grief

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      The Funeral As We Know it is Becoming a Relic: Karen Heller reports that just as we are on the verge of a death boom, the rules of funerals are undergoing significant changes. She shares, " The movement will only accelerate as the nation approaches a historic spike in deaths. Baby boomers, despite strenuous efforts to stall the aging process, are not getting any younger. In 2030, people over 65 will outnumber children, and by 2037, 3.6 million people are projected to die in the United States, according to the Census Bureau, 1 million more than in 2015, which is projected to outpace the growth of the overall population."

2.      Be Slow to Assume: Being slow to anger begins with being slow to assume, Lara D'Entremont suggests: " Maybe this is what Peter meant by, “Love covers a multitude of sins,” (1 Peter 4:8). In my desire to assume the best of another, the small sins of another towards me are overlooked and covered, rather than racked up to be something greater than they were. Let’s toss poor assumptions, give some charity, stretch ourselves a little, and put grace on display."

3.      Why We Need to Stop Saying, "Sorry for Your Loss": This is written from a secular psychological perspective from Ed Preston. Preston is correct though, and I would suggest that the reasons as Christians are even stronger. He suggests, " Perhaps it’s because of our cultural death phobia, and the way it pathologizes everything related to sadness. If we’re not better at dealing with grief, then it’s because we’ve never been taught better. Unfortunately, that leaves the majority of people with only one stock phrase in their repertoire, “I’m sorry for your loss.”" He also includes some practical advice for what you can say.

4.      How to Get Your Church to Engage Scripture More: JR Briggs offers seven great ideas including, " Read a passage, and then ask people to write out 10-to-15 questions about the passage on a piece of paper. Why did the woman ask that of Jesus? What was running through Abraham’s mind when he was walking up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac? Allow people to interact with the text by courageously wrestling with tough questions."

5.      1 in 10 Young Protestants Have Left Church Over Abuse: Kate Shellnut reports on a recent Lifeway Research survey that contains sobering information. She concludes with practical changes churches can consider including, " Assess your church culture first and make needed changes: Do your current members experience safety and freedom in sharing their own stories of suffering?"

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      What I Learned About Marriage by Losing My Husband: Good luck not tearing up reading Gaye Clark's poignant letter to her deceased husband.

2.      Be a Gospel Neighbor: Aaron Menikoff on a topic I think is so important for the church, "The requirement for hospitality gets to the heart of neighboring. It’s even a qualification of elder leadership... Paul has a similar message in Romans 12:13–14: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” Paul demands a spirit of generosity to all: the brother or sister, the stranger, and even the enemy! Faithful pastors and Christians alike will strive to be good neighbors. They’ll open up their homes to people around them. Such hospitality is not without cost (it takes time and money)."

3.      Which of the Ten Commandments Still Apply? YouGov and Deseret News reports that 60% of Americans agree that seven of the Ten Commandments still apply. The three below 60%? "You shall have no other gods before me," "You shall not use the name of the Lord your God in vain," and "Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy" (the only commandment below 50%). 

4.      What Dostoyevsky's Prostitute Can Teach Us About Love: If you've ever read Crime and Punishment (which I recently had the joy of re-reading), this is powerful connection between the cross and the book. Mark Galli connects Sonia's reaction to the Christ, "Raskolnikov later meets a young woman, Sonia, who has been compelled by poverty to become a prostitute to support her family. He is immediately drawn to her, and after he learns that Sonia had been friends with Lizaveta, he feels compelled to confess his murders to her... When it dawns on her what he has just confessed, “...What have you done—what have you done to yourself?” she said in despair, and, jumping up, she flung herself on his neck, threw her arms round him, and held him tightly." Raskolnikov is not the only one who is shocked by Sonia’s gesture. The reader is as well... There we see the meaning of the Cross and the revelation of the deepest nature of God. Jesus did not consider the glory of divinity as something to exalt in, but decided to bear the yoke of human nature. He showed himself not only to be a man of sorrows, but also a God who has borne our griefs; not merely a man wounded for our transgression, but also a God bruised for our iniquities (Isa. 53). He saw the grievous sin of humankind, and the Cross is the sign of his “violent, hysterical weeping” for us."

5.      Death Valley Sunup to SundownThink Death Valley is ugly? Think again. This is stunning.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      What's the Most Costly City in the World to Live in? An international report says that five of the top ten cities are in Europe. There are no US cities in the top ten, but two in the top twenty. What's the most expensive city you've ever lived in? For us, it was Princeton, NJ.

2.      When Obsessing About Theology Prevents Obedience: Andree Seu Peterson reflects, "Carolyn did Greek boot camp with me at seminary. She was a Carolinian, a people person, and outspoken in her love for Jesus, everything that I was not. I chalked it up to Southern culture. I explained that I was reserved by natural endowment, and more prone to wait for the right moment. She wasn’t impressed: 'I’ve got plenty of faults, but shutting up ain’t one of them.' I did not like Carolyn. Forty years later I’m still waiting for the right moment, and Carolyn’s probably blabbed the gospel all over Dixie. She has offended many people, I’m sure, and won a few to faith. After all, the law of averages."

3.      Two-Thirds of Americans Believe They're Sinful: LifeWay Research reports that while 2/3rds of Americans agree that they're sinful, only 33% of women and 22% of men depend on Jesus to overcome sin. And 52% of Americans believe that you can help earn your way into heaven with good deeds. 

4.      7 Ways Grief Becomes SinfulThe Bible does not tell us to stifle or suppress our grief, but there are ways that grief can become sinful. Paul Tautges draws wisdom from John Owen: "It moves us to take strange pleasure in sadness. 'Strange it is that we should find some kind of pleasure in rousing our sorrows.'"

5.      Online TrapsHow so called 'dark patterns' online trick you.