Links To Go (January 18, 2019)

Racism and The Dying American Church

Unfortunately, instead of fading away, slavery and the racist ideology that allowed it became more deeply entrenched into American’s daily lives, churches, and economic systems. The practice of slavery required decisive and dramatic action to end it. If we think that any sin, much less racism, will just fade away, whether in our individual lives or congregation, without identification, repentance, and continuous vigilance to remove it, we are kidding ourselves and do not understand the nature of sin.


7 Things Every Leader Needs to Quit Immediately

  1. Measuring success compared to another’s success.
  2. Pretending to have all the answers.
  3. Trying to be popular.
  4. Leading alone.
  5. Acting like it doesn’t hurt.
  6. Trying to control every outcome.
  7. Ignoring the warning signs of burnout.

Where is Christianity headed? The view from 2019

If there is a theme in what lies ahead for the church as we enter a new year, it is that the white Western Christian bubble that has powerfully shaped Christianity for the past four centuries is now beginning to burst. Future expressions of Christian faith will be shaped by its interactions with non-Western and nonwhite cultures. This will present challenges to the established church in the U.S. but may hold the keys to its revitalization.


Hypocrite, Sinner, or Struggler… and how to tell the difference

When I sin, do I repent?
Do I confess (acknowledge) my sin to God and even to trusted others?
Do I make excuses for my sin? Blame others, or circumstances, or rationalize how it is not really my fault?
Do I commit to do better?
Do I have an action plan to overcome my sin? Plans from Scripture or developed with guidance from family, friends, or shepherds?
Do I work the plan?
Do I have accountability for how I am doing?
Am I getting better, making progress?


How Self-Compassion Supports Academic Motivation and Emotional Wellness

To make self-compassion a concrete idea for children, ask them to compare how they treat themselves to how they treat a friend. When we treat ourselves with the same kindness and care that we offer a good friend, we are practicing self-compassion. “By age 7, children have learned about the concept of friendship. A lot of their developmental energy is spent on learning how to be a good friend,” said Neff. So when students are feeling frustrated or upset, ask them, “What would you say to a friend in this situation?” This simple question can help students reflect on the situation and reframe their response.


Generation Z Looks a Lot Like Millennials on Key Social and Political Issues

On a range of issues, from Donald Trump’s presidency to the role of government to racial equality and climate change, the views of Gen Z – those ages 13 to 21 in 2018 – mirror those of Millennials. In each of these realms, the two younger generations hold views that differ significantly from those of their older counterparts. In most cases, members of the Silent Generation are at the opposite end, and Baby Boomers and Gen Xers fall in between.


Giant Kentucky snowman gives would-be vandal dose of instant karma

A driver tried to run over a 9-foot snowman – but the homeowners had used a massive tree stump as the snowman’s base!


Links To Go (January 17, 2019)

Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church as Young Adults

The five most frequently chosen specific reasons for dropping out were: moving to college and no longer attending (34 percent); church members seeming judgmental or hypocritical (32 percent); no longer feeling connected to people in their church (29 percent); disagreeing with the church’s stance on political or social issues (25 percent); and work responsibilities (24 percent).


What’s Shaping Your Church?

If the only thing people know about your church is that you let women lead a prayer or that you oppose instrumental music in worship or that you have an incredible children’s program, then that’s a problem. If all we ever do is bang the drum and pat ourselves on the back for standing against error, then that’s a problem. If a church is so numbers-driven that they become more concerned about rear-ends in the pew than souls in the kingdom, then that’s a problem.


A ‘Day of Pentecost Every Sunday’

Kissimmee Christian Church follows the motto: “Multiple languages, multiple cultures. One church, one eldership.” The various people groups are still able to minister and worship creatively and in culture-specific ways using their music and their language. But the result is a stronger, more biblical framework and greater unity among all those who attend the church.


A CNN analyst called out a Fox News contributor for his ‘white privilege.’ He’s black.

When Webb, a Fox Nation host and frequent Fox News contributor, said he considered his qualifications more important than his skin color when applying to media jobs, Martin accused him of exercising white privilege.
But there was a problem with that, as Webb quickly pointed out:
“Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped,” he responded. “I’m black.”


Don’t steal metrics

Talking to a producer, he said that his goal was to make it a “top 10 podcast on iTunes.”
Why is that the goal?
That’s a common goal, a popular goal, someone else’s goal.
The compromises necessary to make it that popular (in dumbing down the content, sensationalizing it, hunting down sort-of-famous guests and doing a ton of promo) all fly in the face of what the project is for.


You’re probably not pitch perfect, but you can honor God with your gifts.

Once you agree to this leadership role in the worship, there are responsibilities that you have accepted. Congregational singing can be tremendously inspiring and uplifting or uninspiring and un-motivating; the song leader can make that difference.


Facebook Algorithms and Personal Data

Facebook makes it relatively easy for users to find out how the site’s algorithm has categorized their interests via a “Your ad preferences” page. Overall, however, 74% of Facebook users say they did not know that this list of their traits and interests existed until they were directed to their page as part of this study.
When directed to the “ad preferences” page, the large majority of Facebook users (88%) found that the site had generated some material for them. A majority of users (59%) say these categories reflect their real-life interests, while 27% say they are not very or not at all accurate in describing them. And once shown how the platform classifies their interests, roughly half of Facebook users (51%) say they are not comfortable that the company created such a list.


Handcuffed, drugged with ketamine: Truth behind Thai cave rescue

The boys parents were told their sons would be swimming to safety and in the global joy which erupted after the last of the boys surfaced safe and alive, no-one questioned the method of their extraction.
But ABC Australia Southeast Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane says in his new book, The Cave, the boys were in fact drugged with ketamine and handcuffed on their journey out of the cave.


Gender discussions in the church

One thing that seems to be catching many church leaders off guard is the fact that the gender discussions going on in the church are gender discussions, not just male-female discussions. While most churches aren’t having direct discussions about including LGBT individuals in their membership, many of the arguments being presented in conversations about the participation of women in the assembly are also being applied to those who define gender more broadly.

This isn’t a slippery slope argument (but it could lead to one). It’s a recognition that one generation speaks of gender in one way, and the next considers it in a completely different way (If we add additional generations into the mix, we begin to understand the turmoil in many of our congregations).

Some of the arguments that will find a broader application:

  • Argumentation that values experience over written revelation (or assigns equal value to each)
  • Reasoning that limits the value of the biblical record based on the culture or gender of the writers
  • Interpretation that “values Jesus over Paul” (in quotes because the meaning of the words doesn’t match the meaning of the argument)

I could go on, but I hope you’ll think about these and see what I mean. That doesn’t even mean those forms of reasoning are wrong. What it means is that the scope of application is broader than most people are thinking about.

So keep in mind, as we discuss gender in the church… we’re discussion gender, not just men and women.

Links To Go (January 15, 2019)

How Americans see illegal immigration, the border wall and political compromise

The United States was home to 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants in 2016, a 13% decline from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007, according to the most recent Pew Research Center estimates. This decade-long decline was driven almost entirely by a decrease in unauthorized immigrants from Mexico, even as the numbers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras increased. Meanwhile, a growing share of unauthorized immigrants were not people who had entered the country illegally, but had arrived legally and then overstayed their visas.


People older than 65 share the most fake news, a new study finds

But older users skewed the findings: 11 percent of users older than 65 shared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 did. Facebook users ages 65 and older shared more than twice as many fake news articles than the next-oldest age group of 45 to 65, and nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18 to 29).


Dementia in the Trans-Physical Age

But Christianity broke into the Greek world with an altogether more complex, more subtle, and more hopeful view of things. Yes, the body is broken, and you have a spirit that will live on beyond death, but the aim is not to be separated from the body and enter some ethereal version of the afterlife in which you will float around for all eternity. This notion was killed when Jesus came back to life in a body that was both like and unlike his old one. It still bore the scars of his crucifixion as he ate barbecued fish with his friends. But he also looked different and seemed less constrained by the laws of nature. His body was physical, but somehow better and improved.


Five Reasons Why “We Pay the Bills” at This Church Is Such a Harmful Attitude

“We pay the bills at this church.”
It is a toxic statement.
It is an unbiblical statement.
It is contrary to the spirit in which the Lord Himself came to serve, to give, and to sacrifice.


When Discontent Sheep Show Up

Pastors should make an effort to meet with the discontent sheep from other faithful local churches who have visited, and should be prepared to ask several pointed questions: What is so bad at their church that Christians can’t be reconciled to one another or problems solved in a godly manner (Matthew 5:24)? Have they done everything possible to live peaceably with the members and leadership of the church they’re leaving (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14)? Are they filled with any malice, strife, deceit, jealousy, anger, or hostility, or are they engaging in gossip (Romans 1:29; 2 Corinthians 12:20)?


Replace These Words in Your Writing

These aren’t rules, of course; they’re just suggestions, language is fluid, yadda yadda. Almost all the “lesser” words above have good uses. Save them for those uses. To leverage something is specifically to “use it to its maximum advantage.” Something sprawling is “spreading out over a large area in an untidy or irregular way.” Suits are bespoke, and medieval knights get slain. Okay, you’ve been waiting to add your own—go for it.


Island lighthouse owners seek bed & breakfast operators

The position, which pays a total $130,000 per year to be split between the operators, requires a U.S. Coast Guard commercial boat operator’s license, as they will be required to operate a ferry for guests at the five-bedroom inn.


Getting my eyes off of me

When we come to understand that one of the main reasons we assemble is for us to be able to encourage and motivate other Christians, then we will see how misguided the whole “Jesus is enough; I don’t need the church” movement is. That’s an egotistical approach. As long as my needs are met, everything is good.

Our focus in meeting together should be on how to help others be more like Jesus. When we realize that, we’ll never say, “I don’t need to go to church.”