Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Post Has Been Deleted By the Author

I have deleted this post because someone I trust felt it was bordering on gossip -- I wrote about people who could be identified by the details I provided without letting them know I was discussing them.

Though it was not my intent to gossip, but rather to encourage open discussion that might eliminate some gossip, I do not want to be uncharitable in any way, and I apologize for any harm I have caused with my words. Please, if I have offended you personally, talk to me about it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christian Carnival #285


I spent much of last week proofreading a new website for American Missionary Fellowship, a nondenominational mission that sends me most of my freelance work. AMF has missionaries doing all kinds of ministry in rural and urban communities across the United States, and in honor of the mission, I am making an attempt to categorize this carnival’s posts into the EDC model AMF missionaries use: Evangelism, Discipleship, and Congregation. (Thanks for indulging me in this plug for AMF – and please consider their site my blog’s submission for the week. It’s not exactly a blog post, but it does have a Christian blog!) Because evangelism, discipleship, and congregation are closely related, a few posts could fit – at least loosely – in two or three categories, so I chose the one that seemed the most appropriate.


Evangelism (posts about how the church and individual Christians relate to people who don’t share our faith)

In “Talking Back Softly to an Angry World” posted at In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being, NCSue urges us to begin talking civilly to (and about) those with differing viewpoints.

Rick Schiano outlines spiritual benefits of being a Christian in "Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Be a Christian” at Ricks Victory Blog.

At Parableman, Jeremy Pierce focuses on the politics of the intelligent design debate in “Francis Collins and Intelligent Design.” He writes, “President Obama has appointed Francis Collins as the head of the NIH. Collins has a complex view on intelligent design that people on both sides of the issue are probably going to misrepresent.”

In his sermon notes from “The Mission of God: Part 2,” Matt Rawlings (blogging at Pastor Matt) encourages us to pray for and minister to sinners because, though it makes little sense to us, God loved the Ninevites.

Henry Neufeld suggests atheists might not be too foolish in believing there is no God when they observe the behavior of Christians today. With his post, “Do We Live What We Believe” at Threads from Henry’s Web, he asks us to consider, “Do we live what we believe? If not, do we really believe it?”


Discipleship (posts about the teachings of Scripture and how we as Christians become more Christlike)

Adam Brown discusses the integration of faith and vocation in “God and Business, Work and Faith” at Faithology Now. He writes, “Work wants you to leave your faith at the door before entering. Some would argue that this means to vacate soul from body, to be a mindless working stiff of an empty self. To make matters worse, in most cases your church seemingly doesn't value your vocation and would rather care more about your weekly tithe over your workmanship. But are we really forced to submit to such a plight of a working life?” Adam also submitted a post on the church’s impact on society, but you’ll have to visit his blog to read it.

Weekend Fisher reconsiders theodicy -- the argument about God's goodness -- in this week's entry from Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength, “Theodicy: Why It’s Like Bringing a Knife to a Gun Fight.”

At Brain Cramps for God, John Howell points to the Holy Spirit in answering the question, “How Do Followers of Christ Know What To Follow?”

Christian Personal Finance offers insight into how we can bear more spiritual fruit in “5 Lessons from the Garden about Fruit Bearing.”

Greg Chaney from The Practical CHRISTian considers a rarely discussed third category of sins, “Sins of Attrition.” These he defines as “any activity that causes a slow drift away from our relationship with God.” He further explains, “Sometimes seemingly harmless activities over a lifetime lead us to a point we are separated from God and don’t even recognize it until it’s too late.”

Free Money Finance cites statistics on individual Christians’ beliefs about giving (what percentage believe in tithing on gross income vs. net income, for example) in “What Christians Believe about Giving.”

The study on the Beatitudes at Bible SEO (Bible Study Lessons Inductive Bible Studies Printable Bible Study Guide) continues with part five, “Blessed Are the Merciful.”
Jody Neufeld of Jody’s Devotionals offers us “Prayer Choices,” asking, “Do you make the choice to pray under all circumstances?”

In her meditation on “Psalm 139:23-24,”Micey from Thoughts and Confessions of a Girl Who Loves Jesus discusses the arduous process of applying to be a missionary with Pioneers Mission Organization.


Congregation (posts about how Christians relate to each other)

Meet the newest blog team member at Who Am I? in Barry Wallace’s “Interview with incoming SBTS seminarian Isaac Johnson.”

Any Minute – Book Talk” offers a teaser on Any Minute by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford. Join the discussion of this novel at Christian Kindred, where Mel Turley asks, “Ever seek approval from your family or from a group of people where you wanted to be loved and accepted? So did Sarah Harper in Joyce Meyer's new fiction book, Any Minute. Find out if you relate to Sarah, and read more about her in this book talk.”

In “From My Youth. . .” at Child of Grace, Louise discusses the beauty of the simple testimonies of those who have been steady in the faith since childhood.


Next week’s carnival will be at Thoughts and Confessions of a Girl Who Loves Jesus. Enter your best post for the week (today through next Tuesday) here. Join the carnival’s Google group to get notices when new carnivals are posted.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dork or Snob?

My mother and I had a rather adolescent disagreement yesterday. She said it would be better to be called a “snob” than a “dork”; I disagreed.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “snob” as “1One who tends to patronize, rebuff, or ignore people regarded as social inferiors and imitate, admire, or seek association with people regarded as social superiors. 2One who affects an offensive air of self-satisfied superiority in matters of taste or intellect.” The attitude of a snob is contrary to the Christian command to love others and consider them more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3).

On the other hand, a dork, defined as “A stupid, inept, or foolish person,” might actually be considered a compliment. (I’ll ignore the other definition, of which I was unaware until I looked it up.) I Corinthians 1:18-31 suggests that being seen as foolish puts you in good company. (“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . .”)

I’d rather be a dork than a snob. What about you?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Self-Interested Self-Denial

The entrance to our local library has a flyer posted: “Do something special for yourself. Join our Christian book discussion group.” While I am thrilled to be living in the kind of neighborhood that has a Christian book discussion group meeting in a public library, the advertising approach struck me as odd. Our culture is so saturated with self-centeredness that even a group that gathers to discuss a faith that requires self-denial appeals to self-centeredness to gain members.

Yes, there usually is some self-interest even in faith-centered activities. I might pray, study the Bible, or get involved in ministry out of obedience to God, but these activities still benefit me. Getting to know my Lord better is doing something special for myself. But motives are tricky things. When I follow Christ, I benefit, but if I follow Christ because I benefit, I am doing it for the wrong reasons.