links to 5+ helpful articles

1. At Least Try Not to Say ‘At Least’ by Virgil Fry [essential reading]

“Ever been in crisis, and some genuinely caring soul tries to lessen your pain with ‘at least …’?”

2. “Who Gets to Live in Victimville?”: Why I Participated in a New DocuSeries on the Clinton Affair by Monica Lewinsky

“Victim or vixen? That’s a question as old as time immemorial: Madonna or Whore? Predator or Prey? Dressed scantily or appropriately? Is she telling the truth or lying? … And it’s a question that is still debated about women in general. And about me. … Maybe, in 2018, it’s a question we should no longer be asking.”

3. Poor in Spirit and Poor in America

“I had been assuming that poverty – including poverty of spirit – is the poor person’s fault.”

4. What is the Word of God? [essential reading]

“Have we really replaced God with the word of God?”

More. “… the Bible incapable of doing what only God can do.”

5. From bicycle to social movements, the changing role of chaplains in the US

“Why is chaplaincy growing when institutional religious affiliation is on the decline?”

links to 4 helpful articles

1. New Criterion for Voting: Words [essential reading]

“… Luke 6:45, ‘What comes out of the mouth is what’s overflowing in the heart.’ The words we speak are windows into the human heart. What we say in a moment of anger or frustration reveals something about us, whether we like it or not. All of us at times have said things we wished we could take back. No one is immune from ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease. The problem with such moments is not that we say things we don’t mean; we say them precisely because we mean them.”

2. What Parents Need Most from Their Pastors After a Miscarriage

“How can we best serve couples after miscarriage (not just women) and ensure they access the practical and spiritual support they need as they grieve and heal?”

3. Hush: How to Tell if God’s Speaking

“God’s voice is declared in many ways. God speaks through circumstances. God communicates through dreams and visions. God speaks through beings like angels and people. God speaks powerfully through Scripture. And God speaks through the still and small voice of his Spirit. God desires to share his wisdom in a wide number of ways.”

4. Use these 9 critical iPhone privacy and security settings right now

“I’ve written before that Apple is unique among modern tech giants in that it builds its products with privacy at the forefront. But many of those protections and tools available on every iPhone only make a difference if you’re aware of them–and judging from my conversations with friends, many people aren’t. If you’re an iPhone user, these are the security and privacy features you need to know about–and should be using.”

quote: gossip, spontaneity, and restraint

Spontaneity in prayer develops intimacy with God. But gossip and rumor (saying whatever comes into our minds without considering the consequences) are also products of spontaneity. We are encouraged to cultivate open, uncensored speech with God; it does not follow that our speech with other people should be without restraint.

Eugene Peterson

links to 5 helpful posts

1. Don’t Tell Your Child Not to Stare at Disabled People – We are Already Invisible Enough

“What should a parent or carer do instead? Recognize our differences, but highlight our similarities. … Perhaps most important is to model the right attitude towards disabled people: exercise empathy, not embarrassment.”

2. A new Ikea report is an unsettling look at life in the 21st century

“‘Life at home is changing, profoundly, all over the world,’ the report concludes.”

3. Half Right; Totally Wrong: Shallow Things Religious People Say by Joe McKeever

“We hear them all the time. Something about these oft-repeated claims just does not seem right, we think. So – let’s look at a few of them.”

4. What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?

“So, is digital media a concern for developing minds? There’s no simple answer, in part because the uses of media are too varied for the question to really be coherent.”

5. A Brief History of the Index

“The man who publishes a book without an index ought to be damned ten miles beyond hell, where the Devil himself cannot get for stinging nettles.”

day 26 – put a psalm in my heart

Let’s read Psalm 69-70 together today and because both of these psalms are about someone’s great grief and cry to God for help (lament), let us read them very slowly and thoughtfully.

This morning, as we read Psalm 69, let us recall once more the terribly destructive power of words of scorn spoken about others. For the one who penned this psalm, one who saw themselves as on the verge of drowning in water and mud, found themselves there because of the words of others about them and their alienation by others as a result. “Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none.” (vs. 20) Nothing they do is right in the eyes of others, even their most sincere and humble actions are misconstrued and/or ridiculed (vs. 10-11). They find themselves ostracized by both the most and least respected around them (cf. vs. 12).

If this psalms is not tough reading, then our heart is hard. So, let us read this psalm very slowly and deliberately, resolving afresh with each sentence not to speak ill of others to others lest we drown the life out of others with our shameful words about them.

As you read Psalm 70 this evening, ask yourself: “Who have I encountered today that might be praying this very way right now (i.e – the thought of this psalm)?” Ask the Lord to bring them to your mind and then, pray for them.

Perhaps it is someone you overheard at work who was lamenting some great issue in their life that includes their being mistreated by others. Or perhaps it was via someone’s post that showed up in your social media feed that speaks of a big burden of danger or loss due to gossip about them or a not so small “slight” by others. Or maybe it is a friend or neighbor you have been alongside and just plain “there for” often concerning an issue of relationships.

Then, with them firmly in mind, pray the words of this psalm as if you were them. That is, vividly imagine yourself being them and slowly, very thoughtfully, pray each phrase of this psalm. Then having done so, step back into your own shoes again and ask the Lord to use you however he would to be a blessing to the one for whom you prayed and for the Lord to intervene on behalf of the one you’ve just held up to him. Drift off to sleep reminding yourself of the Lord’s faithfulness and continual love for all.

Two notes. * Psalm 69 is similar to Ps. 22 and just like it, is quoted and alluded to several times in the New Testament (vs. 4 [Jn. 15.25]; vs. 9 [Jn. 2.17; Rom. 15.3]; vs. 21 [Matt. 27.48; Mk. 15.36; Jn. 19.28-29]; vs. 22-23 [Rom. 11.9-10]; vs. 25 [Acts 1.20]). Jesus could identify with this psalm and the early church identified it with him again and again. If we are truly living for him, we will surely relate to it, too (“… everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” – 2 Tim. 3.12). * All of Psalm 70 is virtually a mirror-image of the closing section of Ps. 40 (vs. 13-17). We can learn much from, and can do well in, praying the prayers of others.