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Flotsam and jetsam (12/27)

dead soon

Good Reads

  • The Most Incredible Historical Discoveries of 2013:  From 1.8-million-year-old hominid skulls to rewriting the Buddha’s birthday to sunken Nazi subs, 2013 was another incredible year for archaeologists and historians. Here’s the best the year had to offer. (io9)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/23)

grumpy reindeer

Good Reads

  • Christmas Is for Worship: It’s time to worry a lot less about getting Christ back into Christmas (he can’t be blasted out of Christmas, no matter how hard anyone tries). What needs to get back into Christmas is worship(HuffPo)
  • Angels We Ignore on High: My ambivalence about angels was not due to reason; it was a failure of my imagination. (Hermeneutics)
  • Ideas from a Manger:  Pause for a moment, in the last leg of your holiday shopping, to glance at one of the manger scenes you pass along the way. Cast your eyes across the shepherds and animals, the infant and the kings. Then try to see the scene this way: not just as a pious set-piece, but as a complete world picture — intimate, miniature and comprehensive.(NYT)
  • Fourteen Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Pastor: The list is meant to be both humorous and serious. And I bet almost every pastor has heard all of these in the course of a ministry. Enjoy. But do not repeat (at least to your pastor). (Thom Rainer)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/20)

beard facts

Good Reads

  • My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2013: The only thing I know about your reaction to this list of top 10 theology stories is that you won’t agree. Maybe partially, but not entirely. And that’s okay. None of us sees the full picture from God’s perspective. In five years we may not be talking about any of these events and trends….Actually, you’ve probably already forgotten a number of entries on this year’s list! (The Gospel Coalition)
  • Art as Therapy: It comes naturally to most of us to think of music as therapeutic. Almost all of us are, without training, DJs of our own souls, deft at selecting pieces of music that will enhance or alter our current moods for the better. We know to go for something sonorous or vulnerable to dignify a downward spirit or to regain hope with a fast, generous rhythm. Yet few of us would think of turning to the visual arts for this kind of help. (Alain de Botton)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/18)

Gift-Not-Included

Good Reads

  • Religion in America’s states and counties, in 6 maps: With what is arguably the most widely observed holiday of the nation’s most popular religion right around the corner, now seems as good a time as any to look at the state of religion in America’s states and counties. (Washington Post)
  • The Five Ingredients of an Effective Apology: Apologies are important in any society and children are taught to say “I’m sorry” pretty much as soon as they are capable of constructing a full sentence. Unfortunately, our skill level does not improve very much from there. More often than not apologies made by adults are just as insincere and unconvincing as those made by children. (Psychology Today)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/16)

huntng

Good Reads

  • The Gift of Being Evangelical: There is power in a good story. And with that in mind, a few months ago I began to write my own story of growing up in an evangelical home. Unlike the tales of Christian kids that attract the most attention in blog posts and books these days, mine has a happy ending. (Christianity Today)
  • Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History and Bad Theology: The myth of a white Jesus is one with deep roots throughout Christian history. As early as the Middle Ages and particularly during the Renaissance, popular Western artists depicted Jesus as a white man, often with blue eyes and blondish hair. Perhaps fueled by some Biblical verses correlating lightness with purity and righteousness and darkness with sin and evil, these images sought to craft a sterile Son of God. The only problem was that the representations were historically inaccurate. (The Atlantic)
  • Christmas, Christology, Preaching and a Reading Plan: There are some pastors who find the Christmas season one of the more frustrating and challenging times of their annual preaching. Over time, for these pastors, this season (and probably Easter as well, though less so than Christmas) has become one of the least desired times of the year . . . since they have to preach on the birth of Jesus . . . again. (Greg Strand)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/13)

Procrastination-Daniel-Seex

Good Reads

  • Pope Francis, the People’s Pope: what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. (Time)
  • Misery: Is there justice in the Book of Job? The story is bewildering, from beginning to end. How could God, being God, allow Satan to seduce him into destroying a good man? More important is the moral: that we have no right to question him for doing such things. (God, for all that he says from the whirlwind, never answers Job’s questions.) Furthermore, the Book of Job seems to claim that all wrongs can be righted by property. If everything was taken away from Job, the problem is settled by God’s giving it all back. (The New Yorker)
  • The Scandal of the Semi-Churched: I know we are the church and don’t go to church (blah, blah, blah), but being persnickety about our language doesn’t change the exhortation of Hebrews 10:35. We should not neglect to meet together, as some are in the habit of doing. Gathering every Lord’s Day with our church family is one of the pillars of mature Christianity. (Kevin DeYoung)
  • Six Ways Millennials Are Shaping the Church: The Millennials’ desires for relationships are affecting the churches they choose to attend. They will only go to churches where they can easily connect with others. Unlike the Boomers, they refuse to be worship-only attendees. They desire to be in more relational settings. (Thom Rainer)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/11)

driver

Good Reads

  • Health Matters: Medicine’s Growing Spirituality: With growing recognition of the role of spirituality in health care, hospital chaplains are being called on to help patients cope with fear and pain, make difficult end-of-life decisions and guide families through bereavement after a loss. (Wall Street Journal)
  • 10 Paradoxes that Will Totally Surprise You: A paradox is a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true. Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments, but they are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. Read on to discover ten paradoxes that will totally surprise you. (Odee)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/9)

how to catch Santa

Good Reads

  • Teen Pregnancies Drop a Whopping 52 Percent in Two Decades: Our teenagers–our Kardashian-watching, Molly-popping, Dougie-doing teenagers–have their heads screwed on much more tightly than we give them credit for, more tightly than they even give themselves credit for. They’re waiting longer, having less sex, and becoming pregnant at young ages with a lower frequency than at any point in the last two decades.
  • 9 Lies the Media Likes to Tell about Evangelicals: while there are certainly exceptions, I’ve identified nine common lies perpetuated by people in the media. Granted, there are enough vocal evangelicals to bolster each of these stereotypes, so the media isn’t completely responsible. But nuance is necessary here. Thus this post. (Frank Viola)
  • A Bibliology Grounded in Christology: Starting one’s doctrinal statement with the Bible gives one assurances that the primary source of theology, the scriptures, is both true and trustworthy. I don’t start there, however. I have come to believe that the incarnation is both more central than inspiration and provides a methodological imperative for historical investigation of the claims of the Bible. (Dan Wallace)
  • The first war on Christmas: Each Advent Mary calls us to confess that God became vulnerable, “took the form of a servant” for creation’s sake, especially for the sake of the poor. (ABP News)

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Just for Fun

  • Corgi + carousel = happy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvqzubPZjHE#t=35

Flotsam and jetsam (11/6)

Yep, that's pretty much why I don't watch local news.

Yep, that’s pretty much why I don’t watch local news.

Good Reads

  • Hell Links and Lessons: To finish up my eschatology class yesterday, I took my students on a tour of the best articles on the Internet on the subject of Hell. Here are some of the links and lessons we drew from these posts. (David Murray)
  • Biblical Adoption Is Not What You Think It Is: In adoption, the adoptee got a new identity. His old obligations and debts were wiped out, and new obligations were assumed. From the standpoint of the family religion, the adoptee became the same person as the adopter. (Christianity Today)

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Flotsam and jetsam (12/4)

Because-Im-Smart-685x513

Good Reads

  • Seven Ways Pastoring Has Changed in Thirty Years: We are out of clichés about change or the pace of change. Sometimes we forget how much particular vocations have changed in a short time. In fact, in thirty years pastoring has changed in ways we likely would have never predicted or imagined. (Thom Rainer)
  • Jesus Pushed the Elf Off the Shelf: As the traditions of the holidays swirl around my children, my hope is that they will learn to distinguish the law from the gospel. I want my kids to know that God is not another Santa Claus. I long for them to embrace the fact that they are not capable of being good enough to receive anything but coal in their stockings and that our hope for goodness can only be found in the only One capable of perfection. (Liberate)
  • When Do We Cross the Line into Plagiarism? Preachers today feel under much more pressure to be spectacular than they used to feel. Christians are much less likely to be loyal to a church of a particular place or a particular theological tradition. What they want is to have a great experience on Sunday, and that means they will travel to get to the most gifted preachers. When you put this pressure together with (a) a busy week in which you haven’t felt able to prepare well, and (b) the accessibility of so much sermon material through the internet—the temptation to simply repreach someone else’s sermon is very strong.

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