Weekly Meanderings, May 18, 2013

Is Tiger as intimidating as he once was? Brandel Chamblee says perhaps even more so now: “I’ve listened to critics and even players say that Woods is not as intimidating as he once was, that his aura is gone. Please. No, he’s not the player he was, but he’s as imposing as ever. The numbers tell us so. From 2000 to 2002, when Tiger was his most dominant, his playing partners shot, on average, 71.77, or about a third of a stroke higher than the PGA Tour scoring average over that same period. His partners’ average score in the Post-Hydrant Era from 2010 to 2012? 71.71. Yes, that’s a few ticks better than their early-2000s tally, but given that the Tour scoring average over that same period improved to 71.08, you could make the case that Tiger’s partners today are in fact performing worse than they did during his prime.”

The coolest cave houses in the world.

George Whitefield to Benjamin Franklin on founding a school: “It is true you say, ‘The youth are to be taught some public religion, and the excellency of the Christian religion in particular;’ but methinks this is mentioned too late, and too soon passed over. As we are all creatures of a day, as our whole life is but one small point between two eternities, it is reasonable to suppose that the grand end of every Christian institution for forming tender minds should be to convince them of their natural depravity, of the means of recovering out of it, and of the necessity of preparing for the enjoyment of the Supreme Being in a future state. These are the grand points in which Christianity centers. Arts and sciences may be built on this, and serve to embellish the superstructure, but without this there cannot be any good foundation.”

25 splendid pictures of birds, including this little European (?) kingfisher.

Speaking of photos, here’s a photoessay on what happens to film sites in North Africa, including famous sites for Star Wars.

Science and prayer: “May 14, 2013 — Praying for a romantic partner or close friend can lead to more cooperative and forgiving behavior toward the partner, according to a new study co-authored by a Florida State University researcher.  The findings are significant because they are the first in which the partners who are the subject of the prayers reported a positive change in the behavior of the person who prayed, said Frank D. Fincham, scholar and director of the Florida State University Family Institute. “My previous research had shown that those who prayed for their partner reported more prosocial behavior toward their partner, but self-reports are subject to potential biased reporting,” Fincham said. “This set of studies is the very first to use objective indicators to show that prayer changed actual behavior, and that this behavior was apparent to the other partner, the subject of the prayer.” In addition, objective observers found those who engaged in partner-focused prayer exhibited more positive behavior toward their partners compared to those who did not pray for their partner.  The paper reports the results of five separate studies designed to find out whether partner-focused prayer shifted individuals toward cooperative behaviors and tendencies both over time and in the immediate aftermath of hurtful behavior. Among the findings:

•Participants who prayed more frequently for their partner were rated as less vengeful in discussing something the partner had done to upset or annoy them.

•The partners of participants who prayed for them noticed more forgiving behavior than the partners of participants who were assigned to set aside time each day to think positive thoughts about them.

•Participants assigned to pray following a partner’s hurtful behavior were more cooperative with their partners compared to participants assigned to engage in thinking about God.

•Participants who prayed for a close relationship partner on days in which conflict occurred reported higher levels of cooperative tendencies and forgiveness than on days when conflict occurred and they did not pray.”

Which events, after 70AD, were most influential on church history?

There is no one, and I mean no.one, like Craig Sager, and this is his wildest suit ever.

Angry with the pastor? By Wayne Cordeiro: “A friend of mine recently changed careers after being in pastoral ministry for nearly a decade. I asked him how his new job was going. “Really well,” he said. “These days, people get mad at me only once or twice a year. When I was in pastoral ministry, it seemed like someone was mad at me every other day.”

I understood. I can still see the parents of a teenager, in my office crying because their son was walking down the wrong path. They were desperate for help, expecting and even demanding that I intervene in their son’s life. “Why doesn’t this church offer a better youth group?” they screamed.

I remember an angry keyboardist, frustrated that our church’s worship team was not using him “to his full potential.” He expected a prominent role in the worship service, and his expectations were not being met. “I really think the worship here should better utilize people,” he said.

I can picture a man offering to donate computer equipment to the church “but only if it was going to be well used.” Another man gave $65,000 to the church but kept pulling on invisible strings, demanding that it be used as he directed. Three weeks later, after sleepless nights of wrestling with his demands and threats, I had our accountant write a check for $65,000, and I gave it back to the demanding donor.

These frontline stories of pastoral work are endless. How do we handle people’s expectations, learn to get over them or live with them, or even learn from them? There are times when we even sense that these expectations come from God. What do we do then?

The key is to learn to listen to God and to let our vision flow from there. This often involves developing some thick skin, while still keeping our sensitivity to the real pain and needs of people. Every effective leader must learn to live with the very people who frustrate them until they no longer do. When you become a leader, you can never again get angry in public. The challenge is to stay balanced when criticized, to avoid taking the criticism personally yet to avoid becoming calloused or cynical. We are called to a paradox of personalities: sensitive but not easily offended, empathetic but not weak, flexible and yet filled with convictions.”

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • pat

    Amazing bird pics..look like paintings.

  • philipmonroe

    The rooms for men at Jerusalem University College (formerly Institute of Holy Land Studies) are built into the bedrock so thaty the hallway is a cave. It surely was cool during hot days but the acoustics also meant that if someone snored at night (and they did!) it meant that everyone heard the echoing noise all night!

  • Ben Swihart

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