Ferguson Links

Lighter stuff for those who get emotional/agitated reading on race and violence (whichever side you are on)

How Twitter and Facebook are different for sharing/following the Ferguson situation

How younger and older blacks feel differently about Civil Rights and Civil Disobedience

Coverage of the Coverage from a faith perspective

The following articles are by Christians talking about race, poverty, violence etc. in America (proceed at your own risk, send all complaints to original authors)

Silence by white Christian America

WARNING! Black American Christians may have a different POV than you are used to. Kristena Cleveland: “The Cross and the Molotav Cocktail” (ALSO: graphic images of lynching/hanging)

Don’t Ignore It by Eugene Cho

and lastly, if you only read one argument that may make you angry, this one is calm and rational and provides good suggestions for action: “Speaking of Michael Brown




What I been Reading

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

You can read the DSM and doctor’s comments but reading a narrative by a gifted author (Sophie’s Choice, etc.) about what it’s like to have Major Depressive Disorder is enlightening.  He talks about how his view of depression (and suicide) change after suffering himself.  He talks about suicide, including how close he got, and various artists he knew who killed themselves. Provides great insight into severe depression.

His writing skill, personal experience, and research (he himself read about his disease in the DSM) provide for a fascinating and brief (less than a 100 pages) read.

Scarred Faith by Joshua Ross

I have already loaned my copy so I can’t quote much except this: “May God forgive us for taking better care of our buildings than we do our neighbors.”

The book is very personal and very powerful.  It focuses on the loss of Ross’ sister who died unexpectedly at a young age and that death’s impact on his faith. He says a lot of important things about risk, adventure, and faith. His style is humorous and down-to-earth but also be warned: Don’t read it in public unless are you okay with crying in public. Big, ugly crying.

The second half of the book has a lot of great stories about what God is doing in Memphis.

Would be great for anyone who has lost a loved one, for ministers, and Jesus followers of all kinds.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

Only halfway through this one but it is interesting.  It’s a personal account about living with Bipolar Disorder (technically Schizo-Affective because she also had delusions/hallucinations but she focuses on the more commonly known Bipolar) written by a psychologist.  She does a great job of painting the picture of the mood swings, especially the highs of mania and the spending, risky behavior, etc. that accompanies it.  Jamison does a good job of explaining why so many who suffer from BPD resist taking medication in spite of the severity of the symptoms.

The most interesting tidbit so far is that she made it all the way through graduate school without recognizing she had Bipolar Disorder.  She was well aware of her moods and struggles but didn’t connect the dots.

Humiliation and Humility

Which act of Humility impresses or affects you the most?

The Birth of Christ and its circumstances or His Death on the Cross?

Two Sacrifices. Two Reactions

Scenario 1:

A college-age American decides to enlist to serve his/her country.  Family and friends are proud and encourage them.  Flags wave.  They are deployed and lose their life on foreign soil and are recognized as a hero.  Honored by the government and their community, as they should be.

Scenario 2:

A college-age American wants to be a missionary.  Family and friends encourage them to get an education first.  Parents worry that they will be behind their peers in earning power.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

He/she feels called to serve in a poor and/or dangerous part of the world.  Church leaders questions the wisdom of it and are not likely to support (especially if female).  Parents and friends wonder why they would want to leave America and live in a place where there are so few churches and so few blessings.

Everyone points out the dangers.  Maybe it’s a country with a strong Muslim presence (for the sake of this scenario, I won’t even use Iran) or anti-Christian government.  He could be imprisoned.  She could be kidnapped or raped.  If it’s a couple and children are involved, grandparents can’t fathom their little cute ones living so far away.

Or maybe it’s questioning them on living without proper healthcare, or living with malaria or without Dr. Pepper and peanut better, American doctors and TV.

But you can serve God right here in America!” or “The Bible belt needs Christians, too.”

Europe needs missionaries, too” (and YES, they do)

You might lose your life.  We can’t take that chance.”

Too dangerous.”

“God will send someone else.  He will get the Gospel to them somehow.  It doesn’t have to be you.”

How can you raise your children in a place like that without…X,Y,Z?”

Two similar scenarios where a young person wants to make a commitment that could involve losing their life. One for God.  One for Country.

How would you respond if it were your child, grandchild, sister, nephew?

How would your congregation respond to each of these?

How about responding only with situations that prove me wrong?

Give me examples of faith and courage.

Show me I am being ridiculous, setting up a straw-man.

Show me that we admire and support the courage of a Christian missionary AT LEAST as much as we do our servicemen and women!  Please!

Dealing with Grief

John Dobbs has begun a great site as a place to encourage the hurting.


Mike Cope has been writing a series of articles of grief, specifically dealing with the loss of a child. (If you haven’t read “Megan’s Secret,” about his daughter who died at age 10, you should.)

It starts HERE and definitely read the comments, many others share about their journey.