Category Archives: links

Links to Go (February 24, 2017)

Study: Venezuelans lost 19 lbs. on average over past year due to lack of food

In a new sign that Venezuela’s financial crisis is morphing dangerously into a humanitarian one, a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food.
The extreme poor said they dropped even more weight than that.


Do We Really Have to Politicize Everything?

Put those two developments together: (1) the idea that your consumer choices express your identity and (2) the idea that your political views are the essence of who you are. What happens next?
Everything gets politicized.


Words are Not Neutral

I wrote recently about my “grumble fast” that I started, which in some ways is more difficult than going without food. Grumbling and complaining are idle words released from an ungrateful heart that if not repented for, we’ll have to give an account. Complaining and grumbling was so serious to God that some of the Israelites were destroyed because of it (see 1 Cor. 10:10). When I started this fast, I began to recognize just how deeply embedded ungratefulness was within me.


Latinos and the New Trump Administration

According to the new survey, which was taken before Trump’s inauguration and the reported rise in deportration concerns, Hispanics are split in their concern about deportation. About half (47%) of Hispanic adults, regardless of their immigration status, say they worry “a lot” or “some” that they themselves, a family member or a close friend, could be deported, while 52% say they are worried “not at all” or “not much.”
Worries about deportation among immigrants are greatest for those who do not hold U.S. citizenship and do not hold a green card: 67% say they worry a lot (45%) or some (22%) about the deportation of themselves or someone close to them. And among immigrants who are lawful permanent residents, 66% say they are worried about deportation of themselves or someone close to them. Both of these groups are potentially subject to deportation. By comparison, one-third (33%) of U.S.-born Hispanics say they are worried about deportation of someone they know, while 55% say they worry not much or not at all about deportation.


Democracy and The Demonization of the Good

That democracy is increasingly unable to bring about these compromises is because when two rival goods repeatedly compete in the public sphere the desire to have one good triumph over the other good causes the parties advocating a good to trivialize, demean, and diminish the rival good.
Democracy, thus, leads to the demonization of the good, making compromise and civic discourse increasingly impossible. Instead of a compromise between two rival goods, the political fight is transformed into Good versus Evil.
At this point, when good is called evil, democracy is doomed.


Rules Without Reasons

If I’m being honest, there are some things in the Scriptures that I simply do not get. Some positions which I believe are biblical still make me a bit uneasy. At times, I simply do not understand why God set these things up the way that He did. But I’m asked to obey them nonetheless. And it feels a bit like I am back in the Garden of Eden with God saying something like, “Don’t eat the fruit…if you do you’ll die,” but not really giving me reasons for the rule.


Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds

The Gormans, too, argue that ways of thinking that now seem self-destructive must at some point have been adaptive. And they, too, dedicate many pages to confirmation bias, which, they claim, has a physiological component. They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe.


The Resuscitated Church

Now, it’s difficult, and most churches that try to self-resuscitate fail — presumably because they still have the same problems that nearly killed them in the first place. But for those churches that managed it, here’s what they did —

  1. A prolonged period of prayer.
  2. A covenant to forsake self.
  3. A willingness to kill sacred cows.
  4. A commitment to see through the eyes of the outsider.
  5. An agreement to connect and invite.
  6. A decision to move beyond the negative naysayers.

Good Intentions, Lack of Plans Mark Church Response to Domestic Violence

When it comes to domestic violence, Protestant pastors want to be helpful but often don’t know where to start.
Most say their church would be a safe haven for victims of domestic violence.
But many don’t know if anyone in their church has been a victim of domestic violence. And only half say they have a plan in place to help if a victim comes forward.


5 facts about crime in the U.S.

  1. Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century.
  2. Property crime has declined significantly over the long term.
  3. Public perceptions about crime in the U.S. often don’t align with the data.
  4. There are large geographic variations in crime rates.
  5. Many crimes are not reported to police.

Texas hunters who claimed they were shot by ‘illegal aliens’ shot each other, authorities say

After being airlifted to the hospital, the men told authorities that immigrants who crossed the border from Mexico wanted to steal an RV some of the hunters were using. In statements made through friends and family, they went further, suggesting that the assailants wanted to kill everyone in the party, as the Albuquerque Journal reported.
A GoFundMe page set up by a family friend to cover Daugherty’s medical bills raised $26,300 from more than 200 donors.
The story was harrowing, to be sure, not to mention rife with political implications. The Texas Agriculture Commissioner even shared it on his Facebook page, saying it underscored the need for President Trump’s proposed border wall.
But authorities say it was all a lie.


Links To Go (February 20, 2017)

A Just Silence

If you’re burdened by the evils of the world, I want to encourage you not to respond with either conscience binding expectations or with frustrated indifference or fatalism. Rather, I want to encourage you to learn when to sleep and when to let the world rest in the hands of our Father who always knows what is happening, and who always knows exactly what He will do about it. After all, “the Judge of all the earth” will do what is right.


Did You Marry ‘the One’?

So, rather than looking for “the one” look for a spouse that appears to be on a trajectory of sanctification. Once you’re married and have made a public covenant before God and before mankind — congratulations — you have married “the one!” If you’re already married: Congratulations! you have married “the one” (Matthew 19:4–6).


You are Talking, but are You having a Conversation?
Dr. Knight lists five strategies to articulating (advocating) our ideas:

  1. Consider the thoughts and feelings of others.
  2. Clarify the Meaning of Words and Concepts.
  3. Provide Contextual Information.
  4. Identify Your False Assumptions.
  5. Use Stories and Analogies.

I Will Go See “The Shack: The Movie”

The theology of The Shack engages us at this level. It encourages us to embrace the loving relationship into which God invites us. Consequently, it does not answer every question, address every aspect of God’s nature or reflect on every topic of Christian theology. Instead, it zeros in on the fundamental way in which wounded souls erect barriers that muzzle the divine invitation to loving relationship.


Boring Church Services Changed My Life

When I think back on the simple routines—the liturgies—that changed my life, I’m encouraged in my own pastoral role. I’m reminded afresh that the work of ministry is not so much about finding new, tantalizing ways to make people excited about Jesus, but about the timeless rituals that shape their hearts.


What you need to know about the enemies of the American people the president warned you about

We have enemies of the American people who cover the nation’s most powerful and important leader, bearing witness to everything he says. Enemies of the people understand the importance of choosing the right words because they know the damage the wrong words can do.


For election news, young people turned to some national papers more than their elders

Younger Americans have long been less likely to read newspapers than their elders. But a Pew Research Center survey has revealed a significant twist, at least for certain newspapers with a more national focus: When we asked people if they regularly got news about the 2016 presidential election through either the print or online version of four specific U.S. newspapers, three of these papers – The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal – attracted more adults younger than 50 than 50 and older as regular readers. As for the fourth – USA Today – younger and older Americans regularly got election news there at about the same rate.


When Rosa Parks was robbed, Little Caesars’s founder stepped up

As reported by Christopher Botta of Sports Business Journal in 2014:

On Aug. 31, 1994, Parks, then 81, was robbed and assaulted in her home in central Detroit. (Judge Damon) Keith called real estate developer Alfred Taubman, the owner of Riverfront Apartments, about finding a safer home for Parks. Taubman pledged to find the best home available.
When Ilitch read about Keith’s plan and Taubman’s promise in the newspaper, he called the judge and said he would pay for Parks’ housing for as long as necessary. (Parks passed away in 2005 at the age of 92). Keith served as the executor of the trust established for Parks’ housing.


Links To Go (February 17, 2017)

More white evangelicals than American Jews say God gave Israel to the Jewish people

(Older article, but I’d forgotten about this study) For example, twice as many white evangelical Protestants as Jews say that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God (82% vs. 40%). Some of the discrepancy is attributable to Jews’ lower levels of belief in God overall; virtually all evangelicals say they believe in God, compared with 72% of Jews (23% say they do not believe in God and 5% say they don’t know or decline to answer the question). But even Jews who do believe in God are less likely than evangelicals to believe that God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people (55% vs. 82%).


When The Pendulum Hits You In The Head

Let us keep coming back to scripture and hold everything up to the filter we find there and see what shakes out. Let us be culturally familiar and culturally engaged and let us be in line with culture anywhere doing so doesn’t violate our scriptural priorities and mandates. This takes wisdom and we will undoubtedly mess it up but it is worth the effort.


59 Percent of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Dropped Out—And They’re Trying to Tell Us Why

  1. Nobody’s Listening to Us
  2. We’re Sick of Hearing About Values & Mission Statements
  3. Helping the Poor Isn’t a Priority
  4. We’re Tired of You Blaming the Culture
  5. The “You Can’t Sit With Us” Affect
  6. Distrust & Misallocation of Resources
  7. We Want to Be Mentored, Not Preached At
  8. We Want to Feel Valued
  9. We Want You to Talk to Us About Controversial Issues (Because No One Is)
  10. The Public Perception
  11. Stop Talking About Us (Unless You’re Actually Going to Do Something)
  12. You’re Failing to Adapt

What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone?

The policies that give border agents the latitude to search or seize devices were used under the Obama administration, to much criticism. There’s no available data to suggest that they are happening more under the administration of President Trump, though activists say they have anecdotally heard of more reports.
A customs agency spokesman said the agency could not comment on individual cases. But he said agents had inspected 4,444 cellphones and 320 other electronic devices in 2015, amounting to 0.0012 percent of the 383 million arrivals.


‘This is really unprecedented’: ICE detains woman seeking domestic abuse protection at Texas courthouse

It was the first time in her 23 years at the courthouse, Bernal said, that she can remember ICE agents making their presence known during a protective order hearing. The agents had come to stake out the woman, identified by her initials I.E.G., because, Bernal speculates, they likely received a tip from the only other person who knew the time and place of the hearing — the woman’s alleged abuser.


Links To Go (February 16, 2017)

Being Prophetic Without Being a Self-Righteous Know-It-All

Nowadays, especially in light of the new president’s administration, virtually everyone wants to be a prophet, as some claim to “speak truth to power” while thundering from their echo chambers, or glibly offering alternative facts without blinking an eye. Yet, words of deep wisdom simultaneously ring out from others with boldness, clarity, conviction, and faith, offering a clarion call for proper thinking and godly action. Discernment is of paramount importance.


The Soul of Evangelicalism: What Will Become of Us?

It’s not that evangelicalism has been yet again swamped by politics and lost its way. Rather, it is swamped by politics because those four elements are crumbling. Bible and theology are of little interest other than an odd Bible citation to prop up a claim. Small groups read books by well-known authors, rarely are they studies on a single book of the Bible (publishers aren’t selling these as well today), far too many of its most prominent theologians write books unanchored in Scripture and they do not begin with sketches of the Bible.


Jesus is not buying into the American dream

The American dream says you have certain rights. Even claim these rights are from our Creator.
Jesus says to give up our rights to follow him. Give up our rights so we can live in community together as believers.
American dream is to be a self-made man. Independent. Free.
Jesus says real freedom is found in becoming his slave. Surrendering everything to follow him. He is the source of every good thing we have. God gets the glory.


Be Patient, Missions Is Urgent

The gospel is eternally serious business, inextricably tied to the glory of God and the destinies of real people. Given the stakes, there has been a good and right recovery of the urgent task to see the gospel go to the world’s hardest places and least-reached peoples. And yet if we’re not careful, I fear we will wrongly identify urgency with speed, failing to remember that a task can be urgent and yet demand a slow, methodical approach that thinks in years and decades instead of days and months.


Apparently, unborn babies are only human when they belong to Beyonce

These children are embraced by millions as “blessings” and “miracles” — even as a million children a year are murdered and thrown in dumpsters with the enthusiastic approval of the same people who treat Beyonce’s pregnancy with awe and reverence — because the world wants them. The media wants them. Beyonce wants them. It is our subjective view of them which grants them life.


The Dark Spell the Devil Casts: Refugees and Our Slavery to the Fear of Death

And as the fear of death falls upon us so does the power of the Devil.
Gripped by fear our capacities for love, compassion and hospitality quickly dry up and evaporate. Perfect love, battling hard to cast out fear, goes on life-support. If it’s not already dead and flat-lined.
And the words “cast out” are prophetically appropriate. Again, in the words of Hebrews fear is the power of the Devil. And America is in dire need of an exorcism.


What Are Vain Repetitions?

When Jesus used this phrase in Matt. 6:7, it referred to something specific. It referred to pagan prayers that sounded like babbling and were full of many words that had no meaning. Our prayers are to be simple prayers from the heart. The idea of something being vain refers to the condition of our heart. We can sincerely say the Lord’s prayer and mean every word, or we can mumble through the words and not mean any of them.


Passengers Stranded After Flight Engineers Downloaded Wrong Maps

Apparently, British Airways engineers assumed that the A318 would only make European stops, given it is such a small plane. The crew did not realize they did not have the correct plans until they landed in Shannon, where according to the Sun, they were unable to download the proper plans.


Suspected drunk hedgehog, with yoghurt pottle on head, allowed to go with warning

“After a brief foot pursuit the subject was cornered and the yoghurt pot removed. Crime prevention advice provided about going through other people’s rubbish. Lived to fight another day,” police said.


Links To Go (February 13, 2017)

Marco Rubio just gave a really important speech — but almost no one paid attention

A few lines that really stood out to me:

  • * “I don’t know of a civilization in the history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in a country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.”
  • * “We are becoming a society incapable of having debate anymore.”
  • * “We are reaching a point in this republic where we are not going to be able to solve the simplest of issues because everyone is putting themselves in a corner where everyone hates everybody.”
  • * “What’s at stake here tonight … is not simply some rule but the ability of the most important nation on earth to debate in a productive and respectful way the pressing issues before it.”

10 Key Trends in Global Christianity for 2017

  1. Some Christian groups are growing faster than others.
  2. Pentecostals continue with their explosive growth.
  3. Cities are growing faster than Christians are moving to them.
  4. Christianity is no longer a Western-dominated religion.
  5. Only half of Christians live in Christian-dominated nations.
  6. Churches have crossed the 5 million mark.
  7. Christians possess and are giving large amounts of money.
  8. Less of the world is unreached than ever before.
  9. Missionaries are growing slowly.
  10. More non-Christians will have Christian friends.

Toward a National Renewal of Evangelism through the Local Church in Our Day

The biggest insight about what fuels this change: pastors and then their leaders actually engage in personal evangelism (and don’t just preach about it, talk about it, study it, theologize about it, and critique it!). They then keep each other accountable and inspired for personal outreach through an every 30-day check-in, which includes an opportunity to tell stories of spiritual conversations.


Ladies, Please Consider: Who is the Subject of Your Bible Study?

If that Christian book on your nightstand or if your women’s bible study points you back to you, then may I please encourage you to put it down and give it some thought?


Why does the United States still let 12-year-olds get married?

Many of the states that provided data included categories such as “14 and younger,” without specifying exactly how much younger some brides and grooms were. Thus, the 12-year-olds we found in Alaska, Louisiana and South Carolina’s data might not have been the youngest children wed in America between 2000 and 2010. Also, the data we collected did not account for children wed in religious-only ceremonies or taken overseas to be married, situations that we at Unchained often see.