Author Archives: Tim Archer

Links To Go (May 31, 2019)

Intellectual Humility is a Virtue

Intellectual humility does not prevent one from coming to conclusions and arguing for a specific view. Intellectual humility requires a willingness to listen and to learn. I’ve listened to a number of talks by N.T. Wright and he will sometimes make a comment such as: 20% (or some other percentage higher or lower) of what I’m about to tell you is wrong; the problem is, I don’t know what 20% it is. This certainly doesn’t keep him from making the argument or teaching the class, but it does cultivate intellectual humility to keep it in mind, both in the speaker and in the listener. This is what makes us teachable and allows us to grow.


Lutheran student pastor, husband deported to Colombia weeks after ICE raid at their Chicago home

The family’s current immigration troubles started the morning of May 8 as Hincapie Rendón was driving her daughter to school. She was stopped by an unmarked car and taken into custody by officials she soon learned were federal immigration agents, she told a crowd gathered outside ICE’s Chicago office last week to protest the family’s treatment. Hincapie Rendón said that while she was handcuffed and placed inside another vehicle, ICE agents drove her car — with her daughter still inside — to her parents’ South Side home. She recalled hearing her daughter crying during the ordeal. “They tricked me into thinking they were taking my daughter to my parents’ house. They then detained my parents,” Hincapie Rendón said. “I feel like they violated our rights.”


[digital] xeno-racism — the new form of oppression that keeps me awake at night.

So here is the question — who controls and defines my migrant’s identity? The producers of sensational news stories? The politicians who build their careers by spreading fear and hatred towards migrants? Or perhaps, the oppressive algorithm which knows exactly how to tap into people’s fears with regards to migration?


How Cancer Healed my Dad

When he first heard the diagnosis, he instantly felt God put the words from Hebrews 13:14 in to his mouth, and he heard himself say to the consultant: “Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” He described feeling a peace that transcended all understanding, literally guarding his heart and mind. And from then on, he woke up. Christ became everything again. The gospel was all that mattered. He began to seek a different city.


The Peculiar Blindness of Experts

Tetlock, along with his wife and collaborator, the psychologist Barbara Mellers, ran a team named the Good Judgment Project. Rather than recruit decorated experts, they issued an open call for volunteers. After a simple screening, they invited 3,200 people to start forecasting. Among those, they identified a small group of the foxiest forecasters—bright people with extremely wide-ranging interests and unusually expansive reading habits, but no particular relevant background—and weighted team forecasts toward their predictions. They destroyed the competition. Tetlock and Mellers found that not only were the best forecasters foxy as individuals, but they tended to have qualities that made them particularly effective collaborators. They were “curious about, well, really everything,” as one of the top forecasters told me. They crossed disciplines, and viewed their teammates as sources for learning, rather than peers to be convinced. When those foxes were later grouped into much smaller teams—12 members each—they became even more accurate. They outperformed—by a lot—a group of experienced intelligence analysts with access to classified data.


10,000 Steps A Day? How Many You Really Need To Boost Longevity

In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were about 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period of about four years compared with women who took 2,700 steps. The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps. In other words, women who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity.


People leave nearly $1 million in loose change in TSA bins every year

The most money, naturally enough, comes from busy airports in big cities: According to the agency’s report on the 2017 fiscal year, John F. Kennedy International Airport collected the most money at $72,392. Los Angeles International Airport was a close second at $71,748. Miami International Airport and O’Hare International trailed behind at $50,504 and $49,597.


Cat sparks $7,500 rescue mission after getting stuck on bridge six days; mission fails, pet gets bored and wanders home

But when firefighters had decided to give up for the day, vowing to return Thursday, the cat, who had been missing for two weeks before turning up on the bridge, returned home on Wednesday night, according to the Plymouth Herald. Kirsty Howden, Hatty’s owner, said the cat walked into the garden of her home in Saltash. She said the cat had just “strolled past fire and media crews”.


Not nationalistic, but respectful

The church needs to be careful about allowing nationalism and patriotism to influence our lives. They are dangerous sirens that would distract us from our mission. Yet, that doesn’t mean we disrespect the place where we live. The captives in Babylon were told: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) As we live out our exile, I think we should do the same.

Therefore, I do think we should do the following:

  • Be thankful for the country in which we live. We should be thankful for all good things that God puts into our lives. Riches are a danger, but that doesn’t mean we should seek poverty. Comfort can be an idol, but self-inflicted suffering is not the answer. We humbly accept when God puts good things into our lives, including the possibility to live in a safe and prosperous nation. And, as with all other blessings, our goal is not to keep that safety and prosperity for ourselves, but to share it with others around us.
  • Pray for those who serve in the military. As I commented on yesterday’s post, I think that includes all who serve in the military, not just the U.S. military. But it certainly doesn’t exclude those who are in the U.S. armed services; many of them have suffered greatly because of their jobs.
  • Pray for all leaders. Again, I think it’s wrong to limit our prayers to those who govern within the borders of the United States. The Bible says to pray for all people everywhere and to pray for those in power. I think those things go together.

I will be respectful toward the United States, just as I was respectful toward Argentina when living as an alien there. In both countries, I am an ambassador of God, serving in a diplomatic mission. I won’t favor any nation of this earth over any other, for my homeland awaits me, in the city that God is preparing.

Links To Go (May 30, 2019)

A Slow Soul in a Fast World

Specifically, a lot of my struggles have to do with the pace and timing of my inner life and the world happening around me. The world comes at you fast. And my natural inclination is to react to that rushing, oncoming traffic rapidly and quickly. I meet speed for speed. The world is rushing at me and my inner life speeds up to match it.


Five Things I Love About Churches of Christ

  1. Recognition of the Importance of Baptism
  2. Scripture Takes Precedence Over Tradition
  3. Informal, But Reverent
  4. Weekly Observance of the Lord’s Supper
  5. Elders to Shepherd the Church

Why preachers plagiarize

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  • Start doing your own research, study, and meditation.
  • Start giving credit.
  • Learn from others, but do your own work.
  • Keep your pride in check.

Senators Angry TSA Budget Is Being Redirected To Border

The US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee oversees the TSA. Both Republican and Democratic members of the committee are concerned that re-direction of personnel to the U.S. Southern Border will come at the expense of airport security screening. This summer is slated to shatter all previous travel records in terms of number of passengers, putting increased strain on already-stretched TSA personnel.


Stop Changing Your Oil!

The majority of automakers today call for oil changes at either 7,500 or 10,000 miles, and the interval can go as high as 15,000 miles in some cars. Yet this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy. As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.


Hoo Boy: Navy Pilots Reported UFO Sightings ‘Almost Daily’

Over Memorial Day weekend, The New York Times reported that between 2014 and 2015, Navy pilots claimed of seeing UFOs “almost daily.” Nobody is using the “alien” word — meaning these are actually flying objects that are unidentified — but the fact remains nobody is really sure what these flying objects are.


Nationalism gets in the way of evangelism

I’m convinced that one of the greatest hindrances to evangelism is the rampant nationalism within our churches. That’s one of the reasons why I comment a lot on that subject, even though it angers some. (Their anger seems to confirm my fears about what nationalism does to us)

I’ll put it bluntly: I think too many Christians value the Stars and Stripes over the cross. Not every patriotic Christian falls into that category. But enough do that our churches get distracted from their true purpose.

This distraction makes us obsess over politics. It makes us glorify the military. It makes us view foreigners as dangerous people. It makes us value personal freedoms and individual liberty over the proclamation of freedom in Christ to the whole world.

We need to recover our citizenship as members of God’s holy nation. Our earthly citizenship should be like Paul’s, where no one knew he had it except when he told them. Even then, he only did so when absolutely necessary. Earthly citizenship is a bureaucratic technicality; heavenly citizenship defines us.

We need to discover the Kingship of the ascended Christ. Let the people of this world wrangle over partisan power and legislative liaisons. May we speak truth, seek justice, and commit ourselves to serve, not govern. May we worry about serving the King, not lording over the nations.

We need to learn to love God’s nation first. All peoples. All races. All languages. All tribes. We need to remember that the Christian immigrant or Christian foreigner is a citizen of my country, while my non-Christian U.S. citizen neighbor is not.

We need to pledge allegiance to God and God alone.

Bibles and flags

It seems to me that the mixing of patriotic and religious symbols is more prevalent in the United States than in other countries. For example, if I search Google Images for “Bible and flag,” I mainly get pictures of the Bible surrounded by the Stars and Stripes. That’s even true if I do my best to search in other languages. (The flag of the Dominican Republic has a Bible in the middle of it; that’s about the only flag of another country that shows up in such searches)

Am I wrong about that? What seems normal in the U.S. seems to be viewed as unusual in other countries.

I’ll admit that it makes me uncomfortable. I might feel more comfortable if I saw that this was the norm in other places. Or not. Either way, I’d love for you to help me find other examples of this mix between nationalism and Christianity. Thanks!