Worth Reading Wednesday: Millenials Edition

Millenials (I am not one; I’m in Generation X) have been a big topic on the Internet lately, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the articles/posts I’ve read.  There have been way more written than I’ve compiled here, so if you’ve read a good one I’ve missed, please add it in the comments.  
The One That Started it All:
A Variety of Responses:
Millenials Have Kids by Mandy Meisenheimer
Why We Left the Church by Micah J. Murray
Why Millenials Need the Church by Rachel Held Evans

Worth Reading Wednesday

This week’s edition of Worth Reading Wednesday is a mix of topics.  Enjoy!

I have lashed out, criticized, deconstructed, questioned and chided the religious powers that be. This was an important part of my journey and I honor it. But I made mistakes along the way and despite my good intentions, I have hurt people. I hurt myself.
I set out to organize! set right! cleanse! make all things new!
But I got entangled somehow. The weapons that were used against me I used against others.

10 Words That You’ve Probably Been Misusing by Tyler Vendetti (hat tip Rachel Held Evans)

There are so many words in the English language that it’s not surprising that the definitions for some of them have gotten mixed up over the years. It’s possible that you’ve gone your entire life without realizing your mistakes. I’m sure people have noticed. One day, you were probably walking down the street, casually chatting with an old friend, and one of these words slipped out of your mouth. 

Breastfeeding and Following Jesus: uninviting “modesty” to the breastfeeding discussion by The Leaky Boob

Doesn’t she have any decency?  Fine, feed your baby in public without being shamed into the bathroom but, for gosh sake, have some self respect and exercise some modesty!  Your body is for your husband alone and you don’t want to share it with the whole world.  I mean, good grief, there are other women’s husbands out, teenage boys, perverts… they can’t help themselves!  Hormones render their ability to not objectify women with the slightest sight of skin or shape and in a mere moment they will be overcome by their sexual urges!  The collective low view of the males of our species is that they are nothing more than animals that lose all control at the sight of a human female mammary gland.  The scary female feeding her baby will entice them like the harlot on the street corner in Proverbs.  Run, run away before all the men stumble, jealous of the child feeding at his mother’s breast.  And some women even do that IN CHURCH!
Remember when God said: “Thou Shalt Be Modest When Feeding Your Baby”?
And then proceeded to define “modest” as “having a light blanket, breastfeeding apron, or use the bathroom to feed child.”
Yeah, me neither.

Quit Worrying About Your Savings Plan: Jesus by Anita Mathias

The standard financial advice is to keep 6 months salary in cash at all times, and to have 10 times your final salary in cash or stocks by the time you retire).
In other words, save enough to ensure that you can live without God, without needing to trust him, without needing to lean on his ingenious ideas, and without needing to see his miracles and deliverances. 

Called to Lead…Someday by Lane Severson

We consume these pictures of leadership and then we consider our own calling and ministry—or lack thereof. We get frustrated, angry, depressed. Why do I have these gifts but no place to use them? I know God made me to lead people out of bondage. Why am I stuck taking care of my father-in-law’s small business? Someone is to blame. If not me, then God. If not him, than me. The days are long working for your father-in-law. You have time to shift the blame back and forth. And there will be time tomorrow as well.
Young people who are called to lead tend to lack the perspective needed to see that this “wasted” time is not wasted at all. The formally anonymous advice columnist Cheryl Strayed (“Dear Sugar”) wrote: “The useless days will add up to something. The … waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God … these things are your becoming.”

Worth Reading Wednesday: On the Zimmerman trial, Trayvon Martin, and Race

I try not to write about topics that I know next to nothing about, and because there’s a lot I still have to learn about race relations in the USA and because I didn’t closely follow the trial, I have compiled a list of the following posts/articles I have read and found to be informative in various ways.  If you’ve read something good, add a link in the comments!

Privilege Says by Christena Cleveland

Privilege says the world’s problems would be solved if everybody were just like me.  Privilege says I’ll only listen to oppressed voices if they communicate in a way that’s easy for me to understand.

Based on my conversations with both blacks and whites, I’ve noticed a stark contrast in how the different groups tend to perceive these incidents. Blacks often perceive them as outrageously unjust, oppressive, critically important, and indicative of deep-rooted racial injustices in American society. On the other hand whites often perceive these incidents as relatively less important, as isolated events that aren’t necessarily related to larger societal issues, and/or the result of blacks engaging in “race-baiting” or “playing the race card.”

The Criminal Justice system is not good at moral evaluation. This piece by Andrew Cohen from today’s Atlantic makes the case brilliantly. When one considers the structure of the adversarial system, the limitations on evidence, and the difficulty of demonstrating clear intent on the part of the accused, it’s hard to make a clear case. Restorative Justice advocates like Howard Zehr observe that the victim (in this case Martin’s family) has little role in the criminal justice process. Their needs are irrelevant to the back-and-forth of the two teams of advocates (the defendant is also a curious bystander encouraged to show no reaction at all during months of trial). Victimizing the victim is a legitimate defense strategy used when the goal is to introduce reasonable doubt.

Unsafe in black and white America by Morgan Guyton

The third verse of “Sweet Home” always made me feel a little uncomfortable: “In Birmingham they love the governor / Now we all did what we could do.” What is that supposed to mean? Governor George Wallace? The one who stood up for segregation? What does it mean to say “we all did what we could do”? Were you part of the mob keeping the black kids out of the University of Alabama? How could a black person not feel unsafe hearing the words to that song with some understanding of their context?

A Humble Suggestions on How Not to Shoot Our Neighbors by Ed Cyzewski

When I prepared to move out of the area and the prison was slated to close, I should have been praying for Frank since he didn’t know where he’d end up, but he offered to pray for me first.
I’ll be the first person to tell you that my years of prison ministry didn’t correct all of my mistakes and misconceptions about people.

The Race Card of the Early Christians–What They Can Teach Us Today by Frank Viola and Derwin Gray

The church of Jesus Christ was a classless society. It’s members didn’t regard social status, color, or position. For them, there was no Jew or Greek in the body of Christ. There was no slave or free. There was no rich or poor. 

Woe to Those Who Make Unjust Laws by Sharon Hodde Miller

Ever since Trayvon Martin was killed, I have listened to my African American friends share similar stories. What I have learned is that my black brothers and sisters are experiencing America much differently than I am. On a daily basis, Americans of color witness the fear and prejudice that continues to attach itself to race. Whether it is overt racism, or subtler looks of suspicion and distrust, my African American friends are experiencing our society in a fundamentally different way.

A Look at the Outspoken Christian Faith of Trayvon Martin’s Mother

On the day Zimmerman was found not guilty, she tweeted, “Lord during my darkest hour I lean on you. You are all that I have. At the end of the day, GOD is still in control.”
No matter what your opinions are about the jury’s verdict, George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, the public faith of mother a who has lost her teenage son in a tragic shooting offers an example that speaks louder than debates about gun control, politics or the legal system. Her second to last tweet, the morning before the verdict was announced, read, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” …

Stand Your Ground by Jamie Calloway-Hanauer

While the NRA may believe that Holder “fails to understand” the fundamental human right to defend against an attacker, the NRA’s statement fails to recognize the Christian principle of turning the other check and responding non-violently, even in the face of violence. Of course, the NRA is not obligated to consider these principles. Christians, however, are.
Jesus taught us how to respond to violence. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
Juror B37 from the Zimmerman trial told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Martin was, in part, responsible for his own death. He should have, she said, run away. She also said she will be praying for those who can repeal the Florida stand your ground law that, in her words, required her to vote for Zimmerman’s acquittal. “My prayers are with all those who have the influence and power to modify the laws that left me with no verdict option other than ‘not guilty’ in order to remain within the instructions.”
In other words, both Zimmerman and Martin should have left the situation and avoided confrontation.

George Zimmerman and the Myth of Post-Racial America by Jonathan Merritt

Personally, I’m conflicted about the verdict. I don’t know if George Zimmerman was a racist. I don’t know if he started the fight or threw the first punch. I don’t know if this was a simple matter of self-defense or if the killer was made out to be the victim in an egregious failure of the justice system. Like everyone else, I only know what Zimmerman claims. The other side of the story is dead.
What I do know is that American’s reactions prove yet again that we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to racial reconciliation.

Worth Reading Wednesday: Spiritual Abuse

For this week’s edition of Worth Reading Wednesday, I want to call your attention to a synchroblog series that is being hosted by Hannah, Joy, and Shaney Irene in order to draw awareness to spiritual abuse.  Anyone is welcome to link up his or her story, as well as submit stories to Elora Nicole to be posted anonymously.

Introduction to the Week 

Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week Day 1
Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week Day 2
(Day 3 will be on Shaney Irene’s blog on March 22)

Ongoing:
Elora Nicole
Rachel Held Evans

Please read the stories.  If you have a story of your own to share, please share it.  The abusive experiences told here should not happen, and anyone can help to stop them, to prevent them, to educate, to help people heal.

Worth Reading Wednesday…on Thursday: the Sovereignty of God

For today–er–yesterday’s edition of “Worth Reading Wednesday”, I want to highlight a series that Ed Cyzewski did on the topic of God’s sovereignty.

We all wonder what elements of life that God does or does not control, what God chooses to do and what God allows us to choose to do.  Ed walks us through some of the issues and questions.

Did God Do That?  Announcing a New Series

Did God intend for me to write this blog post?  I’m not so sure about that, and that partially is what this new series is all about.  Christians have a habit of saying things like:

  • “It was all just God’s timing…”
  • “This is his plan, not mine…”
  • “It just wasn’t God’s will…”

While there are points in my life where I genuinely sensed that God was intervening in my life in order to lead me in a particular direction, there have been plenty of times when I’ve also figured that, simply by default, God must be up to something.

My question is this: what if we’re attributing the wrong things to God?

The other posts in the series are as follows:

Did God Do That?  Calvinism Is Not the Problem.
Did God Do That?  How Do We Pray and Make Decisions?
Did God Do That?  A God Who Controls the Future–Sometimes
Did God Do That?  Why Jesus Told Us to Pray
Did God Do That?  Why We Can’t Systematize God
Did God Do That?  Why It’s Hard to Write About God’s Sovereignty
Did God Do That?  When You Choose the Wrong Path
Did God Do That?  What I Didn’t Understand About God
Did God Do That?  How to Make Big Decisions With a Sovereign God

Worth Reading Wednesday: Introverts

To go along with my review of Susan Cain’s Quiet, I want to feature some other sources for introverts.  The first is Introverts in the Church, by Adam S. McHugh.  I have to admit, I haven’t read this book, yet, but it is on its way to me.  I have read a lot on his blog, Introverted Church, and just last night he announced on Twitter that he’d be blogging again!  The blog consists of many of his own posts, but also many guest posts by other introverts describing their experiences in church.  One of  my favorites was Aubry Smith’s guest post describing an “Introvert Fantasy Camp“.

Edited to add another great article:  The Quiet Pastor:  Affirming Different Personalities in Ministry

Are you introverted?  What resources have you found that have encouraged you to accept your introversion and use it positively in your daily life?

Do you think Jesus was an introvert or an extrovert?

Worth Reading Wednesday: Vocation

For today’s edition of “Worth Reading Wednesday”, I want to highlight a few posts on vocation by Caris Adel. Vocation is a topic I love, and I really liked the posts that she wrote.  This is a month-long, Monday, Wednesday, Friday series on her blog, so go there and check out the others! (I only highlighted three of them here).

Identity and Vocation, Defined
“What is identity?  What’s vocation?  Why are they important?  When you do figure out a definition, how does it affect your life? “

How Does Vocation Impact Our Places of Work?
If you have Christian music playing, and have verses scattered all over, but your main attraction is something that keeps people enslaved and oppressed, then what’s the point?  What are those verses up there for anyway? Shouldn’t Christians be informed and leading the way on Isaiah 58 issues? 

Being an Image of God

Which makes me think, what qualities does God have?
Love.  Peace.  Justice.  Mercy.  Grace.  Joy.  Patience.  Etc.
I envision this idea of bearing an image something like being a mirror.  Whenever we exhibit traits like these, we reflect God.  

Worth Reading Wednesday: Christian Education

Today’s “Worth Reading Wednesday” will focus on the topic of Christian Education.  I came across these two articles this week:

Why Churches Should Be Starting More Schools by Shane Raynor
“Nowadays we hear a lot about church planting. New churches are exciting, and they’re certainly needed. The more the merrier! But we also need more congregations that are interested in planting and subsidizing schools, especially in areas where the public schools are failing. It’s not fair to lower income kids to make them wait for their schools to be fixed, and we can’t afford to wait for politicians to see the light on school choice. Christians can act now and take the lead on fixing the education problems in this country. And we can do it by starting new schools.”

which was a response to Adam Hamilton’s Put God Back in Public Schools?
“In America our public schools are intended to be religiously neutral.  Our teachers and schools are neither to endorse nor to inhibit religion.  I believe this is a very good thing.  When my kids were growing up I wanted their teachers to teach them science, reading, math, and history.  I also wanted them to care about my kids.  But I did not want my children’s public school teachers teaching them religion.  That was my job as a parent, and the job of our church, Sunday school, and youth group.”

I think each article brings up some great points.  As someone who grew up going to public school but sends her children to Christian school, it’s a topic I like to think about.  I like that my son goes to school and hears about Jesus there.  Frankly, I find that I have a difficult time explaining things to children and I am glad there are people who are gifted to teach children.

I do know that one concern I have is having my children live in a Christian bubble.  But, I also like that idea of protection when they are young, and I like that faith is a part of all aspects of life, not just something for a couple of hours on Sunday.  To separate the sacred from the secular is, to me, to say that the Kingdom of God has a finite reach.

If we did create more Christian schools, and vouchers were used to attend, as the author of the first article suggests, how would admission be determined?  For example, there was an incident in Albuquerque, NM where a three year old was denied admission because the parents were gay.  While schools can each develop their own policies, how would they ensure that they are willing to let anyone use vouchers?

And, how can we be sure that students are allowed to, as Adam Hamilton writes, “bring their faith into the schools.  They are free to pray any time, provided they are not disruptive.  They are free to talk about their faith, provided they are not belligerent or hurtful to other students. ”  This is not always the case, as a friend-of-a-friend recently pointed out to me (story from 2005; story from 2010).

What are your thoughts on Christian Education?  Do you send your kids to private Christian schools or public schools?  What is your reason for doing so?  If you are a teacher, in what type of school do you teach and why?  

Worth Reading Wednesday

I probably need to start making note of how I find these things, if it is due to another blogger or someone on Twitter.  If you think I found it through you, then thank you for sharing it so I could pass it along!

you’re a pretty good speaker for a woman by Kathy Escobar
“a weird thing happened to me a few weeks ago. i was at the twins’ basketball game on a snowy december night, sitting by myself, when a vivid memory swooped in out of the blue from 7 years before.  it was when i was still on big-church-staff and we hosted a special winter event where several of us shared dreams for our different ministries to gain financial support for the church.  right afterward, an elder came up to me and said “wow, you’re a pretty good speaker for a woman.”

“you’re a pretty good speaker for a woman.””
Why This Matters by Kristin Lucas
The woman they are standing with is their youth worker from when they were kids. They brought her up on that stage, in front of 60,000 college students, to show the impact that one person can make in the lives of, well, 2 + 60,000 + …??… people. 
And the two men “in charge” brought up a woman—A WOMAN—and told everyone how deeply impactful she had been on them. Not because she was their mother or their sister or their aunt or their grandmother. But because her ministry as an adult leader in their lives was important. “
At 2:15 in the afternoon on March 28, 2010, Conor McBride, a tall, sandy-haired 19-year-old wearing jeans, a T-shirt and New Balance sneakers, walked into the Tallahassee Police Department and approached the desk in the main lobby. Gina Maddox, the officer on duty, noticed that he looked upset and asked him how she could help. “You need to arrest me,” McBride answered. “I just shot my fiancée in the head.” When Maddox, taken aback, didn’t respond right away, McBride added, “This is not a joke.”

Worth Reading Wednesday

I know I read some great stuff in the last few weeks, but did I save it to share with you?  Nope.  So I am going by memory and looking back to see what I tweeted recently (not much) and only have a short list for you.  Enjoy!

I Stopped Guarding My Heart Ten Years Ago by Emily Maynard
“Until I discovered that you can’t shut down part of your heart and not shut down all of it. You can’t block all the negative emotions and still have enough space for the positive ones. It’s impossible to have a life overflowing with love in all areas when your heart is blocked up with fear and shame.”

Isaiah 10 and the Fiscal Cliff by Morgan Guyton
“But God doesn’t have any respect for our individualist libertarian logic. God expects us to take care of our neighbors. People who are struggling have a right to be taken care of in God’s world. Now it is fair to ask what taking care of someone really means and to seek to avoid creating unhealthy dependencies, but this is a reason to make sure that we’re not making budget cuts that undermine having an adequate pool of social workers to manage poor clients so that decisions aren’t being made frantically by people who are overextended with enormous caseloads. Somebody has to stand up for the poor and make sure their legitimate needs aren’t sacrificed as part of a fiscal deal.”

When You Can’t Get Anything Done…Do One Thing by Time Management Ninja

“The other night I found myself unable to get anything done.
I was tired. Energy levels were low.
My mind just wanted to shut down for the day.
Yet, I had 2 hours of free time on my hands and a todo list a mile long.
I was having trouble getting motivated to do anything.”

A Checklist For Building Your Platform in 2013 by Phil Cooke
“If you’re a writer, producer, filmmaker, artist, pastor, business or nonprofit leader, politician, or whatever – take a few minutes right now to think about how you’re connecting with your social media followers, donors, general public, and customers. Here’s a few good places to start:”