Even though I was on a blog-writing sabbatical, I still got my fill of blog-reading. Were there ever some amazing pieces of writing! Here's the best of what I read this month.
In Which This Is The Wilderness Life: Guest Post by Adam McHugh for Sarah Bessey
Some will tell you that you can avoid or get out of the wilderness with the right prayer, the right Bible verse, the right counsel, the right church, or the right book. I suspect that the people who tell you that are in the wilderness themselves.
Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.
From the transcript: "If you think about high school, how important friends are during that time, imagine going through that with your whole goal being to avoid your school's social structure. Completely, for four years. It's an incredibly high price to steer clear the violence. It's a price most teenagers anywhere would find almost impossible to pay."
(Note: Harper HS is on the south side of Chicago, close to where friends live. What these kids have endured is like an alternate universe compared to how we grew up.)
Chicago's Gang Culture Remixed - Ebony
Using the term gang cavalierly has higher stakes in a hyper-segregated city like Chicago. It allows people to see violence as a crime among “those people” and to scapegoat young people. Dismissing shootings as always simply gang violence gives Chicagoans permission to think this is not a citywide problem. Until inequities around race, poverty and segregation in Chicago are addressed, gang labels let us all off the hook.
This Book Will Change Your Life - Allison Hill for Huffington Post
I'm not saying the global economic meltdown is our fault, but I am suggesting that perhaps right now we are making choices every day that will influence our future. A decision to save $6.00 on Amazon, multiplied by thousands of customers every day, means that your local bookstore, the place where you hang out, meet friends, met your partner, or found the book that changed your life, may not be there next year...
Dear Mom on the iPhone, I Get It from my dear friend Megan of Fried Okra
From our many interactions, Mom on the iPhone, I've seen that you're smart, capable and resourceful as well as being loving and caring and giving where your family is concerned. So I trust you to know when you and your kids need to give one another your undivided attention, and when it's okay for you to take a few minutes while they're occupied to attend to one or two of the myriad of other things for which you're responsible.
But most people at the conference also seemed to be in love with ideas, full stop; with the value of ideas, and the value of intellectual discourse and discovery. For all its rules and regulations, the religious over- or undertones, the isolationism and cultish devotion, there is one god that TED attendees seem to pray to, by and large: the God of Questions. And the God of Questions is the perfect and best god we could be praying to right now — when the problems we’re trying to solve can’t always be answered by old science or old math, by old religions or even old philosophers. By old ideas.
His bridge-building is about fighting together for moral causes based in Scripture. We know there are differences between Christianity and the Roman Catholic theology, but those can be handled when there are gentle attitudes between us.
In other words, I sought to learn how “easy” it would be to bootstrap myself—and sock away financial savings—during a week of homelessness.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Abuse in the Church - D.L. Mayfield
It is almost certainly true that you know someone who has been abused. There are people in your community, your ministry, your church and school—and it isn’t just a handful. What is equally true, but even less talked about in the church, is the other side of this truth: you almost certainly know an abuser.
The Good, Racist People - NY Times
I am trying to imagine a white president forced to show his papers at a national news conference, and coming up blank. I am trying to a imagine a prominent white Harvard professor arrested for breaking into his own home, and coming up with nothing. I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli, and I find myself laughing in the dark. It is worth considering the messaging here. It says to black kids: “Don’t leave home. They don’t want you around.” It is messaging propagated by moral people.
Listening Well as a Person of Privilege: Recognize that the Rules are Different for You - Christina Cleveland
But just because it is natural doesn’t make it helpful or right. Indeed, to insist on retaining these rights reveals a misunderstanding of both power dynamics and the upside-down reconciliation work of Jesus.
Taking the First Step - Tea & Cookies
One thing I’ve learned is that you have to take the first step. You have to reach out. You have to give the invitations, bake the cookies, offer the hand. Everyone else is fairly settled in their lives—and this is more and more true as you get older. Friendship, community, doesn’t happen on its own. Sometimes you have to give it a kickstart; if that’s what you want in your life.
Dear Future Husband - Ruth Rutherford
But as sure of myself as I like to think I am, insecurity often manages to creep on in, and I find myself asking why. Why am I still single? Why haven’t you found me yet? Why haven’t I found you? How is the world surviving without our inevitably amazing power-couple prowess?
Am I a Fake Virgin? - Rachel McMillan
Now, single and in my 30s (my teenage self would never have believed it), I sometimes feel I have held onto a gift that no one wants.
America, You Must Not Look Away (How to Finish Off NRA) - Michael Moore
And when the American people see what bullets from an assault rifle fired at close range do to a little child's body, that's the day the jig will be up for the NRA. It will be the day the debate on gun control will come to an end. There will be nothing left to argue over. It will just be over. And every sane American will demand action.
Sibling Rivalry - Guest post by Joy Bennett for Alise Write
We want to share this incredibly important thing to us with the people we love the most. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are. When we disagree about those things that are so much a part of who we are, when someone rejects our ideas, it often feels like they also reject us.
Best piece on the issue: Steubenville High School Football Players Found Guilty of Raping 16-year-old Girl - Dan Wetzel for Yahoo! Sports
It also was this colossal arrogance that doomed the defendants and everyone involved. The hubris of their high school good life causing a downfall that will be felt – even by those who escaped prosecution – for a lifetime.
"Many of us would rather advise women on the precautions they should take to avoid being raped as opposed to starting at the root of the problem: teaching men and boys not to be rapists in the first place.”
The Day I Taught How Not to Rape - Accidental Devotional
It is uncomfortable to think that some of the students you still call babies have the potential to be rapists. It is sickening, it is terrifying, but it is true. It is a reality we have to face. My students have lived in a world for fifteen years where the joke “she probably wanted it” isn’t really a joke, they need to unlearn some lessons that no one will admit to teaching them.
It's Biblically Impossible to be Biblical - Ed Cyzewski
There is no “biblical” way of doing things. There is only a biblically informed and Spirit-led way of doing things. And that information and leading may evolve and shift over time.
Every day athletes and celebrities are offered endorsement deals where they are paid millions of dollars to sell products that they have never tried and will never use. But you don't care.
Jonathan Toews (pronounced jon-uh-thun) is the team captain, and he is one of the best all-around players on the planet despite the fact that he doesn’t look a day over 8½. If you had to throw every player in the garbage but one, Toews would be the guy to keep. But the player who’s getting the most attention right now is Patrick Kane, who in all likelihood has probably done a body shot off your sister. A reformed party boy, he scores lots of goals at opportune times and is a hypnotic stick handler.