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News That Illustrates for Sunday, October 19th - October 26th

Nobel Peacemakers, the Cost of Calvin, and Living like Bill Murray.

Nobel Peace Prize Honors Activists for Children
This year's Nobel Peace Prize, announced last week, is shared between two outstanding young activists—Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for "their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education." Their work on behalf of vulnerable children in the developing world (India and Pakistan, respectively) is impressive, with 17 year-old Malala's story of being shot by the Taliban for her stance on the education of girls gaining worldwide media attention. Highlighting their contributions to global life puts the needs of children around the world into perspective, and is a reminder of the power of children in Christ's teaching and in the life of the kingdom. DO you recognize the power of children in your life and community? Are you willing to learn from them, support them, ensure that they are cared for, protected, and nourished in body, mind, and spirit? The hidden potential of little ones is incredible, and the church doesn't need the Nobel committee (wonderful though they are) to tell us that.

PREACHING ANGLES: Children; Community; Future; Kids; Family; Parenting; Sunday School

The Lack of Platonic Touch—'Killing' Men?
American culture—along with many more reserved European nations—is not comfortable with simple touch between men. While many global cultures express male/male friendship with embrace, linking arms, and even holding hands or a kiss on the cheek, the U.S. and likeminded cultures get nervous at anything much more than a handshake. But what does that physical isolation do to us? A recent blog post from The Good Men Project asks, "… [W]here does this leave men? Physically and emotionally isolated. Cut off from the deeply human physical contact that is proven to reduce stress, encourage self esteem and create community. Instead, we walk in the vast crowds of our cities alone in a desert of disconnection. Starving for physical connection." It's easy to forget the healing, grounding power of physical touch. Let's work to reclaim kind, appropriate, affectionate touch in our communities.

PREACHING ANGLES: Community; Culture; Friends; Friendships; Men; Relationships; Touch;

First Solo Female Pilot to Circumnavigate the Globe Dies
Early October saw the death (at 88) of the first solo female pilot to circumnavigate the globe. In the early 1960s a 38-year-old homemaker named Jerrie Mock off-handedly told her husband that she was bored. Her husband Russell replied, "Maybe you should get in your plane and just fly around the world." So she did. At the time the couple shared ownership of a single engine 180 Cessna named the Spirit of Columbus. According to The New York Times, "She took off on March 19, 1964, from Columbus, Ohio, and returned there on April 17—29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes later—after a 23,000-mile journey over the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Pacific, with stops in the Azores, Casablanca, Cairo, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Honolulu, among other places." All prompted by a sense of restlessness and an offhand comment. At times, we might want to follow Jerrie's example. If we're feeling bored, maybe it's time to fly out of our comfort zone and try a new adventure. Our "risky" acts of service may seem small compared to a worldwide flight, but they can still be important to God and his kingdom.

PREACHING ANGLES: Adventure; Boredom; Inspiration; Inspirational; New Life

The Cost of Raising a Child like Calvin and Hobbes
In a recent research project undertaken for the Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science, one PhD candidate surveyed how much it would cost to raise a child like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. They focused on the property damage caused by Calvin in the classic comic strip. Calvin as we all know "has an extraordinarily active imagination, which gives life to Hobbes, and is the impetus for Calvin to destroy everything from dishes and lamps to binoculars and garage doors." The results from the 10-year run of the comic? "In total, Calvin caused an estimated $15,955.50 worth of damage over the duration of the comic strip." But what was interesting is that Calvin's destructive behavior lessened over time—over half of the damage was done in the first year of the comic strip's run. The results of the research say something for real-life parents, too: "If your little bundle of joy grows up to be a Tasmanian devil of terror, you can expect to pay almost two grand extra per year just in replacing or repairing items. … In parenting, you have to take the bad with the good. With a kid like Calvin, it's probably mostly bad. But even raising a Calvin has its good moments (like here), which are well worth the extra $1,850 a year." Yes, raising kids can be costly. But the investment pays off.

PREACHING ANGLES: Child; Children; Parenting

Bill Murray's Guide to Life
People are on a constant search for happiness, looking for a better life. And a little well-timed advice can make a big difference. Bill Murray was recently interviewed at the Toronto Film Festival, where they had declared one day of gathering "Bill Murray Day." His topic? How to live a Bill Murray life. Here's his recipe:

Step 1: Sing. And really be into it.
Step 2: Just be honest.
Step 3: Always make time for your friends.
Step 4: Be spontaneous.
Step 5: Leave yourself open to magical moments.
Step 6: Stay relaxed and success will follow.
Step 7: Remember that you are you and no one else is.

Good advice, for the most part. It's a reminder that we're all desperately looking for role models to pattern our lives after. We want to hear from the successes, the stars, the funny people. The folks who look happy. But this is contrary in many ways to the model for Christians—Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, gave himself away, made himself nothing for the sake of others. You want to live a Bill Murray life? Go for it—but don't kid yourself that the deepest fulfillment of the spirit is there. It is in imitating Jesus that we find true life.

PREACHING ANGLES: Celebrities; Discipleship; Fulfillment; Happiness; Imitation; Life; Life, meaning of; Lifestyle; Purpose; Union with Christ

Running on Water
It had to be a weird day for the Coast Guard when they got a report about a man in a bubble needing rescue in the middle of the ocean. Reza Baluchi, an ultra-marathoner attempting a globe-wide run to promote world peace, was attempting to "run" from Florida to Bermuda in the person-powered "bubble." But walking on water is for very elite company, and much like the last guy who thought it was a good idea to walk on the water (Peter), Baluchi needed to be rescued. Sometimes we are called to take crazy risks, in search of our goals, or just to follow Jesus. But if you're in over your head, don't be too proud to call for help. Walking on water isn't easy.

PREACHING ANGLES: Faith; Pride; Risks

The Power of Remembering
Well, TV nostalgia lovers, we all knew it was coming. Then, just recently, it happened. Alfonso Ribeiro, (better known as Carlton Banks from the 90's sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) is on this season of Dancing with the Stars, and on the recent "Memorable Year" themed week of the show we got to see the legendary dance "The Carlton." It took many of us back to those early days. Nostalgia can help us return to a fond memory, event, or relationship, even if only for a brief moment, with that certain sharp sadness and joy of remembering that is unique in our human experience. Over and over throughout the Old Testament as the Israelites would turn away and pursue false gods, God would break in and call them back to him. He would call them to remember what he had done for them, remember his goodness, remember better times. Do you have room in your heart for a nostalgia of the spirit? Are you in need of that poignant taste of the past to ground your present and move you toward a future with the Lord?

PREACHING ANGLES: Memory; Mind; Remembrance

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