Monday, September 16, 2013

All Around the Web - September 16, 2013

Christianity Today - How the Seeker-Sensitive, Consumer Church Is Failing a Generation

Being aware of those who come through the doors of any organization is a good thing. I have walked out of many services without a single person engaging with me. However, many churches gradually, and perhaps unwittingly, transitioned from being appropriately sensitive to the needs of their congregants to becoming–if you'll permit some pop-psychologizing–co-dependent with them.

What does co-dependence look like within a church? Avoiding sections of Scripture out of fear that certain power pockets will be offended. Believing that repeat attendance depends primarily upon the staff's seamless execution of Sunday morning–rather than the manifest presence of God. Eliminating doleful songs from the worship repertoire because they might contradict the through line that "following Jesus is all gain."

Jesus was neither a co-dependent nor a businessman. He unashamedly loved those on the margins and revealed himself to all who were searching. He seemed quite indifferent about whether or not he disappointed the power brokers. Additionally, Jesus understood that the irreducible gospel message—that we are all sinners in need of being saved—was, and always will be, offensive. No brilliant marketing campaign could ever repackage it.


The Gospel Coalition - Challenge Your Youth

What does this transformation look like?

1. Build your student ministry and your parenting on the gospel. Show them, as Tim Keller observes, that the gospel isn't merely the ABC of salvation but the A to Z of Christianity. A missional vision that doesn't arise out of response to the gospel leads to legalistic activism, not biblically driven ministry.

2. Involve them in the mission locally. We've tried to help our own children, now grown and married, to see how this mission looks through simple things—from how we engage our next-door neighbors to how we treat servers at restaurants.

3. Don't keep them in the dark about the mission globally. One of my mantras is, "Get your children out of the country before they finish high school." By the time our daughter Hannah was 18, she'd been on mission trips to four continents. Our son Josh has traveled to three continents and done mission work in several major U.S. cities. These trips help teenagers see that the gospel isn't just their parents' home-brewed superstition; it's true and worthy of proclamation to everyone, everywhere.

4. Demonstrate missional lives. Let them see you living missionally while you teach them how to do so. Discipleship is usually more caught than taught.

5. Believe in them. Youth need three things: a vision for their lives as big as the gospel, encouragement to live radically for Jesus Christ now, and the permission to do so.


The Resurgence - What I wish I’d known about goofy youth ministry and performance preaching

“Adam, what you build it on, you will have to maintain it on. Build it on what matters.”
These simple words simultaneously rattled and refreshed my ministry paradigm. Less than a year into pioneering a student ministry, I had sat down for lunch with a more seasoned student pastor who gave me the best advice I had heard in my short ministry lifetime.

 In an effort to be attractive or cool, many student pastors in their early years (like me) can start building their student ministry on the shaky foundation of hype, lights, goofy games, and preaching that is 90% entertainment and 10% Bible. Instead of empowering young people to live as missionaries, these kinds of ministries usually end up entertaining consumers who fade away with the last song of their senior prom night


LifeNews - Obama Agreed With Mandating Sex Ed Classes for Kindergarten Students

Last week, the Chicago public school system caused a furor by announcing that it thought little boys and girls in kindergarten are ready for sex ed classes. it turns  out President Barack Obama, before he became president, agreed.

As LifeNews reported, the Chicago public school system added to its curriculum this year mandatory sexual and health education for kindergarten classes. The new policy calls for 300 minutes of instruction or about 30 minutes a month.

But, as CNS News reports, Obama, in 2007, embraced the idea.


Yahoo Movies - 13 things you might not know about Tolkien

9. Actor Christopher Lee, who played Saruman in the films, was the only person in the cast to have actually met Tolkien in person.

10. Although named John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, he was known as Ronald to his family and early friends. The name Reuel has been passed down through the Tolkien family from his father to his own children and grandchildren.

11. Tolkien had a love of languages mastering Latin, Greek, Gothic, Welsh and Finnish. As a boy he used to make up languages just for fun. He explained that his work was ‘fundamentally linguistic in inspiration’. The stories were created to provide a world for the languages. He admitted he would have preferred to write in Elvish – the language of elves.


12. Fans used to call Tolkien’s home at all hours of the day and night to demand answers to questions such as did Balrogs have wings? This prompted him to change address and go ex-directory. Incidentally although Tolkien didn’t clarify in his books if they did indeed have wings, they appear as large winged-monsters in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations.


Slate - The Gender Wage Gap Lie

How many times have you heard that “women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men”? Barack Obama said it during his last campaign. Women’s groups say it every April 9, which is Equal Pay Day. In preparation for Labor Day, a group protesting outside Macy’s this week repeated it, too, holding up signs and sending out press releases saying “women make $.77 to every dollar men make on the job.” I’ve heard the line enough times that I feel the need to set the record straight: It’s not true.

The official Bureau of Labor Department statistics show that the median earnings of full-time female workers is 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But that is very different than “77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.” The latter gives the impression that a man and a woman standing next to each other doing the same job for the same number of hours get paid different salaries. That’s not at all the case. “Full time” officially means 35 hours, but men work more hours than women. That’s the first problem: We could be comparing men working 40 hours to women working 35.

How to get a more accurate measure? First, instead of comparing annual wages, start by comparing average weekly wages. This is considered a slightly more accurate measure because it eliminates variables like time off during the year or annual bonuses (and yes, men get higher bonuses, but let’s shelve that for a moment in our quest for a pure wage gap number). By this measure, women earn 81 percent of what men earn, although it varies widely by race. African-American women, for example, earn 94 percent of what African-American men earn in a typical week. Then, when you restrict the comparison to men and women working 40 hours a week, the gap narrows to 87 percent
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