A Morning Peacock of Links (5/29)

Sigur Rós and the Art of Worship

From Christianity Today – “The ethereal Icelandic band may not intend it, but their music has a divinely spiritual vibe”. I like the distinction Oliphint makes between worship and worshipful music. On the one hand, I can worship to Tim Hughes’ songs. But, on the other hand, there are many songs by secular musicians that stir “worshipful” feelings in me all the time as well:

There’s not one simple explanation for why many Christians find the music of Sigur Rós worshipful. But perhaps the take-home here is that all good things come from God, and Sigur Rós makes music that’s stunningly beautiful. God can reveal something about himself in a Sigur Rós crescendo as much as a cascading waterfall, and the Spirit can quietly work in the heart of a believer during the crackling tranquility of “Ekki múkk” as much as the pops and hisses of a campfire on a crisp night. There’s no reason to believe God can’t lavish his common grace on a band in such a way that believers are built up in their faith when they hear it.

Don’t Marry a Weirdo

Although it’s framed within a Christian context, there is plenty of common-sense wisdom to be gleaned from Candice Watters’ answer to a reader that sent in the following question:

What do you do when you’re already mid-20s and the only times you ever get asked out are by unbelievers or super socially awkward guys? I would love to get married, but I also think it’s important to A) marry a Christian, B) not think your husband is a weirdo and C) be attracted to your spouse. Am I just looking in the wrong place or screwing up my priorities?

Lessons from the Megachurch Pastor Who Killed a Man

Trevin Wax on things we can learn from the story and downfall of J. Frank Norris:

If there’s one thing Norris knew how to do well, it was how to attract publicity. By 1924, he had the largest Protestant church in America. His weekly newspaper was delivered to 50,000 homes. And his radio station broadcasted his messages to millions.

The outlandishness of Norris’ preaching would be merely a footnote in history today if not for the fact that on July 17, 1926, Norris shot and killed an unarmed man in his office. In 1927, he stood trial for murder and was acquitted.

I grew up hearing about Norris. He achieved a sort of legendary status in independent Baptist circles but usually not in a good way. So I found the story of his meteoric rise and disastrous fall interesting on a number of levels. Most intriguing was the progression of Norris’ downward spiral into unhealthy patterns of leadership.

Can we learn some things from J. Frank Norris? Yes. His ministry can serve as a cautionary tale in these ways…

Why We Lie

Dan Ariely, author of the new book, “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty,” explains why what we are to be wary of is not ONLY the Enrons of the world but the people staring at us in the mirror:

But that is not how dishonesty works. Over the past decade or so, my colleagues and I have taken a close look at why people cheat, using a variety of experiments and looking at a panoply of unique data sets—from insurance claims to employment histories to the treatment records of doctors and dentists. What we have found, in a nutshell: Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society.


All of this means that, although it is obviously important to pay attention to flagrant misbehaviors, it is probably even more important to discourage the small and more ubiquitous forms of dishonesty—the misbehavior that affects all of us, as both perpetrators and victims. This is especially true given what we know about the contagious nature of cheating and the way that small transgressions can grease the psychological skids to larger ones.



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