure of yourself. You’re always so self-reliant, always so able to be alone. You have no idea how I admire your independence, your tolerance for solitude, your capacity to keep your distance.”

Jean was trying to come from behind the other side of the mirror as she finally asked, “But, Jane, what’s your problem?”

“You mean, you can’t tell?” chirped Jane. “I am totally unable to say no.”

MORAL: The grass is only greener when you’re not caring for your own lawn.

Friedman’s Fables by Edwin H. Friedman (The Guilford Press, 1990), pp.109,129-132

from the heart

“Don’t you know that nothing from the outside that enters a person has the power to contaminate? That’s because it doesn’t enter into the heart but into the stomach, and it goes out into the sewer.” … “It’s what comes out of a person that contaminates someone in God’s sight,” he [Jesus] said. “It’s from the inside, from the human heart, that evil thoughts come: sexual sins, thefts, murders, adultery, greed, evil actions, deceit, unrestrained immorality, envy, insults, arrogance, and foolishness. All these evil things come from the inside and contaminate a person in God’s sight.” (Mark 7: 18-19a,20-23 CEB)