links: this went thru my mind


Abuse, atonement & God: Atonement and Divine Child Abuse

“About a decade ago it became avant garde theology to contend the classical Christian theory of atonement was nothing less than divine child abuse. That is, the image of a Father punishing a Son, or exacting retribution at the expense of his own Son, or punishing a Son for the good of others — each of these became a way of deconstructing classical atonement theory. … this approach … abuses the Bible’s image.”

Boredom, happiness, technology & wonder: Everything’s Amazing And Nobody’s Happy [required reading]

“Simply put, we bore easily. Once, when giving a radio address (an older technology which once seemed like magic), Albert Einstein looked straight into the muzzle of our dilemma: ‘Everybody should be ashamed who uses the wonders of science and engineering without thinking and having mentally realized not more of it than a cow realizes of the botany of the plants which it eats with pleasure.'”

Behavior & habits: 36 Lessons I’ve Learned About Habits

“I’ve learned these lessons the hard way.”

Blessings, money, possession & prosperity: The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

“So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It’s not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living. No. My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us. And for this blessing, may our response always be, ‘Use me.'”

Church, humility, pride, relationships & self-esteem: * Sean Palmer, the Church [essential reading]; * Civil Religion: Better Than You [essential reading]

* “Reconciliation is what it means to be church; to go “to church.” It’s what Jesus intended our gatherings to be and to produce. I can’t be reconciled alone. I can worship alone, but I can’t do and be church alone. And I can’t be reconciled with people who are already just like me. Church is more than a gathering of my friends. It’s the differences, the tensions, the partisanship, the space between that creates the opportunity for God to transform my heart from what it is not to what God created it to be.”

* “Christianity is not about being better than someone else, it is among many things, the recognition that we are better than no one else. This is not a rhetorical move, it is reality.”

Cinema: Casting the Devil Out of the Jesus Story

“Why the ‘Son of God’ film excludes Satan from the Christ story—and what’s at stake.”

Nationalism: Which Country Does God Really Love the Most?

“Sometimes we Americans think that God is an American and that He loves all the other countries, but just wishes they were like His special country!”

Parenting, technology & teens: Tips for Parenting Middle School Kids Using Texting and Social Media

“The biggest concern parents have is the undue influence texting and social media has on their children. The best way to counter undue influence is to provide quality attention and take an active interest in what is happening with your child (beyond sports and grades) and help them put the texting and social media apps in proper perspective for their lives.”

Politics & religious liberty: How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions

“… no matter what soundbites you hear this election year, remember this: Religious liberty is never secured by a campaign of religious superiority.”

links: this went thru my mind (on violence)


God & violence: The Story: The Loving God of War (parts 1, 2 & 3)

“If God is most fully revealed in Jesus, and Jesus dies for others, then how can God kill and command others to kill in such high numbers?”

Guantánamo Bay: Guantánamo Hunger Strike Is Largely Over, U.S. Says

“David Remes, a lawyer for several Guantánamo detainees, said participation had fallen off because detainees had largely achieved their goals.”

Iran, nuclear weapons & the U.S.: The Irony of the “Thaw” in US-Iranian Relations [required reading]

“… dig deeper, and listen well to the marginalized voices in our world. So that we can understand more deeply why Christendom has so twisted Christianity, and why the West is moving so rapidly into post-Christian sensibilities.”

Self-esteem: Self-esteem as Violence

“…  the self is inherently violent.”

Suicide: Suicide [statistics]

“Each year suicide claims approximately 30,000 lives in America which makes it responsible for slightly more than 1 percent of deaths in the United States. … It is the most common psychiatric emergency with close to 1 million Americans receiving treatment for suicidal thoughts, behaviors or attempts on a yearly basis.”

links: this went thru my mind


Christianity, humility & pride: Have I Become the Christian I Can’t Stand?

“I know too many people that have been ‘burned’ by a ‘well-intentioned, God-fearing Christian.'”

Encouragement & self-esteem: 5 Tips for Recovering from Emotional Pain

“Here are five questions people often ask about psychological injuries: 1. Why does getting rejected hurt so much? … 2. If thinking about your feelings is good for you, how can brooding and ruminating be bad? … 3. Is it possible to prevent a significant failure from affecting your self-esteem? … 4. Why do people who have hurt another person’s feelings still feel guilty even after they’ve apologized? … 5. Why do some daily users of positive affirmations still have low self-esteem?”

Kindness: What I Regret Most In My Life Are Failures of Kindness

“… sin in the form of selfishness and self-absorption is deeply ingrained.”

Love & relationships: “But He’s Not My Neighbor”

“Jesus’ point is: don’t let yourself off the hook of the command to love your neighbor as yourself by limiting it only to a narrow group of people.”

Millenials: Millennials and Leaving Church: Really?

“Are today’s youth abandoning the Church? Is there cause for alarm? Or is the condition with youth in the church today about the same as always? These are questions that many people are asking and many people are also answering them. Often in uninformed ways.”

it’s time to be civil (18)


#9. Respect even a subtle ‘No.’ … Why is it difficult to take ‘No’ for an answer? Because the child in us, the two-year old who stubbornly wants to have things his or her way, never completely disappears. In many cases, this is compounded by a self-esteem problem. We often take a ‘No’ as a rejection of our whole being. Therefore, we equate that ‘No’ with a serious threat to our self-image. Thus the more we are able to say, ‘Yes’ to ourselves, the better we will be at graciously accepting a ‘No’ from others. The way we treat others always depends on the health of our sense of Self.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); p. 75

it’s time to be civil (17)


# 8. Accept and give praise. … Here are a few reasons to engage in the generous form of attention that is praise: * By sharing with others how we feel about them, we let them know something about ourselves and strengthen the bonds between us in the process. * By saying, ‘What you are doing is wonderful,’ we encourage those who are doing the wonderful thing to keep doing it. Maybe in a small way, we become responsible for the continued existence of something wonderful. * Many are unaware of their own gifts and may not realize how outstanding those gifts are. Through our praise we reveal to people who they are. * Giving praise we nurture others’ self-esteem, a crucial factor in their emotional well-being.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); p. 70