Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.07.29

July 29, 2013



‘Chilled Out’ People Have Higher Obesity, Depression Risk – Interesting,

“People who seem to face stressful situations without blinking an eyemay have an increased risk of health woes such as obesity and depression, according to a new study.

These results mean that when the body underreacts to stresses in life, it can be just as bad for your health as overreacting, said study researcher Doug Carroll, a professor in the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Birmingham in England.

Over-responding to stressors can increase the risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis, but under-responding to stressors may be associated with obesity, depression, poor immune functioning and poor overall health, Carroll said.”

“The finding doesn’t necessarily apply to all people with relaxed personalities, Carroll said. “It’s important to distinguish between two things: First, the outward appearance of ‘being chilled’ and what your biology is actually doing, [and] second, between the resting biological state and how that biology reacts to stress,” Carroll told MyHealthNewsDaily”

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip – This article got me to think about a whole lot more than just $3,000 missions trips, though. Doug Banister writes at Christianity Today and shares his heart for and experience with living missionally in an urban setting.

“The summer got even hotter, and Martin kept shivering. One evening, a social worker who knew Martin dropped by the pool. I asked her if she knew why Martin always shivered. She pulled me aside and whispered, “It’s because he’s literally starving. The woman he lives with told a judge that she was ‘starving the Devil out of him.’ ” I felt sick.”

Some well-meaning Christians have a theology of mission that seeks to alleviate the spiritual and physical suffering of people far away, but pays little attention to needs here at home.

I know because I was one of them. I spent many years taking mission trips to Tulcea, Romania. We shared the gospel, cared for orphans, and started a medical clinic. It seemed that God moved in powerful ways. Then my friends Jon and Toni moved into one of Knoxville’s marginalized neighborhoods. Jon invited me to go on prayer walks with him on Wednesday mornings. I saw syringes on playgrounds, prostitutes turning tricks, hustlers selling drugs. Our walks led me to volunteer at the elementary school in Jon’s neighborhood. I’d assumed all the schools in our city were pretty much the same. They aren’t. Kids with B averages in Jon’s school score in the 30th percentile on standardized tests. Kids with B averages in my neighborhood score in the 90th percentile.”

Along the way, a pastor named Johnny began showing me what the city looked like from the front lawn of his cash-strapped inner-city church. As I spent more time in Knoxville’s at-risk neighborhoods, I realized that I knew more about poverty in Tulcea than I knew about poverty in Knoxville. I was pursuing the common good of a city across the world while neglecting the common good of the place where I lived.

I don’t think I’m alone. Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, “All of life is interrelated. . . . We are inevitably our brother’s keeper because we are our brother’s brother. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Most Christians I know believe this in a global sense. We feel a God-given burden for the starving child in Haiti. Yet we sometimes lack a similar burden for the Martins back home.”

“I believe in missions. I also believe in short-term mission trips. Yet the longer I work in the resource-poor inner city, the more frustrated I become with the amount of money God’s
people spend on these brief trips. We seem so eager to spend thousands of dollars sending our people overseas for one week without stopping to ask, “Would some of this money be better invested in my own community?””

Labor of love: Remarkable photos of South Carolina midwife who nursed 1950s community living in crippling poverty – A really neat photo essay on the life of an African American midwife in South Carolina.


(And really, this article can inform us about my local South Carolina community in relation to the above article on urban needs. Hardly a month goes by in which I don’t learn some knew bit of information that draws the cover back a little more on the segregation and mistreatment of blacks in this area: from the way our current public swimming pools are structured, to the nice house that’s not selling because it’s in a black neighborhood, to the finally fading mistrust of midwives that is due to their of the association with how blacks (and poor whites) had their babies.)

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  • jen keith July 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

    ironically this article seeks to chastise those who ‘do their feel-good missions incorrectly’ by hopping on a plane and going overseas. now the author is ‘correctly’ participating in ‘his feel-good missions’ by volunteering in his inner-city community and eschewing the plane. Christian missions isn’t about ‘feel-good missions’, it’s about sharing the life-saving gospel of Jesus Christ and for those of you who dare to venture into 10/40 countries at the risk of your lives to tell people about our Savior, YOU absolutely rock! but like the author, my opinion is inconsequential; there is only one authority we should listen to about spreading His gospel…His Word.

  • Kristen July 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I appreciate the “Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip” article. Though to my remembrance I’ve never come across an article like this before, it’s something I’ve thought about a lot in recent years. All the money spent to send me on multiple mission trips in high school and college was certainly not wasted; I saw the Lord work (draw souls and edify believers) through our teams’ work. And obviously I was shaped simply by being in different cultures, and particularly having my youthful ego-centrism confronted with third-world realities.

    But I resonate with the concerns in this article. Looking back, I fear there was a lot of ego-centrism that fueled my desire to go on mission trips. I wasn’t thinking of it as something I could do to “make me feel good.” But that’s just it. It never occurred to my teenage self that the huge sums being sent to fly me overseas for a few weeks could actually contribute more to gospel proclamation and gospel-in-action social relief by my not going. Like the author, I’m not opposed to overseas mission trips (or lifetime mission work overseas, which weren’t even included in the article’s critique). In particular sending individuals with needed skills (be they skilled tradesmen, educators, medical professionals, etc.) can minister significantly to a foreign community. But in my own life (in my teenage years as well as now) I see the glaring need to better understand how to effectively “do missions work” (i.e. live missionally) in my own city. Glad to see the author has just come out with a book and it’s available for free download! Thanks for sharing, Keren.

  • Jo August 3, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    When I student taught at Cherrydale Elem about 8 years ago, I had a rude awakening to the racism that still existed in Greenville. What was most surprising to me was the reason parents who were black tended to be less involved in school activities. Within their lifetimes, they were not allowed to be at the white school, and they surely did not have a sense of belonging there as adults.