Friday, September 06, 2013

Daily Links 9-6-13

Some reflections on hard work, Ronald Reagan's near-death encounter with a chimpanzee, theological labels, a double no-hittter, and more in today's links.


Reevaluating the value of hard work:

For more than a generation, we have encouraged our children to aspire to careers that would enable them to work with their minds and not their hands. So, it should come as no surprise that we have an estimated three million job vacancies in the skilled labor force today that are going unfilled because many people erroneously consider these positions to be beneath their potential or otherwise undesirable.
We are now dealing with a problem of our own making. In our attempt to spare our children from the drudgery of physical labor, we have become a society that no longer respects or celebrates hard work. We have become a nation of consumers rather than producers and we are beginning to experience the unintended consequences of this transition in more painful ways. But just as the national narrative seems to be hopelessly unswayable, an unlikely voice of reason has emerged in guest appearances on the national talk show circuit.
Mike Rowe, who is best known as the host of the Discovery Channel's popular show Dirty Jobs, has decided to lend his fame and notoriety to a larger cause. He is encouraging a broader conversation about our nation's relationship with skilled labor. He feels it is important to "make a case for the trades," and I applaud him for bringing recognition to this issue through his many appearances.
Hat tip: Mike Rowe
Ronald Reagan once famously acted with a chimpanzee. An unfortunate incident with the chimp nearly cost him his life.


The organ was playing. The choir was in the loft. Church members were seated and still. My Bible was in hand and I was prepared to take the platform. In moments the worship service would begin. It was at this instant an elderly gentleman introduced himself to me by stating, “I am so glad you are here to preach for us today. I have looked forward to meeting you. Before you preach, though, I have one question for you. Are you a Calvinist?”
That question is not an uncommon one, but it’s a question that might be more difficult to answer than first thought. To this gentleman, I reflexively replied, “To be honest, sir, I have no idea what you mean by that question.” He smiled and responded, “I have no have idea what I meant by the question either.”
We both chuckled, then I retorted, “I’ll be happy to discuss this as much as you’d like after the service, but know that I believe in preaching the gospel to all people and that anyone who repents of their sins and embraces Christ as Lord and Savior can be saved.” Reassured, he smiled and said “that is all I wanted to hear.”
That conversation, like so many others, reminded me of the challenge of theological labels. This seems especially so when discussing the often controversial topic of Calvinism.


A challenge to read books outside of your comfort zone:

We who live in this peculiar world of the “Young-restless-reformed/gospel-centered/whozamafaceit” have a nasty habit: we tend to be pretty insular in our reading.
While there’s much to like (even love) about writers from this particular group—we are right to appreciate writing that makes the gospel great, to be sure. But there’s a danger, too: if you’re not careful you can wind up only reading and listening to people you agree with.
Your arguments become second- (even third-) hand. Your discernment dulls. You risk becoming, well, kinda boring (and not in a good way).
How well do you know your grammar? You can put it to the test by trying out this quiz: You Can't Write Proper English Under Pressure. And it is harder than you might think.  (hat tip Neatorama)


Going to the hospital can be unnerving for just about anyone but especially for kids. One Connecticut children's hospital came up with a unique solution: a pirate themed CT scanner room.


Only once in baseball history has there ever been a double no-hitter for nine innings. Of course, the Cubs were on the losing end of this unique game.


Some great advice to young writers: get lost.


Last weekend Matt and I had a young, engaged couple from our church over. It was so encouraging to talk to them about our faith. Although they are barely in their twenties, Greg and Mim are very mature in their thoughts about God. 
As the men were showing off their corn hole skills (maybe this is just a WV game??) in an intense match against our children, Mim and I were talking on the deck about the recent loss of her baby niece. As Mim was processing her thoughts from her experience over the last couple of dramatic weeks, she recalled something very wise her father told her. She said something to the fact that God doesn’t give us hypothetical grace, he gives us grace for today.

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