links to 5 helpful articles

1. What Great Listeners Actually Do

“While many of us have thought of being a good listener being like a sponge that accurately absorbs what the other person is saying, instead, what these findings show is that good listeners are like trampolines. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting. This lets you gain energy and height, just like someone jumping on a trampoline.”

2. These jobs have highest suicide rates in the United States, according to the CDC

“Men who work in construction and extraction had the highest rates of suicide in the United States … For women, suicide rates were highest among those who work in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media. From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among the US working-age population — people 16 to 64 — increased 34% …”

3. Fear, more than hate, feeds online bigotry and real-world violence

“The most dangerous hate speech is apparently no longer broadcast with ethnic slurs or delusional rhetoric about white supremacy. Rather, it’s all over social media, in plain sight, carrying hashtags like #WhiteGenocide, #BlackCrimes, #MigrantInvasion and #AmericaUnderAttack. They create an illusion of imminent threat that radicals thrive on, and to which the violence-inclined among them have responded.”

4. Avoid These Roadblocks to Progress by Jim Martin

“Life is hard. However, it can become even more difficult when we put up roadblocks to our own progress.”

5. Watch out for these clever holiday scams

“Here are some tips to help you stay vigilant when shopping online this holiday season.”

links to 5 helpful articles

1. 8 Signs Your Christianity Is Too Comfortable [essential reading]

“There’s absolutely no friction between your Christianity and your partisan politics. … There are no paradoxes, tensions, or unresolved questions. … Your friends and coworkers are surprised to learn you’re a churchgoing Christian. … You never think about or even remember the Sunday sermon on Monday. … No one at your church ever annoys you. … You never feel challenged, only affirmed. … You’ve never had to have a ‘truth-in-love’ conversation with a fellow Christian. … No one in your church could comment on any area of growth they’ve seen in you.”

2. What mass shootings do to those not shot: Social consequences of mass gun violence

“There is evidence of distress, anxiety, or even PTSD symptoms among people who were not directly exposed to a disaster, but were exposed to the news … Fear, the coming unknown (is there another shooting, are other co-conspirators involved?) and reduced faith in our perceived safety may all play a role in this.”

3. World War I: the birth of plastic surgery and modern anesthesia

“Many of the injured (16%) had injuries affecting the face, over a third of which were categorized as ‘severe.’ … Nobody won the … war but the medical services. The increase in knowledge was the sole determinable gain for mankind in a devastating catastrophe.”

4. Hell … and How to Get There

“The gospel is not a perverse theological system in which good people are tortured by God for eternity. Christians must stop suggesting anything like that! … Using hell as a means of scaring people into Christianity may also drive them out of Christianity when they become a little more thoughtful.”

5. Macron Hopes WWI Ceremonies Warn of Nationalism’s Dangers. Is Anyone Listening?

“Each stop made the same solemn point: Nationalism kills. It is a message Mr. Macron hopes will not be lost on the dozens of world leaders who will descend on France this weekend to commemorate the 1918 Armistice. But it is not clear anyone is listening.”

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.”

quote: fear, faith, and firmness of heart

Anyone whose sense of well-being depends upon stock market quotations, weather forecasts, or the statistics of a public opinion pollster will be constantly on edge, “afraid of evil tidings.” Those who listen in faith to God’s word and respond in praise, however, have foundations of eternity built into the structure of their soul and thereby acquire a firm heart.

Eugene Peterson

links to 4 helpful posts

1. A God Veiled in Time and Space but Revealed in Christ

“If humans are going to find God, it will not be where he has chosen to hide but where he has chosen to reveal himself. It is not in quantum uncertainty or statistical analysis that God is discovered. We will not find him in a gap but on a cross. It is here in the most unexpected of places that we discern, as Stanley Hauerwas has put it, ‘the grain on the universe.'”

2. Houston’s $6 Billion Census Problem: Frightened Immigrants

“Fears of deportation could leave thousands of people uncounted … Texas stands to lose at least $1,161 in federal funding for each person not counted, according to a March report by Andrew Reamer, a research professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. Multiplied by the estimated 506,000 unauthorized immigrants who live in the nation’s fourth-largest city, that puts at stake about $6 billion for Houston over the 10 years the census applies.”

3. Mikhail Gorbachev: A New Nuclear Arms Race Has Begun

“There will be no winner in a ‘war of all against all’ — particularly if it ends in a nuclear war. And that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. An unrelenting arms race, international tensions, hostility and universal mistrust will only increase the risk.”

4. Podcast: Will God Always Provide a Non-Sinful Option?

“Look at the big picture. What’s being accomplished?”

links to 4 helpful posts

1. C.S. Lewis and Aristotle on Civic Friendship

“Civility is one of those virtues that you don’t need when people are singing the same tune. A husband and wife getting along swimmingly don’t need to be civil, nor do best friends in the best of times. Civility is by definition exercised only when it’s needed, and that’s when we disagree about what is good and what we love. Perhaps we need to add a fourth type of friendship to Aristotle’s scheme, that of civil friendship. This form of friendship could be useful and perhaps even enjoyable, but most importantly it partakes in the good of the other because we can agree that one component of our good is respect for others with whom we disagree about other fundamental aspects of the good.”

2. Why Are You Afraid of Losing Your Privilege?

“Lord, forgive us for being afraid of losing our privilege.”

3. Things to know–and not to know–about Bible prophecy

“I used to know a lot more about prophecy than I do now.”

4. The Health Benefits of Hugging

“There are three types of people; touchy-feely people who always hug you hello, special occasional huggers and those who find displays of affection uncomfortable. Interestingly enough, your touchy-feely friends may also be happier and healthier, as recent research is beginning to identify the hug as a viable mental and physical health boost.”

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.”