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Flotsam and jetsam (6/9)


Good Reads

  • 4 Principles on Prayer from Saint Augustine:  The first rule is completely counterintuitive. Augustine wrote that before anyone can turn to the question of what to pray and how to pray it, he or she must first be a particular kind of person. What kind is that? He writes: “You must account yourself ‘desolate’ in this world, however great the prosperity of your lot may be.” (Tim Keller)
  • Punching Down: If the Christian community is visibly hostile to marginalized groups in the face of legitimate harm, we’ve screwed up our whole mission; if the only people we can be seen as walking with consistently are just like us, we’re no better than our pagan ancestors. (Elizabeth Stoker)
  • Hell Is a Myth — Actually, a Bunch of Myths: The sad truth is that Dante’s hellish vision has been useful in promoting colonizing, crusades and “conversions” for the last 700 years. But it is time for that to change. It is time for Christians, and all people of faith, to re-imagine the afterlife in less medieval terms. (HuffPo)

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Just for Fun

  • Could you win $10 on Jimmy Kimmel’s latest game? I’m pretty sure that I’d have blown it too.

The Existential Angst of Finishing a Good Book

I have always loved Mo Willems’ We Are in a Book!, which is about the existential crisis Elephant and Piggie go through when they realize that they are characters in a book that will soon end. But I never noticed (until I saw in on Imgur) that you can excerpt certain pages and recreate the existential angst than many of us experience when we’re nearing the end of a good book.

Oddly, I don’t usually have the same experience when I’m grading.

book ends 1book ends 2book ends 3book ends 4book ends 5book ends 6book ends 7book ends 8

A Prayer for Sunday (St. Ephrem)

ephrem the syrianSaint Ephrem the Syrian was a leader and theologian of the fourth century church, best known for his tremendous literary output. One of the most significant Syrian Christians in the history of the church, Ephrem wrote many influential hymns, commentaries, and other works, a particularly impressive accomplishment given that he lived through that turbulent century marked by the theological dissension following the Council of Nicea and the non-stop warfare between the Roman and Persian empires.

St. Ephrem is believed to have died on June 9, 373. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, this Sunday’s prayer comes from him.

Blessed be he who in his love stooped to redeem mankind!
Blessed be the King who made himself poor to enrich the needy!
Blessed be he who came to fulfil
…..the types and emblems of the prophets!
Blessed be he who made creation rejoice
…..with the wealth and treasure of his father!
Blessed be he whose glory the dumb sang with hosannas!
Blessed be he to whom little children sang new glory
… hymns of praise!
Blessed be the new King who came
…..that new-born babes might glorify him!
Blessed be he unto whom children brought faltering songs
… praise him among his disciples!

Flotsam and jetsam (6/6)


Good Reads

  • The Crisis of Biblical Illiteracy & What Can We Do about It?: I’ve heard people call it a famine. A famine of knowing the Bible. During a famine people waste away for lack of sustenance. Some people die. Those who remain need nourishment; they need to be revived. And if they have any hope of remaining alive over time, their life situation has to change in conspicuous ways. (Biola Magazine)
  • Is pulpit plagiarism on the rise? Some blame the Internet:  Recent cases of high-profile pastors who have been accused of lifting others’ material are raising questions about whether pulpit plagiarism is on the rise — and whether it has become a more forgivable sin. (Sarah Pulliam Bailey)
  • Bonhoeffer and Technopoly: It is with these obligations to the coming generation in mind, I think, that we are to consider how to respond to the powers that reign in our world. (Alan Jacobs)

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/4)

try me

Good Reads

  • On-the-Job Training Isn’t Working:  The on-the-job training of pastors and other faith leaders in preventing and responding to child sexual abuse isn’t working – it is dangerous and all too often has devastating consequences. (Boz Tchividjian)
  • Pastors, You Make Your Own Sandwiches: I would be the first to amen the confession blogs, as I am overworked, often discouraged, and take everything in the church personally. But the reality is, I make my own sandwich. My church isn’t to blame, I am. My schedule isn’t to blame, I am. It’s a sandwich I made, and instead of complaining and chomping through it, I want to find joy in it. (Gospel Coalition)
  • Mixing Soul Medicines:  These days, though, the relationship between secular shrinks and old-time faith isn’t usually as hostile or mutually exclusive in practice as these battle-cries would suggest. Both in academic scholarship and the everyday experience of people who need help or provide it, the two worlds seem to be overlapping more and more. (The Economist)

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/1)

how i like my coffee

Good Reads

  • Christian humanism and the Twitter tsunamis: So you can see that my own response to the problems I’ve been seeing discussed on Twitter is a Christian one, more specifically one grounded in a theological anthropology that sees all of us as creatures made in the image of God who have (again, all of us) defaced that image. And it is in the recognition of our shared humanity — both in its glories and its failings but often starting with its failings — that we build our case against abuse and exploitation. (Alan Jacobs)
  • Why 80% of the Work You Do Is a Waste of Time:  It’s an old theory, honestly, but Koch explains it well and helps us apply it in new ways. And this theory applies to much more than work. It also means 80 percent of our unhealthiness is likely coming from just 20 percent of the food we eat. And 80 percent of our social troubles likely come from just 20 percent of our relationships. (Don Miller)

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/28)


Good Reads

  • Faking Cultural Literacy:  It’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. (New York Times)
  • On TV, How Dark Is Too Dark? ” There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored,” Flannery O’Connor wrote in Mystery and Manners. That is true. Our problems start when we expect that restoration to arise through human action, even the fictional kind. (Hermeneutics)
  • Judging Spinoza: Like Galileo, disciplined by the Roman Catholic Church just two decades before him, Spinoza has gone down as one of history’s great thinkers punished by intolerant ecclesiastic authorities for his intellectual boldness. (New York Times)

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Flotsam and jetsam


Good Reads

  • Searching for Jesus in today’s Church:  Yes, there are days I grieve. But that grief is only overshadowed by the hope I still have in Jesus – the King who turns everything upside down, and who is very good. (Boz Tchividjian)
  • ‘One Anothers’ I Can’t Find in the New Testament:  Sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another, judge one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins, intensify one another’s sufferings, point out one another’s failings . . . . (Ray Ortlund)
  • Could Quitting Facebook Be a Mistake?  Facebook (Instagram, Twitter) didn’t invent the disconnection between my husband and me. It didn’t invent jealousy or time-wasting or procrastination or coveting other people’s stuff. It didn’t invent self-centeredness. All of these things existed long before Facebook or Instagram did.  So why do we assume quitting Facebook will eradicate the problem? The problem isn’t Facebook. The problem is us. (Relevant)

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Saturday Morning Fun…No Signal

no signal

Flotsam and jetsam (5/23)


Good Reads

  • The Myth of a ‘War on Religion’: Americans, especially left-leaning Americans, are less likely than they were a generation ago to go to church. But they’d rather you not know how much less, because religious practice—like service in the military—enjoys prestige as a marker of morality and self-discipline. (The Atlantic)
  • Everything you know about teenage brains is #$@&%!:  Forget what you’ve heard. We don’t know much about how Internet use affects the brain.  After years of being told that the Internet was rotting my brain, I decided to assess the damage by gathering the scientific evidence. My review of the published scientific literature found no evidence that typical Internet use harms the adolescent brain. (Boing Boing)
  • Can Google Search for Friendship? But even the best search algorithm can’t sort sites for a sense of empathy or community; that comes from people, not pages. If a friend asks me about a blown fuse, he may be looking not just for repair instructions, but sympathy. When I need to find the right temperature for toasting walnuts, if I ask a roommate, instead of a search engine, I might get a recipe recommendation or a story about baking gone awry. (The American Conservative)
  • The New Humanities: The new humanistic writing and its enthusiastic readership bear witness to the fact that, as long as there are human beings, there will remain an interest in scholarship and criticism that attempts to illuminate human problems. (The Point)

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