Weekly Meanderings

Jeff K. Clarke: “That message sounds very different from the de-storified, don’t-go-to-hell, ask-Jesus-into-your-heart-message that has permeated much of Western Evangelicalism. Maybe we need to re-capture Jesus’ discipleship message if we truly desire people (and ourselves) to follow him along the path of discipleship. Maybe we need to begin creating a gospel culture of discipleship that sets people up for a lifetime of loving devotion to Christ and his church, rather than a short-lived, saved-from-our-sins, get-out-of-hell-free-card, system of salvation. Maybe we need to re-consider the cost.”

Josh Graves sketches a young pastor’s fresh theology thinking about funerals. “The Christian funeral is a sacred moment when people of faith (because all people are technically people of some sort of faith) come together to make sense of their lives, God, and perhaps what remains beyond death (all that we can’t leave behind). Some practical theological observations for the minister and leader serving the role of pastor or officiate. Jonathan asked me to frame the theology, so I’ll refrain from chasing other paths.”

Many of you know about the Jesus Creed project, which stands and falls with our daily recitation of the Jesus Creed, and some of you have written stories how that simply formative action has helped you in your journey. This is that kind of story from Ted. “Although I’ve found this practice helpful most every day, or at least many days, yesterday was kind of revelatory to me, as I found out that this love from God through Jesus by the Spirit is what helps us love God in return as well as loving others. Something I knew in my head and somewhat in my experience, but became especially palpable and real yesterday.”

Casey Tygrett asks a great question about election and debates: “Does anyone else see something wrong with a debate format where the winner and the loser are both lying (opposite of truth telling) and the prize for winning is leadership of a country and the “hope” of a people for the future?”

Roger Olson’s personal confession of faith.

Wow, this is a lot of stuff… but Michael Hyatt has collected everything for communicating and its business.

Meanderings in the News

Scott Dodd suggests it was not the mile-high air but the President’s introversion: “Misunderstandings between introverts and the extroverts who love them can even be hard on marriages. In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama describes the adjustments that he and Michelle went through early in their life together. In addition to leaving the butter out after breakfast and forgetting to “twist the little tie around the bread bag,” the future president liked time alone to work and think—to the point that he left his new wife feeling neglected. Obama would “often spend the evening holed up in my office in the back of our railroad apartment; what I considered normal often left Michelle feeling lonely.”Accounts like that are what lead journalists and armchair psychologists to speculate on Obama’s introversion. Michael Lewis’ recent Vanity Fair profile of the president, while largely flattering, also helped paint a picture of an introvert hurting from his loss of privacy. (Obama enjoys being in the Oval Office on the weekends, for instance, when his aides aren’t there.) Wednesday night’s lackluster debate performance added to the impression that the president’s personality may get in the way of his political prowess. “Obama behaved like an introvert, and he got steamrolled by the extroverted energy of Mitt Romney,” writes Sophia Dembling, whose book The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World is due out in December.”

This chart at Slate on presidential election gaffes and wounds etc is interesting.

New book for introverts: “Introverts certainly are having a moment — Susan Cain’s Quiet landed on the New York Times Bestseller List as soon as it came out in January 2012 — and it’s about time.  The Introvert’s Way by Psych Central’s own Sophia Dembling continues this trend.  Unlike Quiet, it not only provides scientific and cultural background but also practical tips and a thorough-note of complete understanding of the introvert’s nature.  An introvert myself, I have never read a book that I have so truly felt myself in.  This is a tribute to Ms. Dembling’s writing as well as to relief that introversion is slowly becoming recognized as something other than a personality flaw. The Introvert’s Way begins with a summary of our current state—America is a “nation of extroverts (p. 2).”  The volume is turned up, everything is public, and we are told that the more outgoing and social you are, the better.  Open cubicles are the most popular work environment, and kids who like to read alone concern their teachers.  Ms. Dembling examines how these views came to be through a review of scientific literature and theories of introversion.  Sigmund Freud considered it pathological (something to do with sexual repression, of course), and Carl Jung posited that it was negative psychic energy flow.”

Yet more on the New Dorp proposal for education.

Eric C. Sinoway: “In my upcoming book, Howard’s Gift: Uncommon Wisdom to Inspire Your Life’s Work, Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson and I coin a phrase called “cheating at solitaire” to describe the all-too-common occurrence of men and women telling themselves that they have the skills they wished they possessed to achieve certain professional goals — as opposed to objectively considering whether they actually do or do not. The hard reality is most of us have few areas in which we really, truly excel. The key, Howard and I argue, is to identify those areas — and then to search for professional opportunities where our strongest capacities are most often needed and utilized. The earlier in your career that you identify these, the easier it is for you to take control over your own professional trajectory.”

The bin Laden training center pictures.

What I want to know is those tasteless sorts that are picked too soon have the same chemical properties that prevent strokes: “A study of 1,031 men, published in the journal Neurology, showed those with the most lycopene in their bloodstream were the least likely to have a stroke.”

An eschatology that has taken roots — and new life: Darby, though dead, yet speaketh!: “JERUSALEM — If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America’s two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City. Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door. The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city. Their presence not only offers boasting rights with American viewers and contributors, but also — and more controversially — a platform for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews in Israel.”

Growing the brain, learning languages.


Pat Neshek’s grief.

Pete Rose, a revealing article.

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  • Joe Canner

    Interesting article on Christian TV networks in Jerusalem, but I have a quibble, Scot, with your lead-in. JN Darby may have been the inspiration for modern Christian Zionism, but I doubt that Darby himself would have had much sympathy for them. I grew up Plymouth Brethren and still have many contacts there and I have never heard anything there like what folks like TBN, CBN, and other Christian Zionists have to say about support for Israel and being prepared for a Mt. Zion rapture.

  • scotmcknight

    Joe, that’s a fair and important pushback… I was thinking of his influence in a certain kind of dispensational eschatology. That’s all.

  • Scot, I have come to a similar insight with Ted — and have realized that Jesus new command, that we love one another as Jesus has loved us, moved to the forefront … yes, ahead of the Jesus Creed. It is something that is often missing — the receiving of God’s love as the source of our ability to truly love God and others.

    So many of the moves Jesus made were so subtle … making the transition from Judaism to Kingdom living. There are plenty of folks who don’t get subtleties — in Jesus day and in ours!

  • Christine

    Man, folks are digging deep for excuses for Obama if they’re now saying he didn’t do well at the debate ’cause he’s an introvert. C’mon. No more excuses. He was an introvert four years ago and conducted himself as someone who seemed to want the job. At the debate, he couldn’t even defend his own policies. He was lackluster. He appeared not to care at all. We don’t need to find excuses for him or do Big Bird rebuttal commercials. So what if he’s an introvert? No one raised that as the reason his reputation is that of a great orator. Bottom line: he did a lousy job at the debate. If he doesn’t care enough to ‘show up,’ why should we care or make excuses for him?