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Here are some noteworthy reads found recently.

On Giving Criticism As a Christian, HT to Challies.

Personality Assessments and the Wondrous Knowledge of Being Known, HT to True Woman. While some personality tests are helpful, Lore Ferguson Wilbert says, they are limited. “I cannot worship at the altar of my personality, but I can look at it honestly and ask the creator God to make and remake me until Christ comes again.”

Biblical CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) vs. Worldly CBT in relation to depression, HT to Challies. Applying truth to our thoughts.

5 Better Ways to “Argue” About Social Injustice, HT to Challies. If you’re not aware of it, there’s a maelstrom all over the internet concerning just how social justice should be exercised and to what degree it should be under the purview of churches and governments. As with most online storms, there’s more conjecture, accusation, and misrepresentation than there is real conversation.

Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents, HT to Story Warren. “Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place…But in raising children who have experienced minimal struggle, we are not creating a happier generation of kids. We are creating a generation that has no what idea what to do when they actually encounter struggle. A generation who panics or shuts down at the mere idea of failure. A generation for whom failure is far too painful, leaving them with coping mechanisms like addiction, blame, and internalization.”

Hope When Hope Is Lost, HT to Out of the Ordinary. “While we commemorate the stories of freedom fighters, we tend to overlook the vast majority of regular people like my grandmother whose own hopes were sacrificed on the altar of someone else’s ideologies, ambitions, or societal norms. Their stories deserve to be heard as well.”

When Disability Makes Your World Feel Small.

A Writer’s Prayer, HT to Out of the Ordinary.

I’ve read biographies of Amy Carmichael, one of them a few times, and several of her own books. So seeing this tour of the Dohnavur compound that the Lord enabled her to build, where she lived and ministered most of her life and where she died and is buried, meant a lot to me. It was neat to see there are still people there who knew her personally.

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Laudable Linkage

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I’ve been mostly absent from the blog this week. It’s rare for me not to do a Friday’s Fave Five, even if I don’t post anything else. But it has been a busy week: card-making and present-shopping and wrapping for a baby shower and my oldest son’s upcoming birthday, house-cleaning for my son’s visit from out of state, buying tons of food for family get-togethers, etc, etc. It’s amazing what you can done when you’re not blogging! 🙂 I am not sure how much I will be online the next week. My oldest son is here, my husband is off, we’ll have more time with the whole family. But, in the past when I have thought I would not be posting much, I have been surprised. Our whole family likes our computer time, so we’ll see.

Meanwhile, I have collected in odd moments online the last week some thought-provoking, helpful reads I wanted to share with you.

Poor Interpretation Lets Us “Believe” the Bible While Denying What It Actually Say, HT to Challies. “Historically, theological liberals denied Scripture, and everyone knew where they stood. But today many so-called evangelicals affirm their belief in Scripture, while attributing meanings to biblical texts that in fact deny what Scripture really says. Hence they ‘believe every word of the Bible’ while actually embracing (and teaching) beliefs that utterly contradict it.”

Grace Comes With Refills.

Love Is Not a Feeling.

Praying the Words of Jesus for Your Teen.

Pants on Fire. The folly of the “I don’t know whether this is true or not; but I just wanted to get it out there” type of post.

Are We All “Harmless Torturers” Now? HT to Challies. “When we think of the savagery of social media, we often think of awful individual behavior…Harmless Torturers never go that far; we just like, retweet and add the occasional clever remark. But there are millions of us, and we’re all turning the dial.”

Why Getting Lost in a Book is So Good for You, HT to Linda.

Finally, you might be blessed by this video even if you don’t know Ron and Shelly Hamilton (of Majesty Music, aka Patch the Pirate and Sissy Seagull) and Shelly’s parents, Frank and Flora Jean Garlock. I had no idea the Garlocks were in this situation or that Ron had been diagnosed with dementia. This is not only an update of how they are doing, but a sweet testimony of a man caring for his wife.

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Here’s my latest round-up of thought-provoking online reads:

Danger: Doing “Jesusy” Stuff Without Knowing Jesus, HT to True Woman.

7 Things You Should Know About the Formation of the New Testament, HT to Out of the Ordinary.

Russian Spies, Post-millennialism, and the National Prayer Breakfast.

The Morning Before a Sexual Fall: How the Battle for Purity Is Lost. Though the context is sexual sin, the principles apply to any temptation.

Smells Like Teen Spirit, HT to Challies. “For many, ‘going to church’ is less about worshiping the infinitely holy God who was redeemed a people for Himself by giving up His Son to the bloody death on the cross, as it is about getting a shot of motivational vitamin-B for existential significance. Rather than being called by God into His presence by the mediating work of His Son, “Here we are now; entertain us” becomes the liturgical responsive call to worship. After all, the success of the church is dependent on your excitement, isn’t it?”

6 Warning Signs Of A Bad Pastor And Spiritual Abuse, HT to Challies.

Learn to Embrace Mess, HT to Challies. I didn’t think I was going to agree with this, based on the title, but it does make sense in context.

Confusing Christ-likeness with Christ: Seeking the soft-hearted in the search for a spouse, HT to True Woman.

No, Kids, You Can’t Be Anything You Want to Be.

9 Things Adult Daughters Want Their Moms to Know.

Shouldn’t We Share Our Concerns About a Book Directly with the Author Instead of in the Public Forum? HT to Challies.

How Many Cups in a Quart? A free printable chart.

Fake Views: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Soviet Photoshopping – before Photoshop was invented. HT to Challies.

And finally, a couple of thoughts for the day found on Pinterest:

Happy Saturday!

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Here are several thought-provoking reads found in the last week or so.

Every Testimony Is Dramatic and Miraculous. “There is nothing basic or boring about the life-transforming power of our Lord Jesus Christ. The angels throw a party every time someone comes to Christ, and the parties aren’t less enthusiastic for the freckle-faced eight year olds. Salvation is never small. It is big and dramatic and miraculous, every single time.”

Is Prayer Enough?

What Jesus Said About White Privilege.

7 Stabilizing Principles in a Chaotic World, Part 3: Everyone Is Made in the Image of God. Even the people on the other side of the political fence or the ones who drive us crazy. And we “need to treat everybody—everybody—with that kind of respect.”

How You Might Break the Third Commandment in Church, HT to Challies.

What to Do When a Friend Loses a Baby, HT to True Woman. Much of this is good for other types of loss as well.

Give Children All of Your Attention. Some of the Time. HT to True Woman. I remember  as a young mom struggling with guilt when I did not give my children my full attention, yet feeling it was good for them to learn to entertain themselves sometimes. I thought of women in Bible times or even a couple of hundred years ago who had to do so much from scratch and could not have possibly sat on the floor playing with their children eight hours a day. But it is good to set everything aside for one-on-one time together sometimes. This post has some good thoughts along these lines.

How to Leave Porn Behind, HT to True Woman. Good thoughts on “radical repentance” for any sin.

3 Reasons Contemporary Worship Is Declining, and What We Can Do to Help the Church Move On. I don’t agree with every point here, but I especially like this: “We’ve done ourselves and the church a disservice by insisting that there are two kinds of worshipers, traditional and contemporary…Our musical tastes don’t dictate how we worship, our theology does. Both of these extremes are toxic. All worship is historic because it recalls the creative and redemptive acts of God. All worship is contemporary, because we’re doing it now. All worship is future, because it foretells the coming resurrection.”

And, finally, a smile found on Pinterest. This is close to how I really think now, except I say 20. 🙂

Happy Saturday!

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Here’s another round of notable reads found recently:

How to Avoid Becoming (Heavenly) Hangry on Vacation.

What Your Child Needs More Than Self-esteem, HT to Story Warren.

A Parent’s Guide to the 5 Skeptics Who Want to Shame Your Kids for Being Christian, HT to Challies.

When You Don’t Enjoy the Little Years. Even though you love your little ones dearly, some days are hard.

Can I Trust God With My Child’s Suffering? HT to True Woman.

How to Bring the (Whole) Bible to Life for Kids, HT to True Woman. Though I chafe at the phrasing of the title (the Bible IS living – John 6:63), I know what the author meant, and there are some great ideas here.

When the Content Police Came for the Babylon Bee, HT to Challies.

Hope for People With Food Allergies, HT to True Woman.

The Real Story of Christopher Robin, HT to Glynn. Sad, but I hope on some level the family retained some joy that the Pooh stories were such a dear part of many people’s childhoods.

Several people have asked me if I’ve heard of the recent ruling to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a literary award. I’m not surprised, especially in today’s climate. There were characterizations and incidents in the books that we cringe at today. But I hope this does not lead to a pulling of her books from shelves or reading lists. We encounter what we would consider wrong attitudes in a number of older books, even classics. If we tossed books that had anything in them we disagreed with – well, we wouldn’t have much left. It takes long years to change cultural thinking. The better way, I believe, is to realize that every person and every generation is a mixture of good and bad and to educate about both sides. A couple of good articles I’ve seen on this are Scrubbing Laura Ingalls Wilder is a Dangerous Step Toward Ignorance (HT to Melanie) and How to really Read Racist Books to Your Kids, (HT to 19th Century Classic Children’s Books You Might Have Overlooked, which I found through Story Warren). I wouldn’t agree with every point in the latter (mainly the evolutionary lens), but both articles make good points.

I usually like to close these posts with a funny or thoughtful picture or meme – but I don’t have one handy and need to get on to today’s tasks, so I’ll wish you a Happy Saturday!

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Here are noteworthy reads discovered this last week:

Reaching for the Light. A mom’s struggle to spend time with the Lord and four kids.

Why I Took My Six-year-old Son on an Overnight Trip. Thoughts on Scripture’s instruction, “Son, give me your heart.”

The Hardest Part of Mothering.

Youth Group or Frat House? HT to Out of the Ordinary. Wisdom about youth group activities that humiliate.

In Defense of Preachy Children’s Books. HT to Story Warren. “Kids want to be entertained and delighted. The first thing you can do is erase the words moral, teach, message, and lesson out of your vocabulary…keep authoritative figures, like parents, teachers, or older siblings, in the background. Lastly, never let the adults in the story tell what the main character should do. Remember, it is a sin to preach in fiction.” The author counters this advice with examples from beloved children’s classics, and I agree with her. There was something in me that rose up to meet and welcome moral instruction in stories. It can be overdone, of course. And there are times to let readers realize what the story is about rather than telling them directly. But, “Rather than detracting or distracting from the story, were these passages giving me the names of the lovely ideals I sensed in the characters I admired? Were they revealing to me an eternal, universal world of Courage, Sacrifice, Hope, Joy, Love that, unlike the long-ago and fairytale story-lands I longed to enter, was near at hand for me to dwell in? Could this be why didacticism, properly woven into story, does not ruin but elevates it?”

100 Summer Crafts and Activities for Kids, HT to Story Warren.

And a thought for the day, HT to Jody Hedlund re writing, but applicable to many areas:

Flawed Authorities

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“The teacher is always right.”

I had so far enjoyed the book on motherhood from which this statement came, but this sentence stopped me in my tracks.

The well-meaning author made the point that children are not perfect and need discipline and correction. Sometimes that correction comes through the attention of a teacher or other authority, and a wise parent will not immediately side with her child against the authority.  Parents need to consult child and teacher, get the whole story, and then weigh a response.

But a teacher is not always right. No one is always right. We do need to respect authorities and teach our children to do the same. But respect does not require that we assume infallibility. In this #metoo era, it’s dangerous to teach a child to follow an authority without question. Teachers, coaches, group leaders, authorities of every kind have been found to take advantage of the ones they should have protected. Sadly, the #churchtoo movement reveals that even spiritual authorities cannot be wholly trusted without reserve.

Even if an authority’s flaws do not extend to actual abuse, innate human sinfulness is going to lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. A child is going to feel that she has no recourse even to her closest allies and protectors if “the teacher is always right” is the mantra of the home.

I feel the better approach teaches children that, yes, we are under authorities (Romans 13:1-7), but there are right ways to respond when an authority is wrong. God gave them to us for our good (verse 4), and we’re to respect them (verse 7) and obey them unless they require of us something contrary to God’s Word (Acts 4:1-20). The emperor in power at the time of Paul’s writing of Romans was Nero, so these truths apply even when an authority is not a paragon of virtue. But precisely because they’re only human, they are going to occasionally misunderstand or act in a flawed way.

We are the same: we misunderstand people and act in flawed ways. How do we want to be treated when that happens? We hope people would give us the benefit of the doubt, and confront us kindly and gently if confrontation is needed.

Sometimes in a disagreement, we have to admit we’re in the wrong. Sometimes a parent has to help a child see that, yes, the authority is right. Untold damage is done when a child is made to think that everything revolves around him and he should always get his way.

Sometimes we overlook wrong against us. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 1:4, ESV) and “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12, ESV). If we all called each other out for every little thing – well, life would be pretty miserable. The Bible speaks often of forbearing one another. One pastor used to call that “just good old-fashioned putting up with one another.” Ephesians 4:2 goes a step farther, telling us to bear with one another in love.

But sometimes we confront those who have wronged us. Matthew 18 details the steps to take in an offense between two equals, going first to the offender but then bringing others into it if the offender will not listen. If the offended one is a child, it’s best for the parents to confront the authority (assuming that the situation has been discussed and explored and it is determined that the authority is in the wrong.) Biblical confrontation is restorative, not a drawing of battle lines.

Always we forgive those who have wronged us. We forgive the way we want to be forgiven when we wrong others (Luke 11:4). We forgive because we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:21-35). We don’t complain or hold grudges or secret resentments (James 5:9).

Forgiveness, however, does not mean that no action is taken. It also does not assume that trust is restored or a close relationship will follow. If abuse of any kind is involved or even suspected, protection of the child should be the first order of business. Abuse needs to be dealt with as a crime and not overlooked.

I don’t think the author of the book I mentioned meant to suggest that authorities are infallible and that students have no recourse against injustice. I think his remark about teachers always being right was offhand and not fully thought through. I understand his intent to warn against assuming that the child is always right. One of our friends during her first year of teaching at an elementary school connected with a Christian university had a horrible time with parents always assuming the teacher was in the wrong. Perhaps the fact that the teacher had been a student at the university, the professor parents still assumed a measure of authority over her or the attitude that she wasn’t up to their level of experience and was therefore wrong. I’m sure all teachers have horror stories of students who could not be taught or corrected because of a parent’s attitude. Parents have an instinctive “Mama bear” protectiveness that can often assume the best of the child and the worst of others. But we need to help our children face their own faults and take steps to confess and correct them.

Yet, while we don’t automatically assume authorities are wrong, we also don’t automatically assume they are right, either. Our children need to always know that they are free and welcome to talk to us about anything. They need to know we’re in their corner and will stand up for them. We need patience and wisdom to help them sort out what happened and what the proper response should be.

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Monday, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Word-filled Wednesday, Porch Stories, Let’s Have Coffee, Faith on Fire)

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Here are noteworthy reads discovered this last week:

Hope for Parents of Prodigals.

Is Behavior More Important Than Doctrine? HT to Challies.

God Is With Us Every Present Moment. A book I’m reading talks about “reframing” memories. This is a good example.

The Space Between Courtship and Dating. I think this is right on the mark.

How to Repair the National Marriage, HT to Lisa.

Love Other Mothers as Thyself. “When we impose one-size-fits-all labels upon parenting, we fail in our call to love one another, and we also disregard God’s sovereign work in motherhood.”

Contentment in Motherhood, HT to Story Warren. Though the context of the post is motherhood, the encouragement to contentment and basis for contentment in Scripture are good for anyone.

Daring to Be Wholehearted. “The appeal of Cool is obvious in a world where things go wrong and we are sometimes powerless. But like an impulsively purchased pet python that seemed so harmless as a baby, have we forgotten how Cool can consume?”

Growing Old Graciously, HT to Challies.

When Flesh and Heart Fail: Why Believers Should Consider Advanced Directives.

Salvation Bracelets in Africa? No, Thanks, HT to Challies. “In order to share the gospel effectively, we must be willing to let go of our assumptions and to sensitively ask lots of questions in order to examine the culture deeply. We have to forget what feels comfortable and natural in our own culture and embrace what works in the culture we’re serving in.”

This is sweet, HT to Story Warren. A family took in an abandoned calf they found after a hurricane, and their dog “adopted” it:

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Here’s my latest roundup of noteworthy reads online:

These Bombs Led Me to Christ,” testimony of the “Napalm girl” from the famous picture. HT to Challies.

God Understands Hard, Thankless Parenting, HT to True Woman. “For those of us who feel undone by the various losses of motherhood, we take comfort in a God who grieves with us and for us. Scripture gives us vivid pictures of how God understands the brokenhearted parent.”

When Mommy Grows Up, HT to Challies.

Mom, I’m Such a Sinner!” HT to Challies. “God’s grace brings moments into our children’s lives, as He does in ours, when they feel just how bad sin is. It’s never pretty. A wise parent works with the Holy Spirit’s conviction without minimizing the sting of its pain. As we guide our children’s spiritual development, we agree with truth while bringing balance to emotion.”

50 Good Mental Health Habits, HT to Challies.

Jesus and Joysticks: What the Church Should Stop Making Fun of Video Gamers. HT to Challies.

The Oldest, Most Ignored Social Media Command, HT to Challies.

Have a Heart on Social Media. HT to True Woman. “When you log onto social media and see your favorite tribe picking up pitchforks over the latest cause for offense… pause before you join in. Consider that, as rewarding as it feels to be part of a mob, your goal should be to build up  — not one up — your brothers and sisters in the Lord.”

The Perennial Gen, a blog for mid-lifers, is focused on caregiving and the “sandwich generation” this month. They’ve had some great posts so far that I can solidly identify with.

I’ve seen a lot of online friends talk about opening their windows this time of year. I’ve thought, either they don’t have allergies or they don’t have much pollen where they live. A friend here opened her windows one night and then had to wipe yellow pollen dust off every surface in her home the next day. Someone posted this on Twitter, and it makes me sneezy just to watch it.

Happy Saturday!

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I have just a short list this week, but decided to go ahead and share it lest I end up with an overly long list next time.

The Secret to Loving (Really) Difficult People. “As followers of Christ, we do not have the option of not loving them. Loving one another is not merely a biblical suggestion. Jesus tells us, ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12). The last five words are the challenge for me: ‘…as I have loved you.’

A Response to Andy Stanley on “Theological Correctness”, HT to Challies. “We should never put ‘theological correctness’ and unity at opposite ends of the spectrum…if we do not have the truth, we have no unity.”

Corporate Worship.

Motherhood Is Better Than the Media Claims, HT to Proclaim and Defend.

Be The Change You Want To See On The Internet, HT to Challies. Good stuff here.

And lastly, I found some things on Pinterest I could identify with. You? 🙂

(I couldn’t find the original sources for these pictures. Even though the last one has a web site listed on it, I couldn’t make it out.)

Happy Saturday!