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Flotsam and jetsam (7/25)

academic language

Good Reads

  • Prioritizing Church Attendance: There used to be an understanding in Christian families that unless one was deathly ill or there was a family emergency, you just never ever missed church. So what has changed and caused so many people to view the church as a disposable good instead of as an intricate part of one’s spiritual life? (Gospel Centered Discipleship)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/23)

jacket

Good Reads

  • The Double Standard of Religious Leadership:  On the one hand, leaders are accorded certain privileges and have corresponding responsibilities. The price of the platform is accountability. At the same time, we don’t want leaders to assume they are somehow better. When they fail there is a certain reassurance and even delight in the schadenfreudian confirmation that everyone is human. (On Faith)
  • Living With Disability in the Dark Ages:  The moral arc of the universe may indeed bend toward justice, in disability as in race, gender, and class—but that arc doesn’t flow smoothly: It contains many hills and valleys. (The Daily Beast)
  • Why our brains love the ocean: Science explains what draws humans to the sea:  Several years ago I came up with a name for this human–water connection: Blue Mind, a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion. (Salon)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/21)

android smartphone

Good Reads

  • How to Talk about Pain: Stripped of its mysticism and its virtuous solicitations, pain was emptied of positive value. Rather than being passively endured, pain became an “enemy” to be fought and ultimately defeated. The introduction of effective relief made submission to pain perverse rather than praiseworthy. (New York Times)
  • The Importance of Eating Together:  It’s incredible what we’re willing to make time for if we’re motivated….Perhaps seeing eating together not as another appointment on a busy schedule, but rather as an opportunity to de-stress, a chance to catch up with those whom we love then, could help our children do better in school, get in better shape, and be less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Eating together also led children to report better relationships with their parents and surely relationships between adults can similarly benefit. (The Atlantic)
  • Five Pleas from Pastors to Search Committees:  At any given time in a year, as many as 50,000 congregations are searching for a pastor. The implications of the challenges and possible misunderstandings are many. These pleas from pastors are sound and reasonable. (Thom Rainer)
  • The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence:  Emotional intelligence is important, but the unbridled enthusiasm has obscured a dark side. New evidence shows that when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests. (The Atlantic)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/18)

xmen

Good Reads

  • Fantasy and the Buffered Self: the porous self is open to the divine as well as to the demonic, while the buffered self is closed to both alike. Those who must guard against capture by fairies are necessarily and by the same token receptive to mystical experiences….Safety is purchased at the high price of isolation. (Alan Jacobs)
  • Wonder and the Ends of Inquiry: Wonder is not only a peculiarly human passion; it is also one that, at least on this account, underscores the limits of human knowledge. The more we know, the less we wonder. (The Point)
  • Being a Better Online Reader: The digital deficit, they suggest, isn’t a result of the medium as such but rather of a failure of self-knowledge and self-control: we don’t realize that digital comprehension may take just as much time as reading a book. (The NewYorker)
  • Want to Love Your Job? Church Can Help, Study Says:  Regular attenders who frequent a church that teaches God is present at your workplace, work is a mission from God, or that faith can guide work decisions and practices is a good sign for your career, according to a recent study from Baylor University. (Christianity Today)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/16)

holding signs

Good Reads

  • My God. My Enemy. My Eating Disorder: I was raised with the understanding that I must better the world in order to enter the pearly gates of heaven. And if the world could not accept me for the overweight child that I was, there was no hope that I could change the world. Therefore, how could I be good in the eyes of this God? (On Faith)
  • Books Are Alive: The worst thing about prophets of inevitable technological progress, besides their obvious myopic tendencies, is their fondness of universalizing the particular. It’s not enough to observe that more people are reading books on their smartphones; you need to announce that The Future of Reading is Smartphones. Meanwhile, 42 percent of American adults still don’t even own a smartphone. (The Baffler)
  • Millennials’ Political Views Don’t Make Any Sense:  Millennial politics is simple, really. Young people support big government, unless it costs any more money. They’re for smaller government, unless budget cuts scratch a program they’ve heard of. They’d like Washington to fix everything, just so long as it doesn’t run anything. (The Atlantic)

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Flotsam and jetsam (7/14)

brain is full

Good Reads

  • Is Evangelical Morality Still Acceptable in America?  And this is a basic tenet of evangelical Christianity, too: Faith must be lived out in the public square; a privatized faith is no faith worth the name. Because of this, the real debate isn’t about whether morality should be public or private; it’s about about figuring out what kind of moral impositions are tolerable and fair in a pluralistic society. (The Atlantic)
  • When Belief and Facts Collide: Mr. Kahan’s study suggests that more people know what scientists think about high-profile scientific controversies than polls suggest; they just aren’t willing to endorse the consensus when it contradicts their political or religious views. (New York Times)
  • How Evangelical Christians Do Money: On Tithing:  He doesn’t need my money. The church will continue to exist without my measly portion of income. But my heart needs to give it, to help me grow deeper in trust, and to extricate myself from the clutches of greed and vanity that pull at me. (The Billfold)

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Flotsam and jetsam

England fan

England fan

Good Reads

  • Their Blood Cries Out: Rupert Shortt and John Allen want readers to wake up. In books chock full of details—names, dates, places, circumstances—they document violence against Christian believers that in various forms has been building steadily in many parts of the world. (Mark Noll)
  • When Words Mean What They Don’t Mean:  As I like to say: “language is the stringing of one ambiguity after another.” There is so much more to communication than merely words….Our words create pictures, and those images communicate and fill in the blanks (and at times straighten out the absurdities of the words we use). (Bill Mounce)
  • Understanding Millennials: 3 Pillars of the Millennial Generation:  As you can imagine, there is a LOT of diversity within the Millennial generation, which is the case with any generation to be sure, but it could be argued that diversity defines Millennials. In fact, because of the widespread diversity in the Millennial generation, the predominance of diversity is one of the only definitives of this people group. (Millennial Evangelical)
  • Putting Religion in its Place: The Secular State and Human Flourishing – A Debate:  Few topics are as contentious today as the role of religion in political debate and public deliberation. Rival positions rely on differing accounts of history, conceptions of “religion” and convictions about the role of the state. Russell Blackford (University of Newcastle) and William Cavanaugh (DePaul University) have both written extensively on this topic, and thus their wide-ranging exchange represents an uncommonly sophisticated treatment of the issues at stake and why they matter. (Religion and Ethics)

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/23)

adults on board

Good Reads

  • The Dead White Poet You Need in Your Life:  Why all this interest in Herbert, and why now? I believe it’s because Herbert writes with unblinking candor about both the joy of faith and the ongoing pain of our remaining weakness. We need his words today, to remind us that the Christian life is one that invites hope, but makes room for struggle as well. (Christianity Today)
  • The Last Crusade: The First World War and the Birth of Modern Islam:  How to live without a Caliph? Later Muslim movements sought various ways of living in such a puzzling and barren world, and the solutions they found were very diverse: neo-orthodoxy and neo-fundamentalism, liberal modernization and nationalism, charismatic leadership and millenarianism. All modern Islamist movements stem from these debates. (Religion & Ethics)

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/20)

could be worse

Good Reads

  • Pornolescence:  So many young Christians have stunted their spiritual growth through what I call pornolesence. Pornolescence is that period when a person is old enough and mature enough to know that pornography is wrong and that it exacts a heavy price, but too immature or too apathetic to do anything about it. (Tim Challies)
  • The Banality of Clergy Failure:  This is the banality of clergy failure—that we put ourselves between people and God. That we tacitly assume God is distant, remote, occupied, distracted, and so we, to compensate, must be present, intense, hearty, and inspiring. We must be more human than God. (Christian Century)
  • In Two Michigan Villages, a Higher Calling Is Often Heard:  In an era when the number of priests in the United States continues to dwindle — declining by 11 percent in the past decade and crippling the Catholic Church’s ability to meet the needs of a growing Catholic population — this rural patch of Clinton County offers a case study in the science and mystery of the call to priesthood. (New York Times)
  • The Great Calvinist Reawakening:  But the new Calvinist revival—which amounts to a partial shift in theological emphasis and style—is a far cry from the Calvinist revival that burned through the Northeast a few centuries ago during the Great Awakening….They wept, they trembled, they flushed, they fell senseless to the ground. They sang at the top of their lungs and threw their worldliest possessions on bonfires. They writhed with the shame of sin, and shook with the power of salvation, and fainted with the sweetness of the grace and glory of God. (Religion & Politics)

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/18)

wishes

Good Reads

  • Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’:  This overlooked generation currently ranges in age from 34 to 49, which may be one reason they’re so often missing from stories about demographic, social and political change. They’re smack in the middle innings of life, which tend to be short on drama and scant of theme. But there are other explanations that have nothing to do with their stage of the life cycle. (Pew Research)
  • Intelligent Design: Slowly Going Out of Style?  There’s room for ambiguity in faith these days, it seems. Science doesn’t have to negate God; one man’s Bible interpretation doesn’t invalidate another’s. As evolution gains more and more traction, it won’t be a “loss” for religion; it will be just be one more change in how modern Americans are learning to believe. (The Atlantic)

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