Flotsam and jetsam (6/5)

Good Reads

  • The Books Americans Are Reading—And What that Reveals About Us: It is not a surprise that so many practicing Christians report reading their primary sacred text from front to back. It is surprising that nearly a fifth of people who claim another faith than Christianity and nearly a tenth of people with no faith claim to have done the same.
  • Folk Theology: Twenty Urban Legends in Theology:  Folk theology describes beliefs, generally shared by a large group of people, which said adherents have rarely thought through in a critical way. These beliefs are normally inherited (passed on through rote teaching and tradition).
  • Read, Write, Worship: Finding God between the lines of literature: Reading can create an intangible sanctuary where all are invited, regardless of faith, to receive benedictions that send us back into our respective broken worlds with more courage, strength, and hope. Reading can be an invitation to turn, face God, and live.

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Leaving Home

I’ve moved a fair bit over the years. Although I stopped counting a while ago, I’ve lived in about 30 different places. And that’s only if you count places where I’ve stayed at least three months. Anything less than that is just an extended visit.

So I’ve had a lot of experience with leaving a place. But I never really thought of it as leaving a home. I always though home was about people, relationships. The house was just the physical space you lived in while enjoying those relationships. And, even though relationships are more difficult to maintain when you move, the relationships themselves don’t end. You take them with you. So, although you leave a place, you don’t really leave a home. You take it with you.

That’s what I used to think. But I was wrong.

See that flower over there? The yellow one near the willow tree? My wife planted that flower. She cleared the space, prepared the soil, and planted the seed. As time passed, she watched its birth and nurtured its growth. She fought weeds and dodged bees. An entire history rests between those delicate petals: a narrative of rootedness, growth, sacrifice, and beauty. She planted that flower.

Looking around, I see our family planted everywhere.

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Flotsam and jetsam (6/3)

Good Reads

  • Eager to Adopt, Evangelicals Find Perils Abroad: But the movement has also revived debate about ethical practices in international adoptions, with fears that some parents and churches, in their zeal, have naïvely entered terrain long filled with pitfalls, especially in countries susceptible to corruption.
  • It’s Not The Bible’s Fault. You Might Just Be A Bad Dad: as long as the narrative continues which articulates that men lack what it takes to nurture and raise children; as long as some argue that the cultivation of children is the domain of women only, we will continue to produce dads who believe they risk their “man-card” by trying.
  • Christians & Masturbation: Seven Perspectives: I wanted to get a diversity of perspectives in response to this question, so I contacted several folks whose opinion on matters related to sexuality I respect, and asked them this question: Is masturbation an acceptable component to healthy sexuality for Christians?

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A Prayer for Sunday (John Calvin)

It hardly seems necessary to introduce this post by explaining who John Calvin was. The influential French theologian who guided the church in Geneva for so many years and set the tone for large swaths of the Protestant Reformation doesn’t need much introduction. So I’ll just point out that he died on May 27, 1564. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from him. It’s a prayer that Calvin wrote for use before going to bed.

O Lord God, who hast given man the night for rest,
….as thou hast created the day
….in which he may employ himself in labour,
grant, I pray, that my body may so rest during this night
….that my mind cease not to be awake to thee,
….nor my heart faint or be overcome with torpor,
….preventing it from adhering steadfastly to the love of thee.

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Saturday Morning Fun…Teachers Who Got the Last Laugh

Buzz Feed has some great pictures of teachers doing what all teachers should: enjoying their job! Here are some of my favorites:

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May’s Top Posts

May was more about selling our house and finding a new house in Wheaton than it was about blogging. But we still managed to get at least a few posts out there. And these are the ones that you liked the most. Enjoy.

Good Rule of Thumb for Writing Essays

I am always on the lookout for creative and insightful comments to make on student papers. This has to be one of the best ever!

A good rule of thumb for essays (on viewing sheets or exams) is called the ‘mini-skirt’ rule–they should be long enough to cover what needs to be covered and short enough to be interesting. For many of you, your essays were more comparable to an ‘elderly, overweight man in a Speedo’–your essays were way too short, didn’t cover much at all, and some were just sad and pathetic.

Of course, many of the essays I see are more like a seventeenth-century woman in a formal gown with multiple petticoats and a jacket.

Source: Buzz Feed

Flotsam and jetsam (5/31)

Good Reads

  • 7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity: Creativity can seem innate, but like many things, it is actually a delicate balance of nature and nurture. In other words, creative thinking can be enhanced by external forces, and isn’t necessarily reliant on “good genes” or natural ability.
  • John Piper Got Rob Belled: Tribalism, from the progressive side. The side that talks against America’s Jesus and against tribalism. And there it is, lurking just under the surface. It reminds me of the book Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. All of the obvious Jesus’ stand out. The trendy Jesus, the churchy Jesus, the American Jesus. But just when you think you’ve found the right one, the genuine one, it is discovered that yours is imaginary too.
  • I’m Gay, but I’m Not Switching to a Church That Supports Gay Marriage: Moreover, celibate gay Christians can offer proof that friendship can be real love, and deserves the same honor as any other form of lovingkindness, caretaking and devotion….The cultural changes which would better nourish celibate gay Christians, then, would be good for everyone else as well.
  • Doubting Thomas: a patron saint for scientists? Dawkins is right that we are not supposed to admire Thomas’s refusal to believe, but he is wrong about the reason. Thomas’s behaviour really is a little irrational. What better basis for belief could he have had than the testimony of his most trusted friends? We all have to rely on testimony rather than first-hand experience for the vast majority of our knowledge.

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Flotsam and jetsam (5/29)

Good Reads

  • Why Rituals Work: Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • How Happiness Changes with Age: Happiness becomes less the high-energy, totally-psyched experience of a teenager partying while his parents are out of town, and more the peaceful, relaxing experience of an overworked mom who’s been dreaming of that hot bath all day. The latter isn’t less “happy” than the former — it’s a different way of understanding what happiness is.
  • Flipping the 40-Minute Sermon: When we hear a lecture we receive information into our short-term memory, but to learn, we also need to assimilate the information we’ve received; meaning, we need to engage and apply the information.
  • How Residential Mobility Patterns Perpetuate Segregation: Much research shows that when people change neighborhoods, they tend to move to a new one that closely mirrors the racial makeup of the neighborhood left behind. In this way, children grow up to live in segregated communities like the ones they grew up in. And segregation itself persists from one generation to the next.

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A Little Update

I don’t post a lot of personal announcements on this blog, figuring that you all have better things to do than read about what’s happening in my life. But many have asked how things are going with our upcoming move to Wheaton, so I thought I’d pass on a little information. And it may also help explain why my blogging has been somewhat sporadic over the last few weeks.

Here are the highlights from the last few weeks.

We sold our house!

One of biggest challenges, short of actually packing up the house and moving, is always selling your house. It took nearly two months of work to get our house in selling shape, and I have to admit that I haven’t done that much manual labor in a long time. When we were done, though, the house looked great! And, once we got it on the market, it took less than a week to sell. We still have to jump the normal hurdles before the sale closes, but everything is moving smoothly at the moment.

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