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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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Flotsam and jetsam (7/24)

quantum_mechanics

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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Flotsam and jetsam (7/22)

Dogberts-Perspective-on-Karma

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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Flotsam and jetsam (6/19)

eyes bigger than stomach (500x442)

Good Reads

  • You Talk Too Much. You Need to Listen For Content: Most people listen to win the interaction.  “Where’s that one word in their response where I can pounce on it and I can crush you like a bug?” But when you have a dialogue with somebody who listens for content,  they’re asking you clarifying questions.  They’re interested in your content.
  • 6 Pillars of a Christian View on Suffering: Ever since the ancient revolt, suffering has been woven, with perplexity and pain, into the fabric of human experience. We all live and move and have our being amid Eden’s wreckage. Affliction and evil—universal as they are real—haunt us, stalk us, plague us.
  • What Does Preaching Do to Your Brain? Is it possible that pastors could use the findings of neuroscience to somehow alter their preaching and, in doing so, get the people in the pews to grasp the theological truths they are trying to communicate?
  • The Six Types of Atheists: Two researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that atheists and agnostics run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to nonbelievers who still observe some religious traditions.

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/15)

Good Reads

  • Why Pastors Should Blog: Pastoral ministry, rightly conceived as a Spirit-led vocation, begins with the personal development of a pastor. The Spirit’s vocational assignment for pastors includes the life of the mind. The pastor is first a Christian who is, like any other follower of Jesus Christ, committed to the deepening of the mind.
  • 9 Things That Have Replaced Traditional Outreach in Churches: There is a direct connection between the demise of traditional outreach and the decreasing effectiveness of reaching the respective communities. Spending time in someone’s home was a highly effective connection that usually led to other relational opportunities. But, as noted, this type of outreach is highly problematic in most communities. What’s the solution?
  • How secular is Europe? A tale of two cultures: Secularisation can be understood negatively or positively: as a move away from traditional levels of public and private participation in religion, or positively as the adoption of an alternative set of values and beliefs that owe nothing to religion.

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The Definitive Guide To The British Royal Succession. (I’m not entirely certain why so many people outside the UK are fascinated by the British royal family. But I still thought it was interesting to finally see how all the various family members are related to one another.)

Flotsam and jetsam (7/8)

Good Reads

  • The Early Church and Military Service: The main question is not whether the theologians permit military service. This much is clear. They condemn it. The question, though, is why? On what grounds are Christians forbidden to join the military?
  • What We Can Expect From The Next Decade Of Technology: Technology tends to run in cycles.  Microsoft ruled the 90’s by building essential software for enterprises.  Then Apple created a new device driven marketplace in which the consumer was king.  What will drive the next decade?
  •  The Importance of Rejection in Academic Careers: Rejections are a dirty secret among academics. Publication successes are cause for celebration, or at least a proud listing on C.V.s and departmental lists. Failures — rejected papers and unsuccessful grant and promotion applications — are usually hidden and sometimes a source of shame. The result is that many scholars, especially junior ones, have unrealistic expectations.

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/5)

Good Reads

  • 10 Things Every Christian Should Know about Islam: Islam is a fast-growing religion, especially in the Western world. Christians increasingly need to be aware of Islam and, most importantly, how to engage its adherents with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are 10 things I learned about Islam during my 20 years as a missionary in a Muslim-majority country.
  • Church Thieves: Her last day on the job should not have involved handcuffs, but that’s the way it played out.  The church secretary for a tall steeple church a small town was put in the backseat of the police car and taken away.  Her crime? Stealing from the church.
  • It’s too early to write off the lecture:  For as long as the lecture is regarded as better than internet-based learning, it will survive on a substantial scale. And wherein lies its superiority? An interesting question. It is live. It is real. It is put on with you in mind, even if you are one of a large crowd. You experience it with other people. And, perhaps the clincher: it takes place in a university, bursting with life and interesting people who will inspire you in unexpected ways.

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/3)

Good Reads

  • Beware of Beauty Overload: The Adaptive Eye of the Beholder: The harmful side effect for guys … is this: Real women … do not look as attractive once the mind has been calibrated to assume the centerfolds are normal. And for guys in relationships, exposure to beautiful photos undermines their feelings about the real flesh-and-blood women with whom their lives are actually intertwined.
  • The New Theist: How William Lane Craig became Christian philosophy’s boldest apostle.

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/1)

Good Reads

  • How to make a baby with 3 people’s DNA: The U.K. is slowly winding its way toward approving a controversial in vitro fertilization technique that combines three people’s DNA in one embryo — making what some journalists are calling a “three-parent baby.”
  • The Gospel According to ‘Me‘: The booming self-help industry, not to mention the cash cow of New Age spirituality, has one message: be authentic! Charming as American optimism may be, its 21st-century incarnation as the search for authenticity deserves pause.
  • How Not to Help Someone Who Is Hurting: We are in a cultural moment that is obsessed with FIXING. With magic diet and lifestyle changes that promise, when implemented, to make us a whole new, better person.

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/28)

Good Reads

  • Christians Are Not Called to Have Amazing Sex: The fact that sexual compatibility does not matter to Christians when choosing a spouse makes the shocking and countercultural statement that sex is not our God. It indicates that we are willing to make a commitment to someone with whom we may be sexually incompatible, with whom we may never have good sex, because the purpose of marriage is not pleasure, but formation.
  • Sex Without Bodies: Christians cannot simply accept or reject “same-sex marriage” and think we have settled our sexual ethics. The LGBTQIA coalition has other challenges for the church.
  • Why the Biblical Languages Matter—Even if You Forget Them: Many students assume that the study of the languages is useless if the specifics are forgotten at a later point.   Indeed, this may be the biggest assumption in the mind of today’s seminary students. This assumption, however, is profoundly mistaken.

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