women

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Poll Finds "Dramatic and Sudden Shift" Toward a Pro-Life Position: Aaron Earls reports, " The latest Marist poll finds 47 percent of Americans identify as pro-life and 47 percent identify as pro-choice. Just one month ago, however, Americans were more likely to identify as pro-choice than pro-life by 17 percentage points—55 to 38 percent."

2.      How the Pro-Life Movement was Had: Andree Seu Peterson's pointed article begins, "They said who knows when life begins. So we said, OK, let’s talk about when life begins. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you,” we quoted from Jeremiah 1, verse 5. We’re not into religion, they replied. So we said fair enough, forget the Bible, let’s talk science, you like science, right? And if the science proves when life begins, then you’ll stop killing babies in the womb, agreed?"

3.      Seven Church Member Attitudes That Lead to the Death of Churches: We all want thriving churches. Thom Rainer has helpful thoughts in this podcast on ways that we as church members can help combat churches declining and dying.

4.      The Church Growth Gap: Aaron Earls reports, "Three in five (61%) pastors say their churches faced a decline in worship attendance or growth of 5 percent or less in the last three years. Almost half (46%) say their giving decreased or stayed the same from 2017 to 2018."

5.      How Men and Women Spend Their Days: Cool dynamic infograph from Flowing Data.

Good News, Ladies! You’re Sons!

Good News, Ladies! You’re Sons!

Want to know something weird? Women are never referred to as “daughters of God” in the Bible. Kind of odd, especially given how often that phrase is used in evangelical circles. “Daughter of God” nets over 1,000 books on Amazon. In the Bible, however, the seemingly clumsy phrase “sons of God” is used for men and women alike.

What gives? Is this a linguistic fluke? No, unlike the Greek word for brothers, adelphoi, which often means “brothers and sisters,” the Greek word for sons, huioi, rarely means “sons and daughters” with the full phrase “huious kai thugateras” used instead.[i]  So, while we might be tempted to add “daughters” when we see “sons of God” in the Bible, it’s unlikely that is what the authors intended.[ii]

Is the lack of inclusion of daughters a patriarchal blind spot in the Bible that we ought to rectify? On the contrary: the use of only “sons of God” is a radical move by the authors of scripture that raises the status of women.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      Which Generation is the Loneliest? Surprisingly, Gen Z wins this distinction, but not for the reasons we might assume: "The study found no correlation between social media use and feelings of loneliness. Very heavy users of social media scored about the same on the loneliness scale as those who never use it."

2.      What is a Woman? Sandra Glahn answers this question deftly, She concludes, "In a world in which #MeToo and #ChurchToo remind us that brokenness has infiltrated every part of society including the church, the Bible’s truths are absolutely relevant. When God brought ishah (woman) to ish (man), he called their partnership “very good.” Let us show by our words and actions that we believe his words to be true."

3.      It's No Tragedy to Miss the Model: Til Challies reminds us that if marriage is a model, missing the model and gaining the real thing is okay: "Marriage is the miniature or the model while Christ and his church are full-scale, the real thing. This leads to an important application that pertains especially to those who are not married. When we understand the meaning of marriage, we realize that even if you never marry or are no longer married, you are not missing out on something that is essential to the human experience. If marriage had no meaning beyond itself, perhaps you would be missing out on something essential. But because marriage points to something else, you simply are not."

4.      Violence Against Women Begins in the Womb: This chilling report by Elaine Storkey is a must-read: "For the last two decades, reports have consistently illustrated the extent of the problem. After investigators uncovered 400 pieces of bone believed to be of female fetuses, reporters gave graphic details: “Last September,” wrote Raekha Prasad and Randeep Ramesh in The Guardian, 'remains of dozens of babies were exhumed from a pit outside an abortion clinic in Punjab. To dispose of the evidence, acid was used to melt the flesh and then the bones were hammered to smithereens.'"

5.      Tour of the Moon in 4K: Thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, I doubt you've ever seen the moon like this. Wow! 

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       An Open Letter to a Suffering Christian: David Powlison with simple, but powerful words, " Suffering must be walked through one step at a time. Be honest. Don’t take any shortcuts. Let each day’s trouble be sufficient for that day. Seek your Father. If you seek him, you will find him."

2.       Don't Settle for Artificial Intimacy: One of my favorite author on marriage, Gary Thomas, with an insightful look into artificial intimacy, "Every season of life tempts us to stop building our marriages. Rather than grow together in true intimacy, far too many couples exist only on what I call "artificial intimacy." They've never intentionally built intimacy but rather were trapped by an infatuation that felt like it fell from heaven. They never had to work at it; it just was. Once it died, their intimacy died with it. An artificial intimacy can be sustained for a time by the common events of life, but usually it comes to a huge crash..."

3.       Moms Have Always Worked: Hannah Nation's study of the Puritans reveals a deficiency in the way we typically think about work. I wholeheartedly agree with Nation's thesis, "Although these divides still haunt us to this day, our economy is changing once again. As more and more work goes online and we transition to an information economy, the options available to women are also changing, making the demarcation between “working mom” and “stay-at-home mom” less visible. Arguably, then, we are shifting (even if slowly) back toward the more holistic and unified world of Puritan New England."

4.       A Father's Memoir of Miscarriage: Powerful reflection by Eric Schumacher, "We discussed it and chose silence. We told no one. We feared drawing attention away from their loss onto ours. Others were suffering “worse” than we were. After all, how did the uncomplicated and almost unnoticed loss of an unexpected and unannounced pregnancy compare to their painful and public suffering? They “deserved” the sympathy and the support more than we did. And there it was, that first little fox in the vineyard of grief—comparison. A ruthless enemy, comparison is quick to use your family, your wife, your children, and your friends against you. Comparison sunk its teeth in deeper with each of the three subsequent miscarriages, further stifling my grief... The gospel speaks a better word than the bark of comparison. It speaks of a Father who notices and values the minutia of his world—even the parts that others deem worthless by comparison."

5.       It's Not You: How our Phones are Designed to Be Addicting:  The 3 design elements that make smartphones more like slot machines than tools, explained by Google’s former design ethicist.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       There Goes that Pesky Biological Reality Again: Matthew Hosier on when the trend toward progressive views on gender backfire, " It turns out that when it comes to health men and women are not the same. Contrary to popular opinion, men have a higher pain threshold than women (though older men feel pain more than younger men as their levels of testosterone decrease); women are more prone to knee injuries than men, because of the size of their pelvis; the male brain has more connections within each hemisphere while the female brain has more connections between the two hemispheres..."

2.       4 Reminders for the Weary Mom on Mother’s Day: You are loved, moms! These are healthy reminders. I love this one: “You are exactly the mom they need… Long before you actually had children, even before you rocked a baby doll and pretended to be a mommy, God knew the children He would place in your life. He could see what kind of mom you would be. Our God is not a random god. His works have purpose and meaning, and even before He made you a mother, He shaped you for motherhood. This motherhood.”

3.       How an Ancient Pagan Roman Saved an Atheist: John Woodbridge shares his story of deconversion, and then God's rescuing hand in his life. He shares the pivotal moment of his life, "Like a thunderbolt, the idea struck me that Jesus might very well have existed and walked this earth. After all, I reasoned, Tacitus was no Christian propagandist and had nothing to gain in reporting a myth... As I read the statement by Tacitus, it dawned on me that if Jesus had existed, it had potentially huge implications... Could it be that Jesus not only existed but that his message was true after all?"

4.       Godly People are Happy People: My friend John Starke reflects on this truth, " The longer I live as a Christian the more it becomes apparent that the holy life — a life lived with a conscience before God — is a happy life. Sadly, it takes some misery to see it. Sin not only offends God, it disrupts the Christian’s communion with God and forces him to sense his Maker’s displeasure."

5.       Why Raising Your Children to be Independent is a Bad Idea: Bob Kauflin reflects on why raising your children to be independent is a fool's errand, "...I began to consider the adults I respected. They didn’t do things on their own... Then it hit me. The most mature people in my life were not those who belittled the input and counsel of those around them, but those who welcomed and even pursued it. Their awareness of their weaknesses caused them to seek out other eyes and perspectives. That realization shed new light on our parenting goals."

6.       Billions of Birds Migrate. Where Do They Go? This graphic-rich National Geographic article is a must read even for those, like myself, who don't have a particular interest in birds.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       The Stanford Medicine Report on How Men and Women's Brains Are Actually Different: After nearly 20 years of data, it is clear that there are biological differences between men and women,  "The two hemispheres of a woman’s brain talk to each other more than a man’s do. In a 2014 study, University of Pennsylvania researchers...found that the females’ brains consistently showed more strongly coordinated activity between hemispheres, while the males’ brain activity was more tightly coordinated within local brain regions."

2.       6 Character Traits to Look for in a Potential Spouse Really good lists here. Thoughtful inclusions that ring true to unseen obstacles many couples face. I particularly appreciate the inclusion of "controls his passions" and "is in the process of becoming a leader" for a potential husband and "Knows how to admit she's wrong, ask for forgiveness, grant forgiveness, and give grace when you fail her" for a potential wife.

3.       Just-Around-the-Corner-Spirituality: Mike Emlet reflects on the promises we tell ourselves about the next season of spiritual growth that will be just around the corner: "The blessed and contented life is not somewhere around the corner where we can imagine living in the perfect spiritual greenhouse to nurture growth. It’s right here, right now, as we learn to experience the sufficiency of Christ’s strength for us in the midst of the good, the bad, and the ugly."

4.       Your Sanctification is a Gift: I love this perspective that Tim Challies offers -- something I've never quite thought of this way before. "Your continual growth in holiness is not something you emphasize merely for your own benefit or your own assurance, but something you pursue for the benefit of others. This message cuts hard against the individualism of western society, so is one we need to hear again and again. A wife’s sanctification is a gift she gives her husband. A pastor’s sanctification is a gift he gives his congregation. A parent’s sanctification is a gift he gives his children." 

5.       Just How Big is the Universe? I love feeling my mind dwarfed by presentations like this.  

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.     Red Octopus vs. Swimmer Crab: Thanks to Tim Challies for sharing this cool video that ends in an unexpected way.

2.     When Your Child Confesses They’ve Watched Porn: It’s everything a parent fears. How do you react?

3.     Visual Jewish calendar: What are all of the Jewish holidays? And when do they happen? This is a great visual calendar.

4.     Why Shel Silverstein’s Classic The Giving Tree Makes Us Cry: Anthony Ford with a poignant article reflecting on loss and the fact that we can never return to what once was.

5.     The Far Reaching Impact of the TV Dinner: The TV was born out of World War II military rations and has had an enormous impact on women in the workforce and our diet.