Blog Archives

Links to Your World, Thursday February 13

Take a walk past Austin's iconic street art celebrating love and heartbreak


“Though Abraham Lincoln was neither baptized nor joined a church of any kind, he was the most spiritually minded president in American history. His faith was wrought on the anvil of anguish, both personal and national, and because of this he has much to teach us in our own age of anxiety.”“Lincoln’s Faith and America’s Future’’”


Have you ever made these complains about worship songs?


Is it wrong for me to laugh aloud at this? Terror Recruits Blow Themselves Up in Bomb Class


In last week's sermon, I talked about our adoption by God and likened it to earthly adoptions like the one depicted in The Blind Side. Let's not forget, however, that birthmothers are the unsung heroes of the adoption movement.


Links to Your World, Tuesday January 28

“The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn't cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.” (The Atlantic)


Do you have a fake Starbucks name? I think I'll go with “Sermonator.”


Interesting NYT piece on America's Chinatowns, including extensive coverage of Austin's developing Chinatown for its developing Asian population: “6.5 percent of the total [Austin] population, far above the national 4.2 percent, with numbers expected to double by 2020.”


Sairam Gudiseva handed in a physics essay that turned out to be a Rick-roll:


'Him'–A clever twist on the movie 'Her'


I enjoyed this remembrance of Groundhog Day. It will get you ready for the start of our new sermon series, “Movie Messages.”


“Alcohol abuse causes 79,000 premature deaths annually. It’s one of the leading causes of morbidity, trailing closely behind tobacco, and it costs the economy more than $220 billion annually—that’s $1.90 for every serving of alcohol consumed in the United States. The government alone spends $94 billion dealing with the fallout from alcohol abuse. To put that in perspective, the federal government spends about $138 billion on education.” This is from an article about whether 12-Step groups or prescription drugs is better for addressing addiction.


Here's a piece from The Atlantic about an ancient Mesopotamian take on the story most of us know as Noah's ark. I expect these stories will multiply as the release of the new Noah film approaches. Proving I was a geek long before geekiness was, um, endearing, I did a comparison of global flood stories as my topic when the high school English department got around to showing us how to do research papers. There are actually flood stories around the world variously akin to the Noah story, which I found fascinating in 11th grade–and still do.


“Research indicates that lack of religion is a key reason why people in wealthy countries don't feel a sense of purpose….Even among countries with similar GDPs, the more religious ones reported higher levels of life meaning. For example, the U.S. and Ireland, relatively religious, wealthy nations, reported higher meaning than Japan and France, which were similarly wealthy, but less religious.” Interesting story in the Atlantic.


“Western activists and media have focused considerable outrage at Russia's laws against 'homosexual propaganda' in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It would only seem fitting that Westerners would also protest (or at the very least notice) laws [in other countries] that punish people with death for converting to Christianity….Western policy has helped shape this grim fate for Middle Eastern Christians — and Western silence allows it to continue.” (Sobering article by Michael Brendan Dougherty in The Week)


Links to Your World, Tuesday January 14

6 Habits of Resilient People. Bet you can find a Bible verse to reinforce each one.


“This isn't the South, it's not the West, it's not the Great Plains, and it's not a northern territory of Mexico. Though it is all of those things. Texas is an iconic state….Texans are defined by friendliness sprinkled with bewildered resentment and the simultaneous embrace of a shifting culture imposed by immigration from other states, countries, and the impositions of American monoculture. Our unreasonable love for our state – or more specifically, our state of mind – is usually more amusing and endearing than arrogant. Usually.” This article is really about UT football, so I'll leave it up to Longhorns to decide if it “pegs” the program. But that snippet is a pretty good summary of our state, eh?


Defense Needs To Be More Physical, Reports Man Slumped On Couch For Past 5 Hours


“The de-Tom Sawyering of the American boy should not be anyone’s agenda.” Amen and amen.


Joyce Walder (NYT): “People are old when they start telling their friends how their intestines are working. You’re old when you listen.”


I May Be 50, But Don't Call Me a Boomer. I've said it before.


7 Thoughts on Becoming a Better Hater



Links to Your World, Tuesday January 7

Grab a novel: “Immersing yourself in a fictional story can lead to changes in brain function for up to five days, according to a recent study.”


Biblical baby names expected to surge in 2014


The Texas Longhorns Are Still College Football's Most Valuable Team (WSJ)


At what point do we consider a film irredeemable, or at least unwatchable? At what point do we say it is wrong to participate in certain forms of entertainment?” Trevin Wax believes certain films should be avoided rather than used for “cultural engagement.”


Local Church Full Of Brainwashed Idiots Feeds Town’s Poor Every Week


“Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee.” Your local coffeeshop may be a hotbed of heresy.


“What is unique about being an alcoholic evangelical pastor?” Not a question you'd expect in an interview, huh? But Ed Stetzer expects the problem to increase among church leaders and pastors as evangelical views on alcohol move from abstinence to moderation.


“The 2013 Baylor Bears should not be understood as a mere football team. They should be understood as a national ad campaign, as a symbol of modernity, as a giant church sign gleaming on the side of the road” (Grantland: “Can God Save Baylor?”)


Links to Your World, New Year’s Eve

Cancer is a horror, but it is also a metaphor. Each of us is conceived with a seed of mortality that can’t be surgically removed. It grows until it kills us, hopefully after a long life that honors the incredible, temporary privilege of living. We are, as W.B. Yeats harshly put it, 'fastened to a dying animal'….I’ve gained — along with many given a cancer diagnosis — a greater appreciation for the familiar words of the psalmist: 'Teach us to number our days.'” Your preparation for starting 2014 should include reading Michael Gerson's wonderful meditation on a cancer diagnosis. Really.


Judging By Google Searches, Here Are The Things Americans Were Most Clueless About in 2013


In one of the great ironies of history, C.S. Lewis at his death received less attention than Huxley, and far less than Kennedy. But it may be true that Lewis’s ideas claim the most lasting influence, both on the Christian tradition and on the Western culture beyond.” Read this article from The Atlantic and make a resolution to read at least one book by Lewis or about Lewis in 2014.

Take the 2014 Jon Acuff “Empty Shelf” challenge.


“To the extent we respond to changes in our culture either with panic or alarmism, to that same extent we contradict the Bible's teaching about ordinary Christian discipleship.” Here are seven principles for surviving the cultural shifts we're facing. One of the best articles from 2013 on this subject.


“A husband was asked to agree with everything his wife said for research purposes, but the study had to be called off after 12 days because it was proving so harmful to the marriage” (Time).


James Bond's Boozing Would Kill Him By Age 56, according to a scientific study of the fictional character. And make him a pretty incompetent spy in the process.


OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year?


According to this video report, reflecting on awe-inspiring scenes of nature makes viewers more likely to believe in God. Provoking in all us believers a, “Well, duh.”


Prodigal Sam: “Counting your followers on Twitter is like counting your money in Monopoly: you know it’s not ultimately worth anything, yet in that moment it feels like everything.” Some good thoughts on social media, the pursuit of fame, and the humility to learn from mistakes in this piece.


About Tom

ANCHOR COURSE LOGO Tom Goodman is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, and he holds a doctorate from New Orleans Seminary. He has served as pastor in Louisiana, north Texas, and overseas in Grand Cayman before becoming the pastor of Hillcrest Church in Austin, Texas. Diane and Tom have been married since their days at Baylor University, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. Tom enjoys scuba diving, watching the latest Netflix DVD with Diane, and chasing mis-hit golf balls.