Open Tabs [4/30/14]: Obama Lost Millennials; 10 Tithing Ideas; Writers & The Mentally Ill

How Obama Lost the Millennial Generation
[Ron Fournier]

Research on how President Obama’s presidency has affected the Millennial generation.

Barack Obama inspired a generation of young Americans to shed their apathy and cynicism to vote in record numbers and transform Washington, where government service would become a noble calling. Or at least that was the 2008 spin.

The reality is pathetically different.

A comprehensive analysis of 18- to 29-year-old Americans—the “millennial generation”—paints the Obama presidency as a squandered opportunity to convert enthusiasm for community service into political commitment.

According to Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, millennials’ lack of trust in American institutions continues to drop, even below historically low numbers recorded a year ago. The institute’s latest poll shows declining faith in:

  • The presidency (32 percent, down 7 points since 2013);
  • The U.S. military (47 percent, down 7);
  • Congress (14 percent, down  4);
  • The Supreme Court (36 percent, down 4);
  • The federal government (20 percent, down 2).

Since 2010, there has been a 6-point jump in the percentage of young Americans who agree that “elected officials seem to be motivated by selfish reasons” (62 percent) and that “political involvement rarely has any tangible results” (29 percent).

10 Ideas to Improve Giving in Your Church
[Chuck Lawless]

I confess: I did not start giving sacrificially until I got married. Good post here on how to improve giving.

Something’s amiss in the North American church when believers average giving about 2-3 percent of their income to the church each year. Such shallow giving limits our ministry possibilities and hinders our getting the gospel to the nations.

If you want to increase the giving in your congregation, consider these steps:

  1. Teach what the Bible teaches. While some debate whether the New Testament teaches a tithe (10%), it is clear God expects believers to give cheerfully (2 Cor. 9:7), regularly (1 Cor. 16:2), and sacrificially (Mark 12:41-44). If we don’t teach this mandate intentionally and passionately, we should not be surprised when our congregations don’t give. Fear of teaching about financial stewardship results only in a greater need to teach about it later.
  2. Model sacrificial giving. Years ago, my wife and I made a commitment to give more – not less – to the work of God any time we worry about finances. For us, financial worry is typically an indicator that either (a) we aren’t spending and saving wisely, or (b) we aren’t trusting God like we should. Our philosophy is that we should give to God’s work until it hurts – that is, until it stretches us our faith. Only then am I comfortable challenging others to give more.

The Neurological Similarities Between Successful Writers And The Mentally Ill
[Cody Delistraty]

 As an amateur writer hoping to be successful, I liked this article.

Knowing his wife was upset with him for spending more time with his typewriter than with her, F. Scott Fitzgerald hatched a plan. He wasn’t proud of many of his short stories (he only included 46 of his 181 short stories in his published collections), but he knew that in order to win back his wife he’d have to whip up something quickly. Working from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., he churned out “The Camel’s Back” for The Saturday Evening Post for a fee of $500. That very morning, he bought Zelda a gift with the money he had made.

“I suppose that of all the stories I have ever written this one cost me the least travail and perhaps gave me the most amusement,” he commented in the first edition of Tales of the Jazz Age. “As to the labor involved, it was written during one day in the city of New Orleans, with the express purpose of buying a platinum and diamond wristwatch which cost six hundred dollars.”

This was in 1920, and Zelda’s frustrations could still be assuaged with a well-timed gift. (After all, it was only after Scott had the money and prestige from publishing This Side of Paradise that she agreed to marry him earlier that year.) It wasn’t long though until Zelda had grown so fed up with Scott’s drinking and self-isolation that she lashed out, cheating on him with a French naval aviator while Scott was working on The Great Gatsby in the South of France. From then on, their marriage devolved into arguments and a devastating cocktail of debt, drink, and manic depression.

The Brilliance of Adam Silver and One Minor Concern

Brilliance

This afternoon Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association held a press conference to announce how the NBA would act in relation to the racist remarks made by Donald Sterling that were released on Saturday morning, April 26th.

So, Donald Sterling, long-time owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was (illegally, beside the point) recorded making racist remarks to his girlfriend (he’s married, also beside the point). After a silent protest by the Los Angeles Clippers in their game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, the team will play again tonight in the Staples Center. What would normally be a comfortable environment found in no place like home will be nothing of the sort.

Here is the crux of Silver’s presser:

Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.

He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.

I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.

As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens. This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family. I appreciate the support and understanding of our players during this process, and I am particularly grateful for the leadership shown by Coach Doc Rivers, Union President Chris Paul and Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, who has been acting as the players’ representative in this matter.

We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the NBA.

Twitter immediately erupted this afternoon at the actions taken by Adam Silver—everyone saying Silver hit the ball out of the park on his first at-bat as an NBA commissioner.

Adam Silver does not have the power to revoke the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling it would effectively be stealing, as the Clippers are a matter of property for Sterling. However, with 75% of owners’ support, Silver can force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

Silver banned Donald Sterling from attending any games, practices, business meetings, or other functions for the rest of his very old, broken life. A lifetime ban is brilliant.

Why?

A lifetime ban is brilliant because even if, for some unknown reason, 75% of the owners did not vote in favor of forcing Sterling to sell the team, Donald Sterling can do literally nothing more as it relates to the Los Angeles Clippers than profit off of them. He cannot sabotage them. He cannot talk to them. He cannot do a single thing but make money.

Oh, and on that front, Silver fined Sterling the maximum amount of money allowed: $2.5 million. So there’s that.

A Concern

I only have one concern: this may set a precedent that NBA (or other sports) owners must live up to a certain standard of morality. Granted, Sterling’s views are hateful and mean, not just “wrong” or “unpopular.”

What happens when a Christian owner is pushed on his stance regarding homosexuality?

My only question is this: what happens when a Christian owner is pushed on his stance regarding homosexuality? What happens when a Christian owner is asked about his views on sexuality and he holds a biblical view of marriage and sexuality? If he expresses these views in a hateful manner, he should be punished. But if he simply holds the view, what happens?

That’s where we’re headed. It’s inevitable.

With Silver’s lifetime ban of Donald Sterling, are NBA owners now no longer allowed to hold minority views when it comes to controversial cultural/societal issues?

Perhaps, but when it comes to the matter of race, such a ban is necessary.

Mark Cuban, one of the smartest men on the planet entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said this in an AP story yesterday:

“What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent,” Cuban said. “There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with. But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.”

“How many people are bigoted in one way or the other in this league?” Cuban asked. “I don’t know. But you find one, all of a sudden you say well, you can’t play favorites being racist against African-Americans. Where do you draw the line?”

Regardless of how this precedent affects the future, good for Adam Silver. Absolutely brilliant. Even if Sterling isn’t forced to sell, he’s done for good, and that’s great for the NBA…

…for now.

Open Tabs [4/29/14]: Look at the Book; 10 Christian Women; Squinting

Look at the Book
[John Piper]

John Piper’s ministry through Desiring God is transforming. Can’t wait for this.

Learn to Read the Bible for Yourself

First, I will be devoting significant energy and time myself to guiding others into how I find meaning in the Bible. I will not be preaching every weekend, but rather taking students in Minneapolis, and thousands more of you through desiringGod.org, deeper with me into the joys of biblical discovery. For the students in town, this will happen through my teaching at Bethlehem College and Seminary. It’s a significant change for me, from weekly herald of the banquet to weekly coach in the kitchen.

But what about others of you who won’t ever go to seminary? At Desiring God, we’ve developed two new answers that feel really exciting to me.

This fall we plan to launch Look at the Book, a new online method of teaching the Bible. Look at the Book is an ongoing series of 5–8 minute video interactions with the Bible in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher. You will hear my voice and watch my pen work its way into the meaning of the text. I’ll point and circle and underline in the passage, all the while talking through how I’m seeing what I’m seeing.

 

Top 10 Biographies of Christian Women
[David Murray]

I need to start reading more biographies. I have never regretted reading one. Good ones here on Christian women.

1. Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman by Gladys Aylward.

“A solitary woman. A foreign country. An unknown language. An impossible dream? No. With no mission board to support or guide her and less than ten dollars in her pocket, Gladys Aylward left her home in England to answer God’s call to take the message of the gospel to China. The Little Woman tells the story of one woman’s determination to serve God at any cost.With God all things are possible!”

2. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

“Here is a book aglow with the glory of God and the courage of a quiet Christian spinster whose life was transformed by it. A story of Christ’s message and the courage woman who listened and lived to pass it along—with joy and triumph!”

3. By Searching: My Journey Through Doubt Into Faith by Isobel Kuhn

“Isobel Miller gave up God for worldly pursuits. But as graduation approached and her engagement was broken, she questioned that decision. “If You will prove to me that You are, and if You will give me peace, I will give You my whole life.” God heard Isobel’s prayers and responded. He reached out to her, ending years of searching, and building her up for decades of fruitful missionary service with her husband, John Kuhn, in China.”

The fascinating reason why squinting or looking through pinholes helps you see better
[22 Words]

As someone who has atrocious eyesight, I found this video interesting!