Category Archives: Other People’s Stuff

Things I found interesting today.

My Picks for Monday 11-16-2015

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

Please, please, PLEASE stop indiscriminately passing on falsehood in the name of truth. It helps nothing and hurts us all! For example…

No, Thousands of Syrian Refugees Are Not Arriving in New Orleans -Aaron Earls
Powdered Wig Society Syrian refugees“You cannot lament the dishonesty of mainstream media outlets while promoting and sharing stories from conservative blogs that do nothing but exaggerate, mislead and blatantly lie to push their agenda.”


On a related note, here’s an excellent piece by Trevin Wax in Washington Post…

Should we really close the border to refugees? Here’s why fear drives out compassion.-Trevin Wax
“So, in the midst of a worldwide battle against the evil of Islamic terrorism, we must make sure that we do not allow fear to overwhelm our hearts, crowd out our compassion, or fundamentally change our character. For compassion to win, courage must conquer the fear in our hearts.”


And then there’s this important reminder…

Who Do I Make the Effort to Notice?
What Paris Should Teach Us
-Amy Medina
“In spite of all the (probably) unfair accusations of racism or prejudice that are being thrown around, times like these are great for soul-searching.  Let us not lose the opportunity to grow.

Do we allow only the media to tell us what to pray for?  Do we take the time to look for the people and places who might not be getting the same attention?  I have been convicted to look harder for the ignored stories. Jesus sought out the prostitute, the tax collector, the child.  Even a sparrow does not fall to the ground without his notice. Who do I make the effort to notice?”


And, for my cat loving friends…
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bz-panel-11-13-15.jpg

Weekend Picks 11-13-2015

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

My experience tells me that Carey speaks truth…

7 Things Every Growing Church Struggles With
-Carey Nieuwof
growing churches struggle“So once you start growing, all the critics will disappear, correct?

Sorry to break the news…but just the opposite. They’ll line up.

You’ll have internal critics who want things to be the way they used to be. After all, the people heading for the Promised Land always want to go back to Egypt.”


Do you struggle to reconcile what scripture says about creation with what science has discovered?  This 8 minute video is definitely worth your time…

Genesis Through Ancient Eyes -Andrew Wilson
Genesis Through Ancient Eyes image“If I could force everyone who studies Genesis to watch one video clip, it would be this one. In just eight minutes, Professor John Walton explains what the authority of Scripture looks like for Genesis, how the ancients saw the cosmos, and what that means for our interpretation of the text.”


Seth blogs for business and entrepreneurs, but his insightful posts can often apply in church work…

Falling down the quality abyss-Seth Godin
“Often, organizations don’t realize that they’re falling down the abyss until extraordinary efforts are required to make a difference. But it’s always easier to fix it today than it will be tomorrow…

The challenge is to have the guts to care even when you’re not apparently rewarded for caring.”


Just getting ready…

The Norwegian Secret To Enjoying A Long Winter
Laura Vanderkam
“At first, she was asking “Why aren’t people here more depressed?” and if there were lessons that could be taken elsewhere. But once she was there, “I sort of realized that that was the wrong question to be asking,” she says. When she asked people “Why don’t you have seasonal depression?” the answer was “Why would we?”

It turns out that in northern Norway, “people view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured,” says Leibowitz, and that makes all the difference.”


Isaac Adams shares a painful experience…

Mizzou and a More Excellent Way-Isaac Adams
“Yet as we walked to our church’s building—which is located in one of the nicest parts of our mid-Atlantic city—a white gentlemen walking past us glanced at me, an African American. Then he glared at my wife, who is white, who is beautiful. This gentleman started loudly singing the following words:

“Too many niggers, too many niggers.”

Immediately I turned around and stared at this man. He stopped, looked at me, and said, “This city is the rape capitol of the world, and you’re surprised, nigger?” He turned around. He walked away.”


Life is like…well, you get it…
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/lifes-box-of-chocolates.jpgSource: Wrong Hands

 

My Picks for Thursday 11-12-2015

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

There is indeed a war on Christmas,
but it may not be what you think…

The War on Christmas-Steve Cuss
enhanced-31786-1446915453-14“But Jesus is not at war with a retail establishment and nor should his followers be. The job of a retail establishment is not to proclaim the peace of Christ, the good news that brings great joy.

That’s our job, Christians. We really shouldn’t be outsourcing the bidding of peace to retail. If history is our guide, anytime the church outsources the gospel, the message gets confused. Do we really want our retail establishments proclaiming the message?

Please. Please. Christians. Stop outsourcing the gospel and stop expecting your retail neighbors to proclaim the good news of Jesus.”


You Are An Artist -David Santistevan
YOU ARE AN ARTIST
“The call to create better art is a call to care more. It’s a call to solve problems, influence, create change, and show us beauty. Whether you are into “the arts” or not, you are an artist and it’s time you saw your daily life through that lens.”


https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/a-brief-history-of-time.jpgSource: Wrong Hands

My Picks for Wednesday 11-11-2015

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

Playing it Safe — Not My Style — And, Often Not God’s Plan
-Ron Edmondson
parachute

“God never promised a safe-life. He promised an abundant life. God never asked us to “play it safe”. He asks us to take up our cross daily and follow Him. He never promises a risk-free life. He promised a victorious life — as we trust in Him!”

 

 


Why a friend is suing me: the Arlene’s Flowers story
-The Seattle Times
Barronelle Stutzman in Arlene's Flowers in 2013 (Bruce Ellefson)“Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, explains why she felt she could not sell flower arrangements for a gay friend’s wedding.”


Nobody Brags About Being Mary -Danny Franks
“‘Oh man, so good. I just sit at the feet of Jesus all day. I soak in his teachings. I listen to everything that comes out of his mouth. While the pots and pans are clattering in the kitchen, his voice is resting in my heart. I am hashtag blessed.’

See? The Marthas of the world just read that and muttered something about you ridiculously lazy rascal underneath our collective breath…”


Debunking Stupid Statements about the Bible: An Exercise
in Biblical Transmission
-Greg Gilbert
01_109g_sandown_pulpit_view

“One American tabloid recently said this about the Bible:

No television preacher has ever read the Bible. Neither has any evangelical politician. Neither has the pope. Neither have I. And neither have you. At best, we’ve all read a bad translation—a translation of translations of translations of hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies, and on and on, hundreds of times.

First of all, it’s not true that we’re dealing with “a translation of translations of translations,” …No, we’re able to translate directly from the original Greek and Hebrew, so at worst we’re dealing with a translation, full stop. But what should we say about that last idea, the charge that all we have available to us are “hand-copied copies of copies of copies of copies?”

Copypock. Er, I mean, poppycock. That’s what we should say.”


Is this sign necessary?
sidewalk

 

My Picks for Tuesday 11-10-2015

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

“Ressentiment” – The Danger That Destroys Your Hope
-Trevin Wax
slide12“We betray our faith when we are united more by bitterness and grievances than by cheerful confidence in God’s good purposes for the world and our love for the people who may injure us. When we are united by outrage, we look and sound just like the world.”


Why I Don’t Always Give People an Answer – Even When They Come to Me for Answers -Ron Edmondson
multicultural mentor“Leaders, parents, friends – ideally you want people to develop healthy decision-making skills. You want them to gain independence and be able to stand on their own. If you’re always making the decisions for them they will never they will never become all they can be individually.”


Winsome Weirdos -John Piper
Winsome Weirdos“According to the apostle Peter’s first letter, labeling Christians as ‘winsome weirdos’ is not only linguistically alliterative; it is also exegetically accurate. The implications for our cultural moment in America are crucial.”


Thanks, Snoopy. Sometimes I just need to be reminded of this…
Die - not die

 

 

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.)