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Flotsam and jetsam (11/18)

firefight

Good Reads

  • Seven Trends in Church New Member Classes: The number of churches requiring a membership class has increased 400 percent in 15 years! That is one of seven key trends we see today in new member classes. Let’s look at all seven. (Thom Rainer)
  • Batkid: A Heartwarming, Very 2013 Story: In everyday life—the life that can be all too nonfictional—the Batkid is named Miles. He is 5 years old. He lives, with his family, near San Francisco. He has been battling leukemia since he was nearly 2. He is, and hopefully will remain, in remission. (The Atlantic)
  • Which of the 11 American nations do you live in?: North America can be broken neatly into 11 separate nation-states, where dominant cultures explain our voting behaviors and attitudes toward everything from social issues to the role of government. (Washington Post)
  • Generous Leadership vs. Closed Leadership: As Christian leaders, we can easily fall into the trap of becoming fearfully overprotective of what God has entrusted to us. But rather than letting our leadership become closed and defensive, we need to strive for generous leadership that keeps us trusting Jesus. (Resurgence)

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A Prayer for Sunday (Jakob Boehme)

jakob boehmeA German mystic and theologian, Jakob Boehme was famous throughout Europe for his creative, and often speculative, theology and his mystical writings. But he is probably best known for his influence on later movements like Pietism and German Romanticism, both of which looked to Boehme as an early exponent of their ideas.

Jakob Boehme died on November 17, 1624. In honor of his life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.

Bless me, O God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, thou only true God.  I thank thee through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, for thy preservation of me, and for all other benifits.

I now commend myself, both soul and body, and all that thou hast me to do in my employment or calling, into thy protection.

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Saturday Morning Fun…Your Personality Type According to Lord of the Rings

It’s gotten quite popular these days to match your Myers-Briggs personality type to characters in popular culture. You’ve probably seen already the Harry Potter Myers-Briggs Personality Types and the Star Wars MBTI chart. Now there’s one for fans of The Lord of the Rings.

And I have to say that I’m feeling pretty good about who I got matched up with: Hermione Granger, Yoda, and Gandalf. I can definitely live with that.

What about you?

LOTR-Personality-Chart4-620x1085

Flotsam and jetsam (11/15)

vonnegut

Good Reads

  • American Indians balance native customs with Christianity: Some people assume Jason Thunderbird prays to eagles. Others are convinced he worships rocks. They seem disappointed, he said, when they learn he spends Sunday mornings reciting liturgical texts from a church pew. (Minnesota Public Radio)
  • Why is Calvinism so influential and not Lutheranism?  There are lots more Lutherans than Calvinists.  And Calvinism has all of those scary doctrines like double predestination and the limited atonement, whereas Lutheranism is, well, happier, with its emphasis on the certainty of grace, Christian freedom, and its affirmation of the secular realm as God’s hidden kingdom.  And yet it’s Calvinism that has been so influential in English and American Christianity and the culture as a whole. (Gene Veith)

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Should You Ask a Question?

This flowchart is primarily for those of us attending academic conferences. But most of the principles also apply to asking questions in class as well.

asking a questionHT Carmen Imes

 

Flotsam and jetsam (11/13)

happy whatever

Good Reads

  • Your Smartphone Has Officially Hijacked Your Life: We are all one-marshmallow OCD narcissists, granted by our devices the magic of comprehensive instant gratification, of self-reinforcing world views, of control over the daily minutia of our fates and fortunes. To not be irrevocably addicted to our smartphones would be senseless. (Slate)

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A New and “Improved” Apostles’ Creed

oops (250x314)A few small slips of the tongue and suddenly the Apostles’ Creed goes from an amazing summary of theological truth to a story about Jesus’ worst day ever.

My daughter is in the process of memorizing the Creed. But her 7-year-old mind is doing some interesting things with the wording of the Creed as she goes. She’s only three lines in, so I’ll have to keep you updated with the rest. But here’s what we have so far.

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only forgotten Son, our Lord:

Who was consumed by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary:

In this version of the Creed, Jesus is having a pretty rough go. First his dad forgets him and he has to be that kid whose parents never show up on time. And then, probably while he’s waiting, the Spirit comes along and eats him. Brutal.

I’m not sure that it can get any worse from here. But if it does, I’ll be sure to let you know. And, if you’d like to use it in church sometime, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.  Just update your resume first.

By the way, as a bonus for parents, if you’re going to work through the Apostles’ Creed with your kids, be prepared to explain words like “conceived” and “Virgin.” It really livens up the dinner conversation.

The Difference Between a Decent Class Presentation and a Descent into Purgatory

presentation (300x300)Sometimes a class presentation challenges you with new ideas and inspires you to new heights.

And sometimes a class presentation achieves mild interest, offering something worth chewing on for at least a few minutes.

But sometimes a class presentation makes you want to stab yourself in the leg repeatedly so the pain will remind you that you’re still alive and that you have not in fact been consigned to the special hell God reserves for those he hates enough to punish with eternally bad class presentations.

If you can’t land in the first category, please, for the sake of the children, at least strive for the second.

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The Top 6 Reasons This Infographic Is Just Wrong Enough to Be Convincing

infograpics

via SMBC

 

Flotsam and jetsam (11/11)

phobias

Good Reads

  • The End of Protestantism: Protestantism is a negative theology; a Protestant is a not-Catholic. Whatever Catholics say or do, the Protestant does and says as close to the opposite as he can. (Peter Leithart)
  • 5 churchy phrases that are scaring off millennials: Here is what I can tell you about millennials: We grew up on easy answers, catchphrases and cliché, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that things are almost always more complicated than that. (On Faith)

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