Tag Archives: Culture

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-27-2017

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

Good explanation of an important recent SCOTUS decision…

Why a Church Playground Matters for Religious Liberty
Joe Carter
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/playground-swing.jpgThe issue of whether a church playground can qualify for states grant to purchase rubberized surface material seems rather trivial. So why is the decision considered a significant victory for religious liberty? Here are three reasons why this ruling matters:

1. It upholds the First Amendment understanding of religious liberty…

2. It’s a win for equal participation of religion

3. It requires the state to treat religious people fairly


Perhaps you need this encouragement today…

Victory over Porn Is Closer Than You ThinkJimmy Needham
Is actual, extended freedom from besetting sin really attainable, or am I bound to this sin until death, like a leech on my soul? It might seem like a silly question to those who aren’t in the throes of addiction, but having been a porn addict for a decade, it was a question I desperately asked for years.

If you find yourself in this seemingly hopeless cycle, there is good news for you: victory, real and lasting victory, is possible…


What Your Kids Really Need is Your Authentic Christian Life Melissa Edgington
So, you see, I found out that what God has called me to is much higher than lesson planner. I do need to teach my children scripture. I need to give them sound doctrine. But, I can teach these things to my children, as the Bible says, when we sit at home, when we walk along the road, when we rise up and lie down. In other words, impressing the things of God on my children is an all-day, every day, life-long pursuit. It is more than a curriculum. It is a way of life.


Yeah, no. I think I would sort of say that I agree…

3 Phrases Smart People Should Stop SayingEric Geiger
I have listened to a lot of podcasts. Some sermons, some NPR, some HBR, and some random ones too. All really smart people, smarter and more articulate than I am.

Yet I have noticed some recurring phrases that make the intelligent people seem less so, that blunt the impact of their words and distract from the message. …here are three phrases smart people should stop saying…


Parenting transitions made easier…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDYvWml0c19udGIuMjAxNzA2MjVfOTAwLmdpZg==
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

The Gospel: More Beautiful Than You Think – Intro

I’ve always been taught that the word “gospel” means “good news.” If that’s true, if what we Christians proclaim to the world is such good news, why is it that Christianity has developed such a negative public perception in today’s culture?

I’m sure there are many answers to this question, but I suggest that one contributing factor is that we Christians have done a poor job of communicating this good news.

Maybe that’s because we don’t even quite grasp how good this good news really is. We’ve bought into some popular notions about God and heaven that sound kind of right, but have really only served to dull the beauty of who God is and what He has done.

A survey by U.S. News & World Report in 1997 asked Americans who they thought was most likely to go to heaven.

65% said Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson were “very likely” to go to heaven when they die.

79% believed Mother Teresa would “very likely” make it.

But there was one person who had a higher percentage than even Mother Teresa. Can you guess who? That’s right. It was the person taking the survey.

Over 80% of the people taking the survey felt it was “very likely” that they would go to heaven.

Yes, I know this survey is 20 years old, but do you really think it’s changed much?

There are some very basic assumptions shared by many people, even many who claim to be Christians. These assumptions have become embedded in our minds. They sound right.

I’d like you to watch a short video clip. In August of 2004 a couple of my friends took a video camera down to Fountain Square in Cincinnati at lunch time to see how people would answer three questions…

Now, you should know that Cincinnati has a strong Roman Catholic heritage, and is a fairly conservative city in comparison to most U.S. cities of its size. Also, it’s hard for me to believe, but this video is 13 years old! If we were to make this video today I imagine the results would probably be fairly similar, except I think we would encounter more open hostility to Christians and Christian beliefs, even in conservative Cincinnati.

I suggest that one contributing factor to the hostility our culture has to Christian faith is our own misunderstanding and miscommunication of these very basic points.

In the video, you heard a variety of answers but three general trends can be detected:

God is tolerant.

He is the white-bearded grandfather in heaven.  He understands that nobody is perfect so he accepts people because they try hard and do their best.  Sure there are some folks that he could not accept, like maybe Adolph Hitler but if you are sincere and do your best he will accept you.

The other two go hand in hand with the first – it’s a package deal.  If you believe the first the other two tend to follow close behind…

People are basically good.

This is why God can be tolerant of our shortcomings.  This is why God loves us – because of our goodness.  Our imperfections really aren’t all that important because our basic goodness can outweigh whatever badness there might be.

People can and must earn God’s favor.

Since God is tolerant, and we are basically good, it is possible for us to earn God’s favor. In fact, if we want to go to heaven that’s what we must do.

We want to believe these things. Maybe you do believe them.

But, if you think about it, Christianity doesn’t really make any sense if these things are true. I mean, why would Jesus have to come and sacrifice His life for us if God will accept us because of our “goodness”?  If God is tolerant, why go to such great lengths to cleanse us from our sins?

In fact, I believe these seemingly good and right beliefs have undermined the church’s witness and have contributed to much of our culture’s rejection and animosity toward Christians and Christianity.

They make the “good news,” …well, not so good.

In the next few weeks I want to challenge each of these assumptions. To look at each one and compare it with what we read in scripture. This isn’t about proving people wrong. It’s about showing them how truly, and amazingly beautiful Christianity really is!

Stay tuned…

Lloyd


Go here for part 2.

Monday Picks ~ 6-26-2017

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

The Church of CrossFitJulie Beck
A woman makes an intense face while doing a deadlift during a CrossFit workout.CrossFit is his favorite example of a trend he has noticed: how, in the midst of the decline of religious affiliation in America, and the rise of isolation and loneliness, many ostensibly non-religious communities are “functioning in ways that look a little bit religious,” he explained…

As institutional affiliation decreases, people have the same age-old desires for connection, relationships, connection to something bigger than themselves.”

…meditation groups, adult summer camps, fandoms, and even fitness communities at specialized gyms like CrossFit or SoulCycle are stepping in to fill some of those needs.


Loving the People You Love to HateJared C. Wilson
Here’s how you know if you hate something someone has done or if you actually hate that person, according to [C.S.] Lewis:

The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible?


The Climbing TreeManuel Luz
At the risk of sounding heretical, I think many Christians make too big a deal out of finding out God’s will. They pray about what job to take, or what vacation to go on, or how to handle a particular situation. And praying about these things are good and very necessary, really. But I think that our God cares more about who we are becoming in the process of doing, than in the doing itself.


Open carry…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjI2XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 6-23-2017

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

The Easy “Wisdom” of CynicismDerek Rishmawy
Image result for cynicism…default cynicism isn’t the same thing as biblical discernment. Discernment seeks out truth and falsehood. It sees as much as it sees through. Ironically enough, being too cynical can make you undiscerning, rendering false judgments, leaving you open being deceived, not positively, but negatively.

In other words, being “wise as a serpent”,  is a lot harder than thinking everybody’s a liar all the time.


The Unwritten Law That Helps Bad Cops Go Free
David French
http://c1.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/philando-castile-shooting-police-must-display-reasonable-fear-b.jpg?itok=Qap7QuSvOfficers aren’t omniscient, and they can only react to the facts as they perceive them. Absent corruption, incompetence, or malice, most officers are going to make reasonable choices in high-stress situations.

Some, however, will fail, and it’s imperative that juries understand that not all fear is reasonable, and some officers simply (and wrongly) panic. Perhaps some have unreasonable fear because of racial stereotypes. Perhaps some have unreasonable fears for other reasons. Perhaps some have a brutal habit of escalating force too quickly. But every officer must uphold the rule of reason, a rule that compels a degree of courage, a measure of discipline, and a tolerance for risk that is inherent in the job that they’ve chosen.

The vast majority of officers are up to that challenge. A few are not. They must be held accountable. Justice demands no less.


I absolutely love this piece from Amy Medina…

Surprise! We Need to Learn from Christians from Other CulturesAmy Medina
It’s easy for us, as foreigners, to come to Tanzania and point out what they are doing wrong.  Those deficiencies pop up to us broadly and clearly.  But I wonder, what if a Tanzanian Christian came to the States and was given a voice in the white American Church?  What deficiencies would be glaringly obvious to him? …

The truth is that every culture–including every Christian culture–has blind spots.  We have our hierarchy of sins and our hierarchy of godliness, and we know we are right and no one can say otherwise.

But that is dangerous.

I think sometimes western Christians assume they have the trump-card on what Christian culture should look like….but why?  What if an African (or Asian, or South American) Christian holds to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, uses solid principles of interpretation…and yet comes to different conclusions and applications?  Is it possible that they could be seeing things that we’ve missed because of our own culture’s influence?

This is why we were created to need each other.  And in a country as diverse as America, I wonder why it is so rare that white Christians grasp that truth.  Don’t we realize that we are missing out when we refuse to bring other cultures, other colors, other languages into our church conversations?  Don’t we realize that even in that refusal is a major blind spot that we will be held accountable for?


And now for something completely different…

The History of Pews Is Just as Terrible and Embarrassing as You’d ImagineLuke T. Harrington
https://christandpopculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/img_0110_small.jpeg…seating in churches didn’t really become a thing until parishioners got bored enough to wish they were sitting down—that is, about the time of the Protestant Reformation. In order to emphasize how not-Catholic we were, we began to jettison everything from our worship: confessions, creeds, communal prayer, a weekly Eucharist—basically everything except long, boring sermons. And when your “come to church” sales pitch is essentially “Listen to me yammer about Jesus for several hours!” the response is predictably going to be “Uh, can I at least sit down for that?”

And so, the pew was born…


Got your tickets yet?
https://wronghands1.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/upcoming-summer-concerts2.jpg
Wrong Hands – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-20-2017

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

Don’t Take for Granted the Fragile Blessing of Civility
Trevin Wax
LightstockA civilized society uses persuasion and argument to make a case and will not tolerate those who engage in violence toward opponents on the other side of the political aisle.

But what if we are at the precipice of losing this hallmark of civility?

Recent developments should trouble the heart of anyone who loves liberty…

I would be the last to compare our recent political violence with Nazi fascism or Communist tyranny.

But I mention these examples because they took place in advanced, civilized nations where such violence would have, at one time, been considered unthinkable. Citizens overlooked the small but growing number of signs that led to these disasters. For this reason, we must recognize the seriousness of this present moment.

…There is no room for partisanship on this question; it is every American’s patriotic duty to oppose any justification for violence against one’s political opponent.


Why Refusing to Resolve Conflict Hinders Prayer


In case you’ve heard something from someone who wasn’t in the room where in happened…

Southern Baptists and the Alt-Right: On Being in the Room Where it HappenedNathan Finn
Because I was there, I’ve been disappointed at some of the musings, pontifications, and even insinuations of those who weren’t there, including both secular media and armchair quarterbacks who were offering misinformed assessments. At no point and in no way was the resolutions committee being “soft” on the Alt-Right or other forms of white supremacy. At no point were Southern Baptists debating whether or not we ought to denounce these demonic impulses. At no point did Steve Gaines or anyone else force Southern Baptists to do something they didn’t want to do. At no point were Southern Baptists wringing their hands over how we would look in the media if we didn’t do something. At no point were we trying not to offend Trump voters—or any other voters, for that matter. None of that happened, and folks who suggest it did are either speaking out of ignorance or out of malicious intent, period.


Ripple Effect…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjE5XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Weekend Picks ~ 6-16-2017

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

This is big, isn’t it? …

A Resolution Condemning White Supremacy Causes Chaos at the Southern Baptist ConventionEmma Green
It affirmed that “there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing.” It identified this “toxic menace” as white nationalism and the alt-right, and urged the denomination to oppose its “totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.” It claimed that the origin of white supremacy in Christian communities is a once-popular theory known as the “curse of Ham,” which taught that “God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos” and was used as justification for slavery and segregation. The resolution called on the denomination to denounce nationalism and “reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘alt-right’ that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system.”


Twenty Relics of Church PastThom Rainer
The question I asked was basic: “What did you have or do in your church ten years ago that you don’t have or do today?”

The top twenty responses were, for me at least, a fascinating mix of the expected and the surprises. They are ranked in order of frequency…


This is excellent. It’s also harder and more important than it sounds…

Your Child Is Your NeighborJen Wilkin
If you asked me the single-most important insight that has shaped my parenting, it would be this: Children are people...

Recognizing my children as my neighbors has impacted the way I discipline them, the way I speak to them, the way I speak about them to others. It has required me to acknowledge how quick I am to treat those closest to me in ways I would never treat a friend or a co-worker. It has helped make my children objects of my compassion instead of my contempt. I am better able to celebrate their successes without taking credit for them, and to grieve their failures without seeing them as glaring evidence that I’m a terrible parent. Recognizing my children as my neighbors has freed me up to enjoy them as people rather than to resent them as laundry-generating, food-ingesting, mess-making, fit-throwing financial obligations.

Except for the days that it hasn’t. And on those days, I must be reminded again what Scripture teaches about loving my neighbor, confess that I haven’t loved my child that way, and begin again. And Scripture provides ample help. Here are just a few “unlikely” parenting verses that point me back to neighborliness on the days that don’t go as they should…


Carey uses a lot of this article examining our current culture and you will likely find yourself bemoaning its deterioration. Don’t stop there…

7 Ways To Live Out The Gospel in a Post-Truth, Post-Fact CultureCarey Nieuwhof
post-truthThe Gospel is perhaps the very best antidote we have to the current cultural turbulence…

The Gospel:

is anchored in the idea that truth (and even love) is objective and available to all.

calls us to die to ourselves so that others may live.

values all people.

calls us to confess, to repent, and to put something bigger than ourselves above ourselves.

If the church starts to mimic culture in this seismic shift we’re seeing, we will tear ourselves away from the very thing that will save us.


Assisted Miming for the Blind…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjE2XzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

 

Thursday Picks ~ 6-15-2017

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

So, so true…

Worship Leading in Real LifeJamie Brown
The piano’s out of tune again. The sound board is possessed. The drummer’s belt pack just died, and over in his plexiglass space pod, he can’t hear a thing. The alto section decided to take the day off. The second verse of the opening song vanished from ProPresenter. The bulletin accidentally printed last Sunday’s hymn numbers.

And it’s only 8:45 am.

This is worship leading in real life…

The airbrushed images of worship leading that we see presented to us can warp our expectations of what we will experience in our own local-church contexts, and lead us to think that we’d have it easier somewhere else. Just like airbrushed images of a man or woman in a magazine or on the internet can warp our expectations of what a real relationship with a real person will actually look and feel like, and lead us to think we’d have it better with someone else.


One more for worship leaders…

It’s not about you: leading worship and loving others
Matt Damico
http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Guitar.jpgThis is dangerous thinking for worship leaders and worship pastors. If you serve in that sort of role, you’re familiar with the temptation to evaluate and interpret a Sunday morning gathering in light of how it reflects on you. You must crucify that temptation. You don’t want to be the sort of person who, as Jim Hamilton said in a recent sermon, makes yourself the central reference point in every situation, considering “how this reflects on us, and how this makes us look, and how this makes us feel, and what this means about us. … We want to be people who, in every situation we find ourselves in, our central reference point is Jesus and other people.”


A Muslim chimes on on Bernie Sanders “religious test”…

Bernie’s Relativism Test Is Bad for Muslims and All Religious BelieversIsmail Royer
https://thewayofimprovement.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/bernie.jpg?w=685&h=385I am a Muslim and thus obviously disagree with Vought that my theology is deficient. Rather, I believe his theology is deficient. I believe that Jesus is not God himself but a prophet of God, and I believe that worshipping Jesus alongside God amounts to polytheism. I worship, as Joseph did, the one and unitary God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the triune God of the Nicene Creed. I do not apologize for this belief.

Nor should Vought apologize for his. His statements were not crude bigotry, but a passionate defense of his creed entirely within the realm of discourse of reasonable, civilized men and women.


Life at my house right now…
For Better Or Worse – Click image for a larger view.

Tuesday Picks ~ 6-13-2017

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

What Would Aristides Say About Your Church?Eric Geiger
The world watched how early believers cared for one another, how they supported one another in challenging times, and how they longed to meet together. The world always takes notice when Christians love one another as Christ commanded. Unity is always attractive, and unity among God’s people piques the world’s curiosity.

Aristides, a 2nd century Greek philosopher, wrote an apology concerning what he had observed of Christians. What he observed is a beautiful picture of the early Christian church. From his findings we get a sense of why their community was attracting so much attention, both favor from a watching world and persecution from those who hated Christianity. Below are a few things he noted about the Christians with quotes from “The Apology of Aristides.”


The Moment that Changed Eric Liddell’s Life
Jordan Standridge
Eric was having to make an important decision; of course, no one was going to force him to speak or to have a public ministry. But I’m sure that Eric was counting the cost. Some people may say no big deal, but this was a huge deal. Especially for such an introvert.

This decision was going to affect the rest of his life…

This year, we celebrate 500 years of the Reformation. And looking back at the Reformation, I think we can all be overwhelmed. As we hear stories of Luther, Tyndale, and Lady Jane Grey, we see boldness in the face of entire nations, popes, and scores of cardinals and executioners, and we wonder whether we would ever be able to stay committed to Christ when we could possibly be burned or lose our heads. But most of us will probably never have to face that test. Most of us will simply be called to be faithful in the circles God has sovereignly placed us.

The question is will we be faithful to speak unashamedly of our love for Christ when He calls us to?


7 Things That Get Harder as Your Church Grows
Carey Nieuwhof

2 big takeaways for me…

1. The point of church is not for everyone to know everyone. The point is for everyone to be known.

2. If you’re not fine with others receiving the credit, you’ll eventually stunt the church’s growth to the level of your insecurity.


A politically incorrect Father’s Day guide to sex, masculinity and daughters…

Dad Meets the Sexual RevolutionWilliam McGurn
…most dads accept that part of the job is a willingness to be the unfashionable one; that is, to love enough to speak unpopular truths when the world cheats your children with fifty shades of grey. For all the complaints about “toxic masculinity,” genuine masculinity seems hard to come by. Surely the greater male dysfunction of our time is perpetual adolescence, and a culture that encourages the man-child.

So this Father’s Day, looking over the three greatest blessings in his life, this dad pines for the day when we might again speak honestly and openly about the profound differences between male and female sexuality, when the heart might be taken as seriously as the orgasm—and when young men pursing young women might even rediscover the marvelous possibilities of moonlit summer evenings.


The value of a drummer?
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9aaXRzLzIwMTcvMDYvWml0cy4yMDE3MDYwOV85MDAuZ2lm
Zits – Click image for a larger view.

Monday Picks ~ 6-12-2017

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

The final paragraph of this is what grabbed my attention…

Six Stages of a Dying ChurchThom Rainer
Churches have broken free from the death stages, but they are rare. And the longer the church waits to make substantive changes, the more difficult it becomes to reverse the path. It’s significantly easier to make changes at stage one than stage four.

Also, keep in mind that nearly nine out of ten of the churches that die are in communities that are growing.

The problem is not a shortage of people. The problem is a shortage of courage, commitment, and sacrifice.


Absolutely true…

The Ultimate Character Test Any Great Leader Passes
Carey Nieuwhof
…where does the deepest level of leadership success come from? Ultimately it doesn’t come from a leader’s skill set; it comes from a leader’s character…

Character—far more than skill set—determines how deeply and passionately people follow you. A leader with character is a leader worth following…

Character, more than anything else, draws the hearts of people to your leadership.

The greatest leaders are highly skilled people whom other people love to be around. They’re people others admire, not just because they’re smart, but because they’re the kind of person other people want to become.


I love this piece from Tim Fall…

The Impossibility of a Christian NationTim Fall
https://barntsinthebelfry.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/a-christian-nation1.jpg?w=520Yet if nations could be Christians what might that look like?

The nation would…

-Care as much for foreigners as its own citizens.
-Never neglect the needs of widows and orphans.
-Not lord itself over other nations.
-Serve other nations, not seek to come out on top.
-Not think more highly of itself than it should.
-Turn the other cheek when other nations hurt it.
-Love its enemy nations.
-And over all this and more, exhibit fruit of the Spirit at home and abroad.

Anyone reading that list would see it’s impossible to fulfill.

People who say America is or has been or should be a “Christian nation” don’t mean they want America to fulfill that list either.* That is because a nation that’s a Christian would be one that serves all other nations, always seeking their good before its own. That’s not what people want out of their government.

They don’t want to live in a nation that would love its neighbors that much.

The real issue, though, is that people, not nations, are the ones who can be called Christians…


Graphic design is way more important than most church leaders believe. There is excellent advice here…

Three tips to instantly improve your church’s graphic design
Matt Heerema
Over the course of my career I have helped hundreds of churches with their web and graphic design. I have seen all the pitfalls, all the cliches, and all the different ways we boldly declare to the world “there is no commercial graphic artist in our midst!” I also have seen the path to vastly improving the design efforts of your good hearted volunteers. Whether it be bulletin design, sermon slides, lyric projections, or (especially) web graphics for your site and social media.

While very very few people have the expertise to tell you technical reasons that your graphic design is off-putting, everyone has a built-in appreciation for aesthetic, if even at the sub-conscious level. Poor graphic design will leave someone with a bad “feeling”, even if they aren’t consciously aware of it, or can’t articulate it.

If you are an untrained volunteer tasked with the creation of graphics for your organization, here are three things you can do that will take you miles down the road of communicating more effectively with your community…


The first rule of Yoga Club…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDYvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNjEwXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

 

Weekend Picks ~ 6-9-2017

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

We’re Not in a Civil War, but We Are Drifting Toward DivorceDavid French
http://c5.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/americans-left-right-liberal-conservative-democrats-republicans-blue-red-states-cultural-segregate-flag.jpg?itok=5uhAnuJYIf we seek to preserve our union, we’re left with a choice — try to dominate or learn to tolerate? The effort to dominate is futile, and it will leave us with a permanently embittered population that grows increasingly punitive with each transition of presidential power. There is hope, however, in the quest to tolerate. Our Constitution is built to allow our citizens to govern themselves while protecting individual liberty and providing for the common defense. It’s built to withstand profound differences without asking citizens or states to surrender their strongest convictions. We can either rediscover this federalism, or we may ultimately take a third path — we may choose to separate.


It’s true. Without a high level of self-awareness and and discipline, talent can limit a leader’s success…

The Curse of Talent for Young Ministry LeadersEric Geiger
I have heard several pastors and counselors wonder aloud about the hidden dangers of peaking early in ministry, of becoming super influential at a young age.

It is not only a phenomenon in local church ministry, however. Jennifer and Gianpiero Petriglieri have conducted extensive research on people who have been labeled “talented” in their careers and fields and discovered that those who have been assigned the talented title often quit early or struggle deeply because of the expectations placed on them. The blessing of being called a high-performing individual can easily become a curse.

While it is impossible to sum up all that goes wrong in the heart of a ministry leader who has been called “exceptional” or “an amazing leader,” here are three dangers “talented” ministry leaders face, three dangers we all must guard our hearts against…


Tim and I seem to be thinking along some similar lines. I wrote a piece yesterday called Faith vs. Certainty. It’s not the same, but it seems related…

Faith: the difference between doubt and indecisionTim FallTo choose doubt as a philosophy of life
is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
(Yann Martel, Life of Pi.)

The Bible draws a distinction between doubt and indecision, and the quote above from Life of Pi helped me see why: Doubt can be useful as it brings us closer to God, but if instead we use doubt as a means of avoiding movement at all then it’s not really doubt but indecision…

God is not bothered by our doubts when they bring us to him…


Another look at the recent exchange between Senators Bernie Sanders and Chris Van Hollen, and Russell Vought concerning Vought’s Christian faith and how it “disqualifies” him from public service…

All Roads Lead to ExclusionAaron Earls
path decision choiceIs it intolerant and bigoted to say some religions are wrong?

As was recently demonstrated in a senate confirmation hearing, some people assume the answer to that question is yes…

…In essence, Sanders and Van Hollen are telling billions of religious individuals around the world they are wrong about faith and salvation and the senators are right.

And they are asserting that only those who hold their specific religious beliefs are worthy of holding public office. That’s quite an inflated view about your religious opinions, no?

You are telling 54% of the American population they are wrong about faith and salvation and because of that mistaken religious belief they are ineligible to serve in politics. Who’s intolerant now?

Whether all roads lead to God is a different discussion, but, even if Sanders and Van Hollen don’t want to admit it, all roads do lead to exclusion.

Vought is saying to Muslims, “I disagree with you religiously, but I’ll protect your rights.”

Sanders and Van Hollen are saying to Vought, “I disagree with you religiously, so therefore I don’t believe your rights are worth protecting.”

Which one of those is actually intolerant?


Reaching the Next GenerationAlvin Reid
Reaching the Next GenerationWhen it comes to the next generation, I’m sure of two things:

1) We aren’t too effective today at reaching (or keeping) the next generation.

2) The Gospel still works powerfully in any generation.

How do we share Christ effectively to a generation not impressed by the Church today? Here are five ideas…


The language of snacks…
Calvin & Hobbes – Click image for a larger view.