China’s Social Credit System

Do you want to rent an apartment? Buy an airline ticket? Get a date? If you do—and you’re a citizen of China—you’d better have a good social credit score.

Four years ago, the Chinese government announced a new system with the goal of “raising the awareness for integrities and the level of credibility within society.” In other words, the government wants more control of the economy and the population. What a surprise.

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Sitting in God’s Waiting Room

Advent is a time of waiting. Children (and plenty of adults) are eagerly waiting to open their gifts, while others can’t wait to see their look of surprise and delight. We may be anticipating the arrival of family members who live far away, or we may be the ones traveling to see them. If we’re frazzled by all the holiday bustle, we may simply be waiting for January!

In the church, advent is a time of waiting for Jesus. Yes, He is already here. But each year we anticipate His birth anew, and the difference His presence makes in the world.

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I’m Out of Control

I love to plan stuff. In fact, sometimes I enjoy the planning more than the actual event. The anticipation is exciting—like the thrill I felt as a kid, waiting for Christmas.

I’ll admit, I also enjoy planning and organizing things because it gives me the sense that I’m in control. Of course, I know better, but organizing lets me pretend for a while. And the more life throws me a curve ball, the more planning and organizing I do.

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Go Listen to Skye Jethani

One of the blogs I follow is SkyeBox, written by Skye Jethani. All his posts are insightful and worth reading (or listening to). This one is even better than that!

He recently posted:

Last month I spoke at the Lumen conference at Mariners Church in California. They asked me to talk for 18 minutes about why there is an exodus of young people from our churches. Rather than focusing on the sociological data, I used my time to talk about how the way we understand the gospel may actually be inoculating young people to genuine faith.

When the church presents a less than biblical understanding of how to relate to God, it leaves young people with a powerless form of Christianity predicated on fear and control. When this way of life proves ineffective, they may abandon both their faith in Christ and the church. So, our first job is to get the gospel right. Check out my talk and the brief Q&A afterward. Much of the content you see is based on my book, WITH.

His talk was so good, so right on, so insightful, that I am hoping everyone will listen.

I’ll be back next Tuesday with some thoughts about good deeds and orphans.

Snow Day

As I write this, tiny snowflakes are falling from pearl-white clouds, adding to the 15 inches we’re already received. I hear the hum of the computer and the whoosh of air coming from the heating vent by my feet, but otherwise it’s totally silent. Even the hungry finches gobbling down sunflower seeds on my bird feeder are strangely quiet.

By the time you read this, the snow will be mostly gone. Living in the rain shadow of the Rockies, we don’t keep clouds around for long. Even now, we aren’t really snowed in. The roads are mostly plowed, and Pete shoveled a couple of wheel tracks down the long driveway so we can get our cars out. But I can pretend.

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Self Control

In my on-again, off-again series on God’s “Steps to Success” (found in 2 Peter 1:3, 5-8), I’ve been meaning to write about self control for some time, but I never knew quite how to approach the topic. Yes, in Peter’s list, “self-control” comes after knowledge—first we need to know the right thing to do, and then we need to follow through and actually do it! But how does this affect my day-to-day life?

Then last month something happened that turned this from an intellectual exercise into a personal issue.

Though Pete was out of town, I still planned to attend a special Christian concert about twenty minutes away. To get there, I had to pass through a rural area with no street lights. Since my night vision is less than optimal, I arranged a ride with another couple.

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Doomsday

According to twice-wrong Harold Camping’s most recent prediction, the world will end on October 21, 2011.

If that isn’t a good day for you, how about October 16? I was recently alerted (by a caring friend who was quite serious about this) to the impending destruction of the earth by a small, nondescript assemblage of ice and dirt that is currently heading for the core of the solar system. That’s right. On October 16, 2011, on its way out to space again, the comet Elenin will pass by Earth at a distance of “only” 21 million miles. (By comparison, Venus is 23.7 million miles away.)

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