links: this went thru my mind

 

Attitude, life, outlook & perspective: How to View the Struggles of Your Day

“In every situation, we can choose to think higher. We are not to live in denial of the rugged nor insulting terrain. Rather, we are to set our minds upon the many more elements that are going right.  In every case (note: every), conditions could be much worse; but they are not. I’ve encountered brutal take your breath away kinds of days. By His clear call, I have understood that even these could be worse.  Leading my mind to think upon the many issues going well has allowed God the room to prove His above point. Peace that cannot be explained … arrives.”

Change, fear, generations & the Holy Spirit: Why are We So Afraid of Change?

“Fear isn’t to be the church gauge. Trust in the Spirit is. Change is an ever-present trait of the Holy Spirit of God. Each generation needs to remember this as we strive to move forward in the most exciting kingdom ever!”

Communication, leadership, problems & relationships: A Culturally Intelligent Way of Handling the Elephant in the Room

“I’ve always been a fan of directly addressing the elephant in the room. I don’t enjoy conflict but I loathe avoiding it even more.”

Depression & mental illness: * Five Common Myths About Depression; * Mental Illness & The Church: An Interview with Amy Simpson

* “1. Depression is synonymous with sadness. … 2. Depression is a sign of mental weakness. … 3. Depression is always situational. … 4. Depression symptoms are all in your head. … 5. If you are diagnosed with depression, you’ll be on antidepressants the rest of your life.”

* “One of the most painful elements of mental illness is that it’s marked by isolation, which is exactly the opposite of what people need. Everybody needs community and loving friendship and a place where they belong. And one of the things people with mental illness most need is for this kind of loving community to tighten around them, not to loosen. This is one of the things the church can provide.”

Discipleship & faith: Kent Brantley: Every Now and Then a Disciple Breaks Outs

“Who says that kind of thing in that moment?”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Anger & grief: How to Best Handle Your Anger in Grief

“In order to get a handle on anger in your grief journey, you may want to remember the following facts …”

Christians, persecution, & Syria: The Coptic Church in Peril

“It looks like the Coptic church may well go the route of the Assyrian church which was also expelled from the middle east by persecution.”

Church, mental health, & mental illness: Mental Illness and the Church: New Research on Mental Health from LifeWay Research

“Medicine is not the answer to everything, and we live in an over-medicated world, but we need to treat character problems like character problems—and illnesses like illness. I wish more Christians saw that.”

Consumerism, employment, idolatry, money, simplicity & work: * Pope Attacks Global Economics for ‘worshipping ‘god of money’; * 10 Common Objections to Minimalism

* “‘The world has become an idolator of this god called money,’ he said. … Francis … ended his improvised speech with a prayer asking God to ‘give us work and teach us to fight for work.'”

* “… what’s holding you back from exploring what minimalism has to offer?”

Internet & privacy: 9 Tips for Keeping Your Internet Usage Private [infographic]

“… follow these nine tips for keeping your Internet usage private …”

this went thru my mind

 

Children, crisis & grief: * Dealing With Grief: Five Things NOT To Say And Five Things To Say In A Trauma Involving Children by Emily C. Heath; * How to Help Children After a Crisis by Delia Halverson; * Helping Children Cope With Violence by LeeDell Stickler

* “Unless you are God, don’t use this line.”

* “… during a crisis, we are often so preoccupied with news of the event that we don’t realize how overpowering our conversations and the continuing media coverage can be for a child.”

* “How can you help the children in your church cope with violence such as this?”

Forgiveness & work: The Five Stages of Forgiveness in the Workplace by J.B. Wood

“It’s not until you’ve been royally screwed over by someone at work that you realize how impossible it is to forgive. … if we really want to follow Jesus, we must … face the act of forgiving head-on.”

Faith, freedom, gun control, the U.S.A. & violence:* Freedom Bites Back by Scot McKnight [required reading]; * Guns and God and the U.S.A. by Patrick Mitchel; * The Freedom of an Armed Society by Firmin Debrabander [required reading]; * Do We Have the Courage to Stop This? by Nicholas Kristof [actually, all four of these article are “required reading,” but read those by McKnight and Debrabander if you can read only two]

* “What does the church have to say about freedom? What does the gospel say about freedom? about violence? These are questions for Christians to ponder. We look to Jesus, not to laws about freedom.”

* “What I struggle to understand is the enthusiastic and active involvement in this gun culture by so many American Christians (and I know many others are as baffled by this as I am). By gun culture I mean a culture that puts trust in violence to solve problems and bring ‘peace’. That blithely seems to assume that I, the individual, am righteous enough not only to use violence for ‘just’ ends, but also that I am beyond making fatal mistakes and beyond the corruption that the power over life and death brings. Which leads, in some places, to numerous Christians turning up at church armed and where churches employ armed guards? How can Christians (of all people), with a supposedly developed and realistic sense of human sin, be so unself-critical? My theory – is this the dark side of American optimism about human nature? And the church (or part of it) has bought into it without a second thought?”

* “An armed society is the opposite of a civil society. … Liberty entails precisely the freedom to offend. A gun in every pocket would stifle that. … Such is the effect of guns on speech — and assembly. Like it or not, they transform the bearer, and end the conversation in some fundamental way. They announce that the conversation is not completely unbounded, unfettered and free; there is or can be a limit to negotiation and debate — definitively.”

* “Why can’t we regulate guns as seriously as we do cars?”

God & tragedy: Where is God When Tragedy Strikes? by Terry Rush

“So where was God during these recent tragedies?  He was covering for the innocent and the guilty some 2000 years back for precisely such times as these.  Where was God?  He was spending His ideal and perfect Jesus in payment for both heartache and break of all mankind for all time.”

Marriage: Winning Back Your Wife’s Heart by Ron Edmonson

” … what is a man to do if he feels his wife’s heart is injured? How do you heal a broken heart?”

Mental illness, mental disabilities, & tragedy: Don’t Blame Autism for Newtown by Priscilla Gilman

“This country needs to develop a better understanding of the complexities of various conditions and respect for the profound individuality of its children. We need to emphasize that being introverted doesn’t mean one has a developmental disorder, that a developmental disorder is not the same thing as a mental illness, and that most mental illnesses do not increase a person’s tendency toward outward-directed violence.”

this went thru my mind

 

Evil, gun control, mental illness & violence: * Violence: The Issue We Must Face by K. Rex Butts; * I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother by Liza Long; * [required reading]; * The Slaughtering of the Innocents—- Again by Ben Witherington

“… I’m angry because violence has in many ways become our way of life.  What I want to know is why are we so violent?  Yet this seems to be a question that people want to evade.”

“I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.”

“I was watching an interview this week after the massacre in Newtown and the inevitable question was asked— ‘What could we do to prevent this from happening again?’ The candid answer given by a former head of various FBI operations was as follows— ‘absolutely nothing unless we are prepared to significantly change our gun laws and also change what we do with the mentally ill’. But even that would not be enough because some mass murderers are not technically deranged, they are simply wicked. There is a difference.”

Ministry, preaching & tragedy: * Tim Keller on the Connecticut School Shooting…Final Thoughts before Preaching Today; * Christmas in Connecticut: Touching the Pain of the World; * President Obama’s Homily in Newtown— 2 Cor. 4.7-18 [required viewing; 18 min. video clip]

“As a minister, of course, I’ve spent countless hours with people who are struggling and wrestling with the biggest question – the WHY question in the face of relentless tragedies and injustices. And like all ministers or any spiritual guides of any sort, I scramble to try to say something to respond and I always come away feeling inadequate and that’s not going to be any different today. But we can’t shrink from the task of responding to that question.”

“Christmas is touching the pain of the world, experiencing it as real…and then choosing to have hope.”

“It is indeed a rare thing to see a President offer a homily on national TV broadcast to the whole nation. Here is the 18 minute eulogy and homily he offered in Newtown …”

this went thru my mind

 

Bible reading & lectio divina: Lectio Divina: A Critical and Religious Reading of the Bible by Daniel Harrington

“… lectio divina (“sacred reading”) … has four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and action. (1) Reading. Here the question is, What does the text say? … (2) Meditation. Here the question is, What does the text say to me? … (3) Prayer. Here the question is, What do I want to say to God on the basis of this text? … (4) Contemplation/Action. Those who pray with Scripture often find the exercise so engaging that they want to stay with the text, further relish its details, and integrate it into their piety. This is contemplation. Still others find that their engagement with the text may prompt them to take action.”

Capital punishment, love, mercy, murder & rape: My Most Difficult Choice: Sharing God’s Love with a Condemned Child Rapist and Murderer by Al Maxey

“… when God calls us to make choices in life, He doesn’t promise they will be easy ones. What He does promise is to give us the power and strength to meet the responsibilities and challenges of those choices.”

Change: Overcoming the Reason People Resist Change by Dan Rockwell

“Change becomes real when we have to change our own attitudes and behaviors, not until.”

Mental illness: Mental Illness, Violence and a Call for the Church by Amy Simpson

“Did you know that people with mental illness are generally no more violent than the general population? Statistically, it’s true. … Yet with our sensational media coverage and quick stereotypes, people tend to believe that their neighbors with mental illness are ticking time bombs, violent criminals just waiting for the right time to attack. The media’s emphasis on a person’s history of mental illness is meaningless. A full 25 percent of the U. S. population has a history of diagnosable mental illness. And many more of us have a history of treatment for mental health, considering all our visits to counselors. It’s not unusual in any way to have a history of treatment for mental health, yet its emphasis reinforces fear of mental illness in society and in the church itself. Such an ungenerous view of people is unbecoming for followers of Christ.”

Ministry: Lashed to the Mast: John Frye

“We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow to stick to it. This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need lived out in our community. … Promise right now you want give in to what we demand of you. You are not the minister of our changing desires, our time-conditioned understanding of our needs, our secularized hopes for something better. With these vows we are lashing you to the mast of Word and sacrament so you will be unable to respond to our siren voices.”

Politics: Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne: A Dialogue on Politics

“The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. This is the work we are all called to do. We can’t wait on politicians to change the world. We can’t wait on governments to legislate love. And we don’t let policies define how we treat people; how we treat people shapes our policies.”

Religion & spirituality: Someone Says, “I’m Spiritual but Not Religious,” What Could Be Wrong With That?

“… one can’t afford to view spirituality as a substitute for religion. A spirituality that is disconnected from religious tradition is bereft of both community and history; it has no recourse to the benefits of a larger body of discourse and practice, and it lacks accountability. Such spirituality quickly becomes privatized and rootless, something directly opposite to the Christian understanding of ‘life in the Spirit.”