Ted's Tidbits

There Are More Homeless Children in Dallas Than Ever

There Are More Homeless Children in Dallas Than Ever

Anna Merlan:

This year, 496 homeless adults said they had children living with them. That's an 8 percent increase since 2011, and a 36 percent increase since 2010. MDHA estimates that nearly 3,000 Dallas Independent School District students are homeless. ... MDHA also reports that it found 190 homeless youths unaccompanied by parents, a 272 increase over last year.

This survey was done by MDHA, an organization whose goal is to end chronic homelessness in Dallas by 2015.

Sin No More

Sin No More

This is a nice follow up to Richard Beck’s post on John 8.1-11. He investigates the possibility that if John 8.1-11 were not in the Bible, could John 5.1-15 serve to reinforce Jesus’ hard stance on sin (“Go and sin no more.“)?

Guy on a Buffalo

Guy on a Buffalo

And now for something completely different…

…a guy on a buffalo:


Go And Sin No More

Go And Sin No More

Speaking of not fearing we are reading the Bible wrong, Richard Beck calls into question the moral standards of Jesus:

Let's say John 8.1-11 really isn't a part of the Bible as certain evidence might suggest. Let's say that Jesus never said "Go and sin no more." Imagine those words aren't in the Bible. Then ask yourself this: is there anywhere else in the gospels where Jesus says anything similar?

Do Not Fear the Facts

Do Not Fear the Facts

Scot McKnight:

As a professor I teach my students at least two things about method: face the facts and do not fear the facts. I believe this means we have to face both what the New Testament teaches and what science teaches.

I appreciate how he opens up and shares his internal conflict about what do to when scientific discovery seems to contradict what we read in the Bible. It can be a scary process to really question things that sit at the cornerstone of your world view, but I think it is a necessary endeavor. At the end of the day, I don’t want to believe something because I always have, or because it’s comfortable. I want to believe something because it’s true.

That means I can’t be afraid to ask questions like this:

What if we are wrong in our interpretations of the Bible?

Do We Have an Extrovert Ideal?

Do We Have an Extrovert Ideal?


The megachurch culture, worship form, and values sets up an extroverted atmosphere. Leaders must be extroverts, there is little place for contemplation, conversation (not small talk - real conversation), and deep thinking. Everything is smiles and pleasantries and generalities with a vague avoidance of anything that may get too familiar.

Why is War So Easy For American Christians?

Why is War So Easy For American Christians?

Stanley Hauerwas:

Was is a moral necessity for America because it provides the experience of the "Unum" that makes the "pluribus" possible. Was is America's central liturgical act necessary to renew our sense that we are a nation unlike other nations.



Richard Beck:

Some of this debate swirls around how we render Paul's use of the phrase Pistis Christou. What we all agree on is that pistis means "faith" in Greek and that christou means "Christ." ... Martin Luther, and those who followed him, translated Pistis Christou as "faith in Christ." But a growing number of scholars (e.g., Richard Hays, N.T. Wright) have argued that the proper translation of Pistis Christou should be "faith of Christ."

It’s amazing how one little word can completely change the meaning of a phrase. It’s also amazing how one little phrase can completely shape an entire theology.

“Faith in Christ” implies that we have to do something to attain our salvation; we must have faith. “Faith of Christ” places the burden on Jesus. It is because of his faithfulness that we are saved. That’s a pretty significant difference.

Words matter, especially the little ones.

Rethinking Religion

People are losing faith in religion; many are leaving their churches. I think the following quote captures the sentiment of our age:

We know from acquaintance that there is a goodly number of sensible and intelligent persons, at this day, entirely disgusted with many things called religious; and that, upon the whole, it is an age of inquiry.

The funny thing about this quote is that it was written on July 4, 1823 by a man named Alexander Campbell in the introduction to a new publication called The Christian Baptist. Campbell was frustrated by all the denominational bickering that was going on in his day. He called for a re-examining of all varieties of Christian religion and a return to primitive Christianity.

His solution was to cast aside all the religious cruft that had accumulated over the years, and turn to the Bible as the source of truth. He quickly discovered that when you make the pursuit of truth your primary goal, you must humble yourself and be willing to admit when you have been wrong about something.

He says it this way:

We have been taught that we are liable to err; we have found ourselves in many errors; we candidly acknowledge that we have changed our views on many subjects, and that our views have changed out practice. ... If it be a humiliating thing to say we have been wrong in our belief and practice, we must abase ourselves thus far.

His number one rule to follow in the pursuit of truth is worth our consideration today:

Never to hold any sentiment or proposition as more certain than the evidence on which it rests; or in other words that our assent to any proposition should be precisely proportioned to the evidence on which it rests.

Too often we turn to the Bible to prove what we already know to be true. I fear that the “evidence” we find may often prove to be too shaky to support the position that we take. Instead we should open our hearts and minds and seek the truth. We must prayerfully question everything we “know” to be true.1

  1. Always begin your study with prayer. Pray that the Holy Spirit guides your study. Pray that you're not bringing a personal agenda to the scripture. Pray that God reveals his truth to you. 

Screening Out the Introverts

Screening Out the Introverts

William Pannapacker:

We now live under a kind of extrovert tyranny, Cain writes, and that has led to a culture of shallow thinking, compulsory optimism, and escalating risk-taking in pursuit of success, narrowly defined. In other words, extroverts--amplifying each other's groundless enthusiasms--could be responsible for the economic crisis because the do not listen to introverts, even when there are some around (and they are not trying to pass as extroverts).

Introversion is definitely not generally respected in our culture anymore. Some view it as a mental deficiency. This view has permeated schools, businesses, and even our churches. (How did extroversion become a sign of spirituality? What about the monastics?)

As a society, we need to value the introvert and look to them for the insight and wisdom that comes more naturally to someone who is silent and contemplative.

Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe

Ask. Seek. Knock. Breathe

Beth Woolsey:

As a mama who cares about my kids' relationships with God, I have to ask myself... am I engaging in spiritual conversations with them with love and kindness? Or am I fearful and angry about their doubts and conclusions? Do I actually believe that God will answer my kids' questions with true discoveries and open doors? Or am I trying to rapidly solve their theological dilemmas by assuring them that God has already gifted me with all the answers and so they needn't bother God by asking themselves?

Defined as a problem...

Defined as a problem…

Larry James:

As we talked, he said something that pulled me back to Gerald's comments. "You know," he began quietly, "people think it's dangerous here, that we're dangerous. But, we're not. We're just like everyone else, just working through issues, just trying to get on with life. We're not dangerous." What if your life was regarded by most people as a dangerous life, a person to be avoided? Something to think about as we continue to dismantle stereotypes that plague our perspectives and continue to injure others.

You're Looking in the Wrong Direction

You’re Looking in the Wrong Direction

Patrick Kennedy:

... the Near East Dallas area should, SHOULD, be one of the most active, valuable areas in the entire city. If not THE most. This is why I think this area will blow uptown out of the water in terms of amount of investment, future tax base and especially CHARACTER. There is so much charm and history there to be enjoyed if we can get our act together.

Mayfests! - Six Dallas Festivals that Make May Awesome

Mayfests! - Six Dallas Festivals that Make May Awesome

Jennifer Smart:

... it's time for May and six more can't miss fests to entertain you during May's glorious weekends.

Two Guys From Andromeda are Back

Two Guys From Andromeda are Back

->[vimeo 40360917 w=500 h=375]<-

Amazon settles sales tax fight with Texas comptroller

Amazon settles sales tax fight with Texas comptroller

Ross Ramsey:

Amazon.com will start collecting sales taxes from Texas customers this summer and agreed to make capital investments of $200 million and create 2,500 jobs in the state over the next four years, Comptroller Susan Combs announced this morning. In return, the state will drop its efforts to collect back sales taxes from the company. ... With the new deal, the company will start collecting sales taxes on July 1.

Reciprocal and Sustainable Community

Reciprocal and Sustainable Community

Ann and Derran Reese:

However, I am becoming a bigger believer in the idea that the most significant cause for poverty is out (or at least my) unwillingness to live in reciprocal, self-sacrificing community with the "other". I create poverty when I grasp on tightly to what is mine. I create it by holding onto the differences between "us" and "them." I create the poor because I do not see them as my brother or sister. What the world needs is a people who hold onto things loosely in order to live in reciprocal and sustainable community.

The Apostle John put it this way:

How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

[1 John 3:17-18][1], New Revised Standard Version

Don't Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

Don’t Let Business Lobbyists Kill the Post Office

Conventional wisdom says that the US Postal Service is going broke because it has an out of date business model, and that it is a waste of government resources.

Matt Taibbi reports:

But politics also plays a huge part in this. In 2006, in what looks like an attempt to bust the Postal Workers' Union, George Bush signed into law the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. This law required the Postal Service to pre-fund 100 percent of its entire future obligations for 75 years of health benefits to its employees -- and not only do it, but do it within ten years. No other organization, public or private, has to pre-fund 100 percent of its future health benefits.

The impact of this legislation?

The new law forced the postal service to come up with about $5.5 billion a year for the ten years following the bill's passage. In 2006, before those payments kicked in, the USPS generated a small profit. Not surprisingly, the USPS is now basically broke.

Report Text Message Spam to AT&T

Report Text Message Spam to AT&T

Glenn Fleishman:

  1. Bring up the text message in Messages and be sure not to click any embedded URLs in the message.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap the empty circular (radio-style) button to the left of the unwanted message. The Forward button activates.
  4. Tap the Forward button.
  5. Enter 7726 (the numeric equivalent of the letters S, P, A, and M on a telephone keypad) and tap Send.
  6. AT&T responds with a message asking you to send the number from which the message originated (this and the spam report are cost-free if you have a limited message plan).

Dallas PD intends to use license-plates readers to catch criminals now and gather "information" for use later

Dallas PD intends to use license-plates readers to catch criminals now and gather “information” for use later

Robery Wilonsky:

...Last summer First Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez told the city council it also intends to use license plate recognition cams to "locate individuals owning outstanding City of Dallas fines and fees by identifying their vehicles on Dallas streets and then posting notices on vehicles that may have outstanding bills with the Dallas Courts offices." None of which sits well with at least one local defense attorney.

“Will you always believe in Jesus, Mama?”


Part of me wishes I could offer him the certainty of fundamentalism I learned as a child, that I could just pressure him into faith by making him afraid of hell and the possibility that Jesus is coming back at any moment. It would feel a lot more secure to hear my child assert, "Jesus is the one true God" instead of "I want to become a Buddhist." Yet I know at it was these realities that nearly destroyed my faith when I discovered there was a bigger world, and I won't do that to my son. If Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world, then he is also the Savior of my children. I can teach them about him. I can bring his Love into our home.

I wonder how I will handle these types of conversations with my son.

The Case Against Google

The Case Against Google

Mat Honan:

If it can't keep its promises, if it can't avoid resorting to trickery, if it can't keep itself from subverting the power of its search engine for commercial ends, and on top of all that if it can't even deliver the highest quality search results at a default setting--the most basic thing people have come to expect from Google, the very thing its name has become synonymous with--why should you trust it with your personal data?

Do we really love people who aren't Christian?

Do we really love people who aren’t Christian?

Jon Acuff:

We think we do. We think we're doing a good job at that, but how do you really show someone love? You spend time with them. You stand with them. You be with them. I think that's a big part of what love looks like.

Big & Bright chosen as theme for 2012 Fair

Big & Bright chosen as theme for 2012 Fair

Big Tex:

The State Fair of Texas(R) has selected Big and Bright as its theme for the upcoming 2012 season, which begins Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 21.

Is it too early to start getting excited about the Fair?

Leading the way will be a Chinese Lantern Festival featuring illuminated and animated displays as large as 50 feet high and 300 feet long while fairgoers visiting Cotton Bowl Plaza will be entertained with an all new production of lights and graphics displayed on the facade of the historic Cotton Bowl stadium.

205+ days until it opens. I can’t wait!!!

Mr. Happy Man

Mr. Happy Man

-> [vimeo 36673515 w=400 h=225] <-

Mr. Happy Man from Matt Morris Films on Vimeo.