Links to Go (September 2, 2014)

4 Ways To Live Out Your Role As Helper

So let’s get a little technical. The Hebrew word for “helper” used in the verse above is the word “ezer”. It is a combination of two roots, meaning “to rescue, to save”, and “strength/power.” This word is used to describe the woman twice, but it is used to describe God 16 times. So we could translate the verse more properly by saying “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a strength (or power) suitable for him.” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, Walter C. Kaiser)

We Don’t All Look Alike

The peaceful protesters in Ferguson seem to have been motivated by the violation of their life-affirming sensibilities, and rightfully so. The root of the community’s unrest was decades of frustration with the American justice system that had failed them for so long.

At the first sign of unrest, life-denying troublemakers, mostly from outside of Ferguson, rushed in to exploit the situation. They included:

1) The opportunists — Those with no concern for justice or truth, who attempted to manipulate Ferguson’s vulnerable citizens with inflammatory rhetoric. Their chief concern was getting into the headlines to further their grievance industry agenda;

2) The criminals — Those interested in immediate personal gain by looting, burning and stealing property from Ferguson’s vulnerable citizens;

3) The nihilists — Agitators interested in the destruction of the social order for destruction’s sake. They deny that anything is valuable, neither Ferguson lives nor Ferguson property, or peaceful Ferguson values. These nihilists tried to provoke police violence with gunfire and by hurling Molotov cocktails and bottles of urine.

These anti-black intruders and provocateurs had no concern for the tragedy of Michael Brown’s killing aside from the gain the case provided for their own agenda. They neither had respect for Michael’s family nor interest in the true advancement of African-Americans. They were like a tsunami that overwhelmed the situation — sweeping others up in a dominating dynamic of their creation.

Six Reasons Some Churches Are Moving Back to One Worship Style

  1. Multiple worship styles created an “us versus them” mentality
  2. The church did not have the resources to do multiple styles with quality
  3. The church moved from multiple services to one service
  4. The Millennial generation has influenced many churches
  5. Worship wars are waning
  6. Multiple generations are becoming more accustomed to different types of church music and worship style

ALS, Navigating Charities, and Changing Lives

You see, if the pie is $10,000 a year for an organization that tells you that 100% of your gift goes to the field, then they are considered a high-quality nonprofit, right? But if the pie is $100,000,000 a year for an organization that tells you 27% of your gift goes to the field, news reports break out with salary breakdowns and outrage over 14% of budget going to fundraising (with is quite average I must say). The ironic thing is, that these investigative reporters would have nothing to write about if ALS did not invest 14% into fundraising because there would have been no bucket challenge in the first place. And nobody is writing articles about the $10,000 organization because few if any know they exist.

Florida mayor demands police remove man who refused to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees excused the man’s self-expression when he refused to stand for the prayer that opened the city commission meeting, but had no tolerance for his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

21 Actual Analogies Used By High School Students in English Essays
[What can I say? You've got to read them! -- Tim]

Links to Go (August 29, 2014)

Four evangelical responses to gay rights — they’ve changed a lot since ’69

Evangelicals are often seen as being monolithic on issues of sexuality and LGBT rights. A careful study of responses to homosexuality by evangelical elites, however, shows that this is not the case. Sociologists Jeremy Thomas (Idaho State) and Daniel Olson (Purdue) combed through Christianity Today, evangelicalism’s flagship magazine. They uncovered four approaches that evangelicals have taken since the 1960s

Stop Obsessing About the Proverbs 31 Woman

Whether you’re male or female, you can use Proverbs 31 as a reference point to see not the exact person you should be, but what type of person—someone who takes wisdom and uses it. Women and men can both learn from this chapter. Proverbs 31 is directed towards Solomon’s son, after all.
So if you’ve read this in the past as a standard you would never be able to live up to, you can take a deep breath. This is going to sound really cliché, but Jesus loves you. He made you just the way you are—and no matter what that looks like, it’s enough. Fortunately for all of us, wisdom works for everyone.

5 Dangers of Tribalism

  1. We major on the minors
  2. We hinder the mission
  3. We confuse the world
  4. We compete rather than connect
  5. We demonize those we differ with

Why Does God Let Me Stay So Weak?

To be content with weakness doesn’t mean we give up trying to put sin to death. It doesn’t mean we quit trying to bear fruit for God. But it means that when we fail, when we realize how weak we are, we won’t despair but turn to Christ and ask him to give us HIS power. HIS strength. HIS wisdom. HIS grace.

To Recline or Not To Recline?

My father is 6’3” and says that every time he boards a plane (he rides economy class), he speaks with the person in front of him. He says, “I’m a big guy. I know you will want to recline your seat and you have every right to do so. All I ask is that you please inform me before reclining so that I can adjust my legs and my tray table.”
He says he has never had a problem. Not only that but most times, the passenger in front doesn’t end up reclining.

Giant panda ‘faked pregnancy for extra treats and nicer accommodation’

The six-year-old had shown signs of pregnancy last month, according to staff at the Chengdu Breeding Research Centre, in China’s southwestern province of Sichuana.
But shortly after being moved to a single room with air conditioning and around-the-clock care her “behaviour and physiological indexes returned to normal”.
Experts believe Ai Hin was enjoying the extra attention and additional treats before staff realised she wasn’t actually pregnant.

A Facebook group that I’m part of, called Compadres, is having a blog tour. The general theme is The Glory of The Son and each of us will pick a story, event or teaching of Jesus that reflects His glory. Here are the posts so far:
June 3: Jeremy Schopper: Leaving the Noise Behind
June 5: Danny Holman: Jesus Challenge
June 10: Carl Jenkins: Give A Man A Fish
June 17: Jonathan Dobbs: Why Me, God?
June 19: Scott Elliott:The Beauty of the Gospel
June 24: Chris Hodges: The Glory of the Son
June 26: David Smith: then they can see my glory, which you gave me
July 1: Jeremy Hoover: Matthew and Mission
July 3: Allen Carr: The Glory in the Welcome
July 10: Daniel Burns: Not So With You
July 15: Rex Butts: A Place For Lepers
July 22: Jennifer Rundlett: A Vision of Harmony
July 24: Don Middleton: Come To The Table
July 29: Tim Archer: Do Not Be Afraid
August 5: Paula Harrington: When Doubt Met Divine
August 7: Holly Barrett: He knows me inside and out
August 12: Patrick Barber: Nothing But Leaves
August 14: Wade Tannehill: We Have Seen His Glory
August 19: Peter Horne: Walking the Racial Tightrope for Jesus
August 27: Shelly Kellis: Letting Go

I am tired of the judgmental spirit that has lurked in my heart. I am convicted the moment I think I have it all figured out and impose that on others, it’s judgement. It doesn’t appear that way at first does it? We think our knowledge and wisdom comes to us through life experiences and it’s our responsibility to teach those around us so that they can learn. But is it?

Links to Go (August 28, 2014)

Huckabee and the Heresy of Americanism

Americanism of this type blinds us to America’s very real, human, failures and sins. Historically, we’re tempted to whitewash things like slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, or Manifest Destiny and the brutal, un-Christian treatment of the Native Americans (you know, the Canaanites standing in the way God’s New Israel.) What’s more, it has a tendency to blind us to some of the dark stains on our current foreign policy record such as consorting with tyrants for the sake of American just cause in the world.

Exodus: Gods, Kings, and Evangelical Headcanon

Finally, I would try to challenge the faith-based test audience like this:

  • Are we sure we’re not confusing Scripture for our evangelical “headcanon” of its details?
  • Are we sure we’re not allowing nostalgic affection for The Ten Commandments to skew our views of newer film versions? Haven’t we already given permission for film adaptations to alter significant details of the account even while preserving the Bible’s overall themes?
  • Moreover, didn’t previous generations of Christians also criticize Big Hollywood films such as The Ten Commandments in the way we’re criticizing Exodus today? Does that make us “compromisers”? Or do we simply have the advantage of perspective because we can look back and see that all those changes in The Ten Commandments didn’t ruin our faith forever and actually helped people grow to love His Story?

What Makes a Church a Church of Christ?

What makes a church a Church of Christ…Christ’s church? It is that Jesus, through his steadfast love, unfailing grace and unending patience adds us and keeps us there, in spite of our imperfections, imperfect beliefs and even sins. We strive to please God. We strive to repent where we need to repent and be convicted where we need to be…to be led by God as the body of Christ.

God Doesn’t Give a ______ about Cussing–God Cares about Character Formation

So, what are we to do with cussing as it pertains to character? Let’s be sensitive to those who need us to be sensitive while also being authentically who we are in Christ. Sometimes skubalon is the only word that expresses the depths of our hearts. Paul got that. Jesus gets that. Maybe it’s time we get that. It’s time to change the morality score card from a list of do’s-and-dont’s to the reality of a life being shaped by God from the inside out. Character formation is at the heart of the Christian life–not a culturally conditioned morality checklist.

When It’s Time To Say Goodbye

Dying space is sacred space. When the beauty of life meets the reality of death, all things frivolous fade and what is left is holy. What my mother, brother, and I are experiencing right now is nothing short of Divine. Heaven has stooped down to meet us. One of us will go home, the others will remain. But none of us will ever be the same.

The One Thing My Mother Would Not Let Me Become

Since the late 1600s up to the end of official desegregation, the official local means for enforcing white supremacy was the police. Oh, there were guys in white sheets and pointy hats who made their appearance later. And there were the over-zealous plantation overseers and paddy rollers that hunted down slaves. But even their actions received sanction from the state and police, or at the least a turned head by local authorities. You see, this is the story of men like my grandfather who fought in World War II, only to come back to a segregated America and be publicly harassed and beaten by police officers while in uniform. Not even a battlefield abroad proved their commitment to the country or earned them an equal place in it. There were local uniformed police to make sure of that. More often than we’d like to admit, the ones beating on the door, wearing the hood, burning the cross at night, or falsifying reports by day wore uniforms and badges.

To the Girls In the Pew Ahead of Me

Every one of you was attractive. Every one of you could have advertised that attractiveness with what you wore, drawing attention to the shape of your waist, your curves, or the length of your legs. But you didn’t.
When you worshiped God in front of me and the young man behind you, the most prominent visual of your character was your heart for God. When this young man may have been looking for a distraction, he couldn’t find it with you. Because your heart for God was reflected in your dress, he heard the sermon clearly: a sermon I had been praying he would hear.

5 Phone Charging Myths, Debunked

Myth 1: Using off-brand chargers destroys batteries.
Myth 2: You shouldn’t use your phone while it charges.
Myth 3: Charging your phone overnight kills the battery.
Myth 4: You don’t need to turn your phone off — ever.
Myth 5: Don’t charge your phone until it’s completely dead.

Links to Go (August 27, 2014)

From peyote to sex: Religious liberty fight recast

“Things have changed dramatically in the last 20 years,” said Michael Moreland, vice dean and professor at Villanova University Law School. “Back then, the Catholic Church wasn’t very often in the position of needing exemptions.”

Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson

Overall, the social networks of whites are a remarkable 91 percent white.* White American social networks are only one percent black, one percent Hispanic, one percent Asian or Pacific Islander, one percent mixed race, and one percent other race. In fact, fully three-quarters (75 percent) of whites have entirely white social networks without any minority presence. This level of social-network racial homogeneity among whites is significantly higher than among black Americans (65 percent) or Hispanic Americans (46 percent).

The Importance of Perspective

Unless both African-Americans and police officers acknowledge that they both share the blame in the wrong perspectives that has been created, we are destined to have tragic results. It is not the responsibility of law enforcement to change the way African-Americans view police officers. This is a job for the African-American community.
Similarly, the African-American community won’t change the way white police officers view African-American males. Police departments have to do that. Until both are willing to share some of the blame, they won’t be willing to share the necessary responsibility to bring about necessary change.

Social Media and the ‘Spiral of Silence’

An informed citizenry depends on people’s exposure to information on important political issues and on their willingness to discuss these issues with those around them. The rise of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, has introduced new spaces where political discussion and debate can take place. This report explores the degree to which social media affects a long-established human attribute—that those who think they hold minority opinions often self-censor, failing to speak out for fear of ostracism or ridicule. It is called the “spiral of silence.”

The Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and You

The distance between me and God’s revelation is the distance between me and my Bible. I should prayerfully ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my biblical study, but not ask Him for new revelation independent of it.
Don’t misunderstand. I believe that the Holy Spirit leads me and illuminates me every day. All I am saying is that I must weigh my subjective sense of what the Spirit is saying against the teachings of the Book which He inspired.

The best lesson from Fantasy Football’s success

In neither case is the fan on the field, getting concussed or making the big decisions. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that our feeling of ownership, of us-ness, is shifting. We want celebrities and brands and teams that do more than merely put on a show. In addition to the show, people want to believe that they own part of it.

Those Free AOL CDs Were a Campaign for Web Domination. It Worked.

Jan Brandt is a legend in the world of marketing. She singlehandedly led the famous AOL “carpet-bombing” campaign that put millions of AOL trial discs and CDs in everything from magazines to popcorn boxes to banks. In the most recent episode of the Internet History Podcast, I spoke to Jan about this famous campaign, how the strategy developed and the analytics and data that went into it. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of portions of our conversation.

British diplomats apologize for tweets marking 1814 burning of White House with BBQ, cake

The apologies were prompted after the British Embassy posted a picture Sunday of Patrick Davis, deputy British ambassador to the United States, with a caption saying he was participating in “the anniversary of burning of the White House with a BBQ.”
The picture was followed by another, about an hour later, that showed a White House replica atop a sheet cake, flanked by sparklers. The caption said: “Commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House. Only sparklers this time!”

Ice Bucket Challenge Video on Facebook Leads Police to Wanted Man

In addition to the charge of parole violation, Morris will also face new charges that include resisting arrest, assault of an officer, criminal mischief, and suspicion of criminal impersonation. Morris is currently being held in the Douglas County jail on a $40,000 bond. Of course, if Morris had simply donated $100 to the ALS Association, he may have evaded police custody for a longer period of time.

Links to Go (August 26, 2014)

Don’t Let Your Comfort Zone Kill Your Church

My question is this: are we willfully blind in our churches? As the body of Christ, do we intentionally turn a blind eye to problems in the Church as a whole, or more specifically, in our local congregations? Why do we ignore problems that persist in our churches? Are we like the rest of the world, afraid of being labeled as some sort of pharisaical whistleblower in our church?
What if your church would be better off if you had the courage to speak up and help solve problems that may plague your congregation? Can you think of a persistent issue in your church that needs to be dealt with? Why aren’t you dealing with it?

Well To Start With, Your Last Theologian Was A Idiot

And that’s where it starts reminding me of theology, especially the kind of theology geared for public teaching. Some theologians adopt the same rhetorical tone when disagreeing with other theologians or traditions. They don’t say, “well, there are several opinions about that, and what you’re describing is A, while I’m persuaded by C.” They don’t attempt to get inside the mind of the other view, or try to explain sympathetically what previous teachers must have been thinking. Instead they trash the other view, and then assure listeners that NOW they’re getting the real story.

How We Can Learn From One Another

Our cities contain a diversity of persons with different perspectives, communication patterns, and presuppositions about the world in which we live. We desire to be heard and we desire to be understood. In order for this to occur, we must do the hard work of knowing and intently hearing from other ethnic groups.
When we pursue the hard work of knowing and hearing intently what life as an African American or Caucasian American resembles, embrace becomes possible. It is in the work of creating this new fellowship with each other that we have the opportunity to also demonstrate God’s embrace of a diverse humanity in Jesus Christ.

Viral Evangelism

One of the things the IBC [Ice Bucket Challenge] did for me was to see that somebody behind this went public with it. They filmed it. That’s all. No billboards. No TV ads. Filmed by amateurs on phones. That’s it!
What if we filmed baptisms the same way? What if we moved these sacred events through the media for others to see how it’s done and what it’s for? Additionally, what if we helped novices to baptize their friends and their friends baptize their friends?

A guide to four types of Bible study learners

Here are four types of adult learners that I’ve found in church small groups:

  • “Go deeper.” These are the folks for whom the Bible can never be complicated enough.
  • “Whatever. If the doors are open, I’ll be there.” At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who don’t care what the lesson is about or who the teacher is.
  • “Let’s talk about that.” Lectures were once the dominant form of adult teaching in most churches, but today many people prefer a discussion format.
  • “Make it fun.” A friend of mine once observed that a successful pastor we knew was not much of a preacher, “but he is a great after-dinner speaker.” The same can be true of small-group Bible study leaders.

Illiterate People of the Book

69% of adult Americans consider themselves Biblically literate according to a study conducted in 2013 by the Barna Group. But the same study found that 58% of American Christians are not interested in Biblical insight on how to live their lives.
Instead, the survey found that the highest-ranking topic about which we look to the Bible for wisdom was death. This disconnect between reading God’s Word and believing that God’s Word applies directly to our lives is troubling.

A Look at Labels

The following links are posts on labels and why they often do more harm than good.

Doctors Say We Should Let Students Sleep in Longer

This is exactly why doctors are now urging schools to delay their start time until after 8:00 am to accommodate kids’ natural sleep cycles. Right now, only about 15% of all high schools start after 8, but a handful are heeding the doctors’ advice, and it’s paying off. Research published earlier this year from the University of Minnesota in St Paul showed that later start times improve grades, test scores, and lower teen car accidents by a dumbfounding 65 to 70 percent.

64 People and Their Famous Last Words

Poignant, funny, sad, weird or mean—last words can make quite the impact as we shuffle off the stage of life. Here are 64 notable examples.