You can read my latest post at Christ and Pop Culture here.
As you browse, read and share the many articles, our hope is that you may find this site an encouragement to your faith and Christian life.
We were created to worship. And we are to worship God with every aspect and area of our lives - presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
The bride of Christ can often times be difficult and messy - but it is Christ's beautiful mess - to which He is the head and chief cornerstone.
Our faith comes out from a rich heritage and history. It was during the formative years of our faith that creeds, confessions, traditions, and liturgies were developed. These practices and traditions recaptured will not only anchor us but move us forward in our faith.
There is freedom in the gospel as it proclaims that in Christ we are sons and daughters of the King. The importance is learning to preach those truths to our heart and life everyday.
Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets—reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)
The medium isn't merely a neutral conduit for information, it does certainly change us.For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded.“The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.
Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet, not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones, we may well be reading more today than we did in the 1970s or 1980s, when television was our medium of choice. But it’s a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self. “We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. “We are how we read.”
Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace. When we read online, she says, we tend to become “mere decoders of information.” Our ability to interpret text, to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction, remains largely disengaged.There is a ton of thought provoking stuff in this article. I must admit, I think I have experienced a change in my mental reading habits. I used to be a big reader of books, now I have a struggle trying to finish one. My concentration seems too often to be lacking - I have begun to wonder, even before reading this article, whether I could still absorb those deep theological books I used to devour.
The results show that as coffee consumption increases, the overall risk of death decreases. The association is explained mostly by a decrease in CVD deaths, Lopez-Garcia says. Women who drank two to three cups of coffee a day, for instance, had a 25% lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-drinkers.Not that I needed a scientific study to tell me to drink coffee, but it is always nice to know that you can drink that Venti Americano and be assured that you are doing it for your health.
“Marketing is about felt needs. You find the need and then you say Christianity will meet that need. You have to adapt to people’s questions. And if people are asking a question, you want to show how Jesus is the answer. But at a certain point, you have to go past their question to the other things that Christianity says. Otherwise you’re just scratching where they itch. So marketing is showing how Christianity meets the need, and I think the gospel is showing how Christianity is the truth.”
Some proclaim the unfolding demise of suburbia.
"Many low-density suburbs and McMansion subdivisions, including some that are lovely and affluent today, may become what inner cities became in the 1960s and '70s - slums characterized by poverty, crime and decay," said Christopher Leinberger, an urban land use expert, in a recent essay in the Atlantic Monthly.
Most experts do not share such apocalyptic visions, seeing instead a gradual reordering.
"It's like an ebbing of this suburban tide," said Joe Cortright, an economist at the consulting group Impresa in Portland, Oregon. "There's going to be this kind of reversal of desirability. Typically, Americans have felt the periphery was most desirable, and now there's going to be a reversion to the center."
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like–minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Phil. 2:1-4Look to the interests of others!? That behavior seems so counter-intuitive, and yet that is exactly what we are being called to. It seems impossible, right? Not really. It only takes reading a little further down the page to realize that it isn't impossible, but rather made very possible by Christ.
A lovelorn man who put his life in Australia up for sale on the Internet was one step closer to starting over Monday as bids for his house, job and lifestyle hit 2.2 million dollars (2.1 million US).Read whole story HERE
Ian Usher, a 44-year-old from Yorkshire in England, launched the unusual auction after announcing on his blog: "I have had enough of my life! I don't want it any more! You can have it if you like!"
What is the "American Dream" for most Americans? What do they really want? In Barna's latest study, he looks at what Americans want when they dream of their ideal life. Here is what they found:
There were six specific conditions that at least three-quarters of all adults identified as being very important elements in their ideal life. Those included having good physical health (listed by 85%), living with a high degree of integrity (also 85%), having one marriage partner for life (80%), having a clear purpose for living (77%), having a close relationship with God (75%), and having close, personal friendships (74%).
There were another half-dozen items listed by at least half of the adults interviewed. Those conditions included having a comfortable lifestyle (mentioned by 70%), having a satisfying sex life with their marriage partner (66%), having children (66%), living close to family and relatives(63%), being deeply committed to the Christian faith (59%), and making a difference in the world (56%).
The survey uncovered seven conditions that only a minority of Americans deemed worthy of including in their vision of their desired future life. Those conditions included having a college degree (named by 46%), being personally active in a church (45%), traveling throughout the world for pleasure (28%), working in a high-paying job (28%), owning a large home (18%), owning the latest household technology/electronics (11%) and achieving fame or public recognition (7%).
There are some fascinating trends here in this study.
One example is that having a close personal relationship with Christ was very important and yet being personally active in a church was very low. It is an interesting disconnect that people see the church as an impediment to their relationship with Christ. It also shows how individualistic we are in our relationship with God. The community and body of Christ doesn't in the minds of many Christians connect, as it should, to their relationship with Christ. That is a shame. We are not merely individuals in a privatized relationship with God but rather we are part of a "community". And as such we need one another to grow and be encouraged toward become more Christ-like.
I know that part of this disconnect has been the church's fault. We have made church an activity to do, merely a place to go, and simply a club to join. Rather, the church is called to Love God through our worship, to Love One another through real, authentic friendships, and to Love the Community by going and serving the least, the last and the lost.
May we as a church reclaim that vision and purpose again.
Also here are a couple of thoughts from Denny Burk that made me think:
1. How conducive is a comedy show to talking seriously about the weighty things of God? “The Colbert Report” is more than just satire. It turns every subject that it touches into a joke. Is that helpful?
2. Shouldn’t Christians be concerned not merely with spreading the news about “heaven” (and the new creation) but also with how one gets into “heaven” (and the new creation)? Bishop Wright was able to say that people get to participate in the work of the resurrection now through acts of charity. But that was as close as he got to an explanation of how one might inherit eternal life. I think all would agree that this explanation is manifestly insufficient for any sinner who wishes to know how he might be reconciled to His offended Creator. There was no talk of sin, judgment, the cross, faith in Christ, or forgiveness.
To be sure, the format of the show and the jocularity of the host work against faithful Christian witness. But if this is all that can be done in 7 minutes, I’m wondering how helpful it is to appear on this show to talk about a subject as important as this one.
(1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate our “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting. Attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
Have you ever been in or a part of these kinds of meetings?
Three years in development, over 15,000 bug fixes and feature improvements, a new page rendering engine, remarkable performance gains, multiple OS integration — you could say the several hundred engineers working on Firefox have been busy. And their work has paid off.
Speedy performance, thrifty memory usage, and, in particular, the address bar that now predicts where you want to go when you start typing (what Mozilla insiders refer to as the Awesome Bar) firmly plant Firefox at the top of the Web browser hill, flying the flag of our Editors' Choice for browsers.In particular:
The top new feature has to be the address bar, what Mozilla types call "The Awesome Bar," but which the development team has officially dubbed the location bar. As you type into it, a list of suggested Web destinations based on your browsing history pops up.I love the address bar - but the key element for me is a Firefox that uses the computer's memory well. The old version would chew up my CPU usage. And the only disappointment with 3.0 for me is that some add-ons that I have grown to love aren't yet compatible with the upgrade.
It uses what Mozilla's phenomenologist Mike Beltzner has coined "frecency" — a combination of frequency and recentness — to determine the best suggestions. And, as icing on the cake, the search bar is now resizable, so you can divvy the space between the location and search bars to your taste.
When I tried it, the location bar's first suggestion was right on the money most of the time. Knowing that hitting the down arrow and Enter will usually get you where you want to go — not to mention save you untold keystrokes and time — will change your browsing habits.
If I had it my way I would do away with outreach events. I would get rid of every event we hold at our church that is geared towards bringing non-Christians to our church. Now let me explain. Non-Christians are non-Christians for a reason, and they don’t come to church for a reason. 99% of everyone here in America has been to a church, has been invited to a church, or has been witnessed to, and there are still those who want nothing to do with the church. Why do we think that inviting them to a murder mystery night get them to change their mind? I’ll tell you why, we want it on our turf, we want to call the shots.
He then continues:
Ok, let me rephrase my opening comment, I would get rid of them until we are doing our job by going to them first. We like being comfortable, we don’t like confrontations, and boy to do we hate not being in control.
in Bible in Basic English version:
“There is no fear in love: true love has no room for fear, because where fear is, there is pain; and he who is not free from fear is not complete in love.”
in the New Living Translation:
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”