this went thru my mind


Chick-Fil-A: In the Basement by Jen Hatmaker; * Some Words for Christians On Both Sides of the Chick-fil-A War by Rachel Held Evans

* “This is precisely how I feel about the Chick-Fil-A debacle and all the other accouterments of the culture wars. I am so over it. I’m so over the fear mongering and hate propaganda. I’m over the political posturing and power plays. I’m over the finger pointing and name-calling. The storms are raging overhead, and let me tell you something: I’m going to the basement.”

* “Just some thoughts from a retired veteran of the culture wars …”

Christianity in China: Listening to Chinese Christians

“There is much we can learn by listening to Chinese Christians.”

Churches of Christ: * Homeless: An Essay on the Ecclesial Lives of Young Adults from the Churches of Christ by James McCarty; * JamesMcCarty’s Thoughts on Why Young People Are Leaving Churches of Christ by Matt Dabbs

* “I have met dozens of young adults (20-35 years old) over the last several years who grew up in the churches of Christ but no longer attend one. I’ve met dozens of others who still attend a church of Christ, at least somewhat regularly, who feel that such a church is no longer the ideal place for them but know of nowhere else to go. I am primarily concerned in this essay with the latter though I will make some reference to the former. These still-attending-but-uncomfortable CoCers are uncomfortable in the churches of their youth for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are …”

* “This is not a unique list for churches of Christ. I am not certain that his five points get to the heart of what is really happening here. I think this is more of a symptom checklist of some deeper issues that have to be uncovered if we are going to move forward. You could “fix” all five of his points and still have young people leaving the church.”

Creativity: Tips on How to Be More Creative by John Cleese

“… we can benefit greatly from being even more creative. So how to do that? One way to start is to listen to the legendary John Cleese below and incorporate his tips into your daily work and life where possible. This speech is from 1991 and is as relevant as ever. … In case you don’t have 30 minutes to watch this video,  I have summarized Cleese’s thoughts here. “

Disappointment: 10 Tips for Recovering from Major Disappointments by Ron Edmonson

“Sometimes life throws curves at us that take the wind from our sail. If we aren’t careful we can allow the injury to haunt us for life; never regaining what we have lost. … What steps should you take to get back on track and succeed again after a major disappointment?”

Evangelism: An Evangelism Secret by Terry Rush

“Pay attention.”

Ministry & writing: Paul and the Pastoral Practice of Writing

“It’s easy to underestimate the value of letter writing for pastoral ministry in the electronic age.  But when a pastor takes time to write a letter (even if via email) to a person under their care it creates a connection. I asked a pastor friend of mine, now retired, to share his thoughts/experiences of writing letters as a pastor. Here’s what he said.”

Photography & the Middle East: NASA’s View of the Middle East by Seth M. Rodriquez

“NASA has a website called ‘Visible Earth’ where they post pictures taken by astronauts and ‘sensors’ they have in orbit.  Within this large collection of pictures, there are several that are focused in on Israel and the Middle East. Here’s a taste of what you can find there …”

Poverty: Poverty – Understanding Scale [required reading]

“The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four. Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month? … The following are 40 facts about poverty in America that will blow your mind …”

Priorities: * Erase “I Don’t Have Time” from Your Vocabulary by Melanie Pinola; * Could a Checklist Empower Your Ministry?

* “Whenever you find yourself thinking ‘I don’t have time’ change it to ‘It’s not a priority.’ Watch how quickly your perspective shifts when looking at life’s challenges this way.”

* “It worked for the airlines, the surgeons, and maybe it will work for the ministry.”

Stillness: The Practice of Stillness by Michael Hyatt

“… you must do nothing for at least fifteen minutes a day. … I have … practiced this discipline for twenty-two days in a row. Honestly, this has been one of the most transformational things I have ever done.”

Taxes: Taxation, Charity, and Robbery by James F. McGrath

“I’ve heard the argument made that the government taxing the wealthy and redistributing that wealth to those less fortunate than them is not taxation, but robbery. I wonder how many of those who say such things are Christians or Jews , and would also think Deuteronomy 26:12 was robbery?”

The Blind Side & Lifeway: Hollywood’s Blind Side by Mark Joseph

“Various writers are publicly kvetching about the decision by a Baptist-owned bookstore chain called Lifeway to stop carrying The Blind Side DVD because, according to the Southern Baptist Convention it contains “explicit profanity,” takes ‘God’s name in vain’ and contains a ‘racial slur.’ … But are the Baptists really at fault here? Aren’t they entitled to carry whatever product they want for whatever reason they want? And who are we as non-Baptists to castigate them for what they decide to stock in their stores, especially those products which offend their deepest religious sensitivities?”

Vision: The 5 Major Obstacles to Personal Vision by Will Mancini

“It’s very important to diagnose your life concerning the common obstacles that keep you from things like setting goals, defining your personal vision or achieving our life dreams. I believe there are five primary blockades to consider.”

Warfare: A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away

“When he was deployed in Iraq, ‘you land and there’s no more weapons on your F-16, people have an idea of what you were just involved with.’ Now he steps out of a dark room of video screens, his adrenaline still surging after squeezing the trigger, and commutes home past fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to help with homework — but always alone with what he has done.”

this went thru my mind

Archaeology: I dig Ben Witherington’s two part series entitled The Oldest Temple in the World. Here are links to part one and part two.

Church: Joe McKeever’s 6 Things We Have To Get Right in Church or It’s All Over is spot-on.

Communion: I really like Matt Dabbs’ Sharing the Lord’s Supper Around Tables.

Dumbness: In droves, apparently. Scroll down here and read the item at 5:14 p.m. and weep. Good grief, this is almost enough to make me adopt the NIV 2011, the successor to the TNIV.

Fathers: Tomorrow is Father’s Day. Let me tell you, when it comes to being blessed with a good Dad, I am so blessed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Ray Paul Smith of Duncan, OK! And while we’re thinking about all things father-related, take a look at the PewResearch Center’s post entitled A Tale of Two Fathers: More are Active, But More are Absent. May all of our fathers comes to worship our Father.

Giving: Our Governor Rick Perry’s monetary religious giving has been in the news of late. Seems as how Perry gave a grand total of (wait for it) … goose egg to his church or any other religious organization in 2009. Actually, that almost sounds better than owning up that he only gave a total of $90 in 2007. In fact, according to his tax returns, he’s given of 0.5% of the $2.68 million he’s earned as governor since 2000. Given how he’s been banging the drum lately about prayer, etc., that’s got to be a wee bit embarrassing. Especially when the average American Christian gives a whopping … 1.2%. (sigh) The Gov, and many of us, can do better.

Immigration / racism / scapegoating: Roger Olson’s post entitled Scapegoating: an old human habit still around in attitudes and actions towards illegal immigrants? should give us all some pause.

Just for fun: Stormtroopers 365 is very creative photography of Star Wars stormtroopers in “real life” situations.

Research: ATLASerials® is an online, full-text collection of 177 major religion and theology journals (327,700+ articles). But did you know that if you’re a graduate of Abilene Christian University that you have free online access to ATLASerials®? ‘Tis true! Claudia Greer’s post entitled For Those Who Preach will tell you what you need to do. If you’re an ACU graduate, contact Craig Churchill, ACU’s Theological Librarian, for information as to how you can gain access. If you’re not an ACU graduate, check the listing of other participating institutions that offer such access to their graduates.