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Flotsam and jetsam (8/16)

HT Jim West

HT Jim West

Good Reads

  •  What Is the Unforgivable Sin? So when troubled souls come to us anxious about having committed the unpardonable sin, what shall we say? (The Gospel Coalition)
  • Are We Letting Kids Online Too Early? The biggest problem experts like Toyama see in the implementation of educational technology is that it is often viewed as an end unto itself and not a tool through which to achieve broader learning goals. (Daily Dot) 

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/14)

animals with mislead names

Good Reads

  • The Root of Evil: It is common in the secular West to run through a list of such episodes—the Crusades, the Inquisition, Aztec human sacrifices, the European Wars of Religion, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and so on—and conclude that religion has a peculiar tendency to lend itself to violent acts.
  • ‘Like’ This Article Online? Your Friends Will Probably Approve, Too, Scientists Say: If you “like” this article on a site like Facebook, somebody who reads it is more likely to approve of it, even if the reporting and writing are not all that great. But surprisingly, an unfair negative reaction will not spur others to dislike the article. Instead, a thumbs-down view will soon be counteracted by thumbs up from other readers.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/12)

time travel

Good Reads

  • Fasting in an Age of Fast Food: Not only can this teaching be neglected and unknown, but it can also be shunned as somehow leading to legalism; the rationale being that it’s an “Old Testament” doctrine. What I want to explain here is not only that this is a biblical teaching and practice, but one that is so relevant in our time.
  • Why the Trinity can’t tell us about gender: Once we commit to the task of finding triunity in human relations, we enter a zone of free theological construction that lacks specificity, guidelines, and doctrinal seriousness. And we are very likely to bring to this task the resources at hand, the things that we already are most committed to and passionate about.
  • Commentary: The Frightening—But Biblical—Moral Logic of ‘Breaking Bad’: , the show runs on a frightening moral logic: No one gets away with anything. Breaking Bad revolves around the least fashionable concept imaginable: wrath. It offers something quite different from the fatalism of The Wire, where things start off ugly and pretty much stay that way. In Breaking Bad, things get steadily worse.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/9)

fear the cow

Good Reads

  • Families, Flourishing, and Upward Mobility: It is certainly true that this dream easily slides towards idolatry. It can become a nightmare of crass materialism and selfish ambition. But we shouldn’t confuse idolatrous perversions with more humble aspirations of families to simply enjoy a mode of economic security that is conducive with flourishing.The Invention of Teenagers: Historians and social critics differ on the specifics of the timeline, but most cultural observers agree that the strange and fascinating creature known as the American teenager — as we now understand the species — came into being sometime in the early 1940s. 
  • The $4 Million Dollar Teacher: Tutoring services are growing all over the globe, from Ireland to Hong Kong and even in suburban strip malls in California and New Jersey. Sometimes called shadow education systems, they mirror the mainstream system, offering after-hours classes in every subject—for a fee. But nowhere have they achieved the market penetration and sophistication of hagwons in South Korea, where private tutors now outnumber schoolteachers.
  •  The Invention of Teenagers: Historians and social critics differ on the specifics of the timeline, but most cultural observers agree that the strange and fascinating creature known as the American teenager — as we now understand the species — came into being sometime in the early 1940s.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/7)

How commonly misused words got started.

How commonly misused words got started.

Good Reads

  • Conversation: Rodney Stark: Stark offers some interesting thoughts on the modern church, including the fact that religious membership is at an all-time high.
  • Guard Your Flock…Even from Other Christians: It may seem ironic, but some of the people from whom you have to most tenaciously guard your church are other believers. If you don’t, the focus of the ministry is to respond to the special interests of customer Christians. And, that means your ministry (and its boundaries) will be focused on keeping customers happy—and no boundaries will exist.
  • Are You a Part-Time Churchgoer? You May Be Surprised: Recent statistics show that an increasing number of evangelicals who are firm in their faith are flabby in their practice of actually gathering with their brothers and sisters in worship. It’s the part-time syndrome, and it can sneak up on any of us.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/5)

Counseling-in-the-age-of-the-internet

Good Reads

  • Return of the Jesus Wars: The irony is that Aslan’s succès de scandale would be more deserved if he had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus. That would have been something provocative and — to Western readers — relatively new.
  • At Christian Companies, Religious Principles Complement Business Practices:  Focusing on particular practices, like quotes on fry boats or gospel music, can obscure deep philosophical divisions among Christians who think about business ethics. For some, the Bible is a kind of business manual you’d buy in an airport bookstore, offering timeless precepts that happen to maximize profits.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/2)

driving carefully

Good Reads

  • How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool: I’m a Millennial, but I am weary of everyone caring so much about why Millennials do this or don’t do that. I’m sorry Millennials, but I’m going to have to throw us under the bus here: we do not have everything figured out. And if we expect older generations and well-established institutions to morph to fit our every fickle desire, we do so at our peril.
  • Pope Francis is right: It’s time for a theology of women: The role of women doesn’t end just with being a mother and with housework …we don’t yet have a truly deep theology of women in the church. We talk about whether they can do this or that, can they be altar boys, can they be lectors, about a woman as president of Caritas, but we don’t have a deep theology of women in the Church.
  • Does Anglicanism have a future? The parish is the ecclesial form that has tied the church to place. Yet it seems that form of the church may not have the resources to respond to an increasingly mobile population that is no longer tied to place.
  • Why Fewer Churches Offer Vacation Bible School: The biggest change: busyness. “In 2001, only 5% of churches who did not offer VBS stated their reason as not having enough time, or wanting to devote such time to more pressing needs,” writes Barna. “In 2005, this number of time-pressed churches more than doubled (13%), and nearly quadrupled just last summer (19%).”

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/31)

everyone dies

Good Reads

  • How Google Glass Will Transform Your Spiritual Life: what happens when we offload our moral and spiritual progress to a device? Certainly, in the case of daily Bible reading alerts, it seems quite helpful, but is there a point at which we lose something essential to our formation into the image of the Son of God?
  • Five Fundamental Questions Conservative Evangelicals Must Address: We’ve been told often in recent years that conservative evangelicals must adapt to changing social conditions or find themselves consigned to irrelevance.  On matters of both style and substance, many evangelicals have been motivated by an anxiety that they simply aren’t keeping up.
  • Confessions of a Misguided Worship Leader: Little by little, God was shaping me through my own suffering and through the suffering of the people I was growing to love. Musical equipping was necessary, and theological formation was as well, but now I see how these tools are given to building up the people of God.

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/29)

life

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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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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