My Picks for Thursday 4-28-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

What Does It Really Mean to Be #Blessed?
Vaneetha Rendall Risner
What Does It Really Mean to Be #Blessed?“Feeling blessed is in vogue.

A quick look at Facebook and Twitter shows how many people today feel #blessed. In our social-media world, saying you’re blessed can be a way of boasting while trying to sound humble.

College scholarship? #Blessed. Unexpected raise? #Blessed. Wonderful family? #Blessed.

As Christians we use that term too, of course. We pray God will bless our family. We attribute our undeserved gifts to “God’s blessings.” We talk about ministries being blessed. But what does it really mean? How should we understand the blessing of God?…

…One translation of the New Testament (ESV) has 112 references with the words bless, blessing, or blessed, none of which connect blessing to material prosperity…”


Powerful and insightful piece on how the scourge of pornography eludes moral judgments…

See No EvilSamuel D. James
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“Of all the Sexual Revolution’s fruits, porn is arguably the one that has rotted fastest. It has defied the categorical wisdom of libertines by growing in users and extremeness, even as cultural mores against casual, commitment-free sex have eroded. Contrary to the predictions of many, porn has proven to be addictive and isolating. What was once promised as an end to slavish prudishness has instead ensnared millions in powerful neurological patterns, patterns that, if unabated, are conducive to the worst kinds of abusive and sadomasochistic behavior…

…Because modern progressivism lacks categories of moral obligations for the isolated, autonomous individual, it cannot speak meaningfully to the pornography crisis. The best it can do is to correctly identify the anti-social effects of porn addiction. But even then, liberals are handicapped, since porn’s effects on relationships and social capital can only really be felt where those human bonds are still strong—such as monogamous marriages and covenant communities. A culture where meaningful mutuality is fraying and isolated and autonomous individualism is growing is a ripe host for the parasite of pornography.”


I have often wondered about this…

Gay grooms and a Colorado baker: Why don’t reporters ask about motives anymore?Julia Duin
“What do these two stories have in common? For starters, it’s the reporters’ refusal to ask anything about the motives of those bringing the lawsuits.

What brought up a red flag for me in the B&B story was a simple search of gay-friendly lodgings in Illinois that could have met the needs of the couple wanting the civil union ceremony. But no, they only wanted their festivities at the one place that didn’t want to host the event and of course they sued. And like the plaintiffs in the above-mentioned Oregon case, they alleged thousands of dollars of emotional distress and harm.

Am I the only person seeing a pattern here? Go find a business that doesn’t believe in gay weddings, tell them you want them to bake you a cake/supply you with flowers or host your ceremony and when they say no, then sue them out of existence? A lot of monetary judgments haven’t come down yet because the cases haven’t been resolved, but there’s obviously gold in them hills.

Why aren’t journalists asking similar questions to mine?…

…What about bakeries owned by people who belong to other religions that are also opposed to gay marriage? The Washington Times did a story a year ago about Muslim bakeries in the Detroit area that likewise don’t want to cater gay weddings but which have stayed under the radar. Why is the Times the only newspaper to ask this question?

I see a lot of painting by the numbers, a lot of writing according to a formula and a lot of not wanting to look under certain rocks. There are stories out there, folks, but they may be stories that don’t line up with your personal views or those of your editor. There was a time when reporters went after such stories nonetheless. Those days may be gone.”


If you’re in the ministry, or know someone who is, you should read this emotional reflection…

Thoughts On The Rise And Fall Of PastorsScott Sauls
“For reasons beyond my ability to understand, God has graciously protected me from moral collapse over the years. Knowing the fragility and fickleness of my own heart, sometimes I marvel at how this could be the case. Why them and not me? Sometimes I wonder if, under different circumstances, I, too, could collapse morally. As the famous hymn goes, “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it…” Indeed, I feel my proneness to wander every single day.

When I was a seminary student, an older, seasoned pastor spoke in a chapel service and said, “Some of you are very gifted. You aspire to do great things in ministry one day. God have mercy on you.” Eighteen years later, I am beginning to understand what he meant by that…

…Thanks for listening to this grammatically messy dump of my feelings, which also represents the messiness of my heart as I cry over friends who have fallen…

…and as I wonder why it was them instead of me.”


For my cat-loving friends…
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Source: Off the Mark

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