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Flotsam and jetsam (3/21)

weird grown ups

Good Reads

  • Focus and Food: A recent study explored the effect of multitasking on food flavor and consumption. The findings: taste perception is limited by our capacity to pay attention to multiple things at once. The result of this mindless eating is that food tastes blander, we crave stronger flavors (i.e. more salt and sugar), and we end up eating more. (Positive Prescription)
  • 3 Ways to Recognize Bad Stats: To discern if research is of good quality, it may help to understand some of the process. It’s not that complicated and it will keep you out of trouble. (Ed Stetzer)
  • 6 Things Every Extrovert Secretly Has To Deal With: I have no real problem with introverts and introversion, my issue is with the fact that people of the internet seem to have romanticized introversion in a way that turns any possible social impediments a person might have into desirable quirky traits. Not only this, but extroverts are suddenly the bad guys for not understanding introverts or mistreating introverts, etc, etc. (Thought Catalog)
  • The Most Influential Reformer You’ve Never Heard of: Hannah More was one of William Wilberforce’s most beloved friends and part of a small circle who worked most closely with him to abolish the British slave trade in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. She played so central a role in this and many other significant social reforms of the 19th century that she has been called “the first Victorian.” (Hermeneutics)

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/19)

adulthood

Good Reads

  • Coffee with Facepalm Jesus Calling: An earlier generation asked What Would Jesus Do? But these days, people are increasingly comfortable with skipping the hypothetical, shifting out of the subjunctive, and just telling us What Jesus Would Say, in their opinions. If he were really here, that is: if he were talking, if he were blogging, or meme-ing, or cartooning, or writing devotionals. (Fred Sanders)
  • The Accidental Complementarian: Jen is a complementarian, we nod. I am described by the convenience of a category. One word makes me a friend or foe. I am a complementarian. But as is also true for my egalitarian sisters in Christ, that isn’t all there is to know. (Jen Pollock Michael)
  • The Age of Individualism: In the future, it seems, there will be only one “ism” — Individualism — and its rule will never end. As for religion, it shall decline; as for marriage, it shall be postponed; as for ideologies, they shall be rejected; as for patriotism, it shall be abandoned; as for strangers, they shall be distrusted. Only pot, selfies and Facebook will abide — and the greatest of these will probably be Facebook. (Ross Douthat)

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/14)

giraffes

Good Reads

  • The 7 Commandments for Choosing a Church: After several moves, and several not-so-good choices over the past few years, I found our most recent church choice to be different – and much better.  My hope is that anyone who is facing the decision of which church to join will find help and encouragement.  So here are 7 commandments for choosing a church. (Transformed)
  • Letter Grades Deserve an ‘F’: Letter grades are a tradition in our educational system, and we accept them as fair and objective measures of academic success. However, if the purpose of academic grading is to communicate accurate and specific information about learning, letter, or points-based grades, are a woefully blunt and inadequate instrument. (The Atlantic)

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Just for Fun

  • Can gibberish be a verb? If so, this woman gibberishes exceptionally well.

Flotsam and jetsam (3/7)

sports fan

Good Reads

  • In Praise of Long Pastorates: It takes time to nurture a healthy congregation. You can attract a crowd in no time. But a crowd is not a church. (H.B. Charles, Jr.)
  • A Christian Case for Gay Wedding Cakes – Revisited: The court simply ruled that the baker could not refuse to make and sell a cake to a same sex couple that he would make and sell to an opposite sex couple. Or, put more simply, the baker may discriminate when it comes to what kind of cakes he will make, but may not discriminate when it comes to who he will sell his cakes to. (Skye Jethani)
  • Selfies Bring Ashtags to Lent: The Ash Wednesday selfie—a modern mixing of Christian piety with social media self-involvement—is becoming a tradition for a growing number of Catholics. (Wall Street Journal)

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/4)

fair fight

Good Reads

  • The Six People You Should Ask to Leave Your Church:  The problem is that our love for our church and our enthusiasm for growth blinds us to the fact that sometimes we have a responsibility to encourage people to go a different church. I know it might sound crazy, but there are times when the most loving thing we can do is to help people move on down the road. (Transformed)
  • Diogo Morgado Puts the Carnal in Incarnate, But Was Jesus Really A Babe? There’s more at stake in artistic representations of Jesus.  When a bombshell plays a professor on screen the negative fallout is limited to the crushed expectations of the freshmen class; when Jesus is portrayed as a lily-white rock star it reinforces a system that privileges certain kinds of beauty. (Candida Moss)
  • Eight of the Most Significant Struggles Pastors Face: In many ways, there are no surprises. Indeed, I doubt most of you will be surprised at my findings. If nothing else, it is a good reminder of how we can help our pastors, and how we can pray for them. (Thom Rainer)
  • Why One Baptist Chooses to Observe Lent: For my part, I choose to observe Lent because it affords me an opportunity to disengage a bit from the culture of what Tim Suttle calls satiation—“the absolute satisfaction of every human need to the point of excess.” (Nathan Finn)

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Flotsam and jetsam (3/2)

mcdonald's revenge

Good Reads

  • Why are Millennials less religious? It’s not just because of gay marriage: Among those who have abandoned their childhood religion and are now religiously unaffiliated, one quarter say anti-gay teachings factored into their decision to go faithless. Among Millennials in the religious turned irreligious camp, almost one third said the same. At first blush, that would appear to suggest clear causation….But while there is certainly a link between the two, it is an overly simplistic analysis that glosses over a host of reasons that Americans — and particularly younger ones — are losing their religion. (The Week)
  • How iTunes Radio Is Bad for Your Soul: One overlooked spiritual consequence of our noise addiction is a failure to hear spontaneous sounds. By tightly controlling and curating what we hear, we may block out everything else and muffle the God-messages sewn throughout the fabric of the world. (Jonathan Merritt)
  • America’s Angriest Store: Whole Foods tries to bring to market the best products an area’s surrounding farms and suppliers have to offer, in a socially conscious way with high-touch customer service at the point of sale. Yet in doing so, they’ve brought out the worst in the people who are attracted to that idea. (Medium)
  • How to Debate a Christian Apologist: This one is rather painful to read, but it’s a good summary of some common responses to common Christian arguments. They’re not necessarily good arguments, but they are common. (HuffPo)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/25)

that escalated quickly

that escalated quickly

Good Reads

  • Six Major Issues Regarding the Digital Church: This phenomenon is not transitory. It will be with us for the foreseeable future. As I speak with pastors and other church leaders across America and beyond, here are the key issues being discussed. (Thom Rainer)
  • Can I Reject an Eternal Hell and Still Be Saved? I am afraid that some of those who are attempting to be theologically astute wind up becoming academically agnostic. That is, they are agnostic enough to find every place where they don’t have to take a stand, which allows them to remain neutral for the sake of evangelism. (Michael Patton)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/24)

xkcd

xkcd

Good Reads

  • After-Birth Abortion: The case for “after-birth abortion” draws a logical path from common pro-choice assumptions to infanticide. It challenges us, implicitly and explicitly, to explain why, if abortion is permissible, infanticide isn’t. (Slate)
  • Wait, I thought that was a Muslim thing?! Americans…might have certain assumptions about what beliefs and practices are distinctly “Islamic”….However, my time spent living in Jordan and touring Israel/Palestine has revealed that some of these stereotypically “Islamic” things are also quite Christian. These unexpected points of contact between Christianity and Islam may help Christians appreciate our own diverse religious heritage, and develop a better understanding of a people and a religion that often seem utterly ‘other’. (Commonweal)
  • Do We Really Need to Go Back to the First Century? Rather than long for another place and time, I believe we will more boldly fulfill our calling when we embrace the idea that God has placed us here and now and called us to express what it means to be the church–full of flawed people–with the cultural conditions, personalities, and living conditions we are given. (Amy Simpson)
  • 28 Books You Should Read If You Want To: I discovered one of my favorite books because the author called our store and charmed the living daylights out of me. I found another in a box of old books that my Russian literature professor left outside his office to give away. So while I do think that you should read the canon if it interests you, I think it’s more important that you read the books that find their own way into your hands.

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/21)

snowman

Good Reads

  • 5 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say: Here are a few quotes you’ll often hear attributed to Luther, though none of them are exact actual quotes, and a few of them are things that Luther would have disagreed with! (Justin Taylor)
  • The Age of Ageism: We are in an age of ageism where many of the young men I meet today in the church do not know how to relate to older men in ways that honor them and God all at once. (Bryan Lorrits)
  • Why We Don’t Just Need Community, We Need Church: In libraries and parks and museums, I can marvel at our Creator; I can shiver at his goodness; I can beat out my laments in angry stomps along trails; I can get lost in the created images and words and catch glimpses of Imago Dei along the way. I can worship; I can feel; I can ask. I can learn. But not like I can in church. (Hermeneutics)
  • True Greatness Never Goes Viral: Despite his lack of public fame, my grandpa was truly great in God’s eyes. That’s the funny thing about true, biblical greatness. Biblical greatness almost never goes viral, because biblical greatness almost always involves doing things no one ever sees. (Stephen Altrogge)

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Flotsam and jetsam (2/19)

wayne and darth

Good Reads

  • Islam, the American way: A new generation of Muslim Americans separate what is cultural, what is religious, and what is American, finding that the ‘straight path’ isn’t the same path for all. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Escaping the Prison of the Self: If the celibate person, no less than the husband or wife, is called to go out of himself in the love of friendship and siblinghood and in other bonds of kinship, then he also should want to guard his heart from constructing self-serving fantasies that have nothing to do with self-giving. (Wesley Hill)
  • Not Quite Two Cultures: Headlines regularly illustrate divides between science and religion over issues such as evolution, which many evangelicals reject. But poll results presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggest that the divide may be less absolute than many imagine (at least if you go beyond issues such as evolution). (Inside Higher Ed) 
  • The Cold that Bothers Us: The Pixar conquest of Disney—the ongoing effort by the new recruits from Pixar to change the Mouse House’s shallow culture of self-indulgence and self-esteem with something much more morally serious—has been an uneven battle up to now. But Frozen is an unqualified victory for Pixar’s morally serious and culturally edifying storytelling, and its stratospheric success with audiences and critics may well turn the tide of the war. It’s a profound movie on many levels.

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