No links for you!

I finally got fed up. Most websites have stopped the ridiculous practice of tacking on extraneous material every time you quote them, but a few still do it. You copy and paste the headline of an article, and they add, “Read more at _____.” They do this for the very valid reason that… no, there is no good reason for this. If someone is going to plagiarize, they’re not going to hesitate to delete the auto-reference. If someone like me is wanting to quote and give credit, we’re merely hampered by the garbage characters added to what we cut and paste.

So I’ve decided to quit using the offending websites, as much as I can. I love the material on Relevant Magazine, but don’t like the irrelevant junk that comes with it, so I won’t quote them any more. Same with numerous others.

I’m not kidding myself. None of them are sitting around crying because they won’t get links here in the Kitchen. Nor will any of them change just because I don’t like what they’re doing.

Maybe if enough of us get fed up, they’ll stop this practice. If not, well… no links for you!

Links To Go (December 8, 2016)

The Narrative of Fear Surrounding Refugees: Preparing Ourselves for the Conversation

What is an Evangelical to do? We are to hold to the critical pro-life issues that we have always held to. And we must remind ourselves that being pro-life is about all of life from conception onward, from start to finish, and all the moments in between. We cannot say that we are pro-life if we turn our backs on those in need. And so we must circle back to the refugee crisis.

Jesus, a Broken Car Window and a Girl from Oman

We shook hands. I said goodbye. Reminded them they were welcome to come at Christmas. Got into the car and drove off. With the window up. And with a fresh sense that God is so close in situations such as that it’s right in your face. I’m gonna pop in before Christmas with a Colin Buchanan CD for the girls and some Christmas biscuits for them.
Sometimes the sparks of the Incarnation flicker and spatter so hard around this planet some two thousand years after the event that you can almost feel it.

A group of veterans just did an incredibly moving thing at Standing Rock

On Monday afternoon, Jon Eagle, who is the tribal historic preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux, posted several photos to his personal Facebook page of veterans kneeling before indigenous activists, acknowledging the long history of atrocities committed against Native Americans, and asking for the forgiveness of the tribes in attendance.
To their surprise, Leksi Leonard Crow Dog, a Sioux spokesman, forgave the veteran military members present for the past actions of their government, and in turn asked for forgiveness for the Battle of Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, when Sioux warriors killed approximately 268 U.S. soldiers affiliated with the 7th Cavalry.

Most Americans Say Assisted Suicide is Morally Acceptable

Where there are differences among demographic groups, most still agree. For example, Americans age 18 to 24 (77 percent) and those 35 to 44 (63 percent) and 55 to 64 (64 percent) agree. So do white Americans (71 percent) and Hispanic Americans (69 percent). Those with some college education (71 percent) or with graduate degrees (73 percent) and those with high school diplomas or less (61 percent) also agree.
Among faith groups, more than half of all Christians (59 percent), Catholics (70 percent), Protestants (53 percent), Nones (84 percent) and those of other religions (70 percent) agree. Most of those who attend religious services less than once a month (76 percent) also agree.

Texas Lowe’s hires veteran and his service dog

Luthy said he was trying to find a job after serving in the Air Force, and wanted to find an employer who wouldn’t mind his side kick.
“I was trying to figure out where I could go that would be a good fit and it wouldn’t mind having Charlotte, and my wife said I was at Lowe’s so much anyway, I might as well get a job there,” he said.
Charlotte – a 10-year-old yellow lab – is by his side in and out of the work zone. Jay Fellers, Lowe’s human resources manager, said it was a no-brainer to hire the pair.
“They were the best person for the job,” he said. “So, we went through the interview process and Clay and his own merit won the job. And we knew he was gonna make a great employee – we just got the benefit of getting Charlotte right along with him.”

Links To Go (December 6, 2016)

He Didn’t Choose The Lamb

The answer came in a off the cuff comment from the speaker at a ministers’ conference. He mentioned the Lord’s Supper and said in passing “He takes the bread because there would be no more sacrifice.” The scales fell from my eyes—maybe you had figured this out!—but I was so surprised by it and its wider implications I accidently let out a long loud whistle as I exhaled in surprise!
Think of it. He could have chosen the lamb, but he didn’t choose the lamb, because he wanted it to be clear to us that there was no more shedding of blood required. That this was a never-to-be-repeated sacrifice. This was a once-for-all sacrifice.

Scarlet Hope

It struck me in that moment that this small act of washing this woman’s feet represented something much bigger, for it wasn’t my own love that this woman was experiencing. For the first time in her life, this woman was experiencing the love of Jesus Christ, True Love. A completely selfless, sacrificial, all-encompassing love that brings us peace and hope. It’s a love that brings about change. It’s a love that compels us to share it with others.
I never got to finish this woman’s pedicure. That night, this veteran dancer of fifteen years cleaned out her locker and left the strip club, never to return.

Life as a Minority and a Christian after the Election

I fear that ignoring contexts continues to leave a huge segment of evangelicalism blind to human realities. For example, the Black Lives Movement, which has awakened and motivated many young people to issues of police brutality and the often unfair treatment that people of color face from those in civil authority, has been vastly oversimplified and minimized by many white evangelicals. Rarely do I see white evangelicals even attempt to see the world through the eyes of others.

CDC reports abortion rate at all-time low

The CDC report, which drew on data from 49 reporting areas, showed a decrease not only in total abortions, but also in the rate of abortions for every 1,000 females ages 15-44 (down 21 percent) as well as the ratio between abortion and every 1,000 live births (down 17 percent) since 2004. (California, Maryland, and New Hampshire did not provide data because the federal government does not require it.)
The report lists several factors behind the decrease in abortion: increased use of contraception, state regulation of abortion, mandatory waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and “increasing acceptance of nonmarital childbearing.”

Just the Right Gift

Listening: This is a gift everyone of us wants. We want others to hear what we say. I am not talking about the words, but the meaning behind what we say. When we talk about our lives, our families, our successes, and our failures, we want others to respect us enough to listen with compassion. We are not always wanting others to solve our problems or to pat us on the back, but we do want to disclose part of who we are to those we trust. Are you listening?

‘Fixer Upper’ star Chip Gaines calls for ‘respect,’ takes family to church

However, Chip Gaines took to Twitter this weekend to tell fans to be respectful of the Buzzfeed article’s author that many media experts and fans called “off base.”
Regardless of our decision to make a statement about all this craziness, or not, I ask that people please! respect [Buzzfeed reporter] @KateAurthur,” Chip Gaines wrote on Twitter.

Oh, Politico! We’re not laughing with you, but at you, after that ‘advance God’s Kingdom’ scoop

So my main advice for Politico, focused on the GetReligion angle, is pretty simple: When writing about a subject on which your knowledge is extremely lacking (say, Christian subculture lingo), be more careful with your laughable gotcha/scoop/exposé pieces based on 15-year-old quotes. Or something like that.

Soul Men: Coach Pop and Cornel West

A student asked, of course, whether the Spurs were going to win a title, and here was one of the emotional high points of the day. Coach Popovich responded:
“Win the championship? I don’t know, but it’s not a priority in my life. I’d be much happier if I knew that my players were going to make society better, who had good families and who took care of the people around them. I’d get more satisfaction out of that than a title. I would love to win another championship, and we’ll work our butts off to try and do that. But we have to want more than success in our jobs.”

Links to Go (November 30, 2016)

Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real, Study Finds

The solution, they write, is to teach students — or, really, all Internet users — to read like fact checkers.
That means not just reading “vertically,” on a single page or source, but looking for other sources — as well as not taking “About” pages as evidence of neutrality, and not assuming Google ranks results by reliability.

Paradigm Shifts in Global Missions Every Christian Should Know

  • The center of gravity of Christianity has shifted from the West to the Global South.
  • Many nations are involved in the sending of missionaries.
  • The global population is becoming increasingly urban.
  • The world population is more connected than ever before
  • Unprecedented global migration has resulted in the scattering of people across the globe.

Increasing Evangelism in Church Planting

People love to be missional. People love to plant churches. But when we actually talk about sharing the good news of the gospel—calling men and women to trust and follow Jesus—the passion can falter. It appears that, in many cases, the value we place on being verbal witnesses of the good news of Jesus Christ to those around us is declining, while church planting and acts of service are increasing.

Trump voters want to build the wall, but are more divided on other immigration questions

Voters who supported Donald Trump in the presidential election view illegal immigration as a serious problem in the U.S. and strongly favor his proposal to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico. But they are more divided on other questions, including whether to deport some or all of the nation’s estimated 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants.

Worship When the Feelings Aren’t There

The church today might be guilty of courtly love. In writing about this phenomenon, Scot McKnight has said, “Some folks love church, and what they mean by ‘loving church’ is that they love the experience they get when they go to church.”

  • They might like the experience and feelings they get from singing songs about adoration of God or the experience of loving Jesus.
  • They might like sermons that make them feel God’s power or tell stories that entertain or insights that seem brand new.
  • If the song isn’t in the right style or the sermon is more broccoli than dessert, then we might leave rating the time spent as a disappointment. Like the segment on American Bandstand where Dick Clark would have some teenagers “Rate a Record,” we rate what we call worship on the basis of its beat and how it made us feel.

But what if the worship of the church is not supposed to be rated on the flightiness of feelings? Instead, its design might be more about building the faithfulness of fidelity to Christ? More about a mature relationship than a courtly love.

U.S. Christians Brace For Brutal Onslaught Of ‘Happy Holidays’ Attacks

Open Doors, a watchdog group that monitors the global persecution of Christians, reports that “Happy Holidays” attacks are already up 400% this season. In response to this disturbing trend, Christians around the world have organized prayer vigils to support the victims.
One North Korean believer spoke to reporters from an underground church meeting, on the condition of anonymity, out of concern for government threats on his life for practicing Christianity. “We stand with our American brothers and sisters during this barbaric onslaught of persecution. We pray for God’s strength to endure the torture you will encounter during your shopping trips, winter festivals, and holiday parties.”

Links To Go (November 28, 2016)

The Lost Art of Feasting

It’s true that fasting is sadly overlooked, and too often forgotten. And yet, perhaps counterintuitively, true feasting is also in decline through familiarity and lack of spiritual purpose. Most of us have never given any serious thought to what it might mean to feast with Christ-honoring intentionality.
We’ve grown dull to the wonder of ample food and drink through constant use, and overuse. When every day is a virtual feast, we lose the blessing of a real one. When every meal is a pathway to indulgence, not only is fasting lost, but true feasting is as well.

Blame Yourself, Not Facebook, For the Social Media Echo Chamber

The authors conclude that the primary driver of the digital echo chamber is the actions of users—who we connect with online and which stories we click on— rather than the choices the newsfeed algorithm makes on our behalf.

Telling Time Differently As Christ Followers

Keeping time with the Christian calendar not only helps us re-tell the stories of Jesus and his people, it also helps us to live differently as disciples of Jesus. As Jamie Smith writes, keeping time in this way helps us recognize that “Christians are a people whose year doesn’t simply map onto the calendar of the dominant culture.” In December, when everything around us is swirling with consumption and indulgence, followers of Jesus quietly focus on lamenting the state of the world and anticipating the coming Messiah in Advent. In the Spring, when the broader culture acknowledges Easter as a day of candy and bunnies, we celebrate Easter for 50 days, going deep into the implications of his resurrection for the world. Keeping time in this way puts us out of step with the broader culture around us, but reminds us in every single season that we are called to tell the world through word and deed about the true King who has come to save.

How to be a good listener: the experts’ guide

On day one, in my first training session, I realised to my horror that I wasn’t a very good listener at all. All the habits that I thought made me good at it, all that advice I was giving my friend, was just getting in the way. Each session brought new revelations and useful lessons. Since putting those lessons into practice with my friends and partner, I’ve seen what a difference it can make. As my trainer Pam tells me, “I have seen people in severe emotional distress, feeling like the only way is down. But they talk and cry, and I just listen. Verbalising their emotions helps them see things more clearly. Being listened to makes us feel valued.” It makes the listener feel valued, too.

The Worldview of Moana

So, my advice, enjoy the film with a big tub of well buttered popcorn and an oversized and overpriced soft drink. Enjoy your time with your family. And remember to thank the Giver of all good things, above all things, for giving you eyes to see that there is more than this world will ever have to offer.

How to Actively Serve in Worldwide Missions Where You Are in Your Local Church

You, dear Christian — working full-time, raising a family, established in a church, and serving in that ministry context — can actively serve in missionary work. But it’ll cost you. It’ll cost you time, effort, labor, and earnestness on your knees. The advancing of the gospel thunders when saints bow humbly on their knees.

Letter to My Younger Self by David Robinson

Use the financial power you’ll be blessed with to create a company that can invest in the community, especially the African-American community. And create connections with the many influential people you meet along the way so that you can create a foundation that will empower young people like you to pursue their dreams.

Friends and Family Matter More Than Money When It Comes to Giving Thanks