Saturday, May 26, 2012

online meanderings: life and not-life, the back-to-front gospels, grieving with God, and more

Top five posts 
The day I took Matthias Media's money to the casino - Such a great post about life and not-life. Ian Carmichael.

Our refuge and strength in times of grieving - God is our refuge, our strength and our help in grief. A beautiful post from Paul Tautges HT Biblical Counselling Coalition

Reading the gospels from back to front - When a spoiler is a good thing. Yes, your favourite character dies - and that's the point. Todd Brewer HT The Briefing.

Seeing God's hand in our daily hardships - A new series on suffering and what it produces in us: the 7 Es. Excellent reflections on Romans 8: 28. Robert Jones.

An interview with JI Packer - So much good stuff here! I especially like what he say about the Puritans (4.12) and his advice to those setting out in a life of ministry (12.10). It's not ecclesiology that matters, but going deep in Scripture truth and life. (Note to self: re-read John Owen's "Mortification of sin".)

Quotes of the week
"Let the measure of God's grace to you in the cross of Christ be the measure of your grace to your spouse." - You can't say this enough Piper quoted by Jonathon Parnell.

"The Bible is the true Facebook, the book in which we see God’s face. Prayer is the ultimate instant messaging. The church is the real social network." You can't say this enough Tim Chester.

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." How to read a book Alan Jacobs on Francis Bacon.

"There is someone wrong on the Internet. It’s probably you. Log off, hug your kids, kiss your wife, and go get some of His rest. The world will not only be there when you get back, it will have been made better." Something is wrong on the Internet RC Sproul Jr.

Seven more great posts
A prayer for those who lie awake at night worrying - "Sunrise has yet to happen, yet I’m already looking forward to moonrise. Thank you for freeing me from the pressure of pretending otherwise..." Scotty Smith HT Biblical Counselling Coalition

Thus saith the Lord - How God speaks to us today. Meredith.

How Zephaniah helps us feel the glad love of God - God rejoices over his people with singing. Jonathon Parnell on one of the most mind-blowing verses in the Bible. 

How to sabotage an introverted pastor - Don't use your introversion as an excuse. Screwtape and the introverted pastor. Jared Wilson.

How to start at your new church - Make a commitment. Throw yourself into things. Serve. Love. Kevin deYoung HT Challies.

How God can use your anxiety for good and 8 reasons why my anxiety is pointless and foolish - Two "opposing" posts on anxiety. Anxiety is sin. It is also, often, suffering (not sure I'd go with the "disorder" language but this is a huge struggle for some). In both sin and suffering, let's turn to God and keep serving him. Laura Ortberg Turner and Justin Taylor.

For mothers
Mummy wars in the local church: a parable - "Two mothers woke up and opened their Bibles to pray, one a perfect mother and the other a not-so-perfect mother..." Gloria Furman.

Competitive mothering - I was a bit dubious about a guy writing this but it's gold. Let me boast only in the cross. Challies.

Mummy wars - Are you mum enough? Is God enough? Rachel Pieh Jones.

For parents and teachers
Who's that adult in my car? - Welcoming teenagers into the family - and into your conversations. Jodie McNeill.

Classical school reading list - Reading lists for kids of all ages (and why not adults too?). A great resource for parents and teachers. Justin Taylor.

Feeding people
Cooking in a pie cooker - More fun cooking from Jane. Anyone tried cooking gluten free pies in a pie maker?

Dealing with the lunchbox wars - A great idea from Sus.

Living with technology
Dancing on the edge of finished - I need to learn how to do this. When work bleeds into life. Seth Godin HT Challies.

Taming Facebook - A good summary of the pros and cons of Facebook from Nicole. 

Are you neglecting your kids [or others] because of your smartphone? - Or your iPad, or your computer screen, or your... Sobering stuff. Erin Andersson.

Reading and writing
10 quick tips for writing well - Worth printing out and sticking up somewhere. Greg Bailey via Nathan Bingham via Challies.

Interviewing the ProBlogger - Be missional in your blogging. Interesting idea! I'd like to think more about this. An interview with Darren Rowse by Challies.

9 books on reading and writing - 9 books on reading and writing. Love it.

If you want more links, or want to see my links as I read them, check out

7 comments:

Deb L said...

Jean, I love your links. But the problem is this: after I've read them I want to discuss them with you. What did you think of this bit? Did you really agree when he said that? What is your opinion of x, y or z? If only there was virtual coffee and 36 hours in the day to discuss it all! Could you post one or two during the week as a separate post so we could natter in the comments?

Jean said...

I agree, Deb, that would be lovely! (I'd have a lot to say about the anxiety posts, for example; and yes, there's often stuff in there I only 95% agree with.) But I am barely keeping up with the links let alone deciding which ones to post during the week etc... Still, I'll give your request some thought.

Best would be for you to comment and ask questions/make comments on the online meanderings posts and then we can talk about it in the comments. That, I'm happy to do and have time to do (commenting takes less time than posting). Then if the discussion goes in an interesting direction, I can post it on the main blog and invite others to comment too.

Which ones did you particularly want to discuss further and why?

Deb L said...

Well, one of the ones I found most interesting in this week's list was Challies on "Competitive Mothering". The question that surfaced in my mind was whether he was putting too much responsibility on the blogger not to boast and not enough responsibility on the reader not to covet. It seems to be that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I don't think envy was not alive an well before blogging made us ever-so-aware of what other mothers are doing beautifully. Sure, we have more easy access to things which we could find guilt-inducing or envy-inciting. I know that reading blogs has given rise to feelings of failure and sinful envy many a time. But I own those as my sinful failings not as a fault of bloggers who have chronicled their lives with fancy photos. And as most blogs are open to the whole wide world, boasting in weakness needs to be done very carefully so that we don't violate other people's privacy (my argument with my husband might not be a suitable topic even if it's "keeping it real") and so that what we write is wholesome, builds others up and causes them to think on those things that are excellent.

Another question for you: if you had your time again would you still have started a blog? Are there things about blogging you would do differently the second time around? How do you start a blog but guard against it consuming all the time you have for meaningful relationships?

See? This is why we need coffee and about 36 hours!

Jean said...

Hi Deb,

I don't think I read it quite the way you did, as an argument against people blogging this way and for people blogging that way; more as an encouragement about how to think about the things we read: to remember ourselves in the light of the cross. I'm not sure how he wrote it, that's just how I read it. But then I do tend to turn everything back on myself.

When it comes to blogging, my rules for myself are the same as my rules for any kind of conversation or teaching: I write to encourage others in love. Which means I both try not to "boast" and also try not to reveal things that wouldn't be appropriate to reveal. I try to let people see my weakness because I think it's pretty discouraging for people if they can't see that, and also to encourage me that I am struggling too, and this is how God helps me with my struggles, and this is how he might help them. If I write about the "good" things I do, I try to stick to what the Bible says we should do, and never imply that we need to do more than that, so I don't put heavy burdens on people. So much more I could say, but yes, I'm always mindful of the possible effect of my words on those who read.

Although I agree with you, too, that there is responsibility with the reader to read what I write in a godly, non-competitive way that trusts God and rejoices in what he has given.

*Phew!*

Jean said...

Now, on the blogging thing:

I had no idea what I was doing when I started! I woke up one day, thought "I might start a blog", and I can't even remember why at this distance!! Had I known how obsessive it would be, and how it would suck times from my primary relationships, I might have held off until my kids were a little older. But I'm kind of glad I got it out of my system.

Now that I've had a break from it and come back to it, it has a good, healthy part to play in my life and I can't quite imagine ministry without it! I think I'd always be reading, thinking and writing whatever I did, and this takes that energy and channels it in a healthy way. Also it's brought so many opportunities, like writing for The Briefing, that I couldn't possibly have imagined when I started!

God had many things in mind for me, even if I had some hard lessons to learn about how to blog in a godly way. I'm so glad he taught me those lessons, and I'm so glad I have the opportunity to encourage people in this way now. It's a great privilege and not one I take lightly. And it's a great joy to me to be able to write.

Not sure if that answers any of your questions. If I was to do it over again...well, I'd have to be a different, less sinful person to do this, but I'd sit more lightly to it. I'd know that I don't have to post every day! I'd get off the computer more quickly and spend time with my family. I'd set aside clear times to spend with them. As I said, I might have waited a few more years to start. And I'd have less interest in some of the things that go with being a blogger that meant too much to me at first, like being liked and respected and asked to do stuff.

I still battle my blog taking over - at the moment it's less the writing and more worrying about whether these links are worth it or whether I could be doing something more useful with my time (resting, maybe?! :) ). It's a constant balancing act and I'll never find the perfect balance, just stumble along, loving my family, serving in my church, sharing Jesus with people around me, and, yes, writing. Writing is just one means among many that God gives me to encourage people.

Hope that's part-way to some kind of answer!

Love Jean.

Jean said...

ps in other words yes, I would start a blog, just maybe do it a little differently. ;)

Deb L said...

Thanks, Jean, that's helpful!