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6 Academic Resolutions for the New Year (part 1)

When are we finally going to face the truth that we’ve all known since we were kids: no one cares about January 1. Really. It’s just an excuse to extend the holiday parties for another week, eat too much, stay up late, and wake up the next morning wondering why you did that yet again.

We all know the truth: the real New Year begins with the new school year. That’s a date that matters. Moving from December 31 to January 1 affects nothing other than remembering to change the last couple of numbers whenever you write the date. Starting a new school year, though, that’s big.

academic resolutions new year

(This is obviously true for students, teachers, and parents. But I’ve noticed that it’s even true for many people who don’t fall into any of those categories. I think it has to do with the formative impact of living with the school calendar through all your growing up years. Even after school, you still think Fall marks something truly new in a way that January never could.)

So I think it’s time that we just recognized the reality. It’s unlikely that we’ll get the government to change the calendars any time soon, though that would solve the problem of those awful hyphenated school years (the 2013-2014 school year…ugh). But we can still celebrate in our own way by realizing that now is the perfect time to make New Year’s resolutions that matter.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/7)

How commonly misused words got started.

How commonly misused words got started.

Good Reads

  • Conversation: Rodney Stark: Stark offers some interesting thoughts on the modern church, including the fact that religious membership is at an all-time high.
  • Guard Your Flock…Even from Other Christians: It may seem ironic, but some of the people from whom you have to most tenaciously guard your church are other believers. If you don’t, the focus of the ministry is to respond to the special interests of customer Christians. And, that means your ministry (and its boundaries) will be focused on keeping customers happy—and no boundaries will exist.
  • Are You a Part-Time Churchgoer? You May Be Surprised: Recent statistics show that an increasing number of evangelicals who are firm in their faith are flabby in their practice of actually gathering with their brothers and sisters in worship. It’s the part-time syndrome, and it can sneak up on any of us.

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How Much Caffeine Is in Your Favorite Coffee?

As someone who enjoys a good cup of coffee in the morning (afternoon, evening, late at night, etc.), I though this was interesting. Here are some of the top coffee brands ranked according to how much caffeine their coffee contains.

caffeine quantified

 

Thanks to Co.Create for the infographic.

Flotsam and jetsam (8/5)

Counseling-in-the-age-of-the-internet

Good Reads

  • Return of the Jesus Wars: The irony is that Aslan’s succès de scandale would be more deserved if he had actually written in defense of the Islamic view of Jesus. That would have been something provocative and — to Western readers — relatively new.
  • At Christian Companies, Religious Principles Complement Business Practices:  Focusing on particular practices, like quotes on fry boats or gospel music, can obscure deep philosophical divisions among Christians who think about business ethics. For some, the Bible is a kind of business manual you’d buy in an airport bookstore, offering timeless precepts that happen to maximize profits.

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/2)

driving carefully

Good Reads

  • How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool: I’m a Millennial, but I am weary of everyone caring so much about why Millennials do this or don’t do that. I’m sorry Millennials, but I’m going to have to throw us under the bus here: we do not have everything figured out. And if we expect older generations and well-established institutions to morph to fit our every fickle desire, we do so at our peril.
  • Pope Francis is right: It’s time for a theology of women: The role of women doesn’t end just with being a mother and with housework …we don’t yet have a truly deep theology of women in the church. We talk about whether they can do this or that, can they be altar boys, can they be lectors, about a woman as president of Caritas, but we don’t have a deep theology of women in the Church.
  • Does Anglicanism have a future? The parish is the ecclesial form that has tied the church to place. Yet it seems that form of the church may not have the resources to respond to an increasingly mobile population that is no longer tied to place.
  • Why Fewer Churches Offer Vacation Bible School: The biggest change: busyness. “In 2001, only 5% of churches who did not offer VBS stated their reason as not having enough time, or wanting to devote such time to more pressing needs,” writes Barna. “In 2005, this number of time-pressed churches more than doubled (13%), and nearly quadrupled just last summer (19%).”

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Flotsam and jetsam (8/31)

everyone dies

Good Reads

  • How Google Glass Will Transform Your Spiritual Life: what happens when we offload our moral and spiritual progress to a device? Certainly, in the case of daily Bible reading alerts, it seems quite helpful, but is there a point at which we lose something essential to our formation into the image of the Son of God?
  • Five Fundamental Questions Conservative Evangelicals Must Address: We’ve been told often in recent years that conservative evangelicals must adapt to changing social conditions or find themselves consigned to irrelevance.  On matters of both style and substance, many evangelicals have been motivated by an anxiety that they simply aren’t keeping up.
  • Confessions of a Misguided Worship Leader: Little by little, God was shaping me through my own suffering and through the suffering of the people I was growing to love. Musical equipping was necessary, and theological formation was as well, but now I see how these tools are given to building up the people of God.

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It’s All about Perspective

birdfeeder2 (175x256)We used to have a birdhouse. Every spring, little birds would fly in and make their home, building their nest, laying their eggs, and doing whatever it is that little birds do. One day a strong wind came along and rocked that little birdhouse, flipping it  over so that it now hangs upside down.

The little birds don’t care. To them it’s still a birdhouse. It has a top and a bottom, it holds their nest, and protects them from the elements. What might have looked like a tragedy, is just a bit of redecoration.

It’s all about perspective.

The bigger birds like it as well. Now that the house has flipped over, the overhang of what used to be the roof provides a perfect place to perch so they can stick their heads through the little doorway and eat the smaller birds inside.

To them, it’s a bird feeder.

It’s all about perspective.

Flotsam and jetsam (7/29)

life

Good Reads

  • Gardens, Not Buildings: great projects, like great careers and relationships that last, are gardens. They are tended, they shift, they grow. They endure over time, gaining a personality and reflecting their environment. When something dies or fades away, we prune, replant and grow again.

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Saturday Morning Fun…Bad with Names

I wish I could say that I’m better with names than this. But I’m not.

Bad-with-Names-Doghouse-Diaries (550x1198)

Flotsam and jetsam (7/26)

discipline slip

Good Reads

  • We Are All Virgins Now: This obsession with virginity measures so many of the wrong things, asks so many of the wrong questions, delivers so many of the wrong answers.
  • A Religious Legacy, With Its Leftward Tilt, Is Reconsidered: a growing cadre of historians of religion are reconsidering the legacy of those faded establishment Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians, tracing their enduring influence on the movements for human rights and racial justice, the growing “spiritual but not religious” demographic and even the shaded moral realism of Barack Obama — a liberal Protestant par excellence, some of these academics say.
  • 10 Theories That Explain Why We Dream: The study of dreaming is called oneirology, and it’s a field of inquiry that spans neuroscience, psychology, and even literature. Still, the plain fact is that the reasons why we dream are still mysterious. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from coming up with some pretty fascinating hypotheses.
  • Why Online Pornography is Being Blocked in the UK—and Why It Should Be in the U.S. Too: American Christians on both the left and the right are frequently criticized for allowing their political beliefs to be shaped more by the culture than by the Word of God. Too often such complaints are overstated since the principle underlying their political position can be rooted, however obliquely, in Scripture. But the support for unlimited access to pornography, distributed freely in every home with an Internet connection, is not a cause that any Christian should tolerate, much less support.

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