links to 5 helpful articles

1. What Great Listeners Actually Do

“While many of us have thought of being a good listener being like a sponge that accurately absorbs what the other person is saying, instead, what these findings show is that good listeners are like trampolines. They are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting. This lets you gain energy and height, just like someone jumping on a trampoline.”

2. These jobs have highest suicide rates in the United States, according to the CDC

“Men who work in construction and extraction had the highest rates of suicide in the United States … For women, suicide rates were highest among those who work in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media. From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among the US working-age population — people 16 to 64 — increased 34% …”

3. Fear, more than hate, feeds online bigotry and real-world violence

“The most dangerous hate speech is apparently no longer broadcast with ethnic slurs or delusional rhetoric about white supremacy. Rather, it’s all over social media, in plain sight, carrying hashtags like #WhiteGenocide, #BlackCrimes, #MigrantInvasion and #AmericaUnderAttack. They create an illusion of imminent threat that radicals thrive on, and to which the violence-inclined among them have responded.”

4. Avoid These Roadblocks to Progress by Jim Martin

“Life is hard. However, it can become even more difficult when we put up roadblocks to our own progress.”

5. Watch out for these clever holiday scams

“Here are some tips to help you stay vigilant when shopping online this holiday season.”

links: this went thru my mind

I consider all five of today’s links here to be “required reading” or “required watching.” Lots of good stuff!

Assumptions, nonviolence & violence: Does Nonviolence Work?

“We are blinded by the pervasive, long-standing assumption that violence is both ‘normal’ and ‘necessary’ to promote good and minimize evil. … Kingdom people are called to walk in obedience to the example and teaching of Jesus even when it seems to make no sense to do so. We’re called to be faithful to Jesus, not effective at protecting our lives or ridding the world of evil.

“To the world’s ‘normal’ way of thinking, Jesus’ radical posture is indeed ludicrous, impractical, unpatriotic, irresponsible, and even immoral. And it may, in the short run, look like our refusal to participate in the merry-go-round of violence allows evil to win.

“We need to remember that this is exactly how matters looked on Good Friday, when the omnipotent God suffered at the hands of evil rather than use coercive force to extinguish it. But under the reign of the sovereign God, Good Friday never has the last word.”

Christianity, discipleship, faith, holiness & the status quo: The Gospel of Mark – Antonia Fortress – Am I Leading a Rebellion? [4 min. video]

“He’s leading a rebellion, it’s called the Kingdom of God and you can’t vote that in, but everyone can be a part of it.”

Death, euthanasia, judging, physician-assisted suicide & suicide: Brittany Maynard Didn’t Commit Suicide (What We Can Learn From 9-11′s “Falling Man”)

“It seems disingenuous to force someone to choose between two ways of dying and then turn on them in judgment for picking the least painful of the two options.”

Giving thanks and gratitude: The World is Made Holy Through Thanks

“… when life is treated as a possession that can be taken from us, damaged or lost our lives become infused with fear causing us to cling, protect, hoard, defend and aggress. The antidote to this fear is gratitude, viewing life–the whole of life–not as a possession to be defended but as a gift to be shared.”

Parenting & teens: Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents Make

“Expecting your teen to have a devotion to God that you are not cultivating within yourself. … Not expressing genuine love and like to your teen. … Outsourcing your teen’s spiritual formation. … Not prioritizing youth group/church involvement. … Holding low expectations for your teen. … Trying to be your teen’s best friend. … Permissive parenting. … Spoiling your teen. … Letting your teen’s activities take top priority for your family. … Not spending time with your teen.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Authority & personal experience: Sola Experienca is For Real. [essential reading]

“There was a time when experience saluted Scripture.”

Belonging, change, church membership, expectations & transformation: * Performance Anxiety; * Corporate vs. Individual Christian Identity [essential reading]

* “Choosing a church (or non-church) where we ‘fit,’ may be the strongest guarantee that we will never be asked to change. This, I suspect, is why we do it. In church, as in the rest of life, we don’t want transformation as much as we say we do. We’d rather have comfort. The best thing many of us could do is envisage church as an opportunity to embrace that which is outside of us, that which does not – at least on the surface – appeal to what we already are.

* “The documents of the NT, with a few exceptions, are addressed to communities and not to individuals.  Many of us know this and it may not be too shocking, but the significances of this reality must continue to transform how we envision Christian identity.”

Commitment, endurance, faithfulness, love, selflessness & vision: Father-Son Duo, Team Hoyt, Celebrates 37 Years of Inspiring Teamwork With One Last Boston Marathon

“In 1962, Dick and Judy Hoyt welcomed their son, Rick, into an unsuspecting world — a world that would forever be changed by their presence and sacrifice. Because of complications with his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. … Dick remembers the advice of the doctors who suggested that his son would essentially be non-functioning, and that he should place him in an institution. Dick refused.”

Gossip: Gossip is a Spiritual Issue

“Whether it’s cloaked in a prayer request, ‘concern’ for another or simply news from the grapevine, Christians have a problem with gossip. I have yet to find a place where gossip isn’t present on some level or another.”

Hearing, listening, preaching, responsibility & sermons: When Hearing Fails

“We can control what we preach, but we cannot control how the message is heard. This is frustrating, but it is also something we need to come to grips with. We have no power or control over how another person hears our words.”

Jesus, sacrifice, & suicide: Did Jesus Commit Suicide?

“So Jesus did not kill himself, but he did act in such a way so as to bring about his death.  In some extraordinary way he seemed to control those final hours and what ultimately happened to him.”

Marriage: Letter to Our Grandsons on Choosing a Wife [essential reading]

“The typical thinking has always been that the main issue for marriage is ‘do we love each other?’ It isn’t.”

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

 

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 (on violence)

 

V-for-violenceCapital punishment: Death Row Diary Offers a Rare Glimpse into a Morbid World

“His last words were, ‘Set me free!’ and his soul is indeed free now.”

Corporal punishment: Put Down the Paddle

” … in my experience, corporal punishment in the school shapes neither character nor conduct. It’s administered by someone with whom the student likely has no heart-to-heart relationship. It thus lacks the emotional component which might compel a student to better living out of respect for or love for the one with the paddle. The only power the paddle possesses at school is its capacity for physical harm. … Perhaps most importantly, corporal punishment in school is the easy way out. It requires no skill and no creativity. It demands no attention to the uniqueness of the student and the specifics of the circumstances prompting the disciplinary action.”

Military service & suicide: At A Texas Base, Battling Army’s Top Threat: Suicide

“Suicide killed more American troops last year than combat in Afghanistan, and that is likely to be the case again this year. According to the Pentagon, there were in 2012, compared with in the same period. Historically, the suicide rate in the military has hovered around half the civilian rate. But in 2004 that changed: the rate doubled, and now it’s on track to overtake the civilian rate.”

Pacifism: In [Muhammad] Ali’s Voice From the Past, a Stand for the Ages

“Ali’s actions changed my standard of what constituted an athlete’s greatness. Possessing a killer jump shot or the ability to stop on a dime was no longer enough. What were you doing for the liberation of your people? What were you doing to help your country live up to the covenant of its founding principles?”

Persecution: The Persecution of Christians in Syria

“…  that which escapes the attention of many is that in Syria there is a massacre of the Christian population.”

War: Rand Paul: Jesus was Anti-War

“‘I can recall no utterance of Jesus in favor of war or any acts of aggression,’ Paul said at a kickoff luncheon for the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference. ‘In fact, his message to his disciples was one of non-resistance.'”

this went thru my mind: on violence

 

V-for-violenceAmerican Civil War: The Great Civil War Lie

“Civil War buffs have long speculated about how different the war might have been if only the Confederacy had won formal recognition from Britain. But few recognize how close that came to happening — and how much pro-Southern sympathy in Britain was built on a lie.”

Americans & the military: Americans and Their Military, Drifting Apart

“… the greatest challenge to our military is not from a foreign enemy — it’s the widening gap between the American people and their armed forces. Three developments in recent decades have widened this chasm.”

Guns & suicide: Which Combination of God and Guns Produces the Fewest Suicides?

“Back-and-forth columns prompt one analyst to do the (hypothetical) math.”

Turkey: Turkey: What to Know and How to Pray

“I’m praying: * That the protests geared toward the government will lead the people away from increased Islamization and to greater religious freedom. * For the safety of ‘workers’ serving there right now. * For the safety of Turks and for a just end to the violence. * That Turks in Turkey (and the 75 million Turks around the world) will turn to Christ in the midst of the tumult.”