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A Prayer for Sunday (Teresa of Avila)

teresa of avila (250x360)Living in 16th century Spain, Teresa of Avila was a famous Carmelite nun, a key figure in the Catholic Counter Reformation, and one of the most prominent mystical theologians of the medieval church. Along with John of the Cross, she was a key figure in establishing Spanish mysticism as a formative influence in Catholic theology and a prominent feature of the Spanish renaissance.  For her writings and ministry she was named a Doctor of the Church, albeit not until 1970.

Teresa of Avila died on October 4, 1582. In honor of her life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from her.

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25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books

book hangoverIf you’ve ever found yourself yelling at a book in public, buying books you don’t need (and may not ever read), or getting your “old book fix” by walking into a used book store and breathing deeply, then it’s entirely possible that you’re an addict. You should seek help if there’s any possibility that the piles of books in your house might tip over and crush someone or if you have gone more than three days without speaking to a living human (besides yourself).

If you’re still not sure whether you’re a book addict, you may want to consult this illustrated guide: 25 Signs You’re Addicted to Books. Or, if you’d rather have all the images in one place, someone has now put the whole guide together in a handy infographic. Be aware, though, that some of the images contain some rather “colorful”  language.

According to the guide, I may need help, since I score high on quite a few criteria:

  • When reading a good book, I sometimes forget to eat or sleep.
  • I occasionally yell at books.
  • I often like rainy days better than sunny days because of the excellent reading opportunity.
  • dream homeThe picture on the right is definitely what I think of when I picture my dream home (though it needs a big, comfy sofa)
  • Whenever I start a new project, of course the first step is always to read a book about it. Are there other ways to learn?
  • Of course the book is always better.
  • And yes, I’ve experienced both “book hangover” (inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last book’s world) and “book insomnia” (staying up all night to finish a book).

Fortunately, I’ve outgrown at least one problem. Instead of going on a trip and packing my suitcase so full of books that I barely have room for clothes, I now just take my iPad. But that probably doesn’t mean I’m less addicted, just more efficient at feeding my addiction.

book suitcase

Flotsam and jetsam (10/3)

dreams

Good Reads

  • 6 Reasons to Dig into Calvin’s Commentaries:  Calvin fans, old and new, don’t always appreciate that the Institutes form a relatively small portion of his corpus. A brilliant systematician and teacher, he was first and foremost a biblical commentator who produced nearly verse-by-verse commentaries on the majority of the books of the Bible. (The Gospel Coalition)
  • Why Philosophy Matters: People talk about philosophy in terms of “or.” Philosophy or faith. Philosophy or literature. Philosophy or science, as if the mind were incapable of doing both and reaching its own conclusions. But that position is ahistorical—great thinkers have long worked across disciplines—and counterproductive: you can glean profound insights from philosophy without emptying it of artistic value, without betraying scientific principles, without sacrificing your faith. (Logos)
  • How Daydreaming Can Actually Make You Smarter: Daydreaming gets a pretty bad rap. It’s often equated with laziness, and we tend to write off people with wandering minds as being absent-minded “space cadets” who can’t get their heads out of the clouds. (HuffPo)

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Flotsam and jetsam (10/1)

clever comma usage

Good Reads

  • Enjoy the Blessings of Informal Mentoring: As we consider mentoring, it is important to realize that Christians have the power to greatly influence others simply by living faithful lives wherever God calls them.  In fact, a large percentage of mentoring happens incidentally as we go about our days. (Melissa Kruger)
  • The State of the Church in America: Hint, It’s Not Dying: Yes, the church in the West– the United States included– is in transition right now. But transitioning is not the same as dying, particuarly if you hold the belief that Christianity is represented by people who live for Christ, not check “Christian” on a survey form. (Ed Stetzer)
  • We’re Back! After a lengthy hiatus, Western Seminary’s Transformed blog has returned to action. Check it out. (Transformed)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/30)

Birds-on-a-Road-Trip

Good Reads

  • A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent: Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening. (The Daily Beast)
  • How to write a theological sentence: I have the sense…that few of us have thought about the conditions necessary to write a theological sentence that has the potential to make a reader stop and rethink what they thought they think. (Stanley Hauerwas)
  • Born in the Wrong Body: This is an interesting summary of the growing transexual movement, the reasons behind it, and some of the concerns with it. It’s brief, so don’t expect compelling analysis. But as an overview, it’s useful. (The Week)

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17 Things You Didn’t Know about Coffee

I almost missed the fact that it’s National Coffee Day today. It may be too late for you to celebrate with a free cup of coffee, but here’s an interesting coffee infographic. Enjoy!

17-Things-About-Coffee

Saturday Morning Fun…The Real Allegory of the Cave

Flotsam and jetsam (9/27)

If-only-trees-had-wifi-685x884

Good Reads

  • Creativity Is Really Jut Persistence, and Science Can Prove It: When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete. (Fast Company)
  • Why Aren’t More Ph.D.’s Teaching in Public Schools? Despite this surplus of teachers, though, individuals with years of graduate school education and years of college classroom experience should be snapped up by public schools. They have far more classroom experience and deeper knowledge of their content than most graduates from education programs. (The Atlantic)
  • Leading in a world of unreliable information: Yet the sort of tacit and systemic knowledge for which CEOs are yearning is the bread and butter of a theological education. Theological thinking involves seeing the whole and the parts within the whole. It is the ultimate in tacit and systemic. Christians have a picture of God’s reign from scripture that guides us, no matter the current circumstances. (Call & Response)

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Flotsam and jetsam (9/24)

meatloaf love

Good Reads

  • The hidden immigration impact on American churches: Much has been written about the way that growing numbers of “millennials” are walking away from the church. Yet while millennials are walking out the front door of U.S. congregations, immigrant Christian communities are appearing right around the corner, and sometimes knocking at the back door. And they may hold the key to vitality for American Christianity. (Religion News Service)

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The Personalities of Punctuation Marks

Apparently it’s National Punctuation Day. So, in honor of this prestigious holiday, here’s a helpful chart for understanding the various personalities of your favorite punctuation marks. And, as a bonus, you can use it to psychoanalyze yourself and the people around you.

I’m definitely a comma. I like to pretend it’s because my brain routinely comes up with amazing new thoughts while I’m speaking, and I have to pause to process them. In reality, I’m just easily distracted.

Punctuation-Personality-Types