Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

I need to make it a priority to do these weekly because it gets overwhelming. Anyway, here are my recent favorite links (don't be overwhelmed!):

On Faith:
Posted: 23 Feb 2015 12:19 PM PST
"Often, when people try to get me worked up about Jesus, zealous and emotional, I don't necessarily feel like it fits me. I'd have to fake it if I acted that way. To me, faith is about maintaining and protecting a solid relationship in which there is now about fifteen years of history, too many memories to name, lots of great, slow work to do and plenty of other people to introduce Jesus to so they can start their relationship as well. What's very cool and comforting to me, though, is I experienced the same brain chemistry that happens in an intimate relationship, only I experienced it with God."

Posted: 04 Mar 2015 06:26 PM PST
"Can I just whisper? I know you must feel like people, the Church, have wanted you to go away. Sweep your scars under the proverbial rug. Erase you, avoid you, silence you. Because it's too uncomfortable for us, the neighbors, the church, the Body, to face our own culpability in scars. Face our own fallen disfigurement. Pollyanna wasn't the only one who wore rose-colored glasses. Few like to admit that we come from a long line of Roman soldiers who have crucified our own."

Posted: 23 Feb 2015 07:26 PM PST
"I wish more Christians would admit that the Bible, at its most perfect and inspired, is a collection of words about the ocean. They are not the ocean itself. God is the ocean. The words in the Bible point to someone for whom words simply fail. The words are filled with good and lovely things that give us some frame of reference, but ultimately, God is far too big to be contained in those words. The Bible is not God. The Bible is a library filled with inspired words about God. We can discover and explore and find comfort there. We can seek the character of God, and the message of Christ and the path we're to walk in its pages. We can even love the Bible. I certainly do. But we should worship the God who inspired the Bible."

I felt like this was really well written and totally spot on. I think all five points are valid, and actually really important to consider. I really just wanted to C&P the entire thing, but I resisted the urge.
Posted: 23 Feb 2015 07:02 PM PST
"If God loves you He'll bless you, says the Prayer of Jabez and North America's favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11. His desire is to prosper us, not to harm us—to give us hope and a future. Just look at all of those megachurches, with their million-dollar sanctuaries. Look at all of the bestselling Jesus-loving authors and speakers. But then there are the 21 who were martyred recently for their faith in Egypt by ISIS. There are the faithful pastors who don't have megachurches, who suffer heartache and setbacks and there is my own journey as an author with its pitfalls and hurts and there are countless other believers who do the right thing, who say the right prayers, who believe, and who know the anguish of Job."

Posted: 23 Feb 2015 06:23 PM PST
"I always thought of praise as the act of lifting my hands as I sing (I'm an unabashed non-hand-lifter.) I never knew where I fit in the scheme of praising the Lord. I have a better idea now. Praising means refusing to roll over and despair when all the world is gripped in darkness. To praise is to remember the victory that already belongs to us, even when our reality makes us sad. Praising means soldiering on in the face of dismal odds and getting out of bed every day because God gives us the strength to do hard things. Praise is sitting in the dark with my tears but knowing I don't sit there alone. My garment of praise is the acknowledgement that God is only good and I don't have to understand his ways in order to keep believing. He is enough, and my ordinary life is the best praise I can offer."

Posted: 05 Mar 2015 07:56 PM PST
"I am a Dangerous Woman, I am tired of spending my choices on myself. I will let my privilege and my power Speak for good. Aligned with the purposes of the Almighty, My strength roars...I am a Dangerous Woman, Devoted to a Dangerous God. I am a Dangerous Woman And I will beat my drum, as we dance into the Land of Freedom and Promise together."

This is beautiful and so powerful.

On Parenting:
Posted: 05 Mar 2015 02:20 PM PST
"Berlin's kindergartens or "kitas" don't emphasize academics. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my children to read. I was told it was something special the kids learn together when they start grade school. Kindergarten was a time for play and social learning. "

On Wealth and Perspective:
Posted: 24 Feb 2015 04:48 PM PST
We are already wealthy. And this should change entirely the way we live our lives. This realization invites us to pursue happiness elsewhere. If I already exist in the top 2% of wage-earners in the world, is reaching the top 1.8% really going to increase my happiness index significantly? Maybe having more money is not the answer, maybe I will need to look elsewhere. It requires us to rethink contentment. The level of income in our countries is just one economic measurement. In addition to income, average home sizes have nearly tripled in the past 50 years, televisions outnumber people in the average American home, and the average British 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with just 12 daily. Despite our material accumulation, discontent fuels more desire, more shopping, and more debt. If all that we already own has not satisfied the deepest longings of our heart by now, they probably never well."

On Simple and Intentional Living:
Posted: 05 Mar 2015 02:23 PM PST
"But if you focus on the core – on the things that really are important – and relegate the peripheral stuff to where it belongs, you might find the struggle to maintain balance just a little less exhausting. So next time you feel strung out, worn out, spread thin, try engaging your core."
Posted: 04 Mar 2015 06:31 PM PST
"This week, quiet the voices in your head that are telling you to rush. Ask for the long version of the story and get to know the people around you more deeply. Turn your phone off at meals and engage with the people right in front of you. We all desire more rest, connection, and adventure. And yet we forget we have the power to make decisions every day that can either help make our lives feel more rushed or more like a vacation. What does it look like for you to move toward the latter?"

On Childhood:
Posted: 23 Feb 2015 06:54 PM PST
Many an afternoon I spent wedged between two thick branches, my breathing stilled by, and intuitively synced with, the scant sway of the trunk that held me fast. Oh, the many hours I wiled away, staring at leaves silhouetted against marbled skies, the "lustrous ripple" fluttering across my face and arms. After time spent in my beloved tree tops, I was always more settled in my deepest places...And so it is that, when my current life begins to feel too big, too loud or too bossy, I return to the practice of feeling small again. I let those ripples of beauty or the magic of meandering or the view through a frame leak all over my days. I settle into the place whence I came in order to better understand what steps I might take next. I recognize that tree limbs splinter, tires go flat, windows break and even gilded frames crack with time. But to rest in the spaces that lift me higher or carry me forward or infuse the view with color or frame the world in glory—that is what it means to sit  in the small place and be held."
My word, this was wonderful. I also experienced these "centering" things as a child and as an adult have slowly figured out the practices that "rock me in the hammock of hope and beauty". The way the writer shared these memories was magnificent and the way she connected her childhood to her adulthood in such a powerful way was so moving.

On History:
Posted: 23 Feb 2015 06:58 PM PST
Really interesting and creative.

On Pop Culture:
Posted: 04 Mar 2015 07:14 PM PST
I always find it interesting when someone writes about someone/something that really moves them. Makes me want to see some of his films again!

On Technology:
Posted: 23 Feb 2015 06:34 PM PST
"The automobile, too, is powerful and potentially dangerous, and must also be carefully managed. Consequently, we created an elaborate system of roads and rules to govern how we use this powerful machine; we created a mechanistic environment to manage the machine. Interestingly, the car allows for a bit more freedom of action than the train, illustrated nicely by the off-roading ideal, which is a fantasy of liberation. But, for the most part, our driving, in order to be safe and efficient, is rationalized and systematized. Apart from this over-arching systematization, the off-roading fantasy would have little appeal. All of this is, of course, a "good thing." Safety is important, etc., etc. The clip below, filmed at an intersection in Addis Ababa, illustrates what driving looks like in the absence of such rationalization and regimentation."

This was super interesting on a weird level.

On Books and Vanity:
Posted: 05 Mar 2015 07:50 PM PST
"My library represents the side of me I most want to present to the world, not so different from an ultra-flattering photograph I might frame for my mother's mantel. And I have to admit that my library is a little bit Photoshopped. There are augmentations: Several never-opened volumes decorated my shelves, including Anna Karenina, which I keep meaning to read, and Richard Ellmann's hefty biography of James Joyce, which I don't even lie to myself about. There are also omissions. I had purchased and thoroughly enjoyed each of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy, for example, but I didn't display them in my living room."

On Hilarious Throwback Images with Hysterical Comments:
Posted: 05 Mar 2015 02:07 PM PST
Hahaha. Really funny {pretty crude}.

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week:

Over 2/3rds of the Psalms are laments. Of top 150 Christian songs today, none are laments. What does that say? -Peter Scazzero

"The desert is an important landscape in Christian spirituality. It is a powerful place, where one lives on the edge. In the desert there is little protection and one is faced with the great and ultimate realities of life. God formed his people Israel through their wanderings in the desert and Jesus spent 40 days in the desolate place, tempted by Satan, before he began his ministry. Although we live in a city, Lent affords us the opportunity to enter into our own deserted places, through prayer and fasting to face our ultimate realities, and in word and sacrament encounter the forgiveness and grace found in our Lord Jesus Christ alone."- Jacob Smith

Noteworthy Images from the Week:
{One more week, guys!}

That's it. Hope you enjoy! 

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