links to 7 items worth your time

1. Yes, You Can Be an Ethical Tech Consumer. Here’s How [essential reading]

“Products that we enjoy continue to create privacy, misinformation and workplace issues. We can do better at getting the industry to do better. … We are the buyers, users and supporters of the products and services that help Big Tech thrive. … So what do we do at this point to become more ethical consumers?”

2. In the time you spend on social media each year, you could read 200 books [required reading]

“Do not quit before you start. … Do the simple math. … Find the time. … Execute.”

3. How Cancer Changes Hope by Kate Bowler

“Much of Christian theology rests on the image of God as the ultimate reality beyond time and space, the creator of a past, present and future where all exists simultaneously in the Divine Mind. But where does that leave the bewildered believer who cannot see the future and whose lantern casts light only backward, onto the path she has already taken?”

4. The Virtual Commentary on Scripture

“The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS) is a freely accessible online publication that provides theological commentary on the Bible in dialogue with works of art. It helps its users to (re)discover the Bible in new ways through the illuminating interaction of artworks, scriptural texts, and commissioned commentaries. The VCS combines three academic disciplines: theology, art history, and biblical scholarship. While the project’s main commitment is to theology, it is responsibly informed by the latter two disciplines.”

5. The Otherworldly Beauty of a Dying Sea

“The Dead Sea is falling by more than a meter a year, and paradoxically, its destruction is revealing an eerie, enchanting world below the waters.”

6. Let Winter Do Its Work

“Winter has important work to do. Let winter do its work.”

7. Bono’s Testimony [11 min. video; essential viewing]

“… he [Jesus] was the Son of God or he … was nuts. … I find it hard to accept that wholly millions and millions of lives, half the earth, for two thousand years, have been touched, have felt their lives touched, and inspired, by some nutter. I don’t believe it.”

day 15 (trek 2): put a psalm in my heart

We read Psalm 38-40 today as the Put a Psalm in My Heart project continues.

Bones make up my sketch this morning as I read Psalm 38.

“… there is no health in my bones because of my sin.” (38.3b)

As we read Psalm 39 at mid-day today, my mind will be drawn to a moth and I’ll draw one in my Bible’s margin.

“When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath!” (39.11)

Tonight, as we call it a day, Psalm 40 is what I’ll scroll through and so, a literal scroll will be what my pencil etches in the margin of my Bible.

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.'” (40.7)

day 15 – put a psalm in my heart

Today we’re painfully privileged to read Psalm 38-40.

These three psalms are all of the same family: psalms of personal lament, an individual’s cry to God in grief, for help. They are by no means easy reading, if you’re reading them rightly with your heart wide open. But, they are truly essential reading for us all for we all have people around us who are in similar straits, whether we realize it right now or not.

If we can personally identify with what is said in any of these three psalms, we can say, “Thank you, Father, for helping me find a voice and reminding me that I am not alone.” If we cannot identify with the situations in which others find themselves, we can pray, “Father, give us eyes to see those around us who are like these who so prayed and so, begin to use us as instruments of your mercy and help.”

Morning. Psalm 38. The person who penned this psalm is suffering terribly from great illness. There is “no health in them” (vs. 7) and their spirit is “utterly crushed” (vs. 8). Their waking hours are spent in “searing pain” (vs. 7) and the even greater pain of knowing that their friends now avoid them (vs. 11). If that isn’t enough, those who have no use for them are closing in (vs. 12). This is way more than just a bad day.

Rightly or wrongly – we are not told – the psalmist believes his experience must surely be because God is punishing him for his sins (vs. 1-4). They are overwhelming to him and he now freely confesses them (vs. 4, 18). And yet, the psalmist’s greatest fear is that God will walk off from him completely, forsaking him entirely (vs. 21). And so, he continues to cry out to God for help of any kind (vs. 22).

Mid-day. Psalm 39. To be convinced that God is not for you, but against you, is this not the greatest suffering of all? And yet, the one who pens this prayer/song is more than a little persuaded that such is their lot. They feel like a “foreigner” or “stranger” to God (vs. 12a). They feel like they are being torn apart by deep, strong, opposite desires: (a) for God to come to their rescue {“… now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me … Remove your scourge from me …” – vs. 7-8, 10} and (b) for God to just finally get away from them and leave them alone {“Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.”}.

Tonight. Psalm 40. Here one who is “poor and needy” (vs. 17) finds themselves in a situation where “troubles without number surround” them (vs. 12). This comes in the form of people who see him as ripe for the picking, perfectly vulnerable. In fact, they consider this the perfect time of opportunity, for whatever reasons, to kill him (vs. 14-15)! So, recalling how God once rescued him before and how he responded to his rescuer then (vs. 1-10), he now makes request of the Lord to deliver him again (vs. 11-17).

In this world full of pain, Father God, give me callouses enough through service to those who hurt and despair that I can continue to care and serve and not be overcome with deep wounds myself, but Father, let me never become past feeling, and so, in both ways, may I become more and more like your Son, my Lord and Savior, the tireless and gritty, Man of Sorrows. Amen.