Links To Go (June 28, 2016)

Evangelical Christians are selling out faith for politics

Third, we are seeing a group focused on the rights and privileges of their own community, rather than the welfare of others — the poor, struggling and vulnerable. Many in that room do wonderful good works. But they have reduced Christian political involvement to a narrow, special interest — and a particularly angry and unattractive one. A powerful source of passion for social justice — a faith that once motivated abolitionism and various movements for civil and human rights — has been tamed and trivialized.


James Dobson Asserts: Donald Trump Is a ‘Baby Christian’ Who Needs to Be ‘Cut Some Slack’

“There are a lot of people ministering to him personally—a lot of ministers,” he stated in the recorded interview. “I mean, he did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent. I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long.”
“I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian,” Dobson contended. “We all need to be praying for him, especially if there is a possibility of him being our next chief executive officer.”


Partisanship in the U.S. isn’t just about politics, but how people see their neighbors

In an era of increasing polarization, Republicans and Democrats disagree over many things – and that extends even to the traits and habits they’d like or dislike in a new neighbor. Some of the widest gaps in how people of different parties see new neighbors are over new community members who own guns, don’t believe in God, regularly attend religious services or have served in the military.


Serving in Church: When Your Spiritual Gift Isn’t Changing Diapers

Love for the church means a heart that desires to give. There are weeks I’m tempted to go to church, sit back, and be served. Now, sometimes being served is necessary. If we’re always giving, but in pride refusing to receive, that’s not okay. There’s reciprocal joy in allowing others the chance to serve us.
At the same time, if we refuse to serve in the nursery because Sunday is our one chance to get away from kids, we’re thinking of church wrongly. The Bible speaks strongly about the church being our family, even more than our flesh and blood families. Sunday is not a chance to take a break from family—it’s a chance to serve our true family.


Why WOULD Anyone Sing in Church These Days?

We’ve minimized the congregation’s role.
We’ve changed our focus from disciplined, intentional music-making to creating emotional responses.
We’ve stopped training musicians.
We’ve chosen songs written for solo performance.
We’ve stopped giving the musicians among us the resources they need to apply their abilities.
We’ve chosen instrumentation that doesn’t support a congregation.
We’ve stopped leading and started performing.
So let’s stop asking why people aren’t singing anymore. It really shouldn’t be a surprise, since we’ve done nearly everything we can to kill congregational singing.


How an epidemic of grade inflation made A’s average

A recent study revealed that 42 percent of four-year college grades are A’s, and 77 percent are either A’s or B’s. According to Inside Higher Ed, “At four-year schools, awarding of A’s has been going up five to six percentage points per decade and A’s are now three times more common than they were in 1960.” At Yale, 62 percent of grades were in the A range in the spring of 2012. That figure was only 10 percent in 1963.


Tim Tebow helps airplane passengers during an on-flight medical emergency

The most recent installment comes from a Delta flight in which a passenger suffered a medical emergency while travelling from Atlanta to Phoenix. According to a Facebook post by Richard V. Gotti, passengers and crew members alike tended to the man until the plane landed.
One of the passengers who offered aid was none other than Tebow himself.
Tebow reportedly moved from his first class seat to the back of the plane to pray with the ill man’s wife and other passengers.


Parents brawl during kindergarten graduation ceremony

Up to six camera-toting parents posted up in a small space in the back of the auditorium at P.S./I.S. 178 in Crown Heights started shoving and yelling at each other over a photo opportunity around 10 a.m. as the young grads in light blue caps and gowns were handed their diplomas, witnesses said.


Links To Go (June 23, 2016)

Christian universities put on ‘shame list’

“Some voices are calling for Christian schools to be expelled from the NCAA, and others are calling for Pell Grants to be denied to students who attend our universities,” said Bruce McLarty, president of 6,000-student Harding University in Searcy, Ark. “These attacks seem to be coming from every direction these days.”


What the Tower of Babel Can Teach Us about Our Desire for True Gospel Witness

  • Racial and ethnic diversity is increasingly dramatically.
  • Diversity is suburbanizing.
  • The majority of children born in the U.S. are non-white.
  • Integration is not keeping pace with diversification.

How Fast Does a Christian Grow?

Our growth is much more like a tree than a bubbling science experiment. If you take measurements of a tree over several days or weeks, you’ll be disappointed. When you don’t see growth, you might doubt the tree is alive.
But if you measure a healthy tree from one year to the next, you’ll see what God is doing.


My Top 10 Insights On Burnout

  1. Limits exist for a reason
  2. God is still present, even when he feels absent
  3. Your unresolved past will sink your future
  4. Grieve your losses
  5. If God wants to go deep, it’s because he wants to take you far
  6. Your heart will heal and you will trust again
  7. Your emotions eventually catch up to your obedience
  8. Managing your energy is more important than managing your time
  9. Sleep is a leader’s secret weapon
  10. Your best days may actually be ahead of you, not behind you

When Men Leave Emotionally

Many men have learned that the safest place to take one’s pain is within. While withdrawing may be one’s default for dealing with pain, it is not conducive to connecting with another. In fact, to family members and friends it can feel like the person has “gone away.”


Kill the Soulmate

We can clearly look at our sweetheart and focus on the many joys they bring to our life. And each time our mind flips a middle finger at the lovely, full, shining truth of the now and zips off to soulmate land, we can practice letting go of the fantasy person and, instead, simply choose to love the one we are with.


Work begins to try to save Christianity’s holiest shrine: Jesus’ tomb

And at the heart of the heart of the edifice, in the center of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, they will lift the slab where millions of pilgrims have knelt and prayed, where the salt of tears and the wet of sweat have smoothed and worried the hardest stone.
And for the first time in more than 200 years, they will look inside.


‘Angels’ Singing ‘Amazing Grace’ Blocked Westboro Protestors from Accessing the Orlando Funerals

A line of “angels” blocked protestors from the controversial Westboro Baptist Church from interrupting the funerals of victims of the Orlando gay nightclub massacre. The line of people wearing large, homemade angel wings were part of a collection of nearly 200 people who turned out to form a human chain to prevent the protestors from disrupting the processions.


Florida boy asks to pray with police officers after eating breakfast

Before leaving the restaurant, Garza says her son approached the officers, who had just gotten their meals, and asked if they could all pray together for their safety.
As they prayed, Garza snapped a photo of Joshua sitting at the table holding hands with the police officers, all bowing their heads in prayer. Garza says her son finished the prayer with, “And please help us all to live a good life. Amen.”


Links To Go (June 20, 2016)

White Savior Barbie Nails It

Perhaps the lesson of White Savior Barbie is that there is nothing wrong with service or with enjoying another culture but it needs to be done with integrity. Let’s be qualified and well trained for the work we do. Develop authentic relationships based on more than great photo ops. Educate ourselves. Be wary of quick clichés like, “I fell in love with Africa the moment I got off the plane.” Be learners.


My Marriage to an Undocumented Immigrant

The net result is that parents are still vulnerable to being deported on a daily basis. Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president and additional raids are planned, so the fear is grounded in fact. Estimates suggest that approximately half a million parents of children who are US citizens—typically fathers—were deported between 2009 and 2013. These family separations affect children in every way, with financial insecurity, emotional upheaval, and even physical relocation, as many kids move in with distant relatives or become part of the foster care system.


Wait a minute! What did Southern Baptists say about religious liberty for Muslims?

Once again, journalists do not have to AGREE with the theological content of these arguments and decisions. But it is inaccurate, flawed, biased journalism to ignore the religious content of these kinds of events. By the way, this happens when journalists cover liberal, “mainline” Protestant events almost as often as it happens with coverage of doctrinal conservatives.


Southern Baptists Split With Donald Trump On Refugee Resettlement

Participants voted to approve a resolution urging Southern Baptist churches and families to welcome refugees, affirming “that refugees are people loved by God, made in His image, and that Christian love should be extended to them as special objects of God’s mercy in a world that has displaced them from their homelands.”


“It’s Going to be an Issue.” Biola, Conscience, and the Culture War

Such a distinction is one that owes much to a faulty understanding, increasingly common on the Left, of what it means to be “religious.” Conservatives have warned for some time now of a serious attempt by sexual revolutionaries to make religious belief synonymous with religious worship; ergo, the private ritual of religion is what’s protected by “free exercise,” not the living out of such beliefs in the public square. The language desired by the California legislature feels like a clear substantiation of this concern.


7 Things to Say When a Conversation Turns Negative

  • Reframe — Cast the issue in a different light.
  • Rephrase — Say the words in a different, less negative way.
  • Revisit — Use an earlier success to redefine a current failure.
  • Restate — Clarify or redirect negative wording.
  • Request — Ask a question.
  • Rebalance — Adjust the other person’s power.
  • Reorganize — Change the priority of the issues.

What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women

It is no coincidence that the top two prescribed drugs at our state university’s health center are anti-depressants and the birth-control pill. Our young women are showing up to a very different version of “college life” than that of the previous generation. One woman, while in her freshman year, went to her health center because she feared she had bronchitis. In perusing her “health history,” the physician said, “I see here that you are a virgin.” “Um, yes,” she responded, wondering what that fact might have to do with her persistent cough. “Would you like to be referred for counseling about that?” This student came to me to ask if I thought she should, in fact, consider her virginity—at the age of eighteen—a psychological issue. (I said no.)


‘Jesus’s wife’ papyrus likely fake, scholar says

A Harvard professor who rocked the musty world devoted to studying early Christianity when she presented a tiny swatch of papyrus that referred to Jesus as married now concedes the fragment is probably a fake.
Karen L. King’s acknowledgment about the papyrus she’d named “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” came after the Atlantic magazine’s website published an investigative article that delved into the background of the fragment’s owner, Walter Fritz, a Florida man.
“It appears now that all the material Fritz gave to me concerning the provenance of the papyrus . . . were fabrications,” King told the Globe Friday. Her interview with the Atlantic the day before marked the first time she had said the fragment is probably a forgery.


No such thing as a bad theory

My assignment? Uncover why the Association inspires more conspiracy theories, in volume and salience, than any other U.S. sport. Ask sources around the league to rationalize the irrationality behind the 125,000 YouTube videos that appear when you search “NBA + rigged” — nearly three times as many as the NFL (27,500), MLB (8,910) and the NHL (5,880) combined. Determine what makes the perception of the game unique, even to those inside it.


Ontario police, firefighters intervene after fight breaks out over Earth’s shape

Police in Brockville say they were called to St. Lawrence Park on Monday after an intense argument between family members.
They say a woman who insisted the Earth was flat was locking horns with her boyfriend’s father, who argued it is round.
Investigators say the 56-year-old man grew so enraged that he started throwing things into their camp fire, including a propane cylinder.


Links To Go (July 16, 2016)

Politicizing Tragedy Risks Dehumanizing Victims and Their Families

But our actions aren’t to pimp a mass shooting to get our political or cultural agenda across. Our actions are to demonstrate care and compassion to hurting people, to hear the stories of those suffering and then—when we finally do speak—to speak humbly, as James says, about the Word that saved us.


God in Guatemala

So you pray, you share Jesus stories, you live your faith, you invite others to worship and into the life of Jesus… and God gives the increase. It happened in Guatemala and it is happening all over the world.


The Mission of the Church: The Liturgy of Contemporary Church

If the church’s mission centers around Jesus as incarnated in the local congregation, then liturgy becomes extremely important in terms of spiritual formation. That is, if God wants the church formed in the image of Jesus, then how we conduct the assembly becomes a question of mission.

The Mission of the Church: Calvin on Liturgy. (Yes, really. That Calvin.)

Visitors don’t come to church to learn your theology of atonement or the Trinity. They come to see whether God is there among you. And God is most truly present when the service focuses on him.


Christians Still Have to Care About Adoption

Finally, for Christians and for all people, adoption is a reflection of a supernatural reality. It’s a witness to the fact that we live in a fallen world, and an imperfect reflection of the perfecting kingdom work of restoration that is underway today, in the here and now.


Five things pediatricians want dads to know about parenting

  • Be a role model
  • Talk to your kids
  • Get vaccinated
  • Get screened for depression
  • Play with your kids

Think organic food is better for you, animals, and the planet? Think again

Essentially, organic food is rich people spending their extra cash to feel good. While that is just as valid as spending it on holidays, we should resist any implied moral superiority. Organics are not healthier or better for animals. To expand to any great scale would cost tens of billions of pounds while killing thousands. Indeed, a widespread organics revolution will increase environmental damage, and cut global forests.


What Richard Branson Had To Say After Catching A Napping Employee

  1. Staying well-rested is a key jet lag antidote
  2. Napping is a totally free, brain boost
  3. Well-rested employees think better of their bosses

Holy punch! Cyprus priest biffs groom’s backslapping brother

A family member — speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing — said the priest had gestured for the slapping to cease, then punched the brother in the chest and face when the warning went unheeded.


Links To Go (June 14, 2016)

Can We Still Weep Together After Orlando?

It seems now, though, that there’s rarely a time of grieving together. The time of lament morphs almost immediately into arguments over what the President should have said or whether this validates or annihilates someone’s views on guns or immigration or whatever. Some of that, of course, is just the speed of social media. People are able to discuss, rather publicly, issues much quicker than they could before. But there seems to be more than that.


Politics aren’t Worth Your Friendships

The coming days will undoubtedly be filled with much pain and confusion. My prayer is that we’d be the Church. And that those who look in will know that we are His disciples because of our love for one another (John 13:35). This election season will divide our culture. The Church can reveal something different – the unifying power of the Gospel. This will take the power of God and His Spirit. God can show us, if needed, where we have been tempted to self-righteousness and abandonment. He can and will give us the wisdom and strength to be faithful to one another.


Chick-fil-A restaurants opened Sunday to serve Orlando residents

Chick-fil-A may have a strict “no business on Sunday” policy, but the company threw it out the window in order to serve Orlando residents affected by terrorist attacks on the gay community.


The Future of Southern Baptist Evangelism: A New (Closing) Series
[Tim’s comment: For my Church of Christ friends, just replace Baptist with Church of Christ; what’s said here fits us well.]

The fact is, we seem to have lost our passion for evangelism. Baptists love evangelism as long as somebody else is doing it.
Baptists love baptisms so much that we named our denomination after them. Yet, there are fewer and fewer. Evangelism, and the baptisms that flow from Gospel proclamation, must be our focus again or we need a new name that does not involve the waters of biblical baptism.


Neo-Reformed Theology and Suffering: What Happens When God Becomes a Math Problem

And when you think of God like a math problem you end up with issues like those we observe in how Neo-Reformed theology tries to tackle the problem of suffering. Specifically, for Neo-Reformed theory to be logically consistent you have to reach the conclusion that God ordains suffering. The internal consistency of the system demands it.
Again note well: the Bible doesn’t demand it, the system demands it.
And when you privilege a theory over the Bible, like the Neo-Reformed often do, you pride yourself on defending the logic of your system to the bitter end, leading you to logically consistent but monstrous results.


5 Things People Blame The Church For…But Shouldn’t

  1. The church didn’t stop you from growing spiritually
  2. The church didn’t burn you out
  3. The church didn’t make you cynical
  4. The church didn’t cause your unforgiveness
  5. The church didn’t make you lose your faith

Fearfully and Autistically Made

Once he was declared autistic, it didn’t feel like our relationships were narrowing; it felt like they were expanding—making room for a God-knit little boy who isn’t typically developing. I felt relieved. My heart swelled with joy for who my son is. We felt peace.


Praying Facebook

It’s not particularly challenging to pray for those you love or with whom you share sympathetic ideas. The next level involves praying for those who make you really angry – the ones you have little connection with, the ones that if they were to disappear from your feed, you wouldn’t even care. Before you block or unfriend, pray. It requires a level of wondering about what drives them, pondering where they are in life and how they got there. It is about praying beyond the labels we stick onto people (liberal, conservative, bigot, naive) and seeing them as a beloved child of God. Just like you.


Making the Messy Choice

Being willing, able, and available to the wrecks around you can be frustrating. It means that you will have lots of situations that you aren’t sure what the answers are. Learning to love, care and point to God might seem too small to you, but it is great in the lives of the fallen.


Christian Funerals Can Be Too Happy

Sometimes our Christian funerals are too happy. Yes, we believe our loved one is with Jesus. Yes, we believe that he or she will rise again. We do not grieve as those without hope. But we still grieve. If Jesus weeps for Lazarus, who he knows will not stay dead for long, it is appropriate that we weep for those who have died. They are with Jesus, but we will not see them again in this life. We will not speak with them or embrace them again here. It is right to grieve — with hope, yes — but still grieve.


Here’s The Bridge That Is So Scary, People Have Panic Attacks Driving On It.