Welcome to this week’s installment of Weekend Compilations, a blog post where I share links to my favorite blog posts from the previous week.

Sunday: Sarah Bessey talks about being fearless. She writes, “I used to think that conquering my Fears will be a lot more sexy than it really is. I thought I would be rewarded for my efforts by a good experience.I thought that if I said yes to writing a book, that the words will flow easily. I thought that if I got up my courage to try intentional community again, that I would be met with kindred spirits and casseroles and a welcoming committee.  I thought that if I said yes to Haiti, that I would not be as wrecked and hurting and powerless, as I feel right now. I thought that if I say yes to speaking on camera or on a stage for a good reason, that I would not lose my crap and cry the entire way through. But it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the first step is just as awful as you imagined.”

Monday: Pete Enns shares “6 Helpful Hints for Blog Commenters So You Can Avoid Looking Criminally Insane.” He writes, “I value strong opinions, pro or con, but try not to do so with an air of impatient exasperation at how someone can be so stunningly stupid as to say this or that. Don’t assume that your point of view is the self-evidently unassailable starting point for further deliberation. You’ll know if you’re headed in that direction when, for example, you start prooftexting (as if no one has seen these verses before), you present your denomination’s theology as an obvious reflection of pure Christianity and the mind of God, or when you presume to know the state of my soul, that I am a tool of Satan, or that I am certainly headed for hell.”

Tuesday: CNN discusses how “Iranians seek relief in Christmas celebrations.” They write, “old, red and green gift boxes decorated a large Christmas tree in a popular food court in the Islamic Republic’s bustling capital of Tehran. Nativity scenes of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus added color to the windows of shops across this lively city, a small symbol of the growing number of Iranians embracing the Christian holiday. Iran has a population that is 98% Muslim, and the government is widely recognized for its repressive rulings, censorship and efforts to cut ties with the United States and the West, but more Iranians are openly celebrating Christmas and expressing their desires to be part of the global celebration.”

Wednesday: Brent Bailey talks about “Responding to Sin.” He writes, “This is the part where I could say conservative communities should be soft on homosexuality because they’re soft on everything else, but I’m actually going to say quite the opposite.  Here’s my suggestion: If your faith community believes homosexuality is sinful, then enforce it.  Be completely gentle and compassionate, of course, but hold people to a sexual standard that only the very Spirit of God could enable them to keep.  As in Ephesians 5:3, let there be “not a hint of sexual immorality” within your community.  And then hold everyone to a standard of behavior that’s just as high with regards to everything else you perceive as sinful.  Remove all impatient acts.  Exterminate every trace of gluttony and gossip.  As in Ephesians 5:3, let there be “not a hint…of greed” within your community.  For the sake of integrity, set the bar high for all kinds of immorality.”

Thursday: Elizabeth Esther asks “Giving our men their balls back? How old-school misogyny is still thriving among Christians.” She writes, “You know what makes me crazy SAD? I get so discouraged when, instead of refuting those HUGE, harmful stereotypes, Christian women promote those ideas by asserting that We Women–and I quote–”have essentially castrated our men.” Well, thank goodness we haven’t literally castrated our men, amen? Because, ew. Also, messy. My real problem, here, is that harmful books like these are still popular in Christian circles. What REALLY breaks my heart is that women who are sincerely trying to improve their marriages fall prey to harmful teaching mainly because the most popular Christian books on marriage are harmful!”

Friday: Roy Baumeister asks “Can Virtuous Habits be Cultivated?” He writes, “Doing what is right requires strenuous effort to resist the alluring temptations of vice. You strive to resist selfish impulses and push yourself to do what moral duty prescribes. Virtue is hard work Or is it? Could virtue become a habit — that is, a relatively effortless, automatic tendency to do what is morally right, with a minimum of inner struggle? The answer to this question, crucial for understanding and improving the moral level of humanity, is emerging from scientific research on willpower. A recent study in which two hundred German citizens wore beepers for a week, and at random intervals reported on their desires at that moment, yielded a stunning finding. The researchers had sorted people into those with relatively good and relatively poor self-control based on questionnaires about their lives and habits. One fairly obvious prediction was that people with good self-control would resist desires more frequently than people with poor self-control. After all, that’s what self-control is for, to resist desires, right?”

Saturday: Morgan Dixon talks about being newly married. She writes, “We were married this December with the hope and warmth of Christmas kindling our souls. We stepped into this brave new world together, eyes wide open, little children. We were covered under God’s wings and encircled by those who have always loved us best. We’ve been sheltered in peace. We share our moments, waking and sleeping, and there is suddenly a visceral sweetness to our lives. For two pseudo-homeless children of divorced families, we have together the one thing we’ve always longed for: a home.”

On the blog, I wrote yesterday about “Walking with Bare Feet.” I write, “True Torah is to go out of the way to love another person. And the phrase “love others” is so perfectly abstract. So easy for us to safely ignore. But really, it means “offer the old, haggard, limping homeless man your shoes.” For one thing, I had extra shoes in the car. But it wouldn’t have mattered even if I didn’t have extra shoes. St. Matthew again: ‘Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.’ (7:13-14) In this instance, the narrow path is walked with bare feet.”