A Morning Peacock of Links (6/6)

Is There Anything Redeeming in the ’50 Shades’ Trilogy?

Jonalyn Fincher on looking at the explosive popularity of books like ’50 Shades…’ as an opportunity:

A book that spreads erotica and BDSM into popular culture is an easy target. Fifty Shades is a sitting duck for Christians to blacklist and condemn, not just the book and the author, but everyone who reads between the covers.

As an apologist, I want to offer another idea. What if we saw Fifty Shades as an opportunity instead of a threat?

You don’t have to read the book to enter into this opportunity and hear how women want to share their stories of sexual desire and frustration. The fields are ripe right now. Fifty Shades of Grey means we can talk about another model of sexual pleasure, one created by a God who made our sexuality.

What’s a Guy To Do?

Elisabeth Adams’s thoughts on what guys can do to be intentional and appropriate towards the women around them. On a lighter note, I’ve never had the opportunity to struggle with #3, so praise the Lord for that one, haha. But yeah, in a day when guys either avoid women like a plague or do everything they can to “win” them (with men making this decision only after the “eye test” upon entering the room), this article is both informative and convicting:

Meanwhile, I began brainstorming ideas for a new article. In response to my request for suggestions, a male friend wrote to ask me, “Women are encouraged to dress in a proper way so they don’t ‘help’ men to lust. But how can a man behave so he does not induce women around him to lust?”

Whether we call it lust or infatuation, we’re all dealing with the same heart issue: a good desire with the wrong object, at the wrong time or to the wrong degree. But while both men and women are tempted to covet what isn’t ours, we generally arrive at that temptation in different ways. Men tell me that their desires are often triggered visually. Meanwhile, women are often tuned in to a range of subtle relational cues – many of them triggers that men aren’t even aware they are activating.

Snake-handling believers find joy in test of faith

A fascinating look at the snake-handling church in Tennessee:

Andrew Hamblin’s Facebook page is filled with snippets of his life.

Making a late-night run to Taco Bell.

Watching SpongeBob on the couch with his kids.

Handling rattlesnakes in church.

Hamblin, 21, pastor of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., is part of a new generation of serpent-handling Christianswho are revitalizing a century-old faith tradition in Tennessee.

Was Solomon Really a Good King?

The reign of King Solomon is traditionally viewed as the Golden Age of Israel’s history. A king known for his great wisdom, Solomon oversaw an era of peace and prosperity, expanded Israel’s boundaries in every direction, and ordered the construction of the Temple.

However, as I read 1 Kings, I often find myself asking, “was Solomon really a good king?” After all, he begins his reign by arranging the assassination of a number of prominent rivals, and as his power grows he seems to increasingly resemble the kings of Israel’s pagan neighbors, at times even the Pharaohs of old.

Please Stop Killing Me With Your Statistics

Stephen Altrogge on the unintended consequences of pushing statistics about dire problems around the world – consequences which only become exacerbated when such statistics are divorced from the gospel. Personally, I think how we react to such statistics differs from person to person, but I understand where Altrogge comes from and have seen examples of what he’s talking about. An excerpt:

See, statistics do two things to me…

First, they make me feel like a wicked, useless, fruitless wretch. They condemn me. They crush me. There are millions living in poverty and here I am eating french fries and drinking Coca-Cola, like I don’t have a care in the world. What a loser I am! How can I call myself a Christian when there are so many people in poverty and I’m not doing a single thing about it? Maybe I’m the only one, but that’s what statistics do to me. They don’t inspire faith in me. They don’t draw out fresh passion for God. They crush me with condemnation because I’m not helping enough. I feel like I should be doing something but I have no idea what to do.

The second thing that statistics do is fill me with fear/anger/despair. Woah, millions of babies have been aborted! Where is God? Why isn’t he doing something? Something must be done now! Everything is out of control! We must mobilize, militarize, take to the streets.

Men, Money, and Kids

“Tom Matlack is a venture capitalist and a father. Guess where he has come closest to losing what’s truly important”:

After my initial stumble with putting work before family, I have had my moments of getting dangerously close to the edge. Running a venture firm is not a small task specially since most of our investments were made just after the Internet Bubble burst. But my thinking was always informed by the idea that my kids come first no matter what. Yes, I am highly competitive and work very hard, even obsessively hard, at my career. But if my kids are suffering as a result I really don’t give a shit. The career goes out the window.

In a counter-intuitive sense, I think this attitude about my work has been an advantage. It has meant that I don’t view risk taking at work with the same kind of all-or-nothing fear that I often saw in my peers. They seemed to be so pre-occupied with getting their sense of identity and self-worth from financial success, that the very thought of failure often paralyzed them.

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