links: this went thru my mind


Bible reading, discipleship, meaning & understanding: 7 Arrows for Bible Reading [essential reading]

“We did not want our people to simply talk about the Bible. We wanted them to understand the Bible and know how to apply it to their lives.”

Christian faith & culture: * I Don’t Miss Mayberry. . . And Neither Should You!; * 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 – Praying with Heads Covered

* “… I don’t know why Christians would long for any idyllic American culture, be it the traditional culture that Mayberry represents or the more progressive culture that America has seemingly become.”

* “If the problem that is at the heart of the veiling of men / unveiling of women is taking worship cues from the pagan world, then there is a most serious application … it is possible that the American church has taken its cues from the pagan world rather than from the Bible.”

Ecology & environment: The Ocean is Broken

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen. In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.”

Mormonism: A Brigham Young University Professor’s Escape from Mormonism

“Like me, he no longer believed that Joseph Smith, the polygamist founder of the Mormon church, was a prophet of God.”

Politics: Is It Time for Post-Partisan Politics?

“… perhaps now, we have finally tired of the foolish antics of Congress and will be motivated to imagine a new sorts of politics that begins in our local neighborhoods.”

this went thru my mind


Angry Christians: D. A. Carson on Angry Christians and the Devil’s Tactics by David Rogers

“… at the end of the day, if you can’t do it with compassion, and gently, and leave the doors open for evangelism, boy, you destroy everything.”

Archaeology: Jewish Worship, Pagan Symbols: Zodiac Mosaics in Ancient Synagogues by Walter Zanger

“It isn’t the synagogues themselves that are the problem; it is the decorations in them. What in heaven’s name were they doing? How could they be making pictures, especially in the synagogue? Didn’t they know the second commandment?”

Bible interpretation: Long, Long Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away…. (What I’m Saying is the Bible is Really, Really Old) by Peter Enns

“It seems many of us, myself included, can get a bit careless, even cavalier, about the Bible, thinking that we ‘get it’ because we happen to read it regularly in our native tongue. Perhaps we should regain a sense of respect for the distance this book has traveled to land on our coffee tables and work desks.”

Megachurches: Megachurch ‘High’ May Explain Their Success

“A University of Washington study posits that worship services at megachurches can trigger feelings of transcendence and changes in brain chemistry — a spiritual ‘high’ that keeps congregants coming back for more. … Researchers observed services and conducted 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys at 12 megachurches for the University of Washington study.”

Mormonism: Polygamy, Brigham Young and His 55 Wives

“Brigham Young, Joseph Smith’s successor as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a tremendous number of wives. … The sheer variety of Brigham Young’s marriages makes it difficult to make sense of them. He married — was sealed to, in Mormon parlance — young … and old … single women and widows … his first two mothers-in-law … [and] women who were already married, some to Mormon men in good standing.”

Politics: Why Christians Should be Leery About Politics by Scott Elliott [required reading]

“Here are a few reasons why we should remain skeptical of politics in general: politics promotes unethical behavior … politics embraces the language of gloom and doom … it is a choice between the lesser of two evils … politics is divisive … [and] politics offers a false sense of salvation.”

Poverty, respect, slander & speech: Slandering the Poor: An Exercise in Self-Righteousness by Craig M. Watts [required reading]

“… the fact of the matter is that most of the adult poor and near poor do work. It is not because of a lack of effort that they are poor but because of a lack of decent income. And that lack of income is coupled with a lack of opportunity. …

“But none of this has stopped the negative attitudes and widespread slander of the poor. A study commissioned by the Salvation Army found that 49% of American believes that a strong work ethic is all that is required for someone to escape poverty and about three in 10 said poor people usually have lower moral values. Given these views it is not surprising that this same study found that 27% of Americans believe poor people are poor, not because of economic circumstances, but because they are lazy.”

Same-sex marriage: When and Unclean Touch by Mark Buchanan

“Recently, a young couple started coming to our church. They’re very likable. They married a few years ago on the other side of the country, then migrated west to our town, and visited several churches until they ended up in ours. Both take their faith seriously. Both are seeking a place where they can worship, serve, grow. They want a loving and Christ-centered environment in which to raise their daughters in the ‘nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ Both are women. Linda and Rita are lesbians. … We didn’t know what to do with them.”

Time management: The Eisenhower Matrix

“Notice how The Eisenhower Matrix places the most positive emphasis on Quadrant I. That differs from the chart above that the late Stephen Covey promoted in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, where he numbered the boxes differently and said Quadrant II is where you want to spend most of your time for effective time management.”

this went thru my mind


Church & young adults: The Church’s Doomed Pursuit of the Elusive Young Adult by Bruce Reyes-Chow

“… before we journey too far down the path of our young adults expedition, I would offer three faulty assumptions that many of us make when thinking about young adults and the future of the church.”

Church decline: The Perfect Storm That is Resulting in Declining Churches by Matt Dabbs

“Those seven things combine to make the perfect storm for church decline. So what are we going to do about it?”

Culture, fear, history, morality & the United States: “America is Going Downhill Fast” . . . and Other Stupid Statements by C. Michael Patton

“… nostalgia is a common condition among us politically conservative Christians. ‘If we could only get back to the way things used to be.’ If we could only see how America is going downhill fast. … Am I missing something about the glory days?”

Mormonism: Why Mormonism is not Christianity– the Issue of Christology by Ben Witherington

“I would encourage you to read carefully through the statement at the link below by a practicing Mormon scholar, presented at Harvard Divinity School a few years ago. … Please note that these views, as expressed by Mr. Millet are not unusual or eccentric, rather they are typical.”

Neil Armstrong: Another Look: Walking On The Moon by Jeff Dunn

“Here is where I separate myself from the moonwalkers. I do not have to travel away from this planet in order to have my otherworldly experience.”

this went thru my mind


Criticism: 5 Ways to Handle Criticism Like a Champ by Mark Altrogge

“… after 31 years as a pastor, though I should be used to feedback, I still squirm when told my opening preaching illustration was lame or my counsel didn’t part the clouds and cause angels to sing.”

Millenials: Young ‘Millennials’ Losing Faith in Record Numbers

“… 1 in 4 young adults choose “unaffiliated” when asked about their religion. But most within this unaffiliated group — 55% — identified with a religious group when they were younger.”

Mormonism: Go West, Young Religion: Mormonism on Exhibit by Edward RothStein

“For a glimpse of how Mormons see themselves, though, it’s worth visiting the Church History Museum of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here [Salt Lake City, UT] … The Church History Museum is at 45 North West Temple Street in Salt Lake City … or”

Shepherding: * When Elders Get It Right by Dan Bouchelle; * Staying at Your Post: Reflections on John 10:11-18 by Alyce McKenzie

* “I had just witnessed elders shepherding each other in a real and vulnerable way. I heard mature men bear their souls and tell some of the most painful stories from their past. I saw God’s power made perfect in weakness. I saw men who often expressed feelings of inadequacy as shepherds excelling in that very role. I saw a redemptive community at work.”

* “… Wallace Hartley … left work as a bank teller for a career in music … and he worked some eighty maritime voyages before joining the Titanic as bandmaster.”

this went thru my mind

Business: Four Destructive Myths Most Companies Still Live By by Tony Schwartz

Church & leadership: Should Christian Organizations Adopt the Business Model? by Roger Olson

Criticism: 5 Positive Things Critique Can Do For You by Jeff Berryman

Elders & leaders: * The Power of Elders by Terry Rush is “required reading” by all, elders or otherwise. * “The Fifteen Hour Rule”: A Challenge to All Church-Planters – Quit Working More Than 15 Hours!! (on your churches) by David Fitch

Gambling: The Billionaires Betting On Internet Gambling by Nathan Vardi

God, Calvinism & more: * Dan Bouchelle has a very good series of posts on God, the following link being to part 1 of that series: Why I Don’t Pray for God to Reveal to Me What He Has Already Chosen. * Richard Beck’s post entitled Your God is Too Big is not to be missed.

Heart: The Four Disciplines of the Heart by Michael Hyatt

Hermeneutics, homosexuality, sexuality, violence, & war: On Christian Communion: Why is Killing Okay But Not Sexuality? by Richard Beck is the “must read” post in this list.

Jesus: Ben Witherington’s series on the literacy of Jesus is interesting. Here’s the link to the first post in that series Was Jesus an Illiterate Peasant? and here are links to parts two and three. Four part are projected.

Megachurches: What Does the Average Megachurch Look Like? by Ed Stetzer

Politics: The Shaping of a Candidate: A Look at Mitt Romney’s Faith Journey by Jessica Ravitz

Television: 51 Untruths I’ve Learned From Television by Joshua Becker