Archive by Author

Digital Stress and Your Brain

It won’t be news to any of us that technology plays an increasingly important role in our everyday lives as we consume more information from more sources than ever before. This infographic wants us to consider some of the possible negative ramifications that can come from this kind of constant digital downloading.

Among some of the more interesting statements:

  • The average computer user switches programs 36 times an hour, which means we change tasks more than once every two minutes. (Wow, I know multitasking is common. But how do we get anything done?)
  • People with access to email changed windows more than twice as often and experienced higher heart rates while working.
  • After being cut off from email, it took five days for people to experience normal heart rates.
The infographic concludes with some of the common worries about how all this multitasking might be rewiring our brains, and some suggestions for living a healthier digital life in this multitasking world.

Flotsam and jetsam (2/25)

I hate this.

Good Reads

  • Is Smart Making Us Dumb? A revolution in technology is allowing previously inanimate objects—from cars to trash cans to teapots—to talk back to us and even guide our behavior. But how much control are we willing to give up?
  • Why the Afterlife Bores Us: We’re glad we’re not going to hell or to oblivion. But most of our songs and sermon mentions are about that first few moments in heaven: when we see Jesus, when we’re reunited with our loved ones, and so on. It’s like the happy ending of the story. And that’s the problem.
  • Debunking Megachurch Myths: Especially the One about Sheep Swapping: Some megachurches are not healthy environments….I think some are quite terrible and fulfill every stereotype out there. Yet, there are also some great ones, and for that I am thankful. I want to understand them more and, when possible, to encourage them on their journey.
  • Why Pastors Should Read Over Their Heads: Very, very, very (did I say “very”) few pastors are called to engage in the highest levels of scholarship at the same time as pastoring a congregation. It’s just not possible, at least not for very long. But most pastors should still make it a point to jump into the deep end of the pool and get in over their heads once in awhile.

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A Prayer for Sunday (Polycarp)

martyrdom polycarp st. saint martyrOne of the most famous martyrs in church history, Polycarp was burned at the stake around A.D. 155 for refusing to reject the Christian faith. According to the story, though, the Romans were  a tad surprised when the fire didn’t hurt him at all. So the executioner had to stab him instead.

In addition to his martyrdom, Polycarp is best known as one of he last people to have direct contact with the apostles. Several early authors report that Polycarp was a disciple of John the Apostle in his youth. Combined with his long life–he was approximately 86 when he died–Polycarp thus served as an important point of connection between the New Testament church and the church of the second century.

In honor of Polycarp’s life and faithful death, here is the prayer that he his reported to have prayed right before his death.

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Saturday Morning Fun…All the Best Picture Winners in 4 Minutes

If you want to get up to speed on all the Oscar Best Picture Winners before tomorrow night’s award ceremony, here you go!

Flotsam and jetsam (2/22)

Good Reads

  • God Didn’t Make Our Bodies Only for Sex: When I look back on my most exciting adventures as a single woman, I won’t remember wishing I’d been having sex instead. I didn’t. Yes, I am trying to obey God through chastity during this season, but closing myself off to sex has hardly closed me off to my body as well.

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How to Become Pope

If you’re curious about what a person has to go through to become pope, and how exactly a person gets elected to be pope, here’s a helpful step-by-step explanation. It should only take you sixty years or so to run through the entire process. Good luck.

Our Second Big Announcement: Moving to Wheaton!

Sadness and excitement. Some emotions fit well together. Others, not so much. I can be happy and nervous at the same time (e.g. at my daughter’s piano recitals). And holding anger and fear together is pretty easy too (e.g. my usual reaction when reading You Tube comments). But sadness and excitement? It’s hard to do both of those simultaneously. Instead, you jump back and forth between them like a middle schooler struggling with adolescent mood swings.

To be honest, I’ve been that middle schooler for the last few weeks.

Yesterday I announced that this would be my last year as Academic Dean at Western Seminary. That announcement contained only excitement. (Well, to be honest, there was a lot of joy, exuberance, and impatient anticipation in there as well.) Today’s announcement comes with much more mixed emotions. And, although the title of this post makes the actual announcement somewhat unnecessary, here it is anyway:

I’ve accepted a position at Wheaton College (Associate Professor of Theology), where I’ll be teaching mostly in their M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

As you can anticipate from an announcement like that, the sadness comes from what we’re leaving behind, and the excitement from what lies ahead. Let me explain.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/20)

Good Reads

  • What Christians Should Seek in a College Education: You are paying for access to people. In this era, information is becoming very cheap. Sitting in your bedroom, you can access more books than you could ever read, more film than you could ever watch, and more well formed opinions than you could ever consider. What we need is community, informed community that will get to know us and help us learn.
  • Where Have All the Babies Gone? More and more Americans are childless by choice. But what makes sense for the individual may spell disaster for the country as a whole.
  • Stop Apologizing for What You Like to Read: The best way to take back power from people who want to make chatting about books into the worst parts of the most draconian high school English class ever is to let them know we don’t care. That we read not always to grow or learn or impress or define ourselves but once in a while, or even lots of the time, for the pleasure of the act.

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Our First Big Announcement: I’ve Been Un-Deaned

I spent a while trying to figure out what to call it when you stop being a dean. Have you been un-deaned or dis-deaned? At first I liked the latter, but once I realized that the former looks like undead (which is cool) and the latter sounds like disdained (which is not), the choice was clear. So here’s my big announcement:

This is my last year as an Academic Dean.

Some of you understand why this is a big deal, others are less certain, and quite a few stopped reading as soon as they saw the word “dean.” For those who are left, let me explain.

Some of you are also probably wondering what the opening picture has to do with being a dean. Answer: not much. But I liked the idea of a dean having the magic power to fling color from his fingers to splash paint on a drab world. Kind of like being a life vandal. Of course, being a dean is nothing like that, but that’s besides the point.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/18)

I must get one of the these!

Good Reads

  • The End of a Catholic Moment: The collapse in the church’s reputation has coincided with a substantial loss of Catholic influence in American political debates.
  • Calling All Christians: If the church wants to reach young people, start by affirming their callings outside the church.

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