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Two Articles Pushing On Cultural Assumptions

A great article someone from my church pointed out: http://fortune.com/2015/03/03/female-company-president-im-sorry-to-all-the-mothers-i-used-to-work-with/

And another one that makes me sad for First Amendment freedoms on Christian Colleges: https://believervsnonbelievers.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/christian-theologian-demoted-for-preaching-peace/

The sermon is great to listen to on it's own too.

[embed]https://vimeo.com/119726581[/embed]

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Fans

Sometimes you just need some fans...

IMG_20140421_144711

Was going through some old pics. I think this was last spring (2014).

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Seth Godin: Do Not Feed The Trolls!

From Seth Godin:

The worst troll is in your head.

Internet trolls are the commenters begging for a fight, the anonymous critics eager to tear you down, the hateful packs of roving evil dwarves, out for amusement.

Read the rest here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/02/the-trolls-inside.html

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Here's also a good TED Talk on emotional hygiene: http://lifehacker.com/the-importance-of-good-emotional-hygiene-for-your-men-1687555184

"We spend a lot of time worrying about our physical health, but we sometimes neglect our mind in the process. To maintain good mental health, you can practice "emotional hygiene" in the same way you practice good bodily hygiene to help maintain physical health.

In this TED Talk, Psychologist Guy Winch describes a different type of injury: psychological injury. Instead of being the result of twists, breaks, and sprains, these types "injuries" come from mental traumas caused by failure, rejection, and especially chronic loneliness. As Winch explains, loneliness and other psychological injuries can be harmful to your physical health; possibly causing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or even suppressing the function of your immune system.

So what can you do to battle the negative effects of psychological traumas? Imagine these injuries as wounds just like any other, and that they require the practice of good hygiene for it to heal. Stop and take notice when you feel emotional pain and recognize that you are hurt so you can address it. Stop the "emotional bleeding" by avoiding negative thoughts so you can clean it up. It also never hurts to reach out to someone else when the wound is too deep. And when you're not hurt, build up your self-esteem to develop some protection for the future. Don't leave these types of injuries untreated, because they'll just keep getting worse, just like the real thing."

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Gossip

Shel: The sin of Gossip is basically talking about someone (generally anything not building up) without them in the room/conversation. We can unintentionally create gossip cultures when we take on the kingdom of the world's practices in our churches uncritically. Of course we usually have excellent "justification" exercises - but at the end of the day it is sin and creates bodies.

I have generally understood gossip as coming from two places: (1) Leadership withholding information that should be shared - thereby creating a culture of gossip in people trying to determine facts by "filling in the blanks." This is simple to solve by communicating more. (2) Malicious - involved triangulation - going to others before the person. Jesus confronts this head on in His peacemaking teachings well laid out in the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 18.

I have personally committed both forms in life and have paid the price - learned the lesson - and therefore have an almost overkill approach to truth-telling in love. So let's all learn to talk to one another instead of the "third party." There is only one "third party" to go to besides the other person - God in prayer.

Otherwise we are creating a culture of war or peace-faking: the anti-christ, anti-kingdom.

Gotquestions.org has a great summary:
Question: "What does the Bible say about gossip?"

Answer: The Hebrew word translated “gossip” in the Old Testament is defined as “one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.” A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal that information to those who have no business knowing it. Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways:

1. Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.

2. The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.

In the book of Romans, Paul reveals the sinful nature and lawlessness of mankind, stating how God poured out His wrath on those who rejected His laws. Because they had turned away from God's instruction and guidance, He gave them over to their sinful natures. The list of sins includes gossips and slanderers (Romans 1:29b-32). We see from this passage how serious the sin of gossip is and that it characterizes those who are under God’s wrath.

Another group who were (and still are today) known for indulging in gossip is widows. Paul cautions widows against entertaining the habit of gossip and of being idle. These women are described as “gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:12-13). Because women tend to spend a lot of time in each other's homes and work closely with other women, they hear and observe situations which can become distorted, especially when repeated over and over. Paul states that widows get into the habit of going from home to home, looking for something to occupy their idleness. Idle hands are the devil's workshop, and God cautions against allowing idleness to enter our lives. “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man [or woman] who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19).

Women are certainly not the only ones who have been found guilty of gossip. Anyone can engage in gossip simply by repeating something heard in confidence. The book of Proverbs has a long list of verses that cover the dangers of gossip and the potential hurt that results from it. “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret” (Proverbs 11:12-13).

The Bible tells us that “a perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:28). Many a friendship has been ruined over a misunderstanding that started with gossip. Those who engage in this behavior do nothing but stir up trouble and cause anger, bitterness, and pain among friends. Sadly, some people thrive on this and look for opportunities to destroy others. And when such people are confronted, they deny the allegations and answer with excuses and rationalizations. Rather than admit wrongdoing, they blame someone else or attempt to minimize the seriousness of the sin. “A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts” (Proverbs 18:7-8).

Those who guard their tongues keep themselves from calamity (Proverbs 21:23). So we must guard our tongues and refrain from the sinful act of gossip. If we surrender our natural desires to the Lord, He will help us to remain righteous. May we all follow the Bible’s teaching on gossip by keeping our mouths shut unless it is necessary and appropriate to speak.

Recommended Resources: The Quest Study Bible and Logos Bible Software.

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/gossip-Bible.html#ixzz3SOJloodS

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Confession of Sin a important part of ancient and spirit-filled worship

The use of confession of sin/word of forgiveness as a public act of worship has been huge part of what Christians do when we gather face-to-face. It's part of the authority of the believer to release one another, in Jesus name, by the Spirit, from sin. It's part of the "binding and loosing" in the New Testament. The public part of it goes back to Hebrew Bible as well. The use of a sacrifice was to physically make the point that sin must be named/shown.

In "higher" (for lack of better language) liturgy (worship gathering) this is often written and spoken by the community and a presider/leader. In "lower" pentecostal/charismatic (empower-evangelical) liturgies this was/is part of the prayer-team or end of service/post-sermon "living altar" time. People come forward to be prayed for and confess their need for forgiveness - and fellow believers minister the "rite" through prayers.

The point is - one way or another confession, forgiveness and a restart is woven in the warp and woof of the face-to-face community and the Holy Spirit manifests in a unique way when we practice this. It is offering grace in a concrete and regular way- being conduits of the Spirit of Jesus- that helps make Christian worship and distinguishes it.

Wounded healers being part of the a cycle of new life and healing.

How does your community demonstrate this? Certainly in small groups - but also in public ways - just like the sermons in the crowds, Jesus and the disciples ministering in the marketplace and of course Jesus on the Cross?

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Great Stuff Form Boyd

http://reknew.org/2015/02/our-real-battle-is-not-with-isis-or-any-other-enemy/

"There’s an old African proverb that says, “When Elephants fight, the grass suffers.” It expresses the important truth that when agents who have a domain of authority go awry, everything under their authority suffers. The “principalities and the powers” were given tremendous authority over creation. In western Christian culture, these non-human agents are usually called “angels,” though the Bible refers to them also as “gods,” “spirits,” “principalities,” “ powers,” “dominions”, “authorities,” “rulers,” “elemental spirits” and “demons.” These titles reflect different categories of spirit-agents who exercise different levels of “say-so” over creation, society and individuals.. As he did with humans, but on a much larger scale, God empowered these gods to use their “say-so” to administrate his providence throughout the cosmos. Unfortunately, some of these angelic beings chose to instead rebel against God and use their “say-so” at cross-purposes with his will. As a result, all they have authority over suffers, like grass under the feet of elephants. The earth apparently could have been spared these negative consequences, for humans were given authority over this land and were commissioned to guard it. When we failed in this task, however, the floodgates were opened and the earth and human society was brought under the corruption of these evil, destructive forces. Perhaps because it upsets our western vacation mindset, or perhaps because our secular outlook has trouble taking things like Satan, angels and demons seriously, American Christians tend to minimize the New Testament’s remarkable teaching about the scope and intensity of Satan’s domination of our planet. If we’re serious about following Jesus, this has got to change..." - See more at: http://reknew.org/2015/02/our-real-battle-is-not-with-isis-or-any-other-enemy/#sthash.wBQxZv3f.dpuf

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understanding Joy

Joy is something that we can expeirence in choosing to enter states of play (sports, arts, good worship, etc.). To me, roughly, joy can be understood as (1)primary or (2) secondary.

Primary is the kind of joy we get as a sheer gift of grace. Primary joy, for a Christian, is rooted and grounded in receiving God's love for us. When we begin (and we never finish this) to understand the love of God as displayed in the Cross we walk into the gift of primary joy. Righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Paul) - this is the Kingdom of God. We receive it like a child according to Jesus. This is the joy of the Kingdom of God that comes from the crucified Lord. We can always choose to enter the joy of the Lord, regardless of secondary circumstances. This joy is not contingent on creation - it can be entered into alongside deep pain. It can take on other emotions including deep peace or laughter. It's the joy of being awakened in a particular moment, to the presence of God. Again no human evil can overcome this joy, nor steal it. Strangely it can be deeply entered into in releasing and naming our pain to God. It can and does co-exist with pain. It can, and if we cooperate with the love of God being poured into our hearts, lead us back into the world to take delight in secondary things and others once again.

Secondary Joy is derived from other experiences we enter into as part of being embodied creations. Most of this joy is about delighting in what is around us. This joy is can be "faked" but shouldn't be. If we are in pain we do not lie about that. Secondary joy can be removed by circumstances and in fact should and must be allowed to be pushed out for a season by the brokenness of the world, self, others that we may be experiencing.

We can and should pursue that which makes us happy in secondary joy - as long as our primary being is rooted in the love of God in Jesus. Primary joy, rooted in the love of Jesus, allows us to have resources beyond our circumstance (and self) to reclaim secondary joy after deep pain and loss.

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Pain

There have been many things in my life that have caused pain. I was following someones blog that has turned mainly into ranting in a way that really made me think - wow they are in the just "hurting like hell" phase. However, in being so public they would seem to be lacking in self-awareness and a lack of care about what their lashing out might be doing to victimize others. In fact I think they would be in complete denial. Or worse case simply turning from victim into the tired old cycle of victim becoming a victimizer.

So about pain some initial reflections:
Pain is instructive. It also reveals a lot about where a person is at in their journey. It is one thing to speak and act humbly out of your pain. It's another thing to let wound/hurt speak through you. One is beautiful and empowering of others.

The other is simply inflicting more pain on others through an unbalanced emotional state and false claims of justice in a world of imperfect justice and wounded people.

We need more speaking of the first kind and for the second kind more speaking in safe places instead of creating new victims. Both types are turned into new life/liberation when we become self-aware enough to know the difference and the different people who can listen without being victimized by our pain.

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From ReKnew: Read This Before You Drop the H-Bomb (“Heretic”) on a Fellow Christian

From ReKnew.org: Greg co-wrote the following article on heresy with Frank Viola for BeliefNet. Check it out! “Heretic.” It’s a favorite word that many Christians have no problem dropping on the heads of their fellow sisters and brothers. In common parlance, the term is used to describe any person who disagrees with “orthodox Christian teaching.” The problem, of course, is that there are different perspectives on what exactly constitutes “orthodox Christian teaching.” Some claim this for Calvinism, while others claim this for Arminianism, or for Roman Catholicism, or for Eastern Orthodoxy. And we must not forget the many Fundamentalist groups who reserve the term “orthodox” only for people who agree with every one of their distinctive beliefs and/or practices. 2,000 years down the church history pike and the body of Christ is sliced and diced into over 33,000 fragments, some of which pull the heresy lever at everyone else without blinking. In this essay, we are definitely not going to suggest that false teaching doesn’t exist. It existed at the time of Jesus and Paul, and it exists today. What we are going to suggest is that many people are using the word “heretic” in ways that are not biblical and/or that do not align with its use in church tradition. And this, we believe, brings disrepute on the body of Christ. Click here to read the rest of the article on BeliefNet.

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Holocaust Center in Toronto

Took the kids to the Holocaust Centre (http://holocaustcentre.com/) for part of our "Friday adventure/learning day". With the new rise of antisemitism and the murderous purges of Christians in the Middle East it seemed right.


UNESCO Mark 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau

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A pastor-theologian who loves the questions…