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It’s All about Perspective

birdfeeder2 (175x256)We used to have a birdhouse. Every spring, little birds would fly in and make their home, building their nest, laying their eggs, and doing whatever it is that little birds do. One day a strong wind came along and rocked that little birdhouse, flipping it  over so that it now hangs upside down.

The little birds don’t care. To them it’s still a birdhouse. It has a top and a bottom, it holds their nest, and protects them from the elements. What might have looked like a tragedy, is just a bit of redecoration.

It’s all about perspective.

The bigger birds like it as well. Now that the house has flipped over, the overhang of what used to be the roof provides a perfect place to perch so they can stick their heads through the little doorway and eat the smaller birds inside.

To them, it’s a bird feeder.

It’s all about perspective.

The Atheist/Agnostic Grid

Here’s a helpful and creative chart that explains the distinction between atheism, agnosticism, and theism. I found the “agnostic theist” category particularly interesting. I run into this one a lot, but didn’t have a category for it until now.

atheist-agnostic grid

Thanks to Pablo Stanley for putting this together. (HT)


Flotsam and jetsam (7/29)


Good Reads

  • Gardens, Not Buildings: great projects, like great careers and relationships that last, are gardens. They are tended, they shift, they grow. They endure over time, gaining a personality and reflecting their environment. When something dies or fades away, we prune, replant and grow again.

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A Prayer for Sunday (Susanna Wesley)

susanna wesley john charles wesleyan methodist

via Wikipedia

Although John Wesley is well known to many Christians, his mother Susanna Wesley has received less attention. That is unfortunate given that many think that her influence on her sons John and Charles made an indelible mark on their ministries and the subsequent history of the religious tradition they founded.

Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742. In honor of her amazing life and ministry, this morning’s prayer comes from her.

Help me, Lord, to remember that religion
… not to be confined to the church, or closet,
nor exercised only in prayer and meditation,
but that everywhere I am in thy presence.

So may my every word and action have a moral content.
May all the happenings of my life prove useful to me.
May all things instruct me and afford me an opportunity
…..of exercising some virtue
…..and daily learning and growing toward thy likeness.


Saturday Morning Fun…Bad with Names

I wish I could say that I’m better with names than this. But I’m not.

Bad-with-Names-Doghouse-Diaries (550x1198)

Flotsam and jetsam (7/26)

discipline slip

Good Reads

  • We Are All Virgins Now: This obsession with virginity measures so many of the wrong things, asks so many of the wrong questions, delivers so many of the wrong answers.
  • A Religious Legacy, With Its Leftward Tilt, Is Reconsidered: a growing cadre of historians of religion are reconsidering the legacy of those faded establishment Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, tracing their enduring influence on the movements for human rights and racial justice, the growing “spiritual but not religious” demographic and even the shaded moral realism of Barack Obama — a liberal Protestant par excellence, some of these academics say.
  • 10 Theories That Explain Why We Dream: The study of dreaming is called oneirology, and it’s a field of inquiry that spans neuroscience, psychology, and even literature. Still, the plain fact is that the reasons why we dream are still mysterious. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from coming up with some pretty fascinating hypotheses.
  • Why Online Pornography is Being Blocked in the UK—and Why It Should Be in the U.S. Too: American Christians on both the left and the right are frequently criticized for allowing their political beliefs to be shaped more by the culture than by the Word of God. Too often such complaints are overstated since the principle underlying their political position can be rooted, however obliquely, in Scripture. But the support for unlimited access to pornography, distributed freely in every home with an Internet connection, is not a cause that any Christian should tolerate, much less support.

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Use Your Analogies Wisely

stuffed animal toy analogy metaphor preachingAnalogies are tricky. Used properly when preaching, they illuminate. But they can also mislead. That’s because every analogy has the ability to say more than we want. If my daughter says that I’m a bear, she may only mean that I’m big and cuddly. But someone could hear that analogy and conclude that I sleep a lot during the winter, mark my territory by leaving big claw marks on nearby trees, or eat hikers when I get bored. If she’s not careful about how she’s using the analogy, people could walk away with all kinds of weird ideas.

Every analogy is an opportunity for both insight and confusion.

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/24)


Good Reads

  • 9 Reasons Why Church Leaders Struggle with Prayer: John, a leader in a church I assisted as a consultant, admitted to me what I’d heard before from seminary students and church leaders alike: “Dr. Lawless, I don’t always pray like I should. I know better, but prayer isn’t easy.” I’ve heard something similar so many times that I’ve begun asking for more details.
  • Why Productive People Take Better Notes: The idea is to create your own repository of knowledge. With luck, you’ll continue to be awesome into your 80s–and if you’re recording and organizing your knowledge from now until then, you’ll have a mighty base of understanding.
  • Rebuking the Romance Prosperity Gospel: At best the Romance Prosperity Gospel is hazardous. But I may go so far as to call it wicked. What else can describe the claim that “God makes this promise to you” when He has not made that promise?

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Last Update

Warrenville (250x166)We’re here! For those of you keeping track, we left our home near Portland just over a week ago, spent several days driving across the country, and arrived safely at our new home in Warrenville, IL last Monday. (According to Google, the picture on the right has something to do with Warrenville. We haven’t actually seen this bridge, but it looks cool.) The movers showed up right on time and it looks like everything arrived relatively unharmed. (We’ve only found two casualties so far, neither of which were serious.) And with five days of unpacking under our belts now, we are well on our way toward settling in.

Thanks for all your prayers as we navigate this transition. If you’re still looking for things to pray about, here are some of the major items still on the table.

  • The Girls: They’re both managing the transition just fine, though we did have our first bout of homesickness last night from our youngest daughter. Right now I think they’re both just a little bored, stir crazy, and wanting to hang out with some other kids.
  • A New Church: I hate looking for a new church. I’d rather just find the closest church and go there. But unfortunately it’s rarely that simple. We’d like to find a church as quickly as possible so we can all start to settle in there as well. So we’re hoping that this won’t drag on too long. But we’ll see.
  • Settling in at Wheaton: This week I’ll actually start spending time at Wheaton. I need to move my books, set up my office, and most importantly, start getting to know the faculty and administration.
  • Writing: It’s been months since I was able to write with any kind of regularity. And now I need to get back on track (especially since I now have deadlines for a couple of books that I should probably start working on).

As I said in the title, this will be my last update about the transition. (Unless I change my mind, of course. I do that a lot.) I’ll let you know if anything major changes. Otherwise we’ll just plug along in our new home and wait to see what God has in store for us here.

Flotsam and jetsam (7/22)


Good Reads

  • Young Evangelicals Are Getting High: The kids who leave evangelical Protestantism are looking for something the world can’t give them. The world can give them hotter jeans, better coffee, bands, speakers, and book clubs than a congregation can. What it can’t give them is theology; membership in a group that transcends time, place and race; a historic rootedness; something greater than themselves; ordained men who will be spiritual leaders and not merely listeners and buddies and story-tellers.
  • Why Do We Keep Saying Boys Are Easier? Our seemingly lighthearted comments about the “ease” of sons and the “difficulty” of daughters, though, are steeped in a troubling worldview.
  • The Wyatt Earp Myth: Earp’s story is thus fundamental to American culture—but it is not the story with which we are familiar. It is not about the redemptive power of violence, but the redemptive power of the media.

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