Monday’s Links To Go

Intolerant tolerance

The old view of tolerance assumed that (1) there is objective truth that can be known; (2) various people, groups, and perspectives each think they know what that objective truth is; and (3) as people/groups disagree, dialogue, and debate their conflicting views of the truth, everyone involved will have an opportunity to learn, grow, change, and possibly arrive together at the truth.
The new tolerance is different from the old tolerance. The new view of tolerance assumes that (1) there is no objective truth that can be known; (2) various people, groups, and perspectives do not have the truth but only what they believe to be the truth; and (3) various people, groups, and perspectives should not argue and debate their disagreements because there is no truth to be discovered and to assume otherwise only leads to needless conflicts and prejudices.

34,000 Sold: How Human Rights are Traded for Profit in the U.S.

However, private prisons and the federal government have failed to tell us that alternatives to detention overseen by communities are 79% less expensive. Instead, these private prisons lobby our government to secure Congressionally-mandated quotas to ensure their beds are always filled. For Fiscal Year 2014, the House of Representatives has made clear that it intends to fund immigration detention at levels that exceed the request from the Administration, specifically $5.6 million per day spent on immigration detention to fulfill a Congressionally mandated quota of 34,000 people detained on any given day.

The Contagious Chain of Missionary Zeal

Even just one life burning brightly for the gospel can ignite the hearts of hundreds of others for generations to come.
What a powerful thing it is to contemplate that reality in the history of missionary work! Consider, for example, the following chain of gospel influence

10 C.S. Lewis Quotes That Show He Was Ahead of His Time

There are more imaginative authors. There are better theologians. But “Jack,” as he was known to friends, stands alone in his ability to convey theology through joyous, glorious art. It’s argument, rhetoric and debate wrapped in delightful prose and storytelling. It’s the sort of writing where the felicity of thought seems directly tied to the writer’s skill. And so progressive was Lewis’ thinking—so ahead of his time (although he’d most certainly argue that he was old-fashioned)—that his writing seems endlessly applicable for each generation since his passing. Every generation seems to revere him anew, because every generation has much to learn from him.

Fathers: Imprint the Image of a Godly Man on Your Daughter’s Heart

If we simply begin to give advice once she starts dating, we are too late. We have missed the opportunity to inscribe on her heart all the qualities we desire to see in her future husband. From the time she is born we must instill a hunger in her to search for a man after God’s own heart.

To the Parents of Third Culture Kids

If you are raising your children in a country other than their passport country, you are raising third culture kids. The definition used most often is this one from the late Dave Pollock: “A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background”
I was raised as a third culture kid and went on to raise third culture kids for 10 years. There is much I don’t know, much I can’t articulate. But some things I do know and in these next few minutes I offer them. They are not comprehensive and they are not formulaic; there are far better and wiser voices that have documented research on the topic. But these words are offered with humility and a prayer that they will resonate with grace and hope.

Not a gift

Someone who is likable, honest, curious and thoughtful is easy to think of as gifted. This natural charisma and care is worth seeking out in the people we choose to work with.
The thing is, it’s a copout to call these things gifts. You might be born with a headstart in one area or another, you might be raised in a culture or with parents that reinforce some of these things, but these are attitudes, and attitudes can be taught, and they can be learned.

Thursday’s Links To Go

Immigration and the Body of Christ

It is disturbing to me that Christians talk about immigration in the very same way that non-Christians do. The conversation must necessarily be social, political and economic because immigration deals with all those things. But let us, as informed Christians, ground our conversation on the Bible.

N.T. Wright Wants to Save the Best Worship Songs

When people give up using the Psalms, they often invent poor substitutes—songs, prayers, or poems that have a bit of Christian emotion and a bit of doctrine, but nonetheless lack the Psalter’s depth, passion, and rich variety of expression. If one tries to do without the Psalms, there is an identifiable blank at the heart of things.

How To Teach Deep Theology in the Church

Many Christians long for the spiritual meat of the Word because they’ve sucked from the bottle of spiritual milk for so long. I’m convinced that some Christians become apathetic because they’re not being intellectually challenged. However, some are content with the David and Goliath stories for lessons. That’s fine. However, because we’re many members of one body, we can’t neglect to nourish the more mature members who long for spiritual meat.

What I wish I’d known about faith, finances, and Pharisee discipleship

I wish I’d known that God judges my ministry by how faithfully I led the flock to the water and not by how much water they drank. It would have saved me a lot of grief. It would have kept me from taking too much credit when people grew by leaps and bounds, and it would have kept me from taking too much blame when their hearts were hard.

The Dangerous Pit of Uniqueness

You aren’t unique. You aren’t special. Jesus is. The sooner we realize this the better. Yes, you have great worth. Yes, you are dearly loved. Yes, you matter. Yes, you have a purpose. But so does everyone else. And they suffer too. Maybe not as much as you have. But you aren’t unique. You aren’t alone. Jesus has plunged further. Throw your despair upon Him.

Living in the Weeds

Notice it says the thorny weeds choked the good plants and they didn’t produce a crop. Jesus isn’t saying we are bad because we have worries, money, or desires. The point of the story he tells is good people miss the fruit given by the Word because we are buried in our busy, anxious lives.

What Binds Up Broken Relationships?

James hits us hard by showing that the principle cause for relational breakdown has nothing to do with anything outside of us — it has everything to do with what’s going on inside of us. When we don’t have what we want, we’ll kill for it. When I’m not getting from you what I think I need, quarreling and fighting ensue. Once James puts it into words, it couldn’t be more obvious: our main problem in life is us.

What does the Bible have to say about the crisis in Syria? (hint: nothing. absolutely nothing)

One of the bigger missteps in the history of the western Christian fundamentalist view of the Bible is the idea that the biblical records of ancient hostilities are simply veiled references for what is going on in whatever moment we happen to be living in.

Cell phone cameras repel UFOs

Instead, those emotions drive how we interpret what you sell, or what you say when you run for office, or how we interpret what happened on TV screens around the world. It changes the way we think about the things we can look up or get in our email box. Even when we can see something for ourselves, we’d often rather get a talking head or tribal leader to understand it for us. To tell us what people like us think about something like that.

Japanese mugging victim walks 800 miles home rather than ‘inconvenience’ police

The 25-year-old, who was attending a playing card convention in Kitakyushu, south Japan, was stopped on the street by five men who demanded he give them his wallet and mobile phone.
But rather than contact his family or ask the police for help, he embarked on an 11-day journey to get back to Sendai, in the north-east of the country.

Wednesday’s Links To Go

“Make the Economy Scream”: Secret Documents Show Nixon, Kissinger Role Backing 1973 Chile Coup

We continue our coverage of the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende with a look at the critical U.S. role under President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger. Peter Kornbluh, who spearheaded the effort to declassify more than 20,000 secret documents that revealed the role of the CIA and the White House in the Chilean coup, discusses how Nixon and Kissinger backed the Chilean military’s ouster of Allende and then offered critical support as it committed atrocities to cement its newfound rule.

Can Christians Ever Use Violence? A Discussion with Preston Sprinkle (Part 1)

But again, we need to back up and develop a robust ethical framework of living Christianly in the public sphere before we can answer specific questions about Christians serving as president or any governmental positions. As I argue in the book, I have not come across a convincing biblical argument that says a Christian can kill if his or her vocation demands it.

How Your Preaching Might Increase Sin in Your Church

We are accustomed to thinking of legalistic preaching as that which is full of “thou shalt not”s, the kind of fundamentalist hellfire and brimstone judgmentalism we’ve nearly all rejected. But “do” is just the flipside to the same coin “don’t” is on. That coin is the law. And a list of “do”‘s divorced from the DONE of the gospel is just as legalistic, even if it’s preached by a guy in jeans with wax in his hair following up the rockin’ set by your worship band.

Yes, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

When we are willing to sit in the pain, to walk with one another when life’s path is difficult and to shoulder one another’s burdens when they are too heavy, we become an embodied promise. We become living proof that while life can sometimes be too much, through the goodness of our loving of God displayed within us, we can move forward together.

7 Design Lessons From My First Years in Church Communication

The most memorable and effective messages almost always have the right blend of form and content, regardless of the medium. Every design has a message (content)—either literal or symbolic. Everything about the appearance of the design (form) should help reinforce the message. For example, you wouldn’t design an apple in purple right? Unless using that particular color would help you reinforce a specific message. Communicate with purpose, don’t just make eye candy.

Suspicious? In ‘United States Of Paranoia,’ It’s Not Just You

Conspiracy theories are everywhere, and they’re more widely believed than many people think. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker, a senior editor at Reason magazine, suggests that paranoid political arguments are as American as apple pie.

My 5-Part Process for Writing Books

Over the last 12 years I’ve been privileged to write/co-write 14 books and currently have two more in the pipeline. Over the last several years I’ve been able to develop my own process for writing that works for me.

Art heist trial held up over lawyer’s sneakers

Defense lawyer Catalin Dancu was hit Tuesday with a fine of 5,000 lei ($1,148) — the maximum allowed — for flouting dress regulations and for being late at the trial of five Romanians accused of art theft.
Under his black robe, Dancu wore blue jeans and bright blue sneakers— triple-stripe models that he said cost 200 euros ($264).

Minnesota high school misspells own name on yearbook cover

Some high school yearbook mistakes can be forgotten quickly.
A student gets misidentified in a photo. Hey, it happens. A teacher is credited with teaching the wrong class. OK, yeah, no problem.
But misspelling the name of the school on the cover of the yearbook that also happens to be the name of the town? That’s a mistake that’s going to be talked about in the teacher’s lounge for years to come.

Tuesday’s Links To Go

Just how realistic is just war theory? The case for Christian realism

Ultimately, I think the lack of realism about realism by American just war advocates has everything to do with their being American. In particular, American advocates of just war seem to presume that democratic societies place an inherent limit on war that more authoritarian societies are unable to do. While such a view is quite understandable, I would argue that democratic society – at least, the American version – is unable to set limits on war because it is democratic.
Put even more strongly, for Americans war is a necessity to sustain our belief that we are worthy to be recipients of the sacrifices made on our behalf in past wars. Americans are a people born of and in war, and only war can sustain our belief that we are a people set apart.

Republicans’ Immigration Bind, as Explained by Aristotle

But let’s not forget Aristotle. When contested legislation passes, it isn’t because its enactment is in the interest of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party as such. It’s usually because it’s in the interest of the particular Republicans, and the particular Democrats, who end up for voting for it.

The Story: The Law of Moses (and Grace of God), Part 1

The Law of Moses is not about how to go to heaven when you die. That’s the mistake. It’s not that God didn’t save any of the faithful Israelites, but that they weren’t saved based on perfect obedience to the Law. That was about something else altogether.

Missions vs. Missional? Why We Really Need Both

Mission and missions need to live together. Missional churches—those focused on living on mission where we are—must remember that Jesus called us to reach people where the gospel is not. I want us to be missional, living as agents of God’s mission in context, but you can’t take John 20:21 in isolation without also remembering Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.

The ugly flip side of Christian consumerism

If the church were indeed a business, then a pastor would be wise to view his occupation much as any businessperson sees their career. The goal would be to improve skills, land the role of greatest influence, gain the most responsibility, and be rewarded by the best compensation package, all while residing in the most livable city.
But if the local church is viewed biblically—less like a business and more like a family (Luke 8:19–21)—then moving up the “ladder” of pastoral leadership makes as much sense as switching out families every few years. In many ways, pastors leaving the leadership position of one church to go to the next more promising church could be as damaging as a family having a revolving father every couple years.

Seven Secrets to Listening When Time is Short

Quick listening isn’t the best, but it may be your only option.

  1. Explain time pressure. “I’m interested. I only have five minutes before my next meeting.”
  2. Relax the tone in your voice. Take a breath.
  3. Begin where most conversations end. Ask, “What’s important about this?”
  4. Say, “Tell me what you want to tell me.” Help them get to the point.
  5. Ask, “What can you do?” Avoid reverse delegation – that’s when their problem becomes your problem.
  6. Establish accountability. “Call me tomorrow and tell me what happened.”
  7. Stick with time limits. If you said, “Five minutes,” then stick to it.

Japanese professor pushes for Hide and Seek at the Olympics

The committee has set formal rules for competitive hide-and-seek, pitting two teams of seven players against each other in a 10-minute match. In the first five-minute half, one team is given two minutes to hide on a “pitch” that measures 65ft x 65ft . The opposing team then has to locate and touch the hiding players.

Outrage as toy company creates ‘crystal meth lab’ for children with Breaking Bad play sets

Children can now build their own drug dens with a shocking new play kit inspired by TV show Breaking Bad.
The sell-out £160 kit, branded ‘SuperLab’, lets any child or adult recreate Walter White’s notorious crystal meth lab.
Complete with protective masks, drug paraphernalia, figurines and a version of the car from the show, infants can even reenact scenes from the series.
The toy looks similar to a classic Lego set, although it is not connected to the Danish company in any way and was made by a separate firm.

Iowa grants permits for blind residents to carry guns in public

Private gun ownership — even hunting — by visually impaired Iowans is nothing new. But the practice of visually impaired residents legally carrying firearms in public became widely possible thanks to gun permit changes that took effect in Iowa in 2011.

Monday’s Links To Go

Roma Downey: Christians in Middle East want U.S. to find diplomatic solutions in Syria

We did not meet a single Christian leader over there in support of further action in Syria. Not one. They believe such action will only escalate violence against Arab Christians, it will only serve to trigger more fear and violence. We must find another solution. I pray we do. Yes, it’s terrible what is happening in Syria but a violent response would be terrible as well.
I feel compelled upon my return to speak up and share the heart of what I heard over there.
The repeated message was that they don’t feel American Christians understand the Middle East. That we are not listening to those who live there.

Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project

Its report concluded that Robertson made “fraudulent and deceptive” statements with claims to be ferrying doctors and medical aid to Goma when he was delivering diamond-mining equipment. It accused Operation Blessing of “misrepresenting” what its flights were doing, and of saying that the airstrip at Kamonia was part of the aid operation when it was “for the benefit of ADC’s mining operation”.

Gay rights vs. religious rights: 7 issues to watch

Upcoming battles include whether religious opposition to same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender and/or marital status; and what happens when a discrimination claim bumps up against an individual’s or institution’s religious freedom.

Blessed are the Retweeters …

Social network updates can give us the feeling of having contributed significantly to something of importance when all we have really done is passed on the message to someone else (with a distant hope in the back of our minds that surely someone will do something about it, right?) who has in all likelihood done the very same thing (knowing the people we’re connected to, right?).
Imagine, for a minute, if instead of forwarding the Kony 2012 video clip (or even better, in addition to) those 97 million people had each invited a homeless person into their house for a meal? Or gone down to the local hospital and visited two sick people they didn’t even know? Or taken a piece of paper and written an encouraging letter to someone who is behind bars?

The Ache of Mortality

Have we considered that the One who causes each wave to rise and fall and each day to come and go is the same One who designed us to have eternity stamped in our hearts? When we feel the sadness of our quickly passing life, sometimes our instinct is to dismiss these feelings of sorrow into a tidy, cute category that we call sentimentality. But what if, far from it being merely sentimental, these feelings are actually our Creator whispering to us, teaching us about Himself, teaching us about the brevity of our lives.

How to Criticize a Preacher

Well, I’m not going to tell you exactly what words to use. I’m simply going to give you ten questions to ask that I hope will produce the right words and the right way to say them should you ever have to offer criticism to a preacher.

Shhhhhh! German parties appeal to voters’ aversion to noise

In their programs for the September 22 election and to an extent never seen before, political parties are outlining how they intend to make German skies and roads even quieter.
Noise is mentioned 12 times in the CDU’s manifesto, 19 times in the program of her junior coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP), 38 times in the Greens’ election manifesto, 9 times by the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and 8 times by the far left Die Linke.