Links to Go (September 17, 2014)

Why Climate Change Concerns Pro-Life Christians

Lately, because of political controversies and headline-grabbing court cases such as the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, the public’s view of evangelical reverence for life has been reduced mainly to fetuses and fertilized eggs. In truth, evangelicals are addressing myriad threats to life, from poverty and slavery to genocide. If the life movement can devote itself to fighting these, can’t it also confront the threat to our life-giving water — and compel the small- and large-scale actions that will conserve it for human beings today and tomorrow?

The Typecast Church

“The mentor’s role,” writes marketing and storytelling author Jonah Sachs, “is to make change irresistible but not mandatory.” That sounds to me like a great story for the church’s relationship with culture in the 21st century. This is the story in which we compel people toward our particular version of the good life, rather than coerce them into superficial, deistic moralism. The mentor never threatens, ensnares, or bullies. Instead, the mentor points, challenges, trains, and releases. To borrow from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, mentors teach protagonists to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

Social Media and the Panda Predicament

As we stood there, something happened: the glossy, perfect, unrealistic, airbrushed version was replaced with something way better. The longer we looked, the more amazing that real version became. Of course, they weren’t perfect. Of course, they were actually a little dirty and their fur a little soiled. We stood watching those pandas sit on their bums munching on snacks, and the more we saw, the more adorable they became.

Seat 21A

To see another human, to be allowed into their world, is an incredible privilege. In an age of convenience and obsessive consumption we rob ourselves of that opportunity. We trade long-term satisfaction and growth for comfort in the short-term. It’s vulnerable to look into the eyes of another —so we look at our phones and our screens instead.

The Jerry Jones Conundrum

How many entrepreneurs, owners and CEOs, like Jones, choose their egos over potential greatness? The list is depressingly long. One is reminded of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. In the early days Jobs was so ego-soaked that he’d steal credit for the inventions of others. He hired John Sculley as CEO and almost immediately tried to undermine him.
But then Steve Jobs did an amazing and rare thing: He outgrew his fatal flaws. He morphed from an immature egomaniac during the 1970s and 1980s into a superb team leader until his death, in 2011. What caused this transformation? His Apple ouster in 1985? The struggles of his successor company, NeXT? His purchase of Pixar, where he learned the power of a light-handed management style? Marriage and children? (By all accounts, Jobs was a devoted husband and father.) Whatever got Steve Jobs to trade in his ego for lasting greatness, it worked.

It’s Satanist vs. Satanist in Detroit’s newest political tug-of-war

But some of the loudest opposition to the Satanic Temple in metro Detroit has been from other Satanists. The Satanic underworld, like virtually all other religions, contains groups firmly in disagreement.
Even the Church of Satan, claiming thousands of members worldwide, is quick to distance itself from the Satanic Temple, despite agreement on atheism, individualism and affinity for pentagrams.

Funeral home offers drive-thru visitation

“When you enter the drive thru you’ll drop a memorial into the memorial box, sign the register book, drive forward and you’ll be able to sit in the privacy of your vehicle for three minutes,” Phillips said.
Paradise is providing the drive thru option to families at no additional charge. It’s designed to allow more people to see someone who has passed away, even if they can’t make the traditional visitation because of work, disability or other challenges.

Links to Go (September 16, 2014)

Sharing links for provoking thought and providing entertainment, not as a sign of approval nor endorsement… Tim

What the Bible teaches about spanking

There is much more that can and should be said about this, but these writers conclude that the Bible allows corporal punishment that is non-abusive and that does not cause bodily harm. If you are interested in reading more, I recommend the resources that Naselli provides at the end of his article.

Does Personal Bible Reading Destroy the Church?

The history of church division runs parallel to the proliferation of Bible translation. When leaders can individually interpret what the Bible really says, unity doesn’t stand a chance. The graph of church denominations and Bible translations illustrates this dynamic. More Bibles, more languages, and more literacy equal more denominations.

An Impatience with Biblical Exegesis

I share the temptation that many others of my generation face to believe that talking about the Bible won’t lead to any resolution and so we’re better off simply trying to understand one another’s hopes and fears and offer support where we can. Where the Bible is too divisive, sharing our Christian stories can be something that unites us.
But I am more and more unhappy with this mood or trend, and I’m determined to try to talk more about Scripture in future speaking engagements and debates that I participate in.

How I Kissed Evangelism Goodbye

What I came to discover is how much the world craves a listening ear. The biggest problem I have with evangelizing is that you enter into a relationship with a prescribed intention, and that stands in the way of listening well.
You can’t listen well when you are carrying an agenda.
You can’t listen well when you are looking for ways to fortify your own position.
You can’t listen well when you are searching for what is broken in your conversation partner, in order to introduce the solution.

Should We Kiss Evangelism Goodbye?

The fact is people often have really good reasons for not evangelizing. Some of those reasons include the evangelists. The popular impression of evangelism isn’t positive—impersonal and uncaring, preachy and self-righteous, bigoted and hateful. None of those impressions would stick with Jesus.
If we are going to experience a renaissance of evangelism, we must treat people less like projects and more like persons, distinguish evangelism from proselytizing, and value others’ perspectives instead of rejecting them out of hand.

Whatever Became of Church?

With jaw-dropping vigor, ignorance, and at times unblushing gall, increasing sectors of the evangelical world are abandoning two thousand years of ecclesiology; as if the church was some malleable human construct that can be shaped, altered, redefined or even disposed of as desired. This, coupled with a radical revisionism in terms of biblical interpretation and ecclesial history that would seem more in line with The Da Vinci Code than Christian theology, the doctrine of the church is being reformulated apart from biblical moorings, or simply dismissed as if not a part of biblical orthodoxy at all.

Church Branding Overwhelms the Cross

But I also beg to challenge this sentiment. Is this what is really happening as we elevate our brands into this marketplace of churches in the world today? Who is really getting attention when we glorify our brands before we glorify the cross? What would happen if people did not know the name of your church or even your tagline? What if people simply recognized the building in their neighborhood that was filled with people who lived differently, who loved when they were supposed to hate and gave when they were supposed to protect? What if our brand was non-existent and instead, the cross of Jesus was lifted high?

Foolish Words

We like to think these things are embarrassing because they are so uncharacteristic of us, but in reality, they reveal sides of us that we would prefer to keep hidden. I am more apt to embarrass myself when I’m trying too hard to be funny or clever, or trying to draw attention to myself. I don’t usually put my foot in my mouth when I’m trying to build others up. If I spend my time listening to other people, rather than thinking of the next thing to say, things go better.

Look and Live

You fight through the crowds and you stare a hole through that bronze serpent. And time stands still as you feel with every passing second the healing flow through your veins as you had felt the poison flow before.
Poison in veins. Bronze serpent raised.
Do you imagine anyone was bored that day?

Get Over It and End Cuban Embargo

Normalizing relations with Cuba would provide several benefits to both the U.S. and Cuba: Ending the crippling economic sanctions would allow an impoverished nation to raise the standard of living for its people. There are numerous U.S. companies in real estate development, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and tourism that would benefit from the end of the embargo. It would also allow the U.S. to take the diplomatic initiative in resolving a long festering problem.

McDonald’s USA Perks Up The Nation With Free Coffee

From Sept. 16 through 29, guests can get a free small McCafé coffee during breakfast hours at participating McDonald’s restaurants across the country.

Links to Go (September 15, 2014)

Josh Graves on Reading the Bible (and Being Read by the Bible)

Rather, in the long run, I think the progressive Churches are taking some time to consider all their options and find a direction that may not be that well trod. Maybe there’s a better approach that 30 years ago we could only glimpse. Maybe we have the chance to be far truer to the scriptures than we could have imagined when this all started.
After all, the goal is not to leave legalism but to come as close as possible to the heart of God. And surely God is best understood in light of the fullness of the entire Bible.

Dear Fundamentalist Trolls: You’re Not Helping Anyone (and I say this in love)

  • “Is my tone loving?”
  • “Am I judging someone I don’t even know?” (and if you are, DON’T POST THE COMMENT.)
  • “Would I make this comment, and make it the same way, if I were having a face to face conversation with this person?”
  • “Does this comment make the message of Jesus more attractive?”
  • “Is my comment edifying, helpful, or uplifting?”
  • Finally, read your comment and ask yourself “Does this sound like something Jesus would say?”

4 Habits of Punctual People

  1. They’re realistic thinkers
  2. The give themselves buffer
  3. They’re organized
  4. They’re comfortable with downtime

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent

Children under 10 seem to be most susceptible to becoming addicted, so these parents draw the line at not allowing any gadgets during the week. On weekends, there are limits of 30 minutes to two hours on iPad and smartphone use. And 10- to 14-year-olds are allowed to use computers on school nights, but only for homework.

Links To Go (September 12, 2014)

Responding to Critics of “Act Like Men”

But, I was just left dissatisfied with all the shouting this caused in blogtown.
So, instead of breathlessly proclaiming (as some did), “Oh no, someone mentioned gender in the Christian blogosphere,” we should say to a world where men are acting like boys, “Act like men.”
If you create a world where men cannot challenge men, you undermine what is part of the obvious intent and application of that verse (and many others).

Women Like Me Are Abused Worldwide. Here’s Why.

So I would like to add my voice to that of Mr. Carter’s, calling for change in the way women are treated. But I take exception to the reason that he gives for this discrimination. He says that it is religion. I say that it is sin.

5 Ways to Connect with Millennials

  1. Make Room for Meaningful Relationships
  2. Teach Cultural Discernment
  3. Create Reverse Mentoring Opportunities
  4. Teach Connection Between Vocation & Discipleship
  5. Facilitate Connection with Jesus

Just Because the Door is Open Doesn’t Mean I’m Welcome Here

Churches tend to take on the cultural influences and traditions of its members and community, but how many predominantly white churches own a white identity and name its culture as being white? The Korean immigrant church of my youth owned it in name (written in both Korean and English), language, and food but it often failed at reconciling the generational gap that grew between the Americanized youth and the Korean elders. More often than not, predominantly white churches won’t claim being culturally white but rather try to emphasize a Christian identity.

When Certainty Kills

However, what if we are placing certainty in all the wrong places? Is it possible that certainty itself has become God for many Christians? Our worship of certainty may be tantamount to idolatry. For if certainty grants confidence then confidence fuels conversion of others to that certainty. That progression, from certainty to confidence to conversion, the three dangerous “Cs,” has been the undoing of so many young and old Christians alike for centuries. After a crisis in certainty leaves their beliefs on the scrapheap of faith, like the young freshman, they throw up their hands in frustration over just what we are “converting” people to. And that’s the point of the gospel.

Why You May Not be as “Conservative” as You Think

I want to say how much I appreciate my brothers in sisters in Christ who seem to be so consistent – and truly conservative – in their Christian walk. They follow the New Testament pattern on things like worship, church organization, and purity; and they also follow the New Testament pattern on issues like grace, brotherly love, and evangelism. It is these brothers and sisters who give me the greatest hope for the future of the church.

“All the Law and the Prophets…” in a piece of fruit

So yeah. The fruit was a big deal. If I may be so bold as to say it again, it represented a God-alternative that asked for their heart, soul, mind, and strength. But fortunately for us, God didn’t let the story end there. In the very same chapter of Genesis 3, God promises to send another, a singular offspring of woman, a snake-crusher.

Ray Rice, Hypocritical Outrage, and Objectifying Victims

One person tweeted that he wishes they would divorce and Ray Rice have to live in a foreign country. Christians, what should we hope for in this matter? Should we not hope that this entire sordid affair is turned into a manifestation of the gospel and its power to reconcile even perpetrator and victim? Should we not hope that not only will they stay married, but that they would prosper and ultimately raise godly children? Could Ray Rice himself become a powerful witness against the destruction of domestic abuse?

Apple Pay Could Make You Poorer

Of course, convenience matters, and all things considered, Apple Pay will probably be a great boon. But a warning for prospective users: When consumers don’t use cash, and when payment is simple, they often ending up spending a lot more than they otherwise would — and regretting it later.

Fort Mill man calls ‘base’ on police after car chase

After several minutes, the SUV came to a stop in Lafferty’s driveway. The driver then reportedly disobeyed instructions to stay in the car and instead started walking toward his home’s front door. When told he was under arrest, Lafferty said, “You can’t, I’m on base,” and reached out with his hands to the side of the house.

Links to Go (September 10, 2014)

Providing links to stimulate thought and to entertain. No endorsement of articles nor websites should be implied. I don’t necessarily agree with the ideas presented… Tim

Intellectual Legalism

There are those who seek to combine faith in God with humanism; they admit that truth is found in God, but that it is up to the individual to find it, define it and apply it. “Christian humanism” tells us that we can study our way into righteousness—by knowing more about God—as we seek and find the truth. The answer for a weak spiritual condition is simply more study. Learn the scriptures better and you will become a better person.

10 Ways to Exercise Christlike Headship

This means that the husband, in John Piper’s seminal words, is the one who takes “primary responsibility for Christlike servant leadership, protection, and provision in the home” (Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, 84). There is so much to unpack here, and it can be confusing for modern men to understand, especially since a secularizing culture dislikes, even detests, the concept. Because that is the case, let me suggest ten ways by which godly husbands can practice Christlike headship in their home.

Seventy Times Seven, Conflict and Forgiveness

I had twisted the call to forgive into an opportunity to keep a record of wrongs. In the name of forgiveness, I let my heart grow bitter as I felt, fresh, each wrong against me.
I had to learn that seventy times seven doesn’t mean one for one, every time someone sins against you. It means every time you feel angry about that one single sin, forgive it again. It means forgiveness is on-going, a lifestyle, something that must be revisited and redone. Forgiveness is not a one-time event, shake hands and it is over. It is a state of being.

Your Church Is More Than a Worship Service: Finding Other On-Ramps

So I’m just going to come right out and say it: It’s more than likely the people in your community who aren’t “attending church” have no interest in attending yours. None whatsoever. It doesn’t matter how kickin’ your band is. It doesn’t matter how fantabulous your children’s ministry is, how spiffy your super-friendly guest services team looks in their new polo shirts or how relevant the teaching is—even if it’s delivered by an incredibly hip dude with a Mumford-esque beard, black-framed glasses and Toms. It doesn’t even matter how consistently you adhere to your brand standards. (I know! Gasp!) It’s not you, though. The truth is those folks who don’t attend church aren’t interested in attending any church.

Help for those who feel “Disconnected” at Church

The way ahead is always service through humility. God knows what he is doing with and through the church. We need to trust him, and, most often, get to work. If you are feeling disconnected or counseling those who are feeling this way, I challenge you to take an honest crack at this list. I think it will do the trick.

Go Ahead and Say It

But you can say it now. You can tell them now, before the bad comes and the end looms close. You can tell them while they can hear and understand; while they can still know and recognize; while they can appreciate and reciprocate.

McDonald’s USA Perks Up The Nation With Free Coffee

From Sept. 16 through 29, guests can get a free small McCafé coffee during breakfast hours at participating McDonald’s restaurants across the country.