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: this went thru my mind

Bible classes, community, intergenerational faith formation & spiritual education: Why Bring the Generations Back Together in Churches [essential reading]

“… why did churches in the 70s, 80s, and 90s begin separating the generations by age and stage? … The move toward age segregation in society in general is one key factor that has contributed to age segregation in American churches. … Another factor, and from my perspective the main reason for age segregation in our faith communities, is that we have allowed educational and developmental psychology to influence our praxis too strongly. …

“Why bring the generations back together? … for the spiritual benefits of intergenerational Christian experiences and relationships. … ‘intergenerational relationships in faith communities are crucial.'”

Bible reading, community & interpretation: Misreading Scripture Alone

“Personal piety and a desire for truth are not guarantees that we always read Scripture aright. Consequently, we must rely upon our brothers and sisters in the faith to correct and rebuke us when we err, demonstrating our errors by Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). And this reliance on brothers and sisters refers not merely to those Christians who happen to be alive at the same time as us. Instead, it refers to the whole Christian Church, throughout time. We rely on those who have gone before us. They too get a say in the matter. As G. K. Chesterton has wonderfully put it, this sort of tradition is a ‘democracy of the dead.'”

Children, families, parenting & traditions: 3 Low Cost/High Impact Family Traditions

“Traditions are the building blocks for strong families.”

Focus, life, peace & stress: End Your Day Well to Start Your Day Well [essential reading]

“When you find the rhythm of evening and morning you will have good days.”

Listening: How You Can Learn the #1 Persuasion Technique of FBI Hostage Negotiators

“What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They’re not autocratic. And in our study we saw pretty clearly that groups that had smart people dominating the conversation were not very intelligent groups.”

links: this went thru my mind

Certainty & faith: When Certainty Kills [essential reading]

“Is it possible that certainty itself has become God for many Christians? Our worship of certainty may be tantamount to idolatry.”

Children, parenting & technology: Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent

“’So, your kids must love the iPad?’ I asked Mr. Jobs, trying to change the subject. The company’s first tablet was just hitting the shelves. ‘They haven’t used it,’ he told me. ‘We limit how much technology our kids use at home.’”

Christianity & ISIS: ISIS vs the Way of Jesus

“… I’m not a politician. I’m a private citizen and a follower of Jesus who has spent 32 years in the Middle East. I speak Arabic. I’ve met personally with the leaders of Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Bin Laden family.”

Desperation, hunger & spiritual need: This Common Ingredient in the Gospel Narratives May be the Missing Ingredient in Many Churches

“Whether we feel it or not and whether we realize it or not the same is true for us – we are desperate for Jesus. We just need to realize it. We need to reclaim it. … What will it take for us to become desperate for God again?”

Family: The ‘Leave It to Beaver’ Family Has Been Left Behind

“While in 1960, 65 percent of children lived with families in which the parents were married and the father was the sole breadwinner, only 22 percent of children lived in this setup in 2012. Children now are more likely to live in a single-mother household (23 percent), while a plurality (34 percent) live in families where parents are married and both work.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Cats, language, learning & Spanish: I Can Haz Spanish Lessons: Cat Pictures Now Have A Purpose

“It’s no secret cats rule the Internet. Now, just flipping through cat pictures can be an educational experience. A new iOS app called teaches 1,000 basic phrases by showing you flash cards of cute cats. ‘It’s the most ridiculously silly, but yet ruthlessly effective way of learning conversational Spanish,’ says , founder of , the group behind Cat Spanish. For example, when learning the phrase ‘I need help,’ the app shows a cat tangled in a tree. Users memorize the phrases through repeated tests.”

Children & parenting: To The Mamas of Littles During the Holidays

“Lower your expectations for what is humanly possible in one day. Now think about how many toddlers you have and lower them again.”

Civility, disability, respect, sensitivity, speech & words: 10 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Uses a Wheelchair

“Most people definitely mean well, but some sentiments aren’t received the way many able bodied people might expect. In the disabled community, it’s not uncommon for us to joke with each other about some of our interesting conversations with family, friends and strangers that often involve some off putting statements.”

Culture & family: The Changing American Family

“American households have never been more diverse, more surprising, more baffling. In this special issue of Science Times, Natalie Angier takes stock of our changing definition of family.”

Pope Francis: * Ten Reasons Why Evangelicals Should Read Pope Francis; * Evangelii Gaudium [essential reading]

* “While evangelicals and Catholics will continue to have their theological differences — differences that stem back 500 years or more — we just might find some common ground in the words of Francis.”

* “The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience.”

Self-deprecation: The Trouble With Self-Deprecation [essential reading]

“… all of us are good at something and lousy at something. And if we could only get that through our skulls, we would be freed once and for all to speak comfortably of our strengths and faults, and those of our brothers.”

Thanksgiving: * Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So; * When I Had Beans for Thanksgiving; * Thanksgiving By the Numbers [infographic]

* “The Lord is good. His love endures forever. His faithfulness continues through all generations. So, let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”

* “Am I really thankful? Can I be thankful even for what I don’t have? Can I be thankful even when it’s not what I asked for? Can I be thankful in all circumstances, as the Apostle Paul commanded us?”

* “What was the menu for the first Thanksgiving? How many turkeys are consumed each year at Thanksgiving?”

class questions for ‘Why Jesus?: home wrecker’

 

In the Bible class I lead on Sunday mornings, we’re currently studying some of the surprising ways of Jesus. We’re using William Willimon’s fine little book entitled Why Jesus? as our outline. Following are a dozen questions I plan to use as fodder for discussion in the 20/20 class tomorrow morning. They go along with chapter 7 in WIllimon’s book.

I’ve long been a big fan of Willimon for he never fails to feed my head. However, I do believe this chapter is one of the finest things I’ve ever seen come from his pen. Access to this chapter alone is worth purchasing the book. It’s thoughtful, potent, challenging stuff. Get a copy and devour it!

1. Family is the most important thing in life for it’s the glue that holds things together. If our country was just full of healthy, happy families, everything would be good. True? False? Comment.

2. Make a list. Recall everything you possibly can about Jesus’ biological family, their interactions with Jesus, and what Jesus had to do with them. What does this say to you?

3. Make another list. What all did Jesus say about himself, family and a life following God?

4. What surprises you the most about what Jesus said about family life?

5. What is silent about regarding the family? What surprises you the most about what Jesus did not say about the family?

6. Jesus said: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, ‘Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple.’ I’ve come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. People’s enemies are members of their own households. Those who love father or mother more than me aren’t worthy of me. Those who love son or daughter more than me aren’t worthy of me.” (Luke 14.25-26; Matthew 10.35-37) What does Jesus mean by this? What practical and specific application does this have to you?

7. Did it cost you something in terms of your family life to become a Christian? Tell us about it; elaborate.

8. Engage this quote: “Aside to Jesus: You know, don’t you, that today’s younger generations are decidedly suspicious of institutions and organizations? They like you but don’t care for your body, the church. That you became a new family, that you located among a gathering of sinners, that you made the poor, old church to be a sign of you in the world may be the most difficult thing for them to believe about you.” Has there ever been a time this wasn’t the case? If it’s more true than ever now, how is that? What’s the best response the church can give, given such awareness?

9. Which is more like “family” to you: your immediate family or your church family? Why?

10. Engage this quote: “To become a Christian, to have your life taken over by Jesus, is to be joined into a family, a people convened by the ‘water and spirit,’ a family bigger and better than your biological family.”

11. You live in a country rife with persecution of Christians and you’re a member of an underground church. One evening your home is invaded by a small mob of people denouncing you and your faith. A child of yours is instantly shot dead before your eyes. Someone holds a gun to your wife’s head and says: “Deny Christ now or she’s dead, too!” What do you do? Why?

12. Complete this sentence: “If I love God supremely, for my family I will __________.”