Links To Go (August 26, 2016)

This couple didn’t tip their Latina server. They left a hateful message instead.

The message on the receipt rattled Sadie Karina Elledge, but it made her grandfather see red.
Instead of leaving a gratuity on Monday, a couple eating at the Harrisonburg, Va., restaurant where Sadie works scrawled: “We only tip citizens.”
The dig was aimed at Sadie, 18, who was born in the United States but is of Honduran and Mexican descent. So, John Elledge took a photo of the grease-stained receipt left for his granddaughter and posted it on Facebook.

Mercy In a Mean Time

his is something we should take very seriously. I’m not talking about whether you vote for an elephant or a donkey, but whether you follow the Lamb. I’m talking about the attitude of your heart. What is your general disposition toward…
The poor?
Those in need of health care?
Immigrants (documented or not)?
America’s vast prison population?
If your attitude is one of indifference, distrust, disgust, anger, or moral superiority, may I suggest that you are being carried by the spirit of the age toward meanness as you fly away from mercy.

The Tragic Transgender Contagion

Let’s be clear: The vast majority of kids who experience a period of discomfort with their biological sexual identity eventually desist. Indeed, the number may well be over 90 percent. In other words, kids who are growing and learning about life and themselves sometimes endure a period of confusion. This should shock exactly no one. What is shocking, however, is the insistence that this period of confusion should be treated as a period of confirmation — and that medical intervention is the logical and tolerant next course.

Research: Few Pastors Asked to Perform Same-Sex Weddings, Less Than Half Allow LGBT to Serve in Church

More than 100,000 same-sex couples have tied the knot since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationwide last year.
But for preachers, being asked to do a same-sex wedding remains rare.
A new survey by Nashville-based LifeWay Research found 11 percent of Protestant senior pastors have been asked to perform a same-sex wedding.

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced. Here’s how she responded.

McGhee told him that people of all races and backgrounds hold such prejudices, some unconsciously, so for him to be able to say it outright, was “one of the most powerful things that we can do right now in this moment in our history.”
Then she offered him some ideas for how he could begin to allay those fears. She urged him to get to know black families, to not form opinions about people of color from the evening news, to join a black church (if he’s religious), to read the rich history of the African American community and to start conversations within his own community about race.

4 Interesting Facts about the Production of the King James Translation

But sometimes the historical nitty-gritty surrounding an artifact that has been venerated for so long gets lost in the fog of adulation. So here are 4 interesting facts you may not know about this most revered of translations.

Corpse Trials and Other Perils of Church Politics

We’ve all been there before: You’ve just ascended to the papacy, one of the most powerful positions in the world, but the people still retain reverence for your predecessor. Oh, and also, some other people are trying to murder you and usurp your shiny new papal throne. What’s a ninth-century pontiff to do?
If you’re Pope Stephen VI “Or Possibly VII, We’re Not Sure” of Rome, there’s only one obvious answer here: Dig up your predecessor’s corpse and force it to stand trial for a handful of trumped-up charges.

Clinton, Trump Supporters Have Starkly Different Views of a Changing Nation

Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump disagree on a range of policy issues, from terrorism to free trade. Yet they also have more fundamental differences over long-term changes in the country and the next generation’s future prospects.
A new national survey finds that Trump supporters overwhelmingly believe that life in America is worse than it was 50 years ago “for people like them.” Fully 81% of registered voters who support Trump say life has gotten worse, compared with just 11% who say it has gotten better (6% say it is about the same).
Most Clinton supporters take the opposite view: 59% say life for people like them has gotten better over the past half-century, while 19% think it has gotten worse and 18% see little change.

Links To Go (August 17, 2016)

I am not Homosexual… or Heterosexual or Bisexual or Any-Other-Kind-Of-Sexual

Additionally, I’m uncomfortable with the relatively young concept of “sexual orientation.” I don’t believe the content or implications of the Scriptures support the idea that each person has a fixed, immutable set of sexual desires that they are born with. The Bible speaks about homosexual and heterosexual behavior and the desires that drive those activities, but it never implies that some people are heterosexual and some people are homosexual. Rather, I believe the Bible teaches that 1) we all possess a sexuality, and 2) that sexuality has been distorted by sin. If we are going to claim any sexual orientation, it needs to be our orientation to sin. We are all inclined to dishonor God by abusing our bodies in unlawful activities. Whether the object of our desire is a male or a female or an inflatable pool raft (saw that one on the news!), we are all fallen people with broken sexualities.

If pedophilia is a sexual orientation, now what?

Pedophilia as orientation exposes the inadequacy of this kind of moral reasoning. It shows that you cannot give a moral assessment of sexual behavior merely on the basis of the actor’s perceived orientation. Sexual attractions can be misdirected and wrong. But the wrongness of the attractions cannot be determined simply by whether or not they come naturally to a person. There are many patterns of sexual attraction that feel natural to people but that are nevertheless morally wrong. The moral assessment of both orientation and the behavior that comes from it must be made on other grounds.

Are We Talking Past Each Other? 3 Tips For Talking Faith With Friends & Neighbors

There are three key things I find helpful when communicating gospel truths with those far from God.

  1. Expose what people worship
  2. Assume nothing
  3. Create Nathan moments

Millennial Perspective: Stop Doing Announcements

As a starting point for standards, I think each message needs to fit into at least one of these three categories:
A.) Does it impact 80 percent of our audience?
B.) Is it a direct next step from teaching that would add value to our audience?
C.) Is it a key on-ramp to a ministry?

Welcome to Manu’s basketball familia

Even after achieving NBA stardom, Ginobili and Scola never cared much for posh travel. During a game in 2010, Tyson Chandler, then with the Mavs, approached Ginobili between free throws. He had seen Ginobili park his minivan before the game. “You drive a minivan?” Chandler asked. “I thought I was the only one!” Ginobili laughed. “I have twins,” he told Chandler. “Scola drives one too!”

Links To Go (August 8, 2016)

When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

The majority of our modern church growth strategies are primarily targeted toward the hospitable interests of cool affluent white people. If there is an interest in being “multi-ethnic,” then there is a secondary target for people of color who can navigate well within the affluent white culture. People who are on the margins economically, ethnically, racially, and culturally have to do the cross-cultural, code-switching work to be a part of a community that is designed for the cool affluent white aesthetic.

Few Clinton or Trump Supporters Have Close Friends in the Other Camp

In an increasingly contentious presidential campaign, just a quarter of voters who support Donald Trump in the general election say they have a lot or some close friends who are supporters of Hillary Clinton. Even fewer Clinton backers (18%) say they have at least some friends who support Trump.

How Racial Threat Has Galvanized the Tea Party

White participants in the darkened Obama group were significantly more likely to support the Tea Party, with 22 percent supporting the right-wing political movement compared with 12 percent for the lightened Obama group.

Nearly 1 in 100 worldwide are now displaced from their homes

More than 60 million people are displaced from their homes as of the end of 2015, the highest number of displaced people since World War II, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This group accounts for 0.8% of the world’s population, or nearly 1 in 100 people globally, and represents the highest share of the world’s population that has been forcibly displaced since UNHCR began collecting data on displaced persons in 1951.

How Unfair Police Lineups Land the Wrong People Behind Bars

Unsurprisingly, the authors say, unfair lineups were very effective at getting witnesses to select the desired target. But they were also good at encouraging people to feel good about blaming innocent men; the volunteers shown unfair lineups were more confident than others, even when they were wrong.

Burglars mistakenly deliver stolen items right back to victim

Police said Jeremy A. Watts, 30, of Franklin, and Jessica F. Heady, 24, of Nashville, tried to pawn stolen items at the same pawn shop where the victim works on Tuesday.

Links To Go (August 2, 2016)

How I’m Voting

Voting for candidates and issues based on who and what you think would best serve those whom Jesus called “the least of these” seems to be a Christ-like thing to do and a good way to vote. I would call it pro life. Think about it.
You may disagree with my decision to use my vote in this manner. But, hey, this is a democracy and it’s my vote. And I choose to give it to Igor.

Revelation: On Which Pete Enns Nails It

Instead Christians are called to practice “uncivil religion” where Jesus is not tied to the state or aligned with any wanna-be king, and God is not dragged down into our political squabbles as if the Creator has chosen sides. Rather, followers of the slain Lamb stand firm in God’s kingdom and call earthly powers to account.

Christianizing the Powers

Again, the powers serve legitimate functions in staving off general chaos and social disintegration. Cultures, value systems and social contracts (laws, politics) have some positive functions. But they only function well when they are functionaries, tools of service that aid human flourishing. The problem is that the powers are now ascendant and “in charge” of the world. Humans are serving the powers–nations, religions, corporations, “our way of life”–rather than the powers serving us.

Muslims go to Catholic Mass in France, Italy for solidarity

From the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, only a few miles from where 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel was killed Tuesday by two Muslim fanatics, to Paris’ iconic Notre Dame, where the rector of the Mosque of Paris invoked a papal benediction in Latin, many churchgoers were cheered by the Muslims in their midst.

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences

It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ.

Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?

We found that laws restricting apostasy and blasphemy are most common in the Middle East and North Africa, where 18 of the region’s 20 countries (90%) criminalize blasphemy and 14 (70%) criminalize apostasy. While apostasy laws exist in only two other regions of the world – Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa – blasphemy laws can be found in all regions, including Europe (in 16% of countries) and the Americas (29%).

Expectant Prayer for the Nations

So, let’s gather our children around and pray for specific places and people in the world. Who knows what they might see thirty and forty years from now?! The sons of Korah prayed in Psalm 87 that Rahab and Babylon, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush would say that they were born in Zion. God has answered and is answering that prayer. May we too pray expectantly that specific nations and people would be born again and bow the knee to Jesus!

A Riot of Love

I am not writing this post to stir up controversy. I am not writing a diatribe against groups that protest or people who wear uniforms. I am not writing to stir any group into action or to change procedures, policies, or personnel. I am writing simply to say that you and I, as individuals, can and should treat all people with respect, tenderness, and compassion, believing in their full God-given potential. I am not suggesting dismissing criminal behavior. I am not pointing fingers at groups of people. I am pleading for you to view my family and friends in law enforcement and my little nephew as individuals deserving love and respect.

Stop Assuming Your Neighbors Are Hostile to Your Faith

We must not assume that our unchurched friends and neighbors are hostile to our faith. When we believe the myth that everyone hates us, we tend to retreat to our closets where we hide our lamp under a bowl. We equate faithfulness with maintenance rather than mission.

Missionaries are Supposed to Suffer… So Am I Allowed to Eat Lobster?

I understand that this is a tricky issue–because it’s a heart issue. I’m sure there are missionaries who make selfish or unhealthy financial decisions–just like lots of other Christians. I am all about accountability, and godly priorities, and fighting against our instinct to make comfort or wealth an idol. But if it’s acceptable for other Christians to take vacations, if they are living generously, wisely, and with a heavenly mindset, then why can’t missionaries do so as well?

What Happens the Night Before

There is far too much at stake in our broken world. This is a time to be earnest. This is a time to pray for the Holy Spirit’s conviction and power. For a people who have been given a mission, the cause is too great to act as if we had plenty of time, resources, and opportunities. The cause and the Gospel itself ought to even inspire some sense of urgency about what we are doing.

The ’60s ‘Batman’ Movie Just Turned 50 And Attention Must Be Paid

Even so: to watch Batman: The Movie today is to savor the essence of the TV show. To modern eyes, its plot seems overstuffed, its structure rigidly episodic, its pacing more languorous than strictly necessary, and yet the whole thing is so blithely and sublimely goofy any quibbles fall by the wayside.

Links To Go (July 14, 2016)

Black Lives Matter Too!

Those using the phrase “Black Lives Matter” do so because they’re expressing their impression that many in society don’t think they matter. They feel neglected, so they remind each other and the world that they do matter. They do have value. Of course all lives matter, but there are many people made to feel as though they’re insignificant. Sometimes it’s individuals who feel as though no one notices them. Sometimes it’s whole communities.
Did you notice that little feeling of indignation you feel when you see #BlackLivesMatter and think that you’re being overlooked or devalued? That’s a sensation these people experience as a way of life.

What a Community Leader Said He Can’t Do That Only Churches Can Do Regarding Race

Yes, some churches are part of the problem. Some churches are filled with the same racist perspectives or power plays that got us here in the first place. And some churches are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good. Some churches assume racial reconciliation has nothing to do with the gospel and thus miss their opportunity to contribute something truly beautiful to a national conversation.
But other churches, those who’ve grasped the kind of Good News Jesus walked and talked, offer something to our country in this time of crisis that no police force, no protest movement, no legislative package can offer.

Thoughts on Last Week

Can we reflect the heart of God as we move forward and get close to our brokenhearted people, all of them, all of us? Cry with all of our people, cry out to God for change, for protection, for His sovereign hand to move our country to look more like Him in all things, and that we would treat each other as He would have us treat each other. Pray that we would reflect His character, that our lives would be evidence of the blood of Jesus.

Police are safer under Obama than they have been in decades

These statements are part of a broader narrative of a “war on cops” carried out by the Obama administration and/or the Black Lives Matter movement, depending on whom you ask. It’s certainly true that some shooters of police, such as the Dallas attacker, appear to be motivated by a hatred of white police officers or a twisted urge to seek revenge for police shootings of black Americans. But the simplistic and inflammatory notion of a “war on cops” is completely undercut by one fundamental data point: Intentional attacks on police officers are at historically low levels under President Obama.

Goodbye, firstborn children: This study shows how wordy terms of service hurt users

NameDrop’s second crazy clause should’ve stopped most users in their tracks—or at least clued them in that the service wasn’t real. The second clause said all users agree to give their “first-born child” to NameDrop. If the user didn’t have children yet, their first baby would still have to go to NameDrop until 2050.
In the end, the study says 74 percent of the participants skipped reading the privacy policy. Those who did read the privacy policy didn’t spend long than 73 seconds even though it should’ve taken around 30 minutes to read the whole thing.
The average reading time of the ToS, meanwhile, was 51 seconds when it should’ve been closer to 16 minutes.

Leisure Time and the History of the American Highway

In this period immediately following the Second World War, (we) were on the road, and we were on the road hard. These weren’t hour-and-a-half trips to the coast, they were — according to the Youngs’ book — an average of 600 miles in distance and ran from a week to two weeks on the road. “The greater the family’s affluence,” the Youngs write, “the further they chose to go.”
We were traveling with the benefit of range-extending cylinder deactivation technology, GPS, Bluetooth and dual-zone air conditioning. We traveled with carburetors, paper maps, maybe an AM radio and vent windows. We stayed at “motels,” specially designed to accommodate our cars, or we hauled smaller versions of our homes with us.

Boise homeowner finds child’s C-minus report card (from 1979) hiding under carpet

Last week, Boise homeowner Tara Curl, who lives near Overland and Five Mile, said she was pulling old carpet in her home when she found an old envelope near a vent, underneath the decades-old carpet pad.
“I just thought it had to be really old,” Curl said.
The student’s unsatisfactory report card, a C-minus, had four missing assignments in Social Studies. He also had not been organized with his studies, according to his teacher