Monday’s Links To Go

Flag Extremism and Christian Practice

This immoderate exaltation of the flag is nothing less than idolatrous. What does it say about a church that would distribute such a personified self-adulation of the American flag which claims, “I bow to no one….I am worshipped….I am revered”? No doubt those who chose to distribute this piece would deny it is contains anything that smacks of idolatry. How could they do otherwise? The fact is that the power of idolatry is best preserved by remaining unacknowledged.

The Amazing Power of Patriotism

Heavenly patriotism is this belief that all human lives everywhere are worth the same.
That we’re a country of countries, a world of families, a earth of one human race, and that was it — the essence of this great land she lived in. What really unites this great land is more than a flag — it’s an idea. The idea that all peoples under heaven are the idea of a Great God.
That all peoples under heaven, in our back alleys and in our hospitals, in our prisons and shelters and headlines and every person in our far-flung world, are flagged as the handiwork of God, the dream of God, the art of God. Everywhere she looked, there it was — “I was the stranger and you welcomed me in.“
It was strange and glorious, how it was happening in her, for her nation, for all the nations: Heavenly patriotism makes you patriotic for all of humanity.

Declaration of Independence and the Image of God

Immigration is, in most cases, all about that pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. For some of the immigrants in my community, migration was really not a choice at all: their lives were threatened by a tyrannical government or they literally faced the possibility of starvation if they did not leave their homes and move. For others, they might have survived where they were, but they were not free: they were drawn to this country by their internal yearning for political, religious, and economic freedom. Many have come to this country betting that the American dream, that those willing to work hard can improve their lot in life and that of their families, is still possible. Folks in pursuit of that dream have been coming to the United States since even before that Declaration was signed 237 years ago this week, and they’re still coming.

Loving Our Enemies

Those who embrace the view of Christian pacifism need to remember that pacifism does not equate with passivism. While, as far as it is known, Jesus never killed or waged war against his enemies, Jesus was never passive in wake of oppression and evil. Jesus pursued his kingdom ministry in the trenches with people who were suffering, including those who suffered under the oppressive and evil tyranny of others. Not only did Jesus live in the trenches with such people, Jesus was willing and in fact did lay his own life down for those suffering. Christians pacifists must be willing to do the same as Jesus. To do any less might be regarded as pacifism but it won’t be Christian pacifism.

Do You Have Too Much Stuff?

As I stood in my damp, musty house, picking through sopping wet piles of purchases and throwing them into huge black plastic bags, my heart hurt from the effort. So much stuff that we once had but didn’t anymore: My favorite Franco Sarto boots. The portfolio filled with all my first published clips.
But as I sorted through the damage, I quickly realized that “stuff” fell into two categories: replaceable and irreplaceable. The boots? Replaceable. The newspaper clippings? Gone forever.

Our fear of boredom is simply a fear of coming face to face with ourselves

Throughout the centuries, theologians, especially those of the mystical tradition, have insisted that God is commonly experienced as a form of absence. Deus absconditus, as Luther described Him. Yet such is our anxiety when presented with empty space that we feel the need to fill it up – every absence being continually and desperately converted into some sort of presence. But many of these substitutions are just ways of us avoiding ourselves, our fear of dependency and the fear of abandonment that such dependency brings with it.

In olden times it was different

Rather than saying “In olden times it was different,” why not say “In times to come, it will be different”? As Paul said, thinking about the past should fill us with hope. Hope based not just on what we will do in the future, but hope based on what God will do in the future.

How to get better at email: What science tells us

What are the best ways to take control and optimize your use of email? Quartz turned to academic research from around the world and other thoughtful sources to compile these insights and suggestions.

Girls’ Legos Are A Hit, But Why Do Girls Need Special Legos?

Johnson says the company carefully studied differences between how girls and boys play. “When boys build a construction set, they’ll build a castle, let’s say, and they’ll play with the finished product on the outside. When girls build construction sets, they tend to play on the inside.”
And research showed that girls loved little details, says Lego brand relations manager Amanda Santoro. “When we were testing this, we asked girls what would you like to see in a Lego school?” she said, as she showed off the line at Toy Fair, the massive industry event held each year in New York City. “Of course, they said an art studio. So we see a lot of detail here with the different paint canisters and the canvas here [a Friend] is creating.”

Calif. roller coaster screams exceed decibel limit

The Gold Striker at Great America in Santa Clara had to be taken offline this week because riders were screaming too loudly.
The San Jose Mercury News reports ( ) that the shrieks were exceeding the decibel limit agreed upon in a settlement with Prudential Real Estate, which owns adjacent properties.
So Great America had to cover a portion of the track in a sound-dampening tunnel. The wooden roller coaster reopened on Wednesday after the work was completed.

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