Saturday, March 29, 2014

All Around the Web - March 29, 2014

The Atlantic - The Overprotected Kid
A trio of boys tramps along the length of a wooden fence, back and forth, shouting like carnival barkers. “The Land! It opens in half an hour.” Down a path and across a grassy square, 5-year-old Dylan can hear them through the window of his nana’s front room. He tries to figure out what half an hour is and whether he can wait that long. When the heavy gate finally swings open, Dylan, the boys, and about a dozen other children race directly to their favorite spots, although it’s hard to see how they navigate so expertly amid the chaos. “Is this a junkyard?” asks my 5-year-old son, Gideon, who has come with me to visit. “Not exactly,” I tell him, although it’s inspired by one. The Land is a playground that takes up nearly an acre at the far end of a quiet housing development in North Wales. It’s only two years old but has no marks of newness and could just as well have been here for decades. The ground is muddy in spots and, at one end, slopes down steeply to a creek where a big, faded plastic boat that most people would have thrown away is wedged into the bank. The center of the playground is dominated by a high pile of tires that is growing ever smaller as a redheaded girl and her friend roll them down the hill and into the creek. “Why are you rolling tires into the water?” my son asks. “Because we are,” the girl replies.

It’s still morning, but someone has already started a fire in the tin drum in the corner, perhaps because it’s late fall and wet-cold, or more likely because the kids here love to start fires. Three boys lounge in the only unbroken chairs around it; they are the oldest ones here, so no one complains. One of them turns on the radio—Shaggy is playing (Honey came in and she caught me red-handed, creeping with the girl next door)—as the others feel in their pockets to make sure the candy bars and soda cans are still there. Nearby, a couple of boys are doing mad flips on a stack of filthy mattresses, which makes a fine trampoline. At the other end of the playground, a dozen or so of the younger kids dart in and out of large structures made up of wooden pallets stacked on top of one another. Occasionally a group knocks down a few pallets—just for the fun of it, or to build some new kind of slide or fort or unnamed structure. Come tomorrow and the Land might have a whole new topography.

Other than some walls lit up with graffiti, there are no bright colors, or anything else that belongs to the usual playground landscape: no shiny metal slide topped by a red steering wheel or a tic-tac-toe board; no yellow seesaw with a central ballast to make sure no one falls off; no rubber bucket swing for babies. There is, however, a frayed rope swing that carries you over the creek and deposits you on the other side, if you can make it that far (otherwise it deposits you in the creek). The actual children’s toys (a tiny stuffed elephant, a soiled Winnie the Pooh) are ignored, one facedown in the mud, the other sitting behind a green plastic chair. On this day, the kids seem excited by a walker that was donated by one of the elderly neighbors and is repurposed, at different moments, as a scooter, a jail cell, and a gymnastics bar.

Trevin Wax - Pastors, Preach the WHY Before the WHAT
The first pastor focuses on what the church is doing or should be doing. If there’s a need, you start a program. You find volunteers to run the program, and then you find more volunteers to replace the first ones.

We need nursery workers! Sign up in the lobby.

We need homes for students to stay in during the Disciple Now coming up. Call the student minister for more details. 

We are having Discipleship classes on Wednesday nights. Put your name on a form for us to know which one you’re going to.

This pastor focuses on what is going on. Information is what the people need. You assume that when church members hear about the needs or opportunities, they will sign up, volunteer, or attend.
When this doesn’t work, the pastor ramps up the energy, throwing in a few more tactics and a sense of urgency to sway people’s behavior.

We are in such dire need of nursery workers that we might have to turn people away! Sign up now. If you’ve got a kid in the nursery, your name should be on the list.

We are still in need of homes for people to stay during Disciple Now. It would be a shame to put these kids up in a hotel, wouldn’t it?

Attendance is down on Wednesday nights. We’ve got some more interesting studies than usual this time around, so hope to see you there!

These tactics work. That’s why we rely on them again and again. But, over time, we notice there seems to be a diminishing return.

Mark Driscoll - Noah Was Not a Righteous Man
The most common way Christians butcher the story of Noah is by misreading what the Bible actually says. The story is wrongly told that there were a bunch of bad guys who drowned and one good guy who got a boat. The moral of the story is that if you are a good guy then God will save you from death and wrath.

The problem?

This is not the gospel.

This is just good old-fashioned works. “Be a good person and you can get saved, otherwise you can just die.”

The Gospel Coalition - If All Religions Are True, Then God Is Cruel
If Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and all the other world religions are true paths to God, then why did God kill his Son, Jesus, in order to make a way for men to come to him? The very notion is absurd and insulting to God. It paints a portrait of a God who is just plain cruel. He sent Jesus into the world to live a miserable life of scorn, rejection, poverty, betrayal, humiliation, sorrow, and ultimately, torture and death, in order to create a path whereby men can come to know him. Yet all the while he knew that following the Five Pillars of Islam or the Noble Eight-fold Path could accomplish the same thing. What a waste! Jesus' life—God's plan of salvation— is completely in vain, for the same result could be achieved by simply adhering to the tenets of any world religion. God is not only cruel but also incompetent for putting into effect the worst salvation plan possible.

But God is not cruel. He is not incompetent. He would not kill his Son needlessly. He would not put into effect a ridiculous or cruel salvation plan for mankind. Hence, religious pluralism cannot be true. This argument does not show Christianity to be true, but it does show that not all religions can be true, for if they were, then God would not be a God of love.

Washington Post - Atheist ‘Noah’ director brags film is least biblical Bible movie ever
Note to Christians and those who believe the Bible: The producer of the movie “Noah,” a self-professed atheist, says he is proud of the fact that he’s taken a story inspired by God’s word and turned it into something so secular.

Director Darren Aronofsky called his movie “the least biblical biblical film ever made,” The Telegraph reported. He also claimed his leading character, Noah, was the “first environmentalist,” something that suggests the movie storyline doesn’t exactly follow the Bible’s.

And something else the suggests a serious divergence from the biblical account: Not once during the movie is the name “God” spoken, an early reviewer found, The Telegraph reported.

Christian groups have raised such an outcry that Paramount, the studio that’s put out the film, has issued an explanatory statement.

It reads, in part: The film is “inspired by the story of Noah” but at the same time, “artistic license has been taken.” The statement also gives this helpful advice: “The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”

This explains so much about America.






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