Category Archives: Other People’s Stuff

Things I found interesting today.

My Picks for Monday 11-9-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

“Nobody knows who the four evangelists were, but they almost certainly never met Jesus personally. Much of what they wrote was in no sense an honest attempt at history. . . . The gospels are ancient fiction.” – Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

If Dawkins is correct, one might imagine Matthew, Mark, Luke and John enjoying a couple of drinks together and having  the following conversation…

If Richard Dawkins Is Right -Bernard N. Howard


The Atlantic has an interesting article here and refers extensively to Al Mohler‘s approach…

Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer–Emma Green
“It’s a somewhat novel approach to being an evangelical in public life: engaging debates about sexuality on their own terms. As Mohler himself admits, this hasn’t always been the case. ‘While Christians were secure in a cultural consensus that was negative toward same-sex acts and same-sex relationships, we didn’t have to worry too much about understanding our neighbors,’ he said. ‘We did horribly oversimplify the issue.’ Now that norms around LGBT issues are changing, evangelicals can no longer afford that kind of glibness, but it’s tricky to balance civility with steadfastness. Mohler said he’s not ‘trying to launch Culture War II,’ but he also doesn’t want evangelicals to back down on their beliefs. ‘Christians have not had to demonstrate patience, culturally speaking, in a very long time. The kind of work and witness we’re called to—it could take a very long time to show effects.'”


There is a delicate balance that every worship pastor and every creative type person involved in church ministry needs to keep constantly in mind. It’s very easy to get the balance off in either direction…

The Question Every Local Church Creative Team Needs To Ask -David Santistevan
Thequestion“As we approach the Christmas season, we worship pastors are thinking about special music, productions, songwriting, and bigger and better creative elements than last year. The last thing we want to do is fall in love with our own creativity and miss the point.”


Apologies to my millennial friends, but this did make me grin…

Merit Badges for Millennial Life Achievements

Weekend Picks for 11-6-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

You’re going to need to set aside some extra time for reading this weekend. So much good stuff!

The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy
-Sarah Boxer, The Atlantic

“Before all that happens, before the next generation gets a warped view of what Peanuts is and was, let’s go back in time. Why was this comic strip so wildly popular for half a century? How did Schulz’s cute and lovable characters (they’re almost always referred to that way) hold sway over so many people—everyone from Ronald Reagan to Whoopi Goldberg?

Peanuts was deceptive. It looked like kid stuff, but it wasn’t. The strip’s cozy suburban conviviality, its warm fuzziness, actually conveyed some uncomfortable truths about the loneliness of social existence. The characters, though funny, could stir up shockingly heated arguments over how to survive and still be a decent human being in a bitter world.”


This short list of bullet points is packed with a lot of insight…

Ten Differences Between a Boss and a Leader -Eric Geiger
MichaelScott_TheOffice


As the title suggests, this is pretty long. Set aside a little time this weekend to read it, you’ll be glad you did. After all, it’s N.T. Wright. You can’t go wrong with Wright! (See what I did there?)

What Is Marriage For?-N.T. Wright
Tracing God’s Plan from Genesis to Revelation
painting of man and woman“Now it’s important to begin with that big picture. If we don’t, we can easily imagine that what the Bible has to say about men and women, about marriage, about all that follows from and surrounds that complicated and rich and exciting topic, is simply a set of rules. We in the Western church have tended to isolate rules from the rest of the picture. We have imagined that the purpose God wants for us is to leave “earth” behind and to go to “heaven” instead, and that God has in the meantime given us these somewhat arbitrary regulations for how he wants us to behave…Now that isn’t just a parody of the truth. It is actually a radical distortion of what the Bible is all about.”


Ann Coulter Is Wrong About Russell Moore, Evangelicals, and America-Brandon Mark Showalter
“Ann Coulter has written some real doozies over the years and her latest column is no exception. Much like her left-wing friend Bill Maher, the conservative author and columnist has one acerbic tongue and it was on full display in her recent effusion denouncing the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (SBC) President Russell Moore. When Coulter wants to be she is an articulate defender of first principles, a shrewd prognosticator, and–also like Bill Maher–a bold voice decrying political correctness. Yet she consistently manages to disembowel her strengths with her penchant for saying truly vile (not to mention ridiculous) things.”


Speaking of Russell Moore, I really enjoyed his take on the CMAs and country music in general…

What Hath Jerusalem to Do With Johnny Cash?
-Russell Moore
rsz_6036694106_13640308c8_b“Country music recognizes sin and redemption even from people who are lost. Whereas in some other genres of music you can have sin consistently glorified with no consequences, country music rarely does that. Of course, there is much singing about sin–but it is almost always sin that has some hope of redemption or some recognition of judgment, the sowing and reaping and consequences. Country music tends to bypass self-justification by recognizing that something is wrong with the heart.”


I think if looked out my window at this, I’d freak out just a little bit…

 

 

My Picks for Thursday 11-5-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Ed Stetzer has a lot of good stuff to say here. May we listen well…

Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture-Ed Stetzer
Three Ways Christians Can Be Like Jesus Amidst a More Polarized Culture“As we Christians watch our views become ever more unpopular in an increasingly polarized culture, the temptation to defend ourselves in vitriolic, even hateful, ways will grow. As we interact with others virtually or in our communities, we must remember our call to live like Jesus. We must not adopt secular rules of engagement regardless of whether culture is religious or irreligious.”


How many times have you heard someone say, or perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, “I’m not being fed by my pastor’s sermons”?

Bob Russell does a great job addressing this common complaint…
Bob Russell


Seth Godin has a way of saying a LOT in a few words. Here’s an example. No need to follow the link because this is the whole post.

“It’s not your fault, but it might be your responsibility. That’s a fork in the road on the way to becoming a professional.”
–Seth Godin


And now for something completely different:
Breaking news from Bizarro Land…

http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bizarro-10-25-15-WEB.jpg
(Click image for a larger version.)

 

My Picks for Wednesday 11-4-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I can often relate to how she feels…

Thoughts Lisa Spence
Lisa Spence“I once thought thoughts. You know, deep and meaningful thoughts, thoughts I pondered and wrestled with and deliberated over and contemplated and, well, thought and sometimes wrote about, sometimes not. “I don’t think stuff anymore,” I told my husband awhile back…”


http://www.mazapoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/love-and-marriage-quotes.jpg
I’ve always felt uncomfortable with that sentiment. Here’s why…

My Spouse Is My Best Friend -Mark Jones

“It seems weird to me, mainly because my wife belongs in a category that goes beyond friendship. How does a man compare his wife with several of his male friends, as if she is first but there is a second, or third best friend behind her? He doesn’t. He shouldn’t. We take away something from our marriages when we talk in this way, and we take away something from our friendships with people of the same sex when we speak like this.”

Seven Myths of Contextualization-Bob Kauflin
shutterstock_184172318_Fotor“In the past few years, much has been written, advocated, and modeled to help us understand why we should be concerned about leading services in ways that people actually comprehend what we’re doing and saying so that they are impacted in the right ways (Mike Cosper’s Rhythms of Grace is one example). That might mean changing your music accompaniment, liturgy, communication methods, and more.

But I’ve seen contextualization misapplied at times. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful to keep in mind when thinking through how to connect with people…”


If the opportunity ever comes up for a retired worship minister to visit the ISS, sign me up! Some amazing photos here.

International Space Station: 15 Years In 50 Pictures…
“As of this week, humans have spent 15 continuous years living off the Earth thanks to NASA and the orbiting International Space Station…. “It [ISS] has taught us about what’s possible when tens of thousands of people across 17 countries collaborate to advance shared goals,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.”

 

Who would I be?


Who would I be?

If I were then?

Would I stand on the curb and watch him go by? Would I have knocked off for the afternoon to see what he had to say? Would I have raised my eyebrows and wondered what all the excitement was about? Would I have stood with a few on the corner and wondered pettishly, when were the authorities going to put a stop to this thing before it got out of hand! Would I have drunk it all in, and been wide-eyed and wide-hearted with wonder? Would I have clinched my opinion as soon as I saw he was associating with some of “those” kinds of people? Would I have smiled benevolently at the stories of wonders and healings? Would I have wanted to get his autograph? Would I have stood aside and waited thoughtfully-oh so thoughtfully-for him to prove himself fact or fiction? Would I have slept soundly that Friday night, and the next night too?

Isn’t it nice to be
here,
now,

For we can’t make those mistakes.

 

Number eight in God Is No Fool by Lois Cheney



(I’ve always loved this little book since I first discovered it while I was in college. Click the image for purchase info.)

 

 

My Picks for Tuesday 11-3-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Thank God for Your Normal Boring Life– Kevin DeYoung
“If your life feels ho-hum and humdrum, if you struggle to find contentment in the ordinary and mundane, if you are tempted to break free from the predictable routine of life with stupidity or sinfulness, consider for a moment that your boring life is the envy of almost person sitting right now in a hospital bed or a refugee camp. Consider how many friends and family members would gladly trade in all their frenzied commotion and uncertain schedules for a single day of your plain-jane normalcy. The only people bored with boring are those who have never had to live without it.”


Ladies, this one’s for you…

Do You Have a Really Good Man?Melissa Edgington
men“If we will only learn to appreciate our really good men for who they are what they do, then one day, when they leave the last Oreo for us or when they make sure our car registration is up to date or when they wink at us across a crowded room, we’ll remember that real romance is so much more than diamonds and whatever Nicholas Sparks dreams up. The really good men deserve better than our constant criticism and dissatisfaction. The grass isn’t greener in chick flick land. It’s astroturf. Stick to your own yard, where your really good man is probably mowing. That’s true romance.”


Beyond the Ballot Box-Mark Taylor
Nov3_MT_JN“Today I will vote against legalizing marijuana in Ohio where I live. I will do so because I believe legalized marijuana use will add to family brokenness, traffic tragedies, and other kinds of heartbreak in the city where I live. I will cast my vote out of my Christian conviction about how the outcome of this election will damage the fabric of my community.

But if marijuana use becomes legal in my state, or if the next president of my country turns out to be an anti-Christian scoundrel, I will try to remember Johnson’s words and refrain from wringing my hands. ‘Even the best laws change only behavior,’ she said Saturday. ‘But we are in the business of changing hearts.'”


3801 Lancaster and the Mystery of Kermit Gosnell
-Trevin Wax
Gosnell-3801-Lancaster-620x4363801 Lancaster succeeds in giving us insight into the mind of Dr. Gosnell. But this documentary asks a bigger question: How did we let this happen? Following that narrative thread reveals a picture of breakdown at every level of government bureaucracy.”

“Pro-life or pro-choice, the viewer of this film is likely to agree that Dr. Gosnell was guilty and his imprisonment just. Still, the pro-choice viewer may be uncomfortable with the chilling logic of late-term abortion. What does it matter, really, if we are inducing “fetal demise” with toxins while in the mother’s womb or “snipping the neck” just moments later? What is the difference? In either case, we have a dead body in front of us and blood on our hands.


Today is election day. Vote smart…

2206797058af0133117e005056a9545d
Click cartoon for source.

 

 

 

My Picks for 11-2-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

I’ve always been drawn to “anti time management” articles. I’m sure that says something bad about me.

Five Ways to Stop Spending Time Managing Time -Rick Segal
Five Ways to Stop Spending Time Managing Time
“While in no way exhaustive, here are five applications Christians might employ for buying back time for the purposes for which they were given it by God.”


This will be very hard to read if you’re squeamish (like me), but ignoring it won’t make it stop.

We’re Burning Babies-Jonathon Van Maren
“I’ve now gone through the second set of leaked Planned Parenthood videos, the threepartseries entitled “Fetal Disposition,” or in layman’s terms, how to dispose of the babies once they’ve been turned into corpses. I’ve seen more in my work as an anti-abortion activist than I can possibly write, but for some reason, this series has left me more nauseated and heartbroken than the worst abortion footage I’ve ever seen. There is something so ghoulish, so hideous, and so cannibalistic about this panel of calm, well-spoken women discussing how to deal with the piles and piles of irretrievably shredded infants. It’s times like this when I shudder for our society, for our churches, for our communities, for all of us, as we calmly tramp down sidewalks while the sewers beneath us run crimson with the blood and body fluid of our silent, murdered offspring. Little girls and little boys should bring about questions like pink or blue? Not crematorium or freezer?”


This seems like the perfect follow-up to the above article…

Comforting Those Caught in the Crossfire of the Abortion Debate-Sue Liljenberg

When we talk about abortion in public, what is our default attitude—grief or condemnation? Do our billboards, bumper stickers, and social media posts wound or heal? Brothers and sisters, let’s reach out to post-abortive men and women. Let’s tell them they’re loved, and that Jesus makes all things new. While there is a much-needed effort to rescue the unborn, may we apply the same effort to reaching the wounded and the ashamed.”


I love these! I want to DO this!
Installed today

Click image for more!

My Picks for the Weekend 10-30-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

What do we give…and why?

Dear World: Let’s Stop Giving Our Crap to the Poor -Kristen Welch
Dear World Lets Stop Giving Our Crap to the Poor“Why do we give others-often those in service to the poor or the poor themselves-something we wouldn’t keep or give ourselves?”


There is a lot of wisdom in this little article…

Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me -Lore Ferguson

“There have been seven or eight lessons I have learned over the course of my life that have altered my thinking in profound ways. They have become markers of what Paul calls, “Glory to glory.” They marked a step forward, not in closer or better union with Christ, but in closer and better understanding of him. Today I thought of sharing them briefly with you…”


How we need to remember to speak to others with the recognition that each word could be the last…

Last Words -Ed Welch

“A child would not fully understand, but an adult does: with life’s uncertainty in mind, we are especially careful with our words and relationships.”


Four Things Joy Says -Michael Kelly

“… joy is one of those things we tend to confuse with something else. But if joy could talk, maybe she would clear up some of those misconceptions. So what would Joy tell us if she could? I think it would be at least four things…”


A Halloween perspective…

 

 

My Picks for 10-29-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Why “God’s Not Dead” Resonated, and What It Missed
– Trevin Wax
godsnotdead“…to see the situation as a “battle of the minds” and the solution as “winning the argument” is to miss the deeper part of the diagnosis. The problem is not merely argumentation, but environment. The environment (created by unexamined presuppositions) is what makes the argumentation so persuasive….

…the answer lies, at least in part, in the very thing God’s Not Dead left out – the Church, the people of God who showcase the reality of the resurrection through our common life together. If college makes it plausible to believe “God is dead,” the Church should make it hard to believe anything other than “God is alive.”


I’ve found myself on both sides of this question at different times and with different people…

Why Play Secular Songs in Worship? Travis Jeffords

secular-songs
“This week I had a good friend of mine ask why we play secular songs in worship instead of just overtly sacred songs. Here’ what I told him…”


I have sung with various groups over many years and I can attest to the truth of this study in my own life…

The Ice-Breaker Effect: Singing Together Makes Us Bond More Than Other Activities Lecia Bushak
singing


And don’t forget:
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My Picks for 10-28-2015

Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…

Before Galaxies Stood Forth, He Knew You
-Jim Essian

“But before all that, God knew you. He chose you before the foundation of the world.

And I promise you, our response to that was never to be mere morality or religious observance. When Jesus spoke the galaxies into existence he wasn’t saying, “I hope this compels my people to vote Republican and not drink beer.” The only right response is worship and wonder.”


Debunking 4 Myths About Religious Freedom
-Russell Moore

“Religious liberty doesn’t fuel culture wars. It protects fundamental freedoms from culture war casualties, regardless of which side is winning at the moment. That’s why religious freedom is important, and why debunking its cynics is so urgent. …Here are four popular myths about religious liberty I commonly encounter.”


If Beatles Songs Were Written In Elizabethan Times
anachronistic beatlesFor example:
“The lady doteth upon thee, verily, verily, verily.”
“She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”