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Archive for February, 2011

Straight Teaching

February 21st, 2011 No comments

Imagine an argument where one parent said, “I love our baby,” and the other parent didn’t reply, “Well, so do I!” Even in an amicable separation, that would raise some eyebrows. For the same reason, there are three words I’d like mainline protestant Christians to reclaim. They each represent something too important to walk away from.

One of those words is “orthodox.” We don’t use the word very much, except when we use a capital “O” to refer to “Orthodox Christians,” the eastern branches of Christianity resulting from the Great Schism of 1054.

That’s too bad, because “orthodoxy” should be important to us. Read more…

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Words Worth Holding Onto

February 17th, 2011 No comments

When my children were younger, their kindergarten teacher taught them this saying: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can also hurt me.” That’s not the version I learned when I was a kid: back then we were taught that words could never hurt us. I’m of two minds about changing that saying. There should, on the one hand, be a clear distinction between physical violence and verbal aggression, but it is also true that words can hurt us.

Words are powerful things. Read more…

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More smaller churches – but not in a good way

February 12th, 2011 No comments

There’s nothing to rejoice over in this report from the PC(USA)’s Research Services unit. Since reunification, the denomination has lost an average of 40,541 members a year (net) and we’re down about a third, from about three million down to a hair over two.

The headline (“Fewer members = smaller congregations”) says what might be the most disturbing thing about our decline. The average congregation has dropped in size from 268 in 1983 to 152 today. In the same period, the median size of a congregation has declined from 195 to 97.

Fully half of our congregations (mine among them) have 100 or fewer members–and that’s members, not worship attenders. God is still in heaven, and Jesus fed a multitude with just five loaves and two fishes, but even so, how many of those congregations are financially viable?

How to Boost Your Memory

February 1st, 2011 No comments

This is interesting: aging adults can boost their memory just by taking a walk.

“With a limited investment of time and effort you can produce fairly dramatic improvements in memory and brain health,” senior researcher Arthur Kramer, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told LiveScience. “You can roll back the clock about two years.”

Physical exercise — it doesn’t have to be aerobic — seems to grow a structure in the brain called the hippocampus at a time when it normally decreases.

Maybe that’s why the Scriptures describe our life as a “walk.”

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