Saturday, February 8, 2014

All Around the Web - February 8, 2014

John Stonestreet - The Truth about Missionaries
Even many supporters of so-called “native missionaries” in Asia, Africa, and Latin America suggest that Western missionaries should just “stay home” and “let the nationals do it.” But a funny thing happened on the way to missionary irrelevance: Ground-breaking, peer-reviewed research reveals that the presence of Protestant missionaries is the greatest predictor of whether a nation develops into a stable representative democracy with robust levels of literacy, political freedom, and women’s rights.

Yes, you heard that right, and you can read all about it in a fascinating and important cover story in the latest issue of Christianity Today. It describes the painstaking work of Robert Woodberry, whose work on the global spread of democracy has turned scholarship on its head.

Woodberry discovered that you can trace a direct link between the presence of 19th-century Protestant missionaries and a country’s economic and social development.

Why, for instance, does a seminary in the West African nation of Togo have almost no books for its students, while in neighboring Ghana the schools are full of reading material, including much that is written locally? As summarized by CT author Andrea Palpant Dilley, “British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries.”

Faith and Theology10 Rules for Preaching on the Parables
Rule #1: Don't assume that God is necessarily one of the characters in the parable.

Rule #2: Don't assume that the parable is trying to tell you how to improve your life.

Rule #3: Don't assume that you're the goodie in the story (and that other people are the baddies).

Rule #4: If you can explain the whole parable without mentioning the words "kingdom of God," you're probably doing it wrong.

Rule #5: If it ends up having anything to do with going to heaven when we die, you're probably doing it wrong

Rule #6: If Jesus seems more like a headmaster giving orders than like a comedian cracking jokes, you're probably doing it wrong.

Rule #7: If you feel perfectly confident and untroubled while expounding the parable, you're probably doing it wrong.

Rule #8: If your sermon on the parable leaves people with nothing to look forward to and nothing to hope for, you're probably doing it wrong.

Rule #9: Now go back and repeat Rule 3 (because every preacher forgets this at least once in every sermon).

Rule #10: Finally, if you've preached a lousy sermon, just remember: as long as the parable was read aloud before you started, it won't be a total loss.

Pastors Today - 5 Common Preaching Mistakes You Could Be Making
1. Not Checking Your Facts
2. Preaching Too many Points
3. Confusing Transitions
4. Abstract ideas Without Concrete Examples 5. Christian Words Without Explanation

Trevin Wax - 4 Things a Pastor Should Consider Before Engaging Social Media
1. Engaging in social media is speaking the language of the culture you want to reach.
2. Your social media presence may become the front door of your church.
3. The immediacy of social media is dangerous.
4. Social media takes time and attention.

Daily Beast - No, Women Don’t Make Less Money Than Men
It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die—and president deployed it during the State of the Union—but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.

President Obama repeated the spurious gender wage gap statistic in his State of the Union address. “Today,” he said, “women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.”

What is wrong and embarrassing is the President of the United States reciting a massively discredited factoid. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers. In its fact-checking column on the State of the Union, the Washington Post included the president’s mention of the wage gap in its list of dubious claims. “There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women… make it difficult to make simple comparisons.”

A Conference Call in Real Life

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