A Morning Peacock of Links (6/26)

What Egyptian Christians Think About Their New Islamist President

“Reactions are varied, but fear is prevalent”. On a side note, didn’t know that Morsi was a USC alum.

So What’s Really Up With Romans 7

Stephen Altrogge’s concluding post on the Romans 7 “debate”:

Now, it’s quite possible that I could be wrong in my interpretation of Romans 7:7-25. After all, lots of ninja smart guys disagree with me. But I do think it’s important to sort through this question. If we interpret the passage as describing the Christian then it makes failure in our battle against sin much more acceptable. After all, if Paul felt this way, then surely I will too. But if it is describing a person without the Holy Spirit, it gives me much more faith that the Spirit will empower me in my battle against sin. As Paul says, I will be delivered from this body of death.

Pride Pride All the Way Down

I’ve written before that pride is not only when we think we’re so great, it’s also when we think we are such unprofitable worms. I battle both in a schizophrenic way. One minute I am puffed up in my knowledge, next minute I am chastising myself for my wicked, wicked pride and arrogance. For me personally, pride manifests itself not only in thinking highly of myself, but also and especially in self-condemnation and recrimination, self-chastisement, self-absorption, fear and anxiety.

[…]

No, the opposite of worldly boasting is not self-chastisement, it is boasting in the gospel. Furthermore, repentance does not come in the form of self-recrimination and hand wringing, but in crying out, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Matthew 18:13)  As Tim Keller says, the opposite of thinking highly of ourselves is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Eye for an Eye, Bully for a Bully: Reflections on Karen Klein’s Story

The kids were/are punks and probably have parental issues. That said, this is an interesting take on the Karen Klein situation that describes the issues in broader strokes. Most noteworthy was the observation that pointed out the irony of the backlash that resulted in bullying against the bullies:

Bullying will end when two things happen: when the Gospel of forgiveness and grace is preached to the victimizer who has been brought low by the condemnation of the Law, and when victims and victimizers recognize that both are sinners in possession of wounded hearts in desperate need of repair.

Yes, these kids will get some “first use of the law” punishment from their parents and the school system, as well they should. But perhaps the real grace in this situation is that Klein has so far refused to press criminal charges.  She has not returned insult with insult, nor demanded an eye for an eye. “[She] was oppressed, and [she] was afflicted, yet [she] opened not [her] mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so [she] opened not [her] mouth,” to paraphrase Isaiah 53. In a world that would throw these thirteen year-olds behind bars for their bullying, Klein has, for now, extended a hand of grace, which might actually be the thing that changes the bully heart.

“The Idea of Evangelism Makes Me Uncomfortable”

Trevin Wax with a hypothetical but typical/commonplace conversation he often has with Christians who feel discomfort when it comes to evangelism. His thoughts (as uttered by the Evangelist) are insightful and helpful. He also has an older post (in the same ilk as this) on how he wishes the debate on homosexuality would go. In any case, here’s a couple of nuggets from today’s post:

Christian: I guess when it comes down to it, there’s no way around it. I do think Christianity is better. But evangelism still doesn’t sit well with me.

Evangelist: That’s because you’re thinking of Christianity as if it’s a preference. Like having a favorite color or something. Trying to push your favorite color on someone else would make anyone uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, we don’t believe the gospel because it’s helpful. Or because it’s prettier. Or because it’s our upbringing. We believe the gospel because it’s true. Not just a preference, but true. Truth about the way the world works.

[…]

Christian: So I guess we ought to just grit our teeth and do evangelism because Jesus said so.

Evangelist: No, not at all. You see, failure to evangelize is a worship problem. The New Testament picture of evangelism is not that we share Jesus with gritted teeth. It’s a picture of lips and hearts overflowing with worship. Whenever you are completely taken with something or someone, you can’t help but talk about it. Love can’t stop talking about the beloved. Fix the worship problem, and evangelism starts coming naturally. So remember, we evangelize because the gospel is true and eternity hangs in the balance. But most importantly, we evangelize because we love Jesus and want others to know the joy of loving Jesus too.

How we die in America, 1900 vs 2010

A factual look at mortality.

Andrew Ference: Things I Have Learned #1

Andrew Ference from the Boston Bruins talks about accountability (On a side note, his post reminded me of that little exchange between Captain America and Iron Man when the former asked the latter what he is without the suit of armor, haha):

To truly take this lesson to the next level, though, you must be able to be accountable to yourself. Another coach of mine, Brent Peterson, had a simple piece of tape on a vanity mirror in our locker room. It read “Can you be proud of yourself today?” What an amazing question! It did not ask if you had won or lost, whether you scored or not , just simply if you could be proud of what you had done that day.

When there is no one else around to prove anything to, when you strip away the armor that most of us wear outside of our homes, how do you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror? If you are honest and mature enough it can be a practice that can both humble you and make you a great person in all aspects of your life. It has allowed me to regroup after tough losses, it has made me a better father and husband, and most importantly it has made me a more honest person. It is an honorable thing to admit to mistakes and vow to strive for better in the future, it earns respect from others and more importantly yourself.

The “Yes, And…” Approach: Less Ego, More Openness, More Possibility

What improv comedy can teach us about working well with others:

But it wasn’t that hard! One of the basic tenets of improv comedy is known as “Yes, and…” It’s a protocol that allows for anything to happen, and it goes like this: No matter what your fellow actors present to you, instead of negating it, belittling it, or disagreeing with it, your job is to say, “Yes, and…”  Accept the scenario as it’s presented to you (regardless of where you wanted it to go), and then to add to it. Volley back with something your fellow players can respond to.

Most of us say “No” a lot. We have to. Our energy is limited. In order to get things done, we have to be choosy about how best to utilize our time. (Learning to say “No” is the #9 key to productivity after all.) But, after the class, I became curious about what would happen if I applied “Yes, and…” to everything. How would it change my work? How would it change my relationships?

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