Weekly Random Links

random cubes

  • How to Navigate Tough Conversations
  • Bradley Green on Justification by Faith and Judgment according to Works
  • How to Stop the Most Common Productivity Prohibitors
  • What Happened When One Company Set A Minimum Wage Of $70,000
  • The Prophets Spoke But We Read Their Books
  • The Paul Debate- More of the Wright Grist for your Mill

How to Navigate Tough Conversations

Sometimes we leave conversations like this feeling terrible and wound up. But we need to talk about the hard stuff. We need our opinions and thoughts to be challenged by opposing viewpoints.
Yet discussing difficult topics like politics or theology or social issues can quickly turn sour. So how do we engage a quality conversation without it ending in a shouting match? It’s all about managing ourselves and taking a particular posture of communication.
Here are 6 things that I’ve learned from talking about the hard stuff:

Bradley Green on Justification by Faith and Judgment according to Works

I’ve been browsing through Bradley G. Green’s book Covenant and Commandment: Works, Obedience and Faithfulness in the Christian Life. I really liked his fair and sympathetic yet not uncritical reading of N.T. Wright on justification and his interaction with Andrew McGowan on federal headship in a messianic administration.
A highlight was chapter six on justification, judgment, and the future, where his conclusions begins with this apt description:

(See also this reblog)


When people are asked what they want for the end of their lives, most of them express a wish for a gentle death. They want to be at home, in the company of family and friends and familiar caregivers. They want to have access to skilled hospice and palliative care services. They want to have their pain controlled and their dignity preserved. They want their final months, days and hours filled, to whatever extent is possible, with experiences that are meaningful to them.
This is not how most people die. In early 21st-century America, most people do not leave this life gently.

How to Stop the Most Common Productivity Prohibitors

A text here. A few emails there. Just 10 ( … or 30) minutes of surfing your favorite websites. Oh, everyone’s getting coffee? Wouldn’t want to miss out!
These workplace distractions are familiar to all of us. But when you add up the time you spend distracted, you start to realize just how much they cut into your productivity.
For example, every week, employees spend an average of five hours surfing non-work-related websites. (And who could blame us when there are so many good ones out there?)

What Happened When One Company Set A Minimum Wage Of $70,000

(This one reminded me of the Parable of the Vineyard.)

Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, took a $930,000 pay cut to raise the minimum salary of his employees to $70,000. The plan was announced in April 2015, and set to be completed over the course of three years. Both his employees (especially the ones with a larger pay increase) and proponents of income equality celebrated the move. It garnered considerable publicity and rippled through social media, with mostly positive but some negative reactions.

The Prophets Spoke But We Read Their Books

Just how did that come about? How did we get from a prophet, say Isaiah saying something aloud and publicly and sometimes at risk of his or her own safety, to the Book of Isaiah the Prophet? There were no tape recorders and rarely would folks have been taking notes. Did the prophets then go back and write their words out? Or do we now have the memoried deposit of what the prophets said or what someone remembered their saying?
Aaron Chalmers, in his fine new introduction to Israel’s prophets, Interpreting the Prophets, proposes there were three movements involved in a prophet mediating the word of God to God’s people.

The Paul Debate- More of the Wright Grist for your Mill

On first blush, one might expect The Paul Debate. Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle (Baylor, 2015, 102 pages), to be rather like Tom Wright’s book on Justification—a straightforward rebuttal book, challenging and seeking to dismantle the arguments of his harshest critics. In fact, The Paul Debate is more of a re-statement book, than a rebuttal book, with Tom attempting to clarify in a succinct form his major arguments in his magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. On closer inspection however the chapters, and various of the major points in the chapters in fact do attempt not only to clarify but also to refute some of the major misunderstandings of his earlier major work. And furthermore, there are points at which Tom goes on the offensive taking on, for example ‘apocalyptic’ readings of Paul’s thought. Notably, there are however almost no references by name of those whom his critiquing, and no footnotes to provide clues. One has to know the earlier Pauline discussions well to figure out whose ox is getting gored when and where. One also has to have read some or most of the major earlier critiques of Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which are listed in the brief bibliography (though oddly, he doesn’t mention the some 90 blog posts I did chronicling and critiquing that earlier more substantial work).