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News That Illustrates for Sunday, May 5th—12th

'Mom, I Love You,' Mom's Biggest Stressor, Email Addiction, and the Chameleon Plant

Husbands vs. Kids: Who Stresses Mom Out More?
From an article on Today: "An exclusive [survey] of more than 7,000 U.S. mothers reveals that the average mom rates her stress level an 8.5 out of 10. What's got them so stressed? For 46 percent of moms, husbands are a bigger source of stress than kids. Often, moms complain, the fathers of their children are more like big kids than equal partners. Mom stress is fundamentally different than dad stress, women say, and the inability to see eye-to-eye with a partner can lead to, you guessed it, more stress." But hold on because the article also acknowledged that the problem isn't just men—it's the challenge of working on a marriage and raising kids. The article continued with a word for mothers: Meanwhile, dads feel like they're doing more than ever with the kids and not getting any credit. "A 2012 TODAY Moms survey of 1,500 fathers found that two-thirds of dads say what they want most from their partner is just a little verbal acknowledgment, a 'good job' now and then."

PREACHING ANGLES: Husbands; Marriage; Mother's Day

A 'Dying Student' Texts Mom, 'I Love You'
The Sewol, a South Korean ferry carrying 443 passengers (mostly high school students), began its overnight journey at 9 P.M. on April 15, 2014. As of April 30th, authorities had confirmed that the death toll surpassed 210, with over 90 still missing and presumed dead—on what was meant to be a fun high school trip to a tourist island. According to a story in the LA Times, "As the ferry slowly sank off South Korea's southern coast Wednesday, a high school student sent a heartbreaking cellphone text message. 'Mom,' it said, 'This might be my last chance to tell you I love you.'" Apparently the mother texted back, "Why's that," clearly unaware of the crisis engulfing the vessel. Then the mom texted: "I love you anyway." The BBC reported that the student's name was Shin Young-Jin. It also reported that Shin was among the 179 people rescued from the ship.

PREACHING ANGLES: Mothers; Mother's Day

TIME's Most Influential List—Your Mom Didn't Make Their List
TIME trotted out the eleventh annual TIME 100, their list of the 100 most influential people in the world. One media outlet summarized the list by saying, "Unsurprisingly, many figures from television and film have made the cut, with TIME citing their contributions to both the world and to their profession as reasons for their inclusion." Singer Beyonce nabbed the coveted top spot on the list. "I'm not bossy," Beyonce proclaims, "I'm the boss." Other notables on the list included: Miley Cyrus, Seth Meyers, Robert Redford, Matthew McConaughey, football player Richard Sherman, and tennis star Venus Williams. In case you're wondering, your mom—and the millions of ordinary women who strive to follow Christ—didn't make the list. Well, so what? That's TIME's list of the top 100. Fortunately, we can make our own list of the most influential people in our life, our church, our community.

PREACHING ANGLES: Influence; Mothers; Mother's Day

Email Addiction Highlights the True Cost of Not Resting
Do you check your work email off hours? Are you still addicted to your smartphone in bed? If so, you're not alone. Recent stats about the skyrocketing glut of electronic messages paint the picture of our culture as a work-obsessed, over-connected working generation that can only laugh sarcastically when someone suggests "unplugging" for a while. Even on vacation, 44 percent of working adult report checking their work email daily. Ten percent say they check it hourly. This inability to even turn off the smartphone in order to rest well dramatically impacts the productivity of these addicted, distracted workers. " … [T]he digital tether takes a psychic and emotional toll. There's a Heisenbergian uncertainty to one's putative off-hours, a nagging sense that you can never quite be present in the here and now, because hey, work might intrude at any moment. You're not officially working, yet you remain entangled—never quite able to relax and detach." But in one experiment that strictly limited allowable work communication to work hours, employee productivity and satisfaction soared. Eliminating the exhausting distractions of the digital world is important to truly resting and entering God's Sabbath.

PREACHING ANGLES: Rest; Sabbath; Technology; Work

NY Yankee Fans Boo Cardboard Cutout of Robinson Cano
We live in a world where disembodiment often breeds unkindness. From internet comments to road rage, we often lash out at the idea of a person in a way that we never would if they were face to face with us. It's a principle masterfully highlighted by comedian and social experimenter Jimmy Fallon in a recent video. Fallon, known for his pranks that take advantage of human nature, had NY Yankees baseball fans boo a cardboard cutout of former Yankees player Robinson Cano, who joined the Seattle Mariners for a lucrative contract. The New Yorkers oblige, but what they don't know is that the real Cano is standing behind the cardboard. The difference between how the people relate to the image of Cano and Cano himself, is a sermon in its own right. Let's just say, they treat him with a bit more respect. (Thanks to J.R. Briggs for drawing our attention to this one!)

PREACHING ANGLES: Community; Criticism; Relationships

"Chameleon" Plant Discovered in Chile is a Lot like the Church
Scientists in Chile have discovered a fascinating new plant with properties hitherto unknown to science. While many animals are experts at mimicry and camouflage, plants have never been observed to change their appearance—beyond just imitating a single other species—as a survival tactic. But one "chameleon" vine does just that, able to mimic several other species, changing shape, color, and more to blend in. Used positively, this story is a beautiful picture of incarnation—keeping identity but changing appearance based on context. The church does this too, right? Our identity is as the redeemed community of Christ, but how we look depends on our environment, culture, and context. Used negatively, it's a picture of conformity—we can't just be ourselves so we have to mimic our environment.

PREACHING ANGLES: Church; Conformity; Mission

Chaos Rules as Korean Ferry Capsizes
Speaking of the ferry tragedy, the details are still sketchy regarding the loss of a ferry in the cold waters off the southwest coast of South Korea, but this is what we do know. Early in the morning on April 16th, the ferry capsized while carrying 476 people (passengers and crew), mostly high school students. About a third of the passengers got out alive, but as of April 30th authorities had confirmed over 210 deaths. Prosecutors detained the ship's captain, Lee Jun-seok, who apparently donned an orange life vest and stepped to the safety of a rescue boat, even as hundreds of his passengers remained trapped inside. The ship's communication officer, Mr. Kang, said, "It was chaotic because everyone was just busy saving themselves and many people weren't pulling up the people below." But there were a few exceptions. "Park Ho-jin, 16, found a 6-year-old girl standing alone and wet on the side of the ship as it was sliding slowly into the water. She had been left there by her older brother who went back into the ship to hunt for their mother. Mr. Park swept the child into his arms and delivered her to rescuers who had pulled a boat alongside the ship. Mr. Park made it onto a later rescue boat."

PREACHING ANGLES: Leadership; Sacrifice; Selfishness

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