Flotsam and jetsam (10/9)

boomerang fear

Good Reads

  • It’s Time to Talk about Power: As one who frequently wears what I have come to call the Wireless Headset of Authority, I have begun to worry that it is not just our microphones that are becoming invisible. What is also becoming invisible, especially to those with the most to gain and to lose, is power. (Andy Crouch)

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Selfless Saint or Arrogant Jerk? A Church Search Dilemma

body of christ (300x300)If the church is a body, I’m definitely a mouth. I’d like to believe that I’m a brain — the one that gets all the smarts and makes all the decisions — but in reality I’m more of a mouth: I talk when I should be listening, and I don’t like to get my hands dirty. Of course, that’s because a mouth doesn’t really have hands. But you get the point.

And Paul says that a healthy church needs to have all the body parts. After all, a mouth is pretty pointless without at least a few ears around. And if we were all eyes, we’d always be getting stuff in our eyes, probably from rolling around on the ground all the time, and we wouldn’t have any fingers to get it out, which would be super annoying.

So we need variety in the body. I get that.

The Question

But here’s my question. When you’re looking for a new church, should you consider whether a church already has people with your particular gifts, focusing on churches where there seems to more of a need in areas where you can make a real contribution, or should you just find the best church around you and trust that God will find a way to use you there?

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The Best Excuse Ever for Not Remembering a Source

You know those times when you know that you know what you know, but you don’t know from where you know it? In this fabulous video clip, David Mitchell not only defends why he can’t remember his sources, but why it would be detrimental for him even to try. 


I am totally going to use this the next time I can’t remember where I learned something. But if you’re one of my students, don’t even think about it. I have no problem with double standards.

HT 22 Words

Flotsam and jetsam (10/7)


Good Reads

  • Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy: Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling. (Scientific American)
  • The Conference Shaking Up America’s Evangelicals: On Wednesday evening, 30 of America’s most influential evangelicals met on the patio of Marlow’s Tavern outside Atlanta for a private dinner….They met to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and brainstorm possible future endeavors together. (Time)
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online: When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith. I don’t wonder anymore. (CNN)
  • Stop Slandering Christ’s Bride: the surest sign that thousands of Christian in church congregations across the country are talking about an issue is that someone will claim that believers in America are not talking about it. (Gospel Coalition)

Other Info

Just for Fun

  • The never-ending epic struggle continues: Geeks vs. Nerds.

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)


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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3 Things We Can’t Live Without (infographic)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Nonetheless, apparently these are the three things that modern people think they just can’t live without. (Click to embiggen.)

What-We-Cant-Live-Without-Modern-Must-Haves (575x2652)

HT Scot McKnight

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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When Is My Child Old Enough to Get Baptized?

My daughter has never known a time when she did not believe in Jesus, she loves going to church, and she isn’t shy about telling people that she loves God. As far as she can tell, she’s always been a Christian.

But she hasn’t been baptized.

baptism, baptize, baptized, water, footprints, feet

Our Journey

My wife and I have had many conversations about when we should encourage her to get baptized. Those of you who are from traditions that baptize infants may not appreciate the significance of this issue. But those of us who believe that baptism is for those who have made a personal confession of faith, it gets a little tricky.

What is faith?

What makes it personal?

How do you know?

Questions like these defy easy answers.

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