Is honesty always true? A very helpful post from Barnabas Piper about the difference between truth and honesty. Turth is the reality of a matter, but people can speak differently about that truth honestly, due to different emotional and intellectual filters.
Resurrecting the pleasure of the well-written letter I like to write letters, and I like to receive them (hint, hint, you know who you are someone I have written a letter and you didn’t write back, should you ever happen to read this blog). The last paragraph:
Regain the habit of long-form letter-writing and you slow the world down – with all the therapeutic benefits you’d expect. Besides which, letters have a glorious materiality. They are complex packets of visual and tactile stimuli: ink, paper, handwriting, drawings, marmalade splodges, lipstick… As John Donne observed: ‘Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls/For thus friends absent speak.’
Near-death experiences for cowards Ways people’s lives were changed by near death experiences, from Austin Kleon, who read the obituaries every morning.
Do you believe you are good at relationships? This is an interesting one. Without being all Disney and saying “believe in yourself” I think you do have to acknowledge that you can contribute something, in order to contribute it. I used to look at people who did what seemed like self-appointed ministry and quietly think ‘they must have a lot of self-assurance to think they can do that, and people need/want them to do that’ (you can be humble and say it’s all about God working through you, but then you might have to acknowledge that some people are better equipped for God working through them – and the reality is that most people in formal ministries are there because someone took them aside and said they should be, because they were good at it), but I don’t think that way anymore. And I’ve long thought I wasn’t any good at romantic relationships, in particular, but that turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you don’t like to assume someone might be interested, you don’t respond very well to their efforts to show an interest, and that just makes it difficult for everyone (and then if they get discouraged and give up, you have reinforced your idea).
Finding God. Another sermon from Tim Keller, on Psalms 42 and 43. Here he talks about spiritual dryness, and how it will come upon us all, even if we keep up our daily Christian to-do list, and it isn’t a result of sin.
That said, he discusses some causal factors:
1) Disruption of community
2) Disillusionment at the events of life
3) Physical deprivation – not eating or sleeping
And then some of the cures from the Psalmist:
1) Pours out his soul
2) Analyses his hopes (spiritual dryness is not necessarily because of sin, but you can still do some self-analysis, and there are some interesting points here about how spiritual dryness can reveal false hopes or inordinate loves – I know I definitely get discouraged, in all spheres, when things I had hoped for fall flat, and sometimes I’d just put too much hope in the wrong thing)
3) Remembers the grace and loving kindness of God
4) Preaches sermons to his heart
Arise Aunty Army An opinion piece from the Sydney Morning Herald about the ways Aunties can be a force for good, particularly in the lives of girls.
Story of survival from the Tasmania Bushfires Amazing story of how some grandparents saved themselves and their five grandchildren by taking refuge under a jetty