Friday, March 23, 2012

online meanderings - the making of good wine, receiving criticism, marriage is for losers and other stuff

This week, my top picks were

God loves good wine - The other day my suffering friend was asked by an atheist, who was in tears, "How can your God be so tough on you?". Here, perhaps, is part of the answer: the best wine grows in the poorest conditions. And my friend is good wine. Jon Bloom.

How to receive criticism part 1 - It made me laugh and taught me heaps about responding to criticism. Stephen Altrogge.

Marriage is for losers - "If marriage is going to work, it needs to become a contest to see which spouse is going to lose the most...Losing becomes a way of life, a competition to see who can listen to, care for, serve, forgive, and accept the other the most." Kelly Flanagan HT Challies.

I was challenged by

Who you are when no one except your family is looking - Why you can never just 'be yourself' - even at home. "The barometer of character is best read within the four walls of the home...'It will never be lawful simply to 'be ourselves' until 'ourselves' have become sons of God.'" Great stuff from Cath (and CS Lewis).

The humble apostle - Why Paul's humblest words were "Imitate me." "'Pride can look like arrogant self-confidence, or it can look like timid self-pity. Real humility is courageous un-self-consciousness.'" Challies quoting Jared Wilson.

Gracious candor: A tutorial in speaking the truth in love - Another great post from the biblical counselling folk. Heath Lambert.

I was helped by

Ask personal questions - "You have a beautiful Saviour to offer to those sitting across from you clothed in disgrace and wrapped in shame...Don’t miss the opportunity to provide hope by settling for vague statements when you counsel." Amy Baker.

Complementarian decision making as a couple - Headship and submission when it comes to decision-making. A great description of how it looks in practice. Wayne Grudem.

Creativity, excellence and patience - How long does it take to get good at something like writing? "I didn’t reach out to Gary Smith until I actually had something good for him to read. And you know how long that took me, after college? Six years, that’s how long." Ira Glass with Justin Taylor.

I was encouraged by

A mother's prayer - "I know that God is eager to answer this simple, desperate, prayer on behalf of this helpless, happy, mother." I haven't just adopted two children from Ethiopia, but this still sounds a lot like me. Nicole Whitaker.

Providence is sweet - A beautiful post about the gift of a Bible in your own language. Phil Johnson HT Challies.

Tell me the story one more time - A wonderful death-bed story. Challies.

I was informed by

Facebook security for children - None of our children are on Facebook yet, but once they are, I'll be referring to this very helpful guide. Kellie.

An interview with Daniel B Wallace on the New Testament manuscripts - Why we can trust the New Testament. Justin Taylor.

Why we have to go back to a 40-hour week to keep our sanity - " Every hour you work over 40 hours a week is making you less effective and productive over both the short and the long haul." Sara Robinson HT Gordon Cheng.

I was sobered by

Do you think I'm pretty? - "Daddy, tell your daughter every day she is beautiful and loved by you and the Lord. If you don’t, she will not know how to discern sincere love from lust. Don’t let her find her compliments on Facebook–they need to come from you!" Kellie.

Why we should blame God - "It’s easier in moments of direct your sorrow, disappointment, and anger at Satan or a broken world or random occurrence...but if we do, we are robbing God..." I just can't get enough of this author! Michael Kelley.

Should I divorce if I'm miserable? - A good answer from Russell D Moore. HT Challies.

I was intrigued by

The already and not yet of hell - Why become a Christian? Because not just heaven, but hell, reach back into this life. Interesting stuff. Dave Dorr.

Facebook's 'dark side': Study finds link to socially aggressive narcissism - "Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a "socially disruptive" narcissist." Damien Pearse HT Tim Chester.

Three issues with smartphones in church - Some helpful observations about using electronic devices in church. John Dyer.

I appreciated

Baby shower sermonette - Worth reading if you're about to have a baby. And what a great thing to do at a baby shower! Cathy.

Calling all songwriters - I'm no song-writer, but sounds like good advice to me. Can you do one for blog-writers, Rachael? (Just don't say that blog posts have to be shorter than this one.)

What I've learned about blogging after writing more than 1,000 posts - "I’ve had times when I felt creative and the posts flowed—and times when I couldn’t string two sentences together." Amen to all that. Michael Hyatt HT Vitamin Z.

I loved these quotes

The kingdom of providence - "He sees when you are in danger by temptation, and casts in a hinder it. He sees when you are sad, and orders reviving providence, to refresh you. He sees when corruptions prevail, and orders humbling providence to purge them." Take it from a 40 year old believer: he does. John Flavel - Of First Importance.

What it means to be a pilgrim - "Pilgrims have not arrived...They are not exactly sure what their destination city will be like; they are driven by a promise...Yet unlike tourists, they are on their way to a settled place and every point along the way is a landmark toward that destination." Michael Horton quoted by Justin Taylor.

I now want to read

Easter readings - Some great readings for families at Easter. Wendy.

A cold day in Hades (In which Tom Cannon blogs. So there.) - And when Tom speaks, I listen. I used to work with the guy. He's wise, even if he is, in his own words, a "curmudgeon".

Pastors in the classics by Leland Ryken - Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, Elizabeth George's The Dean's Watch, Bo Giertz The Hammer of God: three favourites, and counting. I'd love a look at this book! Justin Taylor.

I was puzzled by

A conversation on gospel-centred discipleship - More puzzling stuff on guidance, this time from Gospel Centred Discipleship by Jonathan Dodson. Justin Taylor.

Spiritual disciplines handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun - Can't remember where I saw the link, but I know it was from a blogger I respect. And yes, there is some helpful stuff in this book. But it concerns me to see it mixed up with mystical practices, then recommended on the back cover by Tim Keller.

and these made me smile

Children's book spot: Elizabeth Enright - One of my favourite series for children! Worth looking out for.

A lovely second-hand find - So very beautiful. Ali is fast turning me into a poetry lover...

Country road - *Sigh* Buttercup yellow grass, black road across the landscape...these photos bring back one day on our 7-week journey up the East coast of Australia last year. Unforgettable. Thanks, Susie.


Tom Cannon said...

"Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a "socially disruptive" narcissist."

This scares me.

Jean said...

Yes, but it should scare Gordon more - he has 1,600 friends and you only (only!) have 1,100. Which makes him more socially disruptive and narcissistic then you - just.

Of course, I know your fears are really on behalf of others. And fair enough too.

Have you read Challies "The Next Story"? Some very interesting stuff there about the impact of social media. Not sure socially disruptive narcissism was on his list, though.

dvm said...

I don't know how you manage to collect such a huge list to post - I really liked the "how to receive criticism like a champ" - very funny and wise.

Ali said...

Jean, I have been meaning to say thanks for the links, and for all your other links! - and prompted by your latest posts I have decided I must. I don't seem to be getting around the internet like I used to (or maybe the sphere of the internet I am trying to get around is ever-expanding) so I appreciate others pointing me to good things. My google reader now sits on 1000+, which is absolutely ridiculous, and I need to cull it.

P.S. I don't think those facebook researchers have any idea of Christian circles. I mean, move churches and that's an instant 150 new friends. I have noticed that most of my non-Christian facebook friends have far less friends - I think because they just don't have the "Christian connection" thing happening, and maybe the reasons they gather up friends is different ...

Jean said...

Hi dvm,

I don't read them all in depth: just enough to know (hopefully!) whether they may be useful to others. Some I read carefully and reflect on, because I'm encouraged by them. Others are links I skim, from a person I trust, and then pass on to you.

I'm a quick reader and skimmer...:)

Love Jean.

Jean said...

Hi Ali,

Good to hear from you, my encouraging bloggy friend, and glad you find them helpful!

1000+ is just faintly ridiculous...;D My list sits at about 40, and that's more than enough for me!! Plus I've pushed all the ones I like to the top of the list and don't even both reading all the rest...

Which means, I guess, that I'm posting this huge long list from just a few blogs, but I don't care - that's about all I can handle - and people like Vitamin Z and Challies keep me in touch. It's people like Challies I don't get!! How does he manage it all? Clearly he's built differently from me.)

Yeah, I agree about the Facebook thing. I read and reflect on these kinds of posts because they help keep me from internet idolatry: a good reminder that Facebook can be shallow unless used for Christ's glory not my own. But having 1000 friends for many of us is just part of ministry life!

Love Jena.