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Showing posts from July, 2016

Political Correctness and Offensiveness

Excellent article on the alternative to political correctness.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/july-web-only/wrong-way-to-fight-political-correctness.html

Every college student should read this, and I will have mine do so.

However, I think the origin of this debate is deeper than recent identity politics and goes back to Marcuse and the '60s.  

Response to Jerry Jenkins on Self-publishing, continued

A few things to add.  The self-publishing world appeals to our vanity.  It makes vanity publishing easier.  It appeals to people who don't want the input of editors and good readers, who aren't willing to get their work critiqued and altered, not understanding what good writing is.  When I hear that budding writers are using something like Tate or one of the other services and have paid over $1000, I do cringe, visibly. Self-publishing appeals to those who want to get it done fast without putting the time into what good writing takes, which can be years if you can't do it full time (and who can write full time?)

But it also appeals to authors who are traditionally published but are not sold on that model any longer, who know the business, know good writing, know the technology, have had their work vetted, have taken the time to do it right, and who know what they are getting into.

If an elderly person wants to write his/her memoirs for the family, self-publishing is great.…

Response to Jerry Jenkins on Self-Publishing

Jerry Jenkins, whom I respect in the publishing business (as if I my opinion mattered on the subject) wrote the following on his website.  I want to respond.


http://www.jerryjenkins.com/warning-self-publish/

As someone who has published both ways, I'm going to weigh in to get a discussion started, because I think this is very important. It's an excellent article, and he's a reliable source but does not tell every side of it. It's far more complicated.

 The struggles for self-publishers are three-fold. First, finding the right outlet/publisher who is not going to scam you. This is hard for most and takes a lot of self-education to navigate, and a great deal of tech savvy-ness in terms of the Internet and formatting manuscripts. CreateSpace and Smashwords can work for you but you have to know what you are doing. 

Second, guaranteeing quality work; it is true that most of what is self-published is mediocre at best, due to poor writing, editing, or just not good ideas. B…

Breakpoint from Colson Center/Prison Fellowship for July 26, 2016

I feel this needs to be rebroadcast.  Here it is.
When Chicken Little said the sky is falling, we all laughed. Well, maybe it’s time we stopped laughing.  
It seems Chicken Little may be on to something. My friend Rod Dreher is as sane and stable as anyone I know, and he’s saying, in essence, that the sky is falling. I reference his new article in The American Conservative, called “The Coming Christian Collapse.” He begins by saying that the two-thirds of millennials who were raised religiously unaffiliated still have no denominational identity today. Unlike previous generations, they’re not joining churches as they get older and raise kids. Second, Rod says, “Millennials, even those who identify as Christians, are shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches.” This growing biblical illiteracy has led to a moral decline of our young people into consumerism, drug abuse, sexual liberation, and civic and po…

Disturbing

First, the headline:  Terrorist uses nun as shield after killing priest.  Have we lost any ability to be outraged?

Second, the prosecutor has dismissed charges in the Freddie Gray case.  (I follow this because I grew up in Maryland, and the whole story is bizarre.)  There will be riots, sadly.  But who is rioting for Charles Kinsey?  For Tamir Rice?  Why are the riots for Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, only?

Third, this article on porn addiction in the U.S. and the church.  http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/julaug/porn-is-simultaneously-more-criticized-and-more-popular-tha.html
How can we deal with other problems when we can't even control what we watch on the Internet?

Randomness Revisited

I am saddened by the brutal slaying of a French priest by an ISIS terrorist.  It probably will not gain much traction on the media.  It's one person, an old man, a Christian servant.

These slaughters, and mass murders, have happened so frequently this summer that we have lost our ability to be appalled, sad, shocked.

The word that should never be used in connection to them, however, is random.  There is nothing random about these crimes. They were chosen, purposefully--the action and the victims.

Randomness implies toss of a coin.  Coins should be heads or tails relatively equally, unless they are "fixed" with weights or something to change the equality.  When human choice enters in, randomness leaves.

Human choice being what it is, evil will be more rampant and will seem random.  We speak of good and evil as disembodied spirits that hover around, as if Lucas' mythology in Star Wars were really a viable philosophical or real option.  Evil is expressed in human choice…

The big difference between conservatives and progressives in one sentence

Today I was listening to live broadcasting from the Democratic National Convention on NPR.  The favorablesness (sorry, not a word) of the broadcasters was palpable.  However, one operative was being interviewed and what he said capsulizes it all.

"What makes American great is not a piece of paper but that we are including more and more people."

I almost wrecked the car.

A piece of paper?  The constitution (and 230 some years of case law based on it) is a piece of paper?

Where does this person think the inclusiveness of the country comes from?

Where does he think his right to talk on the radio comes from?

If that is what the Democratic Party thinks about the constitution--it is a piece of a paper--well, that explains a lot.  Perhaps they hold to the constitution when it is convenient.

I also found it ironic that the Democrats keep talking about the next generation and our children.  Their platform is based on trying to keep children from being born in the first place.  They a…

There is a problem so let's just admit it

This is probably the best argument that racial profiling is real.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/13/politics/tim-scott-police-racial-profiling/

Not that I had any doubt.  The statistical information is pretty damning.

So the questions become:

How can police be trained to reserve stop-and-search to times it's legitimate?
How can each race start seeing people of other races as individuals and recognizing they don't all look alike (I mean, come on, people.  Get a good look at somebody and you'll see he/she doesn't  look really like anybody else, unless he/she has an identical twin.)
How can African American young men who get profiled learn to respond appropriately so that it doesn't turn tragic?
How can the police forces start screening out personalities that are going to snap?

I am particularly concerned about the incident with Charles Kinsey in North Miami.  Fortunately, he was not killed, but that hardly makes it much better when he was in the hospital with a gunshot i…

David Brainerd and Us

Our new pastor started his first sermon with the story of David Brainerd, not revealing the name of course until almost the end, leaving me to guess who he was talking about.I figured it out before the reveal because he mentioned Jonathan Edwards, one of my heroes despite my learning he owned at least one slave (although she was a house servant type of slave).Of course, I go to Brainerd Baptist Church, which was one of the reasons he was invoking David Brainerd.The church is not named after David Brainerd; it is named after the Brainerd area of Chattanooga, which is named after the Brainerd Mission (situated near Eastgate Town Center), which was named after David Brainerd by some of his devotees who came to East Tennessee to minister the gospel to native Americans.David Brainerd never made it here—too far south of course, no settlements during his life, and his life was cut short by illness.It was odd that after all these years I never made the connection of the church being named Bra…

Listening to God--or NOT

This morning I was assigned to teach I Samuel 3.  I was sort of, "Oh, brother," since this is a story often told to children in Sunday School.

I wanted to lead them in a meditation on listening to God, something sorely needed by me and I think others.  We talk plenty--whining to God, talking about God, etc.--but I'm not sure where we are at listening, since we have such cultural ADD.  I ended the lesson with a reference to Luke 10:30 and following, the story of Mary and Martha.  

Martha is just too busy to listen.It’s not lack of time.It’s what she thinks. I don’t know what was going through her head, just that she was troubled.But I can imagine. These are some of her thoughts, or maybe some of mine.
I don’t need to listen.I know it already.
I have more important things to do.These people need to be fed.
Who would do it otherwise?I am indispensable.
It will be ok with Jesus.This is who I am.  Mary is the lazy one. I need to tell Jesus to get her working.
I am the hardworker.I…

Bible Study Basics

I have three books ideas (other than fiction) and one of them is about how to study the Bible with a different approach than others (which are genre-based, which is important, or inductive, which is important also).  It will be more of a layman's or laywoman's approach to what one is actually doing in Bible study.

One of the basics is knowing the definition of four important words:


Revelation – God inspired (breathed in) men to write through their own personalities and cultures to deliver a message in text.This is not dictation.  The writers were literate and in some cases well educated and academically trained for their period.   God did not obliterate their "selves" while they wrote.  The Bible is accurate and truthful (two different things) in all it affirms.  But we don't always understand it right off "the bat."
Interpretation – deriving the meaning of the passage in the original writing, through language and cultural study, to find the the truth tha…

Email in the Real World: Top Ten "Don'ts"

Although I have been told that "this generation" doesn't want to "do email" in lieu of texting, we do a disservice when we allow their emailing to be texting in another medium.  We rarely do anyone a favor when we make excuses for their behavior.  Email is not going away, so we might as well do it right.

1.  Don't send an email when a conversation will do it better (confidentiality, too complicated, etc.)  You can spend a lot of time drafting an email that could take ten minutes to take care of with a walk across the building and short conversation.

2.  Don't send an email you don't want sent to or seen by others.  Email is forever and easily passed on.

3.  Don't forward an email unless you know the other person wants it forwarded (or wouldn't be bothered by it).

4.  Don't type in all capitals.  Some people still do this.

5. Don't forget the "Dear" or "Greeting."  It's just plain rude otherwise.

6.  Don't …

The Well--a 1951 movie about today

I rarely send anyone to YouTube, but because I watch films noir on it and because YouTube doesn't really now what a film noir is (it's any movie in black and white from the '40s and '50s, I think, for them). it recommended this movie from 1951: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmdLvV922BE

In light of the experiences of this week, it is incredibly prescient.  Yes, there is some free use of the "n" word (by whites), and it ends happy, and it's definitely from 1951, but it's really worth watching.  I felt like I was watching the news. 

"Are you Serious" department

I got a letter asking for a donation to the Donald Trump campaign.  Ha!

Set my phone on the car last night while doing some yard work.  Forgot about it.  Wonderful thunderstorm came up (I had prayed for rain!).  Remembered it too late.  Doing the Rice Treatment (does that really work?.  Back to pre-smart phone days.  Might be good for me. (postscript, I can use the mac for phone calls--yeah!)

Get to teach the book of Ruth tomorrow.  Doing some serious writing on my book on leadership in Daniel.  Painting my kitchen today.  Had lunch with a friend, an ovarian cancer survivor, yesterday.

In-law of in-law wants to take a trip to NYC with me to see a Broadway play.  We are talking $1200 or more.  Golly.

I am overblessed. 

A sense of priority, a sense of proportion

Yesterday I got a lovely photo of the little girl we sponsor through Compassion International.  I was so proud of it I posted it on Facebook with this, very honest, remark:

Compassion International allows people like us to make a difference in the lives of children like this little girl. For privacy I won't give her name but we are glad to sponsor her for just a little over a dollar a day. Legitimate research shows these programs do work to move children from poverty by providing educational resources, among other things. Compassion International is not the only one, but consider it! Not to preach, but if you buy expensive coffee every day, you would spend the same amount in less than two weeks on coffee than to sponsor a child.

So far I have gotten 16 likes and three comments.  

Last week I posted a photo of myself with a red clown nose (we threw a retirement carnival for the office admin assistant, who had been there 37 years--hard to believe).  I got 80 likes and 12…

Death and Life

What is the point of life when its destination is death? From a review of Diary of a Country Priest by Roger Ebert. (Very interesting French movie but not one to watch with popcorn) My message to the world is, “Let’s swing, sing, shout, make noise.Let’s not mimic death before our time comes!”Mel Brooks Let us eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. The farmer in Jesus’ parable There are two types of atheists.Those who act as if they will not answer to God, and those who act as they think God should.(Richard Wurmbrand). Rev. Wurmbrand is another of my heroes.  He is gone now.  I heard him speak twice when I was young (college age).  He gave an invitation in which he said, "In the U.S. the preachers always say 'Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one looking around.'  I say, every head up, everybody looking--stand up for Christ!"  He had earned the right to do that.  Years later when the wall fell, Romania saw revival, and I am sure he was part of it.  

Girls and Being Noticed

“I waited to be told what was good about me . . . All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you—the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.” (from Alyssa Wilkinson’s article in CT, quoting Emma Cline in THE GIRLS Maybe not that simple.Guys are not Neantherdals with no empathy or self-awareness.For every Brock Turner there are 100 “good guys” who would pull Brock Turner off the unconscious victim.I raised one and I have plenty of friends with “good guys” for sons.And there is plenty of research to show that while girls have been able to flourish in the education system, guys are left behind. But the truth remains that even today girls seem wired to “wait to be noticed” and even worse to gauge their worth on being noticed.I see it in myself.Let no one despise your woman-ness.Not your femininity, which has been conflated with domesticity (although essential housekeeping skills should be part of …

Iconoclasm

I recently learned that Jonathan Edwards owned some slaves.  That is quite disappointing to me, since he was one of my heroes.  I like to think he would have turned the tide and freed them and started to write seriously about slavery and equality of the races (which he supported in the revivals and churches) if he had lived longer.  He died at the age of 55, experimenting with the small pox vaccines of the time.  Maybe he could have intervened in his grandson's life and Alexander Hamilton would not have been killed by him.

It is similar to finding out how anti-Semitic Martin Luther got in his old age, after being rather open-minded for his time about Jews in his younger years.

If I could go back in time, I would go back and warn him not to write those things because it would ruin his legacy, hurt the church, and be used by an awful man to destroy his beloved Germany four hundred years later.

Actually, if I could go back in time I would try to stop 9/11, but I doubt anyone would be…

Faulty Statistics

Every day on the road to work I go under a sign that tells the latest death toll on the highways of Georgia.  At the rate we are going, 3.65 or more people die per day on Georgia roads.  Every day or so the number gets bigger.  The sign is supposed to be a warning to drive safely, but I don't know how useful it is.  It is  distraction, for one thing. 

It also relegates the pain of a death in an automobile accident (close to my heart since I was in a serious accident in January and was miraculously not at all hurt) to a number on a sign.  If one of those was my husband or child, I don't know how I would feel about it.  However, I do not doubt the number.  I trust to be right, although I am not sure why.

We are told many numbers over and over again, and like Hitler's Big Lie, I sometimes think we are being told these numbers so that we will become convinced they are absolute truth and not question them, even though our initial reaction should be to say "what?".

Th…

Samson

Our LifeWay lesson for Bible Study today was Samson.  I have to ask why?  and then say I am thankful I get to teach on Ruth next week, the exact opposite.  My colleague taught on Samson today and did well, better than I would have because I would have just said I see no reason to study Samson.  Yet - the book of Hebrews does put him in the hall of faith.  The Book of Judges does give him a lot of space.  So I do't get to call the importance of any part of the Bible.

Samson, however, is a "hot mess."  Along with being a "brat," as my husband says, he simply had no sense of what is holy and did not take anything holy seriously.  And something does not have to be part of a worship service to be holy.  He did not take his marriages as holy, his parents, his actions, his vows, his background.  Everything was subsumed to his immediate desire and pleasure.  He had spiritual ADHD. 

I doubt he is alone.

Womanness

To paraphrase, Paul in I Timothy, I say to ladies:Let no one despise thy womanness. I fear a lot of us women spend a lot of time despise our womanness and letting others do so.We consider ourselves unworthy because of our DNA, our sex, our body parts, what makes us able to bear children.We buy the lies that we are too emotional to think clearly, that we do not deserve leadership and respect, that men are just better at everything. When I say womanness, I don’t mean femininity.That is a consumerist concept based on how many shoes we have in the closet and if we wear pink.If we watch “Say Yes to the Dress.”When Sarah Edwards (Jonathan Edwards’ wife) got married, she wore a green gown.You, go girl.Not that I am encouraging masculinity or crudeness in women, (we have enough of that) only that those are not what makes us women. Embrace your womanness and understand what it means—and what it doesn’t.And that’s not a simple question.

The Freshman 15

On my trip we stayed in the UCLA dormitories (one called Sunset Village) and ate in one of the Commons.  The choice and quality of food was amazing.  I know this is UCLA, but I have a feeling this is not atypical of food choices for college students.  No wonder they gain weight in the first year!  I had to skip dinner to even myself out, calorie wise.  One morning I had an omelet, oatmeal, juice, coffee, and muffins.  Who does that?  Normally I have coffee and toast or a bowl of cereal.

The South is known for obesity,  and that is legitimate, but I saw plenty of heavy people, especially young people, out there too.


Home from the Hills

Image
Make that the Hollywood Hills.  I spent six days in California last week, attending the High Impact Institute at UCLA sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (NOT the American Association of Colleges and Universities, which some like to call it). It was quite an experience, quite a "stretcher," and I finally got to see the city that media has been showing me all my life.  I was able to connect with two former students and had a wonderful time with them.

The climate is just too dry for me.  Everyone raved about the lack of humidity, but I like rain, I like trees.  How does anyone have a vegetable garden out there? 

But here to prove it (and to add photos to this blog, which needs it).