links: this went thru my mind

Artifacts, history & Israel: Selected Artifacts from the Collections of the National Treasures

“The artifacts on the site are arranged both chronologically (according to archaeological periods) and typologically (according to the type of artifact), allowing either a gradual guided entry through the main title pages to the artifact’s information card, or directly to the artifact’s information card using an advanced search box.” [just type something in the search box; i.e. – lamp, seal, sword, etc.]

Atonement, Eastern Orthodoxy, morality, science, sin & transformation: Atonement: An Orthodox Perspective [14 min. video]

“… morality can become a heresy … a substitute for the inner transformation of the heart.”

Christian faith, influence & witness: Christians Should Give More Offense

“Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Church & discouragement: Five Ways to Discourage Your Pastor

“If you are bent on discouraging your pastor, here are 5 surefire ways of doing so …”

Football & injury: Brain Trauma to Affect One in Three Players, N.F.L. Agrees

“The National Football League, which for years disputed evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at ‘notably younger ages’ than in the general population.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

Early Christian faith & violence: Were the Church Fathers Consistently Pro-Life? [essential reading]

“… the early Christian writers … are very clear. They explicitly say we don’t kill, and that means we don’t go to gladiatorial games, we’re opposed to abortion, capital punishment is not acceptable, and we don’t kill in war. … For early church fathers, a Christian could not have a political or judicial office where he would have the authority to pronounce a judgment of capital punishment. … The most frequently stated reason that Christians didn’t join the army and go to war is that they didn’t kill. … Every single text that we have on the topic says that Christians don’t kill. And it’s not ambiguous …”

Full contact sports: * When It Comes To Brain Injury, Authors Say NFL Is In A ‘League Of Denial’; * The Ethics of Football

* “‘Please, see that my brain is given to the NFL’s brain bank.’ …  there’s a dialogue beginning about whether you want to let your kids play or not.”

* “Why raise questions about the ethics of football? I see a few reasons for it. … football has grown in importance out of all proportion in terms of the number of people who can actually play it. … football has become a sport ruled by money. … football is dangerous to players’ health and well-being. … in today’s social climate, anyway, football seems to arouse inordinate and even dangerous passions among fans. …

“So what is my solution to the football ethics dilemma? I don’t suggest dropping or banning the sport—except for children not yet old enough to make informed consent decisions about whether they want to risk the injury to their brains. I don’t think boys under, say, 16 should be allowed to play tackle football. For them it should be flag football. And they should be offered alternatives such as soccer.

“However, I think especially Christians should call for a ratcheting down of the intensity of the sport so that it is not so all-consuming in terms of finances, passions, favor (to players), etc. And I think every player should be fully informed about the likelihood of suffering long-term brain injury that is irreversible.

“I also think high school and college counselors should promote information about the dangers of football to their student populations. Many college and university freshmen, for example, dream of “walking on” and becoming a star or just being on the larger team. Even if they never play in an actual game, however, they can suffer brain injury just from practices.”

Responding to violence: 16-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai Leaves Jon Stewart Speechless With Comment About Pacifism [6 min. video; essential viewing]

“… at just 14 years old, a Talib fighter boarded her bus, pointed a pistol at her head, and pulled the trigger. But she survived, made a full recovery in England, and has become and transformative figure in human rights. … ‘what would you do, Malala?”

WMD, the United States & chemical weapons: The United States is Still Getting Rid of its Chemical Weapons

“Syria has been given a year to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal, or face the threat of a U.S. military strike. Yet it may come as a surprise that the United States has still not destroyed all of its massive supply of deadly nerve agents. … The United States estimates it will be at least another decade before it completes destruction of the remaining 10% of its chemical weapons, estimated at more than 3,100 tons.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

9/11, fear, priorities & terrorism: The Emotional and Spiritual Aftermath of 9/11 and Boston

“Strikingly, nearly three out of four Americans say that terrorism prevention is equal to or more important a priority than things like the preservation of families, immigration, healthcare, unemployment and education. Even 12 years after the 9/11 attacks, it would seem the threat of terrorism remains a powerful public motivator in America. For example, in a head-to-head prioritization, Americans rank terrorism prevention with nearly equal importance as family preservation (40% rank it higher and 38% rank it lower. The remaining 22% said they should be equal priorities.)

“The generational differences of opinion reveal an intriguing pattern when it comes to terrorism: Millennials, currently ages 18 to 29, are among the most likely to prioritize preventing terrorism above other social concerns.”

Football & full-contact sports: * Our Shaken Faith in Football; * Is Football Too Violent? 11 Reflections on My Christianity Today Essay

* “If the NFL is effectively admitting that the game of football causes physical harm to the tune of nearly a billion dollars, does it behoove Christians to reconsider the game’s violence? I think it does.”

* “I just wrote this Christianity Today piece on football violence in light of the NFL’s nearly $765-million settlement with injured players. It’s stirred up a bit of interaction on Twitter, so say the least … [And so, here are a] few thoughts based on the response to the essay.”

Gun violence, shootings & youth: Program Fights Gun Violence Bravado With ‘Story Of Suffering’

“… Cradle to Grave, a violence prevention program … brings small groups of at-risk youth to the hospital to show them what getting shot is really like.”

Nonviolence & pacifism: Christian Pacifism: Relevant Beyond Syria [required reading]

“… many people fail to realize that Christian pacifism goes beyond just being philosophically opposed to war and violence — it’s about being a peacemaker. Instead of anti-violence and anti-war — it’s pro-peace. It’s not just about avoiding war and violence, it’s about bringing peace. There’s a big difference.

“Christian pacifism is proactive, doing everything possible to bring about peace (without the use of violence). Pacifism isn’t an ideology reserved only for when nations and armies go to war, but it’s a personal decision that should be incorporated within our everyday lives.”

Syria & war: * 9 Questions about Syria You were too Embarrassed to Ask [required reading]; * Respond, But How? What We’re Missing On Syria; * I Support War with Syria, Almost; Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West [satire]; * Brutality of Syrian Rebels Pose Dilemma in West; * Intervention in the Third World: A Case for Masterly Inactivity [required reading]; * Shane Claiborne’s Statement on Syria; * What I – a Pacifist – Would say to Obama About the Crisis In Syria [essential reading; outstanding!]

* “If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it. Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.”

* “When a head of state is responsible for the deaths of 100,000 of his people and has used chemical weapons against innocent civilians — the world needs to respond. … Doing nothing is not an option. But how should we respond, and what are moral principles for that response?”

* “War against Syria? Sure! Let’s do it! I’m game. I think it sounds like a great idea, personally. Or, it would be a great idea if …”

* “… while the United States has said it seeks policies that would strengthen secular rebels and isolate extremists, the dynamic on the ground, as seen in the execution video from Idlib and in a spate of other documented crimes, is more complicated than a contest between secular and religious groups.”

* “Cast your mind back to the 1950s, the last time U.S. policy was in the hands of an experienced and crafty general, who knew well the foolish advice military men often give civil authorities and could see through the machinations of the hydra-headed creature he baptized “the military-industrial complex.” General Dwight D. Eisenhower was President from 1953-61, a time when America’s superiority over the rest of the world was far greater than it is today. He received countless invitations and demands for U.S. intervention but always refused them. Only once, in 1958 and at the request of Lebanon’s president, Camille Chamoun, did Eisenhower agree to station troops for a short while. He withdrew them as soon as possible, three months later, without having fired a shot.

“Eisenhower’s record of nonintervention is worth studying … Ike recognized that getting involved in a military adventure was very easy, especially if you had the resources. But getting uninvolved was quite another matter and entailed the very real risk of humiliation and defeat. He therefore concluded it was best to say no–and did so.”

* “… you cannot fight fire with fire, you only get a bigger fire. You fight fire with water. You fight violence with nonviolence.”

* “I don’t believe Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on the need for disciples to adopt an enemy-loving, non-violent lifestyle was ever intended to serve as a mandate for how governments are supposed to respond to evil.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAbortion: What if Roe vs. Wade Went Away? by Timothy Archer

“… as society has decided that these lives aren’t worth saving, we need to back up and begin speaking for all lives. If we try to pick and choose, society can ignore us easily. We speak up for the unborn. We speak up for foreigners. We speak up for those who die around the world from hunger, thirst and disease. We speak up for life. We become truly pro-life and not just pro-life on one topic.”

Football: Are NFL Football Hits Getting Harder And More Dangerous?

“One thing is for certain — football players have gotten much bigger and faster. And the laws of physics tell us that the force of a hit depends on three factors: body weight, speed and how quickly the players stop moving.”

Funerals, grief, ministry & murder: Preaching After the Unthinkable by Stuart Briscoe

“… in the aftermath of traumatic violence, what can a preacher say?”

Genocide & Holocaust: International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2013: Victims Mourned At Auschwitz and Beyond

“The United Nations in 2005 designated Jan. 27 as a yearly memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust – 6 million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi Germany during World War II. The day was chosen because it falls on the anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz, the Nazis’ most notorious death camp and a symbol of the evil inflicted across the continent.”

Gun control: * Gun Control: A Biblical and Theological Case by Matthew L. Kelley; * Of God and Guns by Dan Bouchelle

* “… I believe that the biblical witness and our theological heritage give us reason to support restrictions on firearms such as those currently being debated by the President and Congress. … here is what I believe to be a biblical and theological case for gun control: I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful.”

* “I wonder why we hear so little reflection on the ubiquitous emphasis throughout the Old Testament regarding not trusting weapons to protect us.”

Human trafficking: Human Trafficking Information by Darrel Bock

“This is not a pleasant subject but the opportunities exist to do something that truly delivers people out of personal hell. There are three types of trafficking: sexual trafficking, labor trafficking (which is often harder to trace), and forced soldering (something very common in Africa).”

Military service & pacifism: From Soldier to Pacifist by Matt Young

“A key Bible verse for me when I enlisted was, John 15:13 . I felt that by laying down my life for my fellow soldiers, or if need be other innocent people around the world, that I would be showing the most possible love for them. …

“The key reason I have become a pacifist, or believer in non-violence… whatever technical term we want to call it, is this. I was confronted with the words of Jesus.”

this went thru my mind (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceAbortion: 40 Years of Roe v. Wade… Lord Come! by K. Rex Butts

“…  no human is ‘God’ with the right to decide which human life is of value and which life is not.”

Capital punishment & the death penalty: * Who Would Jesus Execute? by by Jim Wallis and Richard Viguerie; * N.T. Wright on the Death Penalty and American Christianity

* “My own road to Damascus on this issue came many years ago. When I was a young Republican in Houston in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I was a very hard-core, law-and-order type: ‘lock ’em up, throw the key under the jail so they never get out.'”

* “You can’t reconcile being pro-life on abortion and pro-death on the death penalty. Almost all the early Christian Fathers were opposed to the death penalty, even though it was of course standard practice across the ancient world. As far as they were concerned, their stance went along with the traditional ancient Jewish and Christian belief in life as a gift from God, which is why (for instance) they refused to follow the ubiquitous pagan practice of ‘exposing’ baby girls (i.e. leaving them out for the wolves or for slave-traders to pick up).”

Christians & guns: Following Jesus: The Best Gun Control Ever! by Kurt Willems [essential reading]

“I invite fellow Christians to consider a life where we all simply decided to S-T-O-P… stop; stop using the following arguments or taking the following stances to justify positions on gun control.

#1 Stop appealing to the 2nd Amendment as if it were the lost ending to the Gospel of Mark. … #2 Stop metaphorically connecting the loss of certain guns to the Apocalypse. … #3 Stop clinging to guns as if they are central to one’s identity. … #4 Stop ignoring the rest of the modernized world as if American culture has the corner on gun control (or the lack there of). … #5 Stop trusting guns as a source of personal security. …

“If we can stop the previous five approaches to the issue of guns, then perhaps we could start implementing several life-giving approaches to the gun conversation.

#1 Start appealing to the New Testament (which includes the Gospel of Mark, amongst other things). … #2 Start choosing to trust in God’s faithfulness to see us through even the worst of ‘apocalypses.’ … #3 Start building one’s identity on the biblical and relational person of Jesus Christ and nothing else. … #4 Start recognizing that we are citizens of a global kingdom, not an isolated nation called the United States. … #5 Start trusting that Christ is our only source of security and that our only weaponry is “spiritual” and never lethal.”

Consistency, gun control & history: NRA was Pro-Gun Control When It Came to Black Panthers

“While today’s NRA takes hardline positions against even the most modest gun control measures, this was not always the case.  Throughout its history, the NRA supported gun control, including restrictions on gun ownership, and was not focused on the Second Amendment.

“But the organization had a change of heart in the 1970s when the Black Panthers advocated for an individual right to bear arms. Ironically, the Panthers were the founders of the modern-day gun rights movement, which became the purview of predominantly white, rural conservatives.”

Covert operations: Dirty Wars

“… one of the things that humbles both of us is that, you know, when you arrive in a village in Afghanistan and knock on someone’s door, you’re the first American they’ve seen since the Americans that kicked that door in and killed half their family. And yet, time and time again, those families invited us in, welcomed us and shared their stories with us, based on—you know, we promised them that we would do everything we could to make their stories be heard in the U.S.”

Depression & guns: Please Take Away My Right to a Gun by Wendy Button

“My depression appeared for the first time in the late ’90s … It comes and goes like fog. Medicine can help. I have my tricks to manage and get through it. Sometimes it sticks around for a day or a week, and sometimes it stays away for a couple of years. … You’d look at me and never know that sometimes my fight against the urge to die is so tough the only way I get through it is second by second; I live by the second hand.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 38,364 Americans lost that fight in 2010 and committed suicide; 19,392 used a gun. No one ever attempted to break down my door in the early morning again, but I had an episode when my depression did come back in full force in the early winter of 2009, after I made a career-ending decision and isolated myself too much; on a January night in 2010; and again in May 2012 … If I had purchased that gun and it had been in my possession, I’m not sure I would have been able to resist and would be here typing these words. …

“Please take away my Second Amendment right. Do more to help us protect ourselves because what’s most likely to wake me in the early hours isn’t a man’s body slamming at my door but depression, that raven, tapping, rapping, banging for relief. I have a better chance of surviving if I never have the option of being able to pull the trigger.”

Gun buy-back efforts: Steps to Disarm (Get Gift Card) at Ohio Church [cf. http://pdchurch.org/home/ for this church’s website]

“… every gun collected — and turned over to the police to be destroyed — is a gun not found by a curious child, not reached for in a fit of anger over a slight on the street.”

Gun control: Gun-Control Advocate Looking for a Million Good Moms

“‘The time has come, just like in the 1980s when the time was right for Mothers Against Drunk Driving,’ Ms. Watts said. ‘We need MADD for gun control. … One Million Moms for Gun Control … The N.R.A. outlined how they saw the vision of America. That future is everyone is armed and the bad guys shoot it out with the good guys over our children’s heads. That’s not tenable, and it’s not the American way.'”

Hard contact sports: Junior Seau’s Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against NFL

“…  Seau committed suicide last May and a postmortem study of his brain by the National Institutes of Health found that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease associated with receptive injuries to the head.”

Military service: Following Jesus Means Learning to Say Both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’

“I hate the fact that so oftentimes Christians have not helped one another discover what it means to worship a Savior who would rather die than use coercion to save us. And as a result, we underwrite forms of life, such as military formation. Which looks so morally attractive to so many people because it’s so much more compelling than anything we offer as Christians. I don’t in anyway judge people in the military because I think they are in many ways so morally admirable. But most of the time no one ever told them Christians might have a problem with war and that really bothers me.” (Stanley Hauerwas, as quoted in the embedded video clip)

Military spending: * The Force; * The U.S. Warfare State and Evangelical Peacemaking by David P. Gushee [required reading]

* “The United States spends more on defense than all the other nations of the world combined. Between 1998 and 2011, military spending doubled, reaching more than seven hundred billion dollars a year—more, in adjusted dollars, than at any time since the Allies were fighting the Axis.”

* “Retired U.S. Army Col. Andrew Bacevich argues in several important recent books that the direction of U.S. foreign and military policy is slipping from democratic control. It is instead dominated by a cohort of active and retired military, intelligence, law enforcement, corporate, lobbyist, academic, and political elites whose power in Washington is sufficiently impressive as to foreclose serious reconsideration of what Bacevich calls the ‘Washington rules.’ The elites enforcing these rules consistently drive us to policies of permanent war, a staggeringly large global military presence, and regular global interventionism. This analysis stands in striking continuity with the warnings offered 50 years ago by President Eisenhower about the ‘military-industrial complex.'”

Scripture & nonviolence: Swords into Plowshares

“The image of swords into plowshares is about dismantling guns and making gardening tools instead. It’s moving from full armories to full granaries, preferring crops to a cache of weapons. … It calls us–not to a less violent world, but a non-violent one. … This song of swords into plowshares stays with me these days. I’ve decided I don’t want to waste my energies on fighting. I want to feed people.”

Suicide: Mr. Hurd and Leaving Life Behind by Craig Cottongim

“Please, if you are ever contemplating suicide, seek help. There are better ways out of your despair. I think anyone who has been affected by suicide would plead with you to find help. If you’ve lost someone who took their own life, please don’t seclude yourself, and don’t suppress your feelings. There are loving friends and family and church members too who would be a great source of comfort for you.”

War: Janine di Giovanni: What I Saw in the War [11 min. TED talk video clip]

“… there were bodies piled twice my height.”

Women in combat: Military Removes Ban on Women in Combat

“The military has removed its ban on women in combat. The decision, which overturns a 1994 ban and is one of outgoing Pentagon chief Leon Panetta’s biggest decisions, ‘opens thousands of front-line positions’ to women, though the change ‘won’t happen immediately.'”

this went thru my mind

 

Church: Church Steps: How People Move Through the Steps by Matt Dabbs [required reading]

“…  thinking in steps, not in programs. … All of us should be thinking … ‘how can I help someone get to the next step?'”

Church, discipleship & the missional movement: Problems With Missional by Matt Dabbs

“There have been some posts addressing the problems with the missional movement. Here are a few you may want to read.”

Church unity: The Dangerous Center Aisle of a Church by Ron Edmonson

“Would you join a church that couldn’t get along with itself?”

Football: A Conversation With James Franklin

“James Franklin … is the starting quarterback for the University of Missouri … He is the fourth child of Willie and Pam Franklin. His father, a well-known minister in the Dallas area, was once a standout receiver for the University of Oklahoma and played in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts. … “

Free will: Free Will as a Reflection of God by Neal Whitlow

“… what if our free will wasn’t just a curious experiment during God’s creative process? What if there was no highly debated executive decision on the part of the Trinity who decided to breathe life into a man who had the freedom of choice to defy the perfect and holy Creator of the Universe and go his own way? What if our free will was actually the result of being made in the image of God?”

Islam: Survey of Islam by Dr. Timothy Tennent

Legalism & Phariseeism: 6 Warning Signs We’re Becoming Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne [required reading]

“I’ve found that becoming a modern-day, accidental Pharisee is a lot like eating at Denny’s. No one wants to go there. We just end up there.”

Patience: Jesus as Oprah by Richard Beck

“No worries. Jack’s a Christian. His Lord commands him to be patient.”

Privacy, porn & social networking: Parasite’ Porn Websites Stealing Images and Videos Posted by Young People

“A study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) reveals that 88% of self-made sexual or suggestive images and videos posted by young people, often on social networking sites, are taken from their original online location and uploaded on to other websites.”

Same-sex issues: Let’s Face It by Carole Lattin

“… “the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It’s holiness … the goal is to lay down the lesser love of homosexuality and embrace the greater love of Christ’s atonement.”

this went thru my mind

 

Baptism: Good Reasons for Being Baptized by Edward Fudge

“If we are saved by being believers, what is the use in being baptized?”

Books: The Book That Drove Them Crazy by Andrew Ferguson [on Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind]

“The trends that followed the crisis in higher education that Bloom identified have only intensified since 1987: toward weaker academic requirements for students, greater specialization in the departments, a rigid orthodoxy in the university’s politics and cultural life. The university we face today is still the one he described, only more so.”

Burnout: Six Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout by David Murray

“Stress, the root cause of burnout, costs U.S. businesses $300 billion in lost productivity each year.”

Child development: Insights from the Youngest Minds by Natlie Angier

“All this time I’ve been giving infants objects to hold, or spinning them around in a room to see how they navigate, when what they really wanted to do was engage with other people!”

Church: * The 10 Warning Signs of an Inwardly Obsessed Church by Thom Rainer; * What’s a Church to Do? by Larry James

* “In my research of churches and consultation with churches, I have kept a checklist of potential signs that a church might be moving toward inward obsession. No church is perfect; indeed most churches will demonstrate one or two of these signs for a season. But the real danger takes place when a church begins to manifest three or more of these warning signs for an extended period of months and even years.”

* “Maybe what we need is a movement, a movement back to our roots, back to the foundational “value propositions” of our faith, ancient, but powerful … if, the church will surrender itself to the mission Jesus pursued.”

Computing: Add Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive to Windows’ Send-To Menu by Rick Broida

“Sometimes it’s just easier to right-click a file, then choose its destination from Windows’ Send to menu. … Wouldn’t it be great if you could add Dropbox, Google Drive, SugarSync, SkyDrive, or another cloud service to that menu? You can; here’s how.”

Environmentalism: Ask An Environmentalist … (Response) by Rachel Held Evans

“You guys asked some really tough questions of Scott Sabin for “Ask an environmentalist,” but Scott rose to the occasion with some wise, winsome, and informative responses.”

Football: Is it Ethical to Watch Football? by Brian LePort

“Is it ethical to watch football? For those of us who consider ourselves Christians do we have an obligation to disengage from the culture of violence promoted by college and professional football? … I find myself a bit confused by those who watch and enjoy Mixed Martial Arts. It is blood sport and savagery. I’ve told myself that the NFL is better. MMA aims to harm people. Boxing aims to harm people. The NFL aims to keep a ball from crossing the line, right? Well, maybe not the Saints.”

PacifismWhy I Am Not a Pacifist by Daniel Heimback

“The short answer to why I am not a Pacifist is that Jesus was not a Pacifist and what Jesus taught, and what the rest of the Bible teaches, does not align with Pacifist teaching. That for me is the bottom line.”

Thinking: 24 Logical Fallacies by Eric Dye

“Learning these concepts will not only improve your critical thinking skills, but make you a better blogger, commenter and all around sharper person.”