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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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A Prayer for Sunday (Samuel Johnson)

Samuel JohnsonA famous English writer, Samuel Johnson is considered by many to have been one of the most influential literary figures in history. The amazing breadth of his literary production includes a whole range of essays, poems, books, and sermons. But among his most lasting contributions was his famous Dictionary of the English Languagea worked that shaped modern English in many ways.

Samuel Johnson died on December 13, 1784. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.

O God, who hast ordained that
…..whatever is to be desired should be sought by labor,
and Who, by Thy blessing,
…..bringest honest labor to good effect,
look with mercy upon my studies and endeavors.

Grant me, O Lord, to design only what is lawful and right;
and afford me calmness of mind, and steadiness of purpose,
that I may so do Thy will in this short life
as to obtain happiness in the world to come,
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord–Amen.

Saturday Morning Fun…When I Was Little

when i was little

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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How to Break the Bad News That Santa Isn’t Real

If this is the year that you’re thinking about telling someone the truth about Santa Claus (your kids, nephews/nieces, little brother or sister, that obnoxious little punk who lives three houses down, etc.), here are some great suggestions on how you should go about doing that.

I personally like the idea of saying that he is real, but he’s not ever coming again because he’s been arrested for stalking small children all over the planet. Now I just need to find a small child that I can break the bad news to.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1UxZkaDD08#t=82

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)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • Corgi + carousel = happy

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

A Prayer for Sunday (John of Damascus)

john-of-damascusOne of the greatest theologians of the early church, John of Damascus is viewed by many as the last of the church fathers. (This of course depends greatly on how you define the “church fathers.”) He was born in Syria as Yuhanna ibn Mansur ibn Sargun and was one of the earliest and most influential theologians to live and write entirely under Muslim rule. His writings on theology, law, and philosophy influenced thinkers in both the east and the west, and he is particularly famous for his defense of religious icons against those who wanted to remove all images from Christian churches (i.e. the iconoclasts).

The details of John’s life are somewhat uncertain, and we don’t even know the date of his death for sure. But the traditional date of his passing is December 4, 749. So in honor of his amazing life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from him.

O Lord and Master Jesus Christ, our God,
who alone hath power to forgive the sins of men,
do thou, O Good One who lovest mankind,
forgive all the sins that I have committed
…….in knowledge or in ignorance,
and make me worthy to receive without condemnation
…….thy divine, glorious, immaculate and life-giving Mysteries;
not unto punishment or unto increase of sin;
but unto purification, and sanctification
…….and a promise of thy Kingdom and the Life to come;
as a protection and a help to overthrow the adversaries,
…….and to blot out my many sins.
For thou art a God of Mercy and compassion
…….and love toward mankind,
and unto Thee we ascribe glory
…….together with the Father and the Holy Spirit;
now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Amen

Saturday Morning Fun…The Star Trek Christmas Carol

To the tune of “Let It Snow,” Captain Picard and the crew of the Star Trek Enterprise sing “Make It So.” I think this should become a holiday tradition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiSn2JuDQSc&feature=youtu.be