friendship

For My Kids on the Occasion of My 40th Birthday

For My Kids on the Occasion of My 40th Birthday

Tomorrow I turn 40. Lord willing, I’m about halfway done with this marathon we call life.

God has been so gracious to me. I have a godly wife who makes me laugh every day and two teenage children who grow daily in faith and wisdom. 25 and 27 years from now Camille and Soren will celebrate their 40th birthdays. This post is for them: it’s the hard-earned wisdom that I’ve accumulated over my years that I hope they can learn from. I hope it blesses you as well.

Here are the top ten truths I’ve learned in my 40 years:

1)     Seek wisdom

There is no end to foolishness in this world. Wisdom is a rare commodity. Run hard after it. Look to those whose character you admire. Listen to what they say and read what they write. When I was a kid, I was a sponge for sports trivia. I got a jolt in being able to know something someone else didn’t. In college I caught the bug for philosophical and theological knowledge. It took me until my later twenties and thirties to develop a stronger thirst for wisdom than knowledge. Accumulated wisdom is like the water of a river, it will smooth and shape the stones in its bed over time.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations
  1. The 15th Most Influential Websites: Time honors the web's 27th birthday with this interesting list. I guarantee you haven't heard of a couple of these at least and The Drudge Report at #8 surprised me, but considering the imprint it has had on the bent of politics and today's news, I understand why.

  2. The Christianphobia of the Rich: Gene Veith reflects on the recent report that the demography of those who hold an anti-Christian bias is shifting, "Hostility against Christians among the general public has not increased over the last three decades. But who has hostility against Christians has changed. Today more anti-Christian bias is coming from the rich... Here is the profile of those who tend to be hostile to Christianity: white, male, politically progressive, irreligious, and wealthy... Do you see an exquisite irony here? “The rich” are the bête noir (the dark beast) of progressives. Add “white” and “male” and you have the ultimate villain, the cause of all our woes. It would seem that some of the biggest critics of rich white males are rich white males."

  3. Friendship is Not a Two-Way Street: Kim Barnes shares an important truth in the context of community, "When my husband was in seminary, he did a summer internship at a church in Bradenton, Florida. The young pastor and his wife were very encouraging to us and gave us some great marriage advice: “Remember that marriage is never 50/50. It’s always 90/10. Sometimes you’re the 90. Sometimes you’re the 10.” It turns out this isn’t only good marriage advice, but applies just as well to friendship."

  4. The Consumerist Church of Fitness Classes: Zan Romanoff reports on the growing trend of gyms replacing church, "Exercise classes often function just as much like a church as they do like a gym: They gather people into a community, and give them a ritual to perform... You know who will be leading the evening; you can anticipate the general contours of its energy. You know you will recognize familiar faces among the participating crowd. As more Americans have moved away from organized religion (a 2015 Pew Center study found that 23 percent of the adult population identified as “religiously unaffiliated,” up from 16 percent in 2007) they have also moved toward new forms of community building, as well as new ways to seek mental clarity and spiritual experiences. The gym is a popular avenue for this kind of searching, in part because it mimics the form of traditional religious services."

  5. The Best Science Pictures of 2017: once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse, a hitch hiking octopus, and a creature that will give you nightmares.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.    Almost No One in the US Believes in a Consistent Ethic of Life:This requires a much longer conversation and I respect those who disagree, but I find the Catholic ethic of life to be compelling:"one of the distinctive features of Catholic theology is what’s been described as a “consistent ethic of life.” In other words, protection and preservation at all stages of life. That’s why the Catholic church’s “seamless garment” condemns abortion, the death penalty, assisted suicide, and embryonic stem cell research."

2.    Advent and Teaching Children to Wait: Scott James reflects, “If we allow ourselves to be shaped by a culture that views waiting as a vice and being made to wait an unpardonable offense, we’ll run contrary to the path Christ calls us to walk. To push back against this on-demand mindset, here are two ways you can cultivate a more measured approach this Christmas.”

3.    Children Need Close Pals, Not Popularity: A recent study proves what we would intuit: "Chasing after popularity can be stressful for children—and for their parents. A growing body of research suggests that they should give a different focus to their social energies. Having intimate friendships, it turns out, brings more long-term benefits, such as higher self-esteem and lower levels of anxiety and depression."

4.    How Do We Become More Effective At Outreach: Ed Stetzer reflects on the changing tide of what outreach means for us in America, " Using attractional elements is not bad or wrong; I believe they are quite useful, and in many contexts, contextual. However, if more and more people are skeptical about coming to a place, then we must teach and train our people to ‘be’ the church—the incarnational presence of Christ in the places they occupy. In essence, teaching and equipping our people about the implications of the gospel lived out in real life is the true attraction." 

5.    Strength in Brokenness: Frank Viola's words are so true: " It’s not hard to spot a Christian in ministry who isn’t broken. Unbroken people don’t know how to lay their lives down and lose. They only know how to try to win. If they’re criticized, they retaliate. If they’re attacked, they return fire. If misunderstood, they defend in anger. They are capable of doing all sorts of damage to others in order to save their own ministries and keep their reputations."

6.    Time Travel Dietician: A hilarious spoof on how the rules of dieting keep changing.