Links To Go (October 13, 2016)

Links from around the Internet, shared to make you think… Tim

How I found freedom from gender confusion (Part 1)(Part 2)

I learned that sin promises freedom and brings only slavery—which seemed oddly familiar… And on it went. I thought my identity was rooted in how I looked or felt or dressed, but I learned that my identity was in Christ. I thought that exile was having to dress as a woman behind closed curtains, but I learned that all Christians are exiles and strangers in this life. I had thought that God didn’t want me to struggle, but I learned about spiritual warfare, I learned about the point of suffering, I learned about the freedom that comes from denying ourselves and taking up our cross. I learned that being a Christian requires repentance and change.

Why Are So Many Evangelicals Condoning Sexual Assault?

In almost any other situation, an influential and powerful man who admitted to sexually harrassing and assaulting women would not be someone Christians would want to give even more power and influence. But too many evangelicals are justifying their own continued support of a self-professed assailant since it fulfills their own political preference (again, filling the empty seat on the Supreme Court). In doing so, they are legitimizing the culture of abuse against women.

Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Norman Geisler on Why He’s Supporting Trump and not Changing His Mind

All the candidates engage in offensive activities, some more than others. Most evangelicals would not vote for any of them to be pastor of their church. But we are not voting for a pastor but for a politician. Many evangelicals envision an ideal candidate who is superior to the ones we have. The problem is that we do not have the choice to vote for this ideal candidate but only for the real ones that are on the ticket. In an ideal world this would not happen, but we do not live in an ideal world but in a real one—a real fallen world. And in such a world we can only choose the best one available, not the best one conceivable. An as an evangelical Christian living in this real fallen world, it looks to me that Trump, as imperfect as he may be, comes closer to what we need in America now than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real

While fewer people may consider themselves racist, racism itself persists in our schools, offices, court system, police departments, and elsewhere. Think about it: when white people occupy most positions of decision-making power, people of color have a difficult time getting a fair shake, let alone getting ahead. Bottom line: we have a lot of work to do.

Cable News

We seem to accept the hegemony of bottom-feeding media as some natural outgrowth of the world we live in. In fact, it’s more likely an artifact of the post-spectrum cable news complex in which bleeding and leading became business goals.
There’s always front page news because there’s always a front page.
The world is safer (per capita) than ever before in recorded history. And people are more frightened. The rise of the media matches the rise of our fear.

The Evangelism Conversation No One Is Having

6 Steps Toward Having the Conversation No One is Having:

  1. Listen to voices that don’t simply affirm what you already believe
  2. Listen to Top 40 radio
  3. Read what your unchurched neighbour is reading
  4. Understand the culture’s vocabulary
  5. Explore all the language of scripture
  6. Get around some people under the age of 30

A Gospeled Church

The gospel cannot puff us up. It cannot make us prideful. It cannot make us selfish. It cannot make us arrogant. It cannot make us rude. It cannot make us gossipy. It cannot make us accusers. So the more we press into the gospel, the more the gospel takes over our hearts and the spaces we bring our hearts to, and it stands to reason, the less we would see those things antithetical to it.

I’m a Doctor. If I Drop Food on the Kitchen Floor, I Still Eat It.

The same thing happens in the bathroom. I know a lot of people who are worried about the toilet seat, but it’s cleaner than all the things in the kitchen I just mentioned (0.68 colonies per square inch). What’s dirtier in the bathroom? Almost everything. The flush handle (34.65 colonies per square inch), the sink faucet (15.84 colonies per square inch) and the counter (1.32 colonies per square inch).
Things get dirty when lots of hands touch them and when we don’t think about it. We worry about the floor and the toilet seat, so we clean them more. We don’t think about the refrigerator handle or the faucet handle as much.

Convicted by a small towel

towelI grabbed a brown towel the other day instead of the usual blue ones that are in our bathroom. It was smaller than I’m used to and felt totally inadequate. Made me grouchy, thinking bad thoughts about towel manufacturers who make ridiculously small products.

Then I remembered that those brown towels were the ones I used all through college. They didn’t seem too small then.

I also realized that, besides having put on some weight (thanks for noticing),  I’ve gotten spoiled to a nicer product. Like so many things in life, what once was luxury now seems like the standard.

We lived for fifteen years in Argentina without having air conditioning at home, in our car, or at work. Now the times I have to do without refrigerated air seem like times of terrible sacrifice.

It’s frightening to me how abundance creeps into my life and makes itself at home.

Links To Go (October 11, 2016)

Political Christianity: American Style

One simple observation: the closer progressives or conservatives get to seeing the way to change the world is through the Powers in Washington DC the closer they become to being Constantinian — a conservative Constantine or a progressive Constantine is still a Constantine.
American Christianity, during election season especially (and since it lasts so long and occurs so often that means always), spends its energies on who will be the Next Apocalyptically-crucial Power in DC and in so doing is failing to use its energies — a zero sum game seemingly — for the mission of God in this world and to this world.

Her son shot their daughters 10 years ago. Then, these Amish families embraced her as a friend.

But the Amish did more than forgive the couple. They embraced them as part of their community. When Roberts underwent treatment for Stage 4 breast cancer in December, one of the girls who survived the massacre helped clean her home before she returned from the hospital. A large yellow bus arrived at her home around Christmas, and Amish children piled inside to sing her Christmas carols.

America’s Duty to Take In Refugees

Refugee resettlement has always received bipartisan support because the quest for freedom and safety embodied in refugees’ stories represents the values that make America great, and because our national security is actually strengthened when we respond with wisdom and compassion. Jihadists hate our compassion for refugees, because it disproves the claims about Americans they use to sow hatred and violence. Acting according to the best angels of our nature may produce our greatest long-term strength and security.

Findings from the New Atlantis Report on Sexuality and Gender

In their massive study, Mayer and McHugh do their very best to come to terms with what scientists or those who claim to be scientists have been presenting as scientific evidence for the LGBT claims. What makes this so important is that they look so carefully at the research and reports that were put out by the advocates of the LGBT movement. In the executive summary, they report,

“The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings — the idea that people are “born that way” — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

They don’t actually make their own case about how exactly sexual orientation comes about, but they make very clear that there is no adequate evidence that there is “an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings” that can be described as sexual orientation in the first place.

Mercury Poisoning Makes Birds Act Homosexual

Starting at around 90 days of age, each of three groups was fed a diet containing either low, medium, or high amounts of mercury, based on a realistic range of exposures in the wild. A fourth control group ate mercury-free food.
Once the birds had reached sexual maturity at around a year old, homosexual bonding increased in all three groups exposed to mercury. This behavior led to a 13 to 15 percent decline in the number of young, compared to the mercury-free control group.

Most Americans say children are better off with a parent at home

The survey, conducted June 7-July 5 among 4,602 adults on Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, found that 59% of U.S. adults believe that children with two parents are better off when a parent stays home, while about four-in-ten (39%) say children are just as well off when their parents work outside the home.

Why do placebos work?

Buonanno came home with fingers crossed, and a three-week supply of pills. The results seemed miraculous. “As the days went on after a week, I kept feeling better and better. Now I’m thinking, ‘What’s in this?’”
So what WAS the special something in those pills? It was … absolutely nothing. Linda was taking placebos, containing no real medication at all.
What makes her story even more astonishing is that, unlike traditional experiments with placebos, she was TOLD she was taking placebos!

Links To Go (October 10, 2016)

Please note… these are links to articles on websites. None of these were written by Tim nor do they necessarily reflect his views

Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election

Jesus or Politics: 7 Tough Questions to Reveal Your Lord

  1. Whoever gets elected, we are not paralyzed with anxiety
  2. We love and pray for those we disagree with
  3. We confess our limits and blind spots
  4. We don’t anoint a candidate or party as God’s candidate or party
  5. The Lord’s moral concerns become our concerns
  6. We spend more time listening to Jesus’ voice than the prevailing voices
  7. You live with a hope that makes no sense to the world!

Why I Stay Silent on Important Issues Online

Instead, I wonder what it would be like for believers to see our online presence as an opportunity to extend grace to one another and offer healing to those who are in pain. This would likely require less reacting and more researching. Before posting our opinions publicly, we might really learn the ins and outs of a particular situation, and allow others time to research events before jumping in with our two cents.

the instagram bible

Beware the Instagram Bible, my daughters – those filtered frames festooned with feathered verses, adorned in all manner of loops and tails, bedecked with blossoms, saturated with sunsets, culled and curated just for you.
Beware lest it become for you your source of daily bread. It is telling a partial truth.

Instead of a trip to jail, officer drives man 100 miles to his family

Ross had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. But instead of going to jail, he ended up being driven more than 100 miles by Sgt. David Robison, who prayed over him and delivered him to a Detroit coffee shop where Ross’ cousin came to get him, Inside Edition reported.

Police appeal for information about chicken crossing road

Police have issued an appeal for information about why a chicken was seen crossing the road in Dundee.

Describing our salvation

One reason that people use the phrase “faith alone” when talking about salvation is a reaction to the idea that people somehow earn salvation by doing certain things. In the same way, people in my fellowship often reject the phrase “faith alone” out of a desire to emphasize the role of baptism in salvation.

Some of the discussion is mere semantics. Some reflects essential heart issues behind the words. Let me lay out some thoughts on the subject in general:

  • We are saved by the grace of God. We do not earn salvation, deserve salvation, nor anything of the sort. Salvation is a free gift from God.
  • Only God will ultimately decide who is saved and who is not. Modernism makes us want to be able to define everything in terms of lists, formulas, steps, and procedures. My list is short: God saves.
  • Salvation comes to us through Jesus Christ. I think Jesus’ words leave little wiggle room. If we believe in him, then we have to believe that he is the only way to the Father.
  • We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The word faith in the New Testament can usually be translated as faithfulness; it is not mere intellectual belief. It is a choice to believe and live in accordance with that belief.
  • The Bible includes a number of things within what I call the faith response. These include repentance, confession, and baptism. Our ongoing response must be a life of love toward others; the Bible makes it clear that no one is saved without love.
  • Someone who refuses to do the things that God tells us to do cannot be seen as having faith. I compare it to someone who says they believe in their doctor. That doesn’t mean they believe their doctor really is certified to practice medicine (though that’s included). It means they trust and follow their doctor’s indications. In the same way, if we don’t want to do what God says, we don’t have faith in him.
  • I hesitate to qualify anything as “essential” for salvation. God can save anyone. He can save everyone. He is God. As someone once said, the Bible wasn’t written to tell God what he has to do.
  • Salvation is by faith through grace.

Not an exhaustive list, but enough to show you some of my thinking on the subject.