links: this went thru my mind

Church, culture, demographics & multi-racial: The Changing Face of the American Church

“If you ask, would you like to have a multiethnic church, everyone says, ‘that would be wonderful’ … When you ask, what are you doing to make that happen—that’s when you hear the crickets.”

Contentment, life, meaning, significance & stimulation: What If Having an Extraordinary Life Isn’t the Point?

“What we are called to do every day, right where God has placed us, is rich and rewarding. … Sometimes, the best way to change the world is to live extraordinarily in what looks like an ordinary existence—to radically love and serve those around us every day, no matter where we are.”

Pornography & repentance: * Men and Porn (a four-part series; parts 1, 2, 3 & 4)

“The tips and suggestions below are based on my research into cognitive psychology over the years as well as from reported experiences of men who have quit using porn. Again, there’s no silver bullet. What works for one man, may not work for you. You need to be ready to experiment and try different things.”

Water: Water is the New Oil: How Corporations Took Over a Basic Human Right

“Water has become a commodity …and the world’s poor are paying the price. … Twenty percent of the world right now does not have access to clean water. Twenty percent of the world also happens to live on less than a dollar a day. And it’s interesting to look at how much those two groups overlap.”

this went thru my mind


Church: * 10 Reasons to Be Involved in a Church; * The Main Reason People Leave a Church by Thom Rainer [required reading]

* “… give church another chance. By getting involved, you’ll discover that what you once viewed as a chore is actually a blessing. Here are 10 reasons why.”

* “… the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.”

Computers & computing: Is Google Set to Kill Off the Password?

“The search giant [Google] is experimenting with USB keys, mobile phones and even jewelry that can act as a physical ‘key’ to give users access to their account. The firm’s security bosses are set to publish their findings next month – and say they could soon be commonplace.”

Divorce: How Divorce Affects Young Adults’ Religiosity

“… children of divorce make up the leading edge — or what she calls the ‘broken leading edge’ — of a growing number of adults who say they are spiritual, but don’t affiliate with a particular religion.”

Pornography: Chronicling Porn’s Damaging Effects

“It has never been easier to access pornography, and massive amounts of it.”

Racism: The Flames of Heaven by Jonathan Storment

“… I don’t think racism is really a white problem, or a black problem…it’s a human problem. … I would think the church would be the one group who could do something about this.”

this went thru my mind


Archaeology: That’s not a sling stone… THIS is a sling stone

“Excavated a couple of days ago at Khirbet Qeiyafa …”

Church & Jesus: Churches Converted to Jesus by Terry Rush

“We in the Church of Christ have lost our way along with any other group who has elevated stance and status over Jesus.”

Culture: Unwrapping Our Imaginations From The American Dream

“American preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa’s apartheid, or Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white and blue myth. You have to expose, and confront, the great disconnection between the kindness, compassion and caring of most American -people, and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good -people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them. This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good, but it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.”

Employment, happiness & ministry: The Ten Happiest Jobs

“#1. Clergy:  The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all.”

Global warming: * The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic; * Global Warming, a New Study

“Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

“A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that ‘essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.'”

iPad/iPhone apps: Aesop for Children by the Library Of Congress

“The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations. The Aesop for Children interactive book is designed to be enjoyed by readers of any age. The book contains over 140 classic fables, accompanied by beautiful illustrations and interactive animations.”

Knowledge: The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge by Maria Popova

“In an age obsessed with practicality, productivity, and efficiency, I frequently worry that we are leaving little room for abstract knowledge and for the kind of curiosity that invites just enough serendipity to allow for the discovery of ideas we didn’t know we were interested in until we are, ideas that we may later transform into new combinations with applications both practical and metaphysical.”

Lust: * Lust: A Topic We Just Don’t Talk About…and Are Dying Because of It by Matt Dabbs; * Hey Married People: Quit Checking Out People You’re Not Married To by Trey Morgan; * Can Porn be Used Responsibly? by Kurt Willems

* “The only thing I can really remember really being taught about lust in church  growing up (aside from the above story) was that it was the phrase, ‘It is okay to let a bird land on your head but don’t let it build a nest.’ In other words, seeing someone and thinking they are attractive is one thing but taking that a step further in your mind was a sin. The next logical question in the mind of a teenage boy is this, ‘at exactly what point does the bird’s nest building begin?'”

* “Whoever you’re married to, is what you should be ‘into.'”

* “… porn always removes God from the center replacing the Divine with lustful desires. Porn never glorifies God or embodies what St. Irenaeus proclaimed: ‘The glory of God is humanity fully alive.’ Porn distorts God’s image-bearers, thus misrepresenting our perception of God’s glory.”

Politics & morality: Parting the Red (and Blue) Sea by Cameron Nations

“The Church remains its strongest and purest when it holds a ‘from the margins” mindset.'”

Relationships: 21 Ways to Upgrade Your Relationships by Jim Martin, parts one, two, three & four.

“What are some practical ways to invest in the relationships that really matter?”

Small groups: Create a Caring Church by Brett Eastman

“If you want to create a church community that really cares for one another, the best way to do it is through small groups. When small groups become the vehicle for care-giving, the whole church gets involved in sharing one another’s burdens—a much more personal approach than relegating the task to a committee. The whole congregation should be making hospital visits, taking meals to people when they’re sick or something’s happened, doing childcare when someone’s in crisis and giving money when somebody’s lost a job. The best way to make this happen is to get everyone in groups where they love and care about each other.”

The Christian objective: Who Moved the Goalpost? by Dan Bouchelle

“… somehow, the goal of becoming fully formed in Christ got reduced to ‘going to heaven.'”

Violence: And Brief (and let’s hope final, but If I know me probably not) Comment on God’s Violence in the Old Testament by Peter Enns

“I am taking the time to talk about God’s violence in the Old Testament because it is a window onto a large and perennially central theological topic that can be expressed as follows: What is the Bible, anyway, and what are we supposed to do with it? To put it another way, What do we have a right to expect of the Bible as the Word of God? Or yet another way, Does the Bible give us unerring, brute factual information, or are we seeing something more complex and subtle there?”

this went thru my mind


Brain & reading: The Brain and Reading

“… when people learn to read, brain areas designed for other skills are being converted for the reading skill.”

Culture & homosexuality: How to Win a Culture War and Lose a Generation by Rachel Held Evans

“When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was ‘antihomosexual.’ For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : ‘judgmental,’ ‘hypocritical,’ and ‘too involved in politics.’)”

Honesty: Bonhoeffer on Telling the Truth

“Under the heat of the Nazis, in Tegel prison, and surely under the cloud of having participated in a conspiracy to wipe out Hitler, and clearly how he responded in interrogations and concealed the conspiracy, [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer wrote a short essay, or a fragment, called “What does it mean to tell the truth?””

Introverts: 5 Ways I Breakout of My Introversion by Ron Edmonson

“I am frequently confused for an extrovert. On Sundays and other important days of ministry I can perform as an extrovert. I assure you, it’s not the real me!”

Parenting: So How Do We Talk About This? When Children See Internet Pornography by Amy O’Leary

“There is no set script, and no predictable moment for the conversation.”

Politics: Partisan Psychology: Why Do People Choose Political Loyalties Over Facts? by Shanikar Vedantmm

“… partisans reject such information not because they’re against the facts, but because it’s painful.”

Simplicity: The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life by Joshua Becker

“Based on our personal journey, our conversations, and our observations, here is a list of the 10 most important things to simplify in your life today to begin living a more balanced, joyful lifestyle.”

Social networking: Here’s Why Google and Facebook Might Completely Disappear in the Next 5 Years by Eric Jackson

“Mobile companies born since 2010 have a very different view of the world.”

this went thru my mind

Church: The Early Church by Timothy Archer.

Humor: On the 8th Day, God Created Photoshop.

iPhone: I don’t have an iPhone (yet), but if (when) I dump my Android and get an iPhone, it’s going to go straightaway into this case: iPhone Case/Wallet. Ol’ school cool.

John R. W. Stott: When I ask myself who are those whom I have never, but I know have greatly influenced my perspective of things, the name “John Stott” appears high on the list. Four of his books have especially spoke to me: Basic Christianity, Between Two Worlds, The Cross of Christ, and his commentary on Romans.  John Stott died this week. Tim Stafford’s article, John Stott Has Died, is particularly well done.

Pornography: Ed Stetzer’s The Pornification of American Culture and Benjamin Nolot’s hard-hitting article entitled Does Modern Slavery Start at Home? is important reading.

Religious trends: Barna Examines Trends in 14 Religious Factors over 20 Years (1991 to 2011).

Wealth: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics: Twenty-to-One.

Worship: Skye Jethani’s article Worship Through a Child’s Eyes will certainly make you think.