Month: February 2018

How to use Evernote

We all need another brain to remember things and even remind us later. Evernote basically accomplishes that for me. I’ve been a fan and user of Evernote for (over?) 10 years now. Here’s a nifty guide for using the app in ways that even I found valuable: You’re just getting started with Evernote, and you’re asked to create your first note. What do you do with it? Make a shopping list? Write a poem? Plan …

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Churches Should Turn and Face the Strange

  The “America” that Baby Boomers and my fellow Gen X’ers grew up with is rapidly changing, and Protestant churches are an example of community institutions that will be most affected… and made irrelevant or obsolete if they continue to operate as if it’s still 1985. Of course, whites are a smaller share of the post-millennial generation than any other, so their views will be less dispositive in shaping its direction. Other changes cataloged in the …

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Episode 141: Could Jesus Read and Write?

Dr. Thomas Whitley and the Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss British trivia shows, the concept of literacy in the ancient world, what accent Jesus might have had, and whether we now have historical proof of the prophet Isaiah. Support Thinking Religion Links: QI : Quite Interesting What language did Jesus speak? Was he illiterate? Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem – Biblical Archaeology Society Did Archaeologists Just Prove the Existence of Prophet Isaiah? Why “Isaiah” of the …

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Should Americans buy Hauwei phones?

The Mate 10 looks like a pretty amazing device and I’ve wondered at times whether I should pick up a Hauwei device to make sure I’m staying on top of things. Last week, U.S. intelligence officials warned citizens about buying devices from Chinese companies such as Hauwei and ZTE over concerns that there are potential “back doors” allowing for the Chinese government to eavesdrop on Americans. Given all that we do on our mobile devices …

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Episode 140: Hermeneutic of Violence

Dr. Thomas Whitely and The Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss wearing Clerical Collars every day, our country's normalized hermeneutic of violence, and a new podcast. Support Thinking Religion Links: Our Moloch | by Garry Wills | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books Amazon.com: ExOfficio Give-N-Go Tee: Sports & Outdoors Geek Testament

Sumer and the Modern Paradigm

Modern artists discovered Sumerian art between the world wars, at a time when British and American archaeological missions were working in southern Iraq. But archaeologists like Leonard Woolley, head of the mission in Ur were less fascinated by their finds. They considered Mesopotamian art inferior to Egyptian and to Graeco-Roman art and thought Mesopotamian iconography was an expression of a violent culture. Sacrificed bodies found at the Royal Tombs of Ur were the proof that …

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Baptist Fields

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” Rumi The painful truth the Illumination Project uncovered in their long discernment process is how silent our churches are …

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“Celebrate Valentine’s Day without compromising your Christian faith on Ash Wednesday”

My advice is that American Christians have much bigger issues to concern themselves with than whether or not they can reconcile Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, so stop taking yourself so seriously… On Feb. 14, many Christians face a dilemma as they try to reconcile their faith with the traditional celebrations of romantic love. How exactly do you observe Valentine’s Day on the day Lent begins, marking the season of atonement leading up to Easter? …

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Show and Tell: Handling Art at the Wurtele Center

My time with the incredible finds from Dura Europos at the Yale University Art Gallery are some of my fondest memories… Walking alongside the shelves, one can step from intricate African sculptures to ancient Greek vases to Chinese porcelain to a collection of Picasso ceramics. Opposite the entrance and behind glass display cases are a series of white, metal sliding shelves. They are filled with, among other things, wooden staffs, tea cups and wall fragments …

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Thinking Baptists: CBF’s Illumination Project Recap

Merianna and I released a new episode of our rebooted Thinking Baptists podcast last night reflecting on our own personal feelings about the CBF’s Illumination Project as well as our own viewpoints regarding church policies at the institutional and local levels… The Rev. Merianna Neely Harrelson and The Rev. Sam Harrelson break down this week’s release of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Illumination Project report from their own perspectives. Source: Thinking Baptists: CBF’s Illumination Project Recap

“What is the spirit saying here?”

Good reflection by Julia Pennington-Russell here on the CBF’s Illumination Project work as well as moralism, legalism, and theopolitics regardless of denomination: And many, maybe most, CBF churches are so anxious about jeopardizing a fragile harmony that they avoid even the mildest conversation about human sexuality, even as their LGBTQ brothers and sisters suffer outside the gate. What is the Spirit saying here? Source: Illuminations: The Healing Space between “Good” and “Bad” | CBFblog

CBF’s New Hiring and Personnel Statement

Here are results from the 18-month long Illumination Project that the CBF launched to address its controversial anti-LGBTQ hiring policy back in 2016. Thomas and I did an episode of Thinking Religion last night to share some thoughts if you’d like to know where I stand. To reflect the practice of most of its congregations, the procedure states: “Among other qualifying factors, CBF will employ persons for leadership positions in ministry who exhibit the ideals set …

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Episode 139: Hiring Policy

Dr. Thomas J. Whitley and The Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss beards, Life on Mars, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's hiring policy (and past, present, future). Support Thinking Religion Links: Elon Musk shares the epic last photo of ‘Starman’ in the red Tesla he shot into space PERSONAS – Illumination Project CBF moderator says proposed LGBTQ hiring policy meets Fellowship Baptists ‘where they are’ – Baptist News Global

“Did they worship this car?”

“He wondered what aliens might think if they ever came across the Roadster drifting through space. After all, SpaceX packed other weird items in the car, among them a small toy Hot Wheels Roadster (complete with a miniature Starman) on the dashboard. “Maybe [it will be] discovered by an alien race, thinking, ‘What were these guys doing? Did they worship this car? Why do they have a little car in the car?’” Musk said. “That …

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Go Update your WordPress version manually today

This has made for a fun morning with our many client sites that are running WordPress… In an unfortunate turn of events, WordPress 4.9.3 was released earlier this week and it included a bug which broke WordPress auto-update. Millions of sites auto-updated from 4.9.2 to WordPress 4.9.3 and it broke their ability to auto-update in the future. via Wordfence

Episode 138: Toxic Jesusinity and The Church

Dr. Thomas Whitley and The Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss toxic masculinity and compare Trump with Jesus, Apple's woes, and voice assistants. Support Thinking Religion

James C. Scott’s New Book

James C. Scott is one of the scholars I always enjoy reading. I was introduced to his work Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts while in a (wonderful) seminary class on the Parables. The insightful connection that our beloved professor made between Jesus’ acts and words in his performance of the parables with the essence of what Scott described as “public” and “hidden” transcripts still resonates with me today anytime I read the …

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Did ancient people see blue?

Realizing that the origins of colors in Mesopotamia are found in the idea of brightness and saturation allows us to dispel the notion that Akkadian has a poor and imprecise color vocabulary. Rather than look for equivalents to English words like red, blue and purple, we should understand how colors were imagined and experienced by ancient [hu]man[s] under the conditions of [their]his own speech community. Only then can we begin to appreciate the use of …

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