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“A System Of Perfectionist Teenage Girls”

This article in Melbourne’s Age newspaper caught my eye.
It’s an interview with Claire Shipman and Katty Kay authors of a book called The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.
Part of the article deals with what they describe as a “system we’ve all set up is one that creates this army of young girl perfectionists.”
The rationale behind it is explained in these terms:

Not surprisingly, it’s a mix of nature and nurture. It does seem that girls’ and boys’ brains develop a little differently. Girls, especially at puberty, start to really have much higher emotional intelligence than boys. They did before, but this is the time they double down. It leads girls to be more cautious, and boys don’t have that. Boys get a big boost of testosterone, stuff that encourages risk-taking. You build confidence by taking risks and struggling and failing and eventually mastering something. You need to be taking action to build confidence. But the system we’ve all set up is one that creates this army of young girl perfectionists.
From preschool through university, it’s all about sitting still, colouring within the lines, doing more than expected, trying to please teacher. So they don’t take risks, fail, mess up. There’s this whole conversation about boys struggling academically. But that means in the real world they know what to do. They’re learning lessons about taking risks, so they’re more ready to try something.
We were really struck by this idea of how is this happening with young women. They are outperforming boys academically. Then they enter the work world, and their confidence plummets. They’re just not learning it’s okay to take risks and fail.

The takeaway is setting up mechanisms for encouraging both girls and boys to learn from failure.

Read the interview here.

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Evangelical Reformed Church Myanmar Update October 2017

In this video Thang Bwee of the Evangelical Reformed Church of Myanmar speaks about heart surgery he underwent (sponsored by Presbyterians in Australia), the 25th anniversary of the denomination, and the general situation of his work and ministry.
Originally posted by the Australian Presbyterian World Mission.

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Celia Lashlie Interviewed About Raising Men by Richard Fidler

The late Celia Lashlie worked in prisons, schools and communities to encourage young men to reach their full potential.
A New Zealander, she authored books on the subject of helping boys grow to become men.
Last Friday was a repeat of an hour-long interview conducted by Richard Fidler as part of his ABC radio Conversations program.
I listened to bits and pieces of it as I drove around town.
I intend to listen to it again.
Fascinating and full of insight to provoke thinking.
There are lots there about parenting and even relationships between males and females.
Well worth a listen.
You could find it through various ABC podcast apps, or on this page.

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Do Not Lose Heart In Preaching – Kanishka Raffel Interview

Another helpful interview posted by St Helen’s Bishopsgate, this time with Kanishka Raffel from Perth, Western Australia.
The theme is not losing heart as we preach the Gospel.
Conducted in an interview style, Kanishka models a very winsome and engaging expositional style as he opens 2 Corinthians 4 to show the reasons for being encouraged when circumstances lack encouragements.

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“The Bible Is Our Theologian” – William Taylor On Antidotes For Poor Preaching

This month’s Preaching Matters video features William Taylor speaking about remedies for poor preaching.
The poorest preaching is that which purports to be biblical but instead is really our own thoughts draped over a biblical text.
It is doubly poor because it does not tell people the author’s purpose in writing the text, and then presents an idea of our own (which may be true in itself and even helpful) as something that needs to be responded to on the basis of biblical authority.
Sermon hearers, is what you’re being taught sounding like anything the original author intended his audience to hear and understand; or something that flows from the text in light of Jesus’ redemptive work?
Very helpful here is the process of listening to the text itself, instead of our own thoughts, or even the thoughts of interpreters and theologians past.
“The Bible is our theologian.”
We are simply listeners, learners and those who pass on.

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Kimbra And Tim Keller

Kimbra Johnson is the delicate, yet firm, female vocalist who features on Gotye’s song Somebody That I Used To Know.
She performs simply as Kimbra.
Melbourne’s The Age newspaper currently has a feature article about her posted on their website.
The following paragraph mentions Kimbra’s spiritual interests and mentions Tim Keller.

But if those expectations are a lot for a young adult to shoulder, then it certainly helps that Johnson believes in something bigger than herself. When there is a slow moment on the day of the photo shoot, she fetches her book and retreats to what she refers to as her “sacred place”. She is reading Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex and Power and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller, a pastor at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, whose podcasts she downloads along with sermons from the church she used to attend in New Zealand (“obviously I don’t really go to church any more – no time”) and theology lectures from Melbourne University. “There’s a classic quote, that faith is not a destination, it’s a journey,” she says. “It’s not a place you come to and stop – it’s following that yearning every day and still exploring it. I’m so fascinated by the human longing for meaning.” As she points out, it is also a major theme in her lyrics: “The way we relate romantically to each other is so much to do with our longing for meaning as well.”
Johnson’s curiosity also extends to Buddhism and the Tao Te Ching and she wants to read more on Jewish theology. “At the moment, I’m really interested in Christian mysticism,” she adds.
Initially, she wondered if the intensity of her career might lead her to neglect her spiritual life, but has found the opposite to be true. “There’s a vulnerability in music [baring one’s soul] but you’ve also got to protect your sacred place and have a place you can still retire to that no one else knows about,” she says. “So that’s a thing I just try to balance.”

While interesting to those who appreciate Keller, this also references the way in which contemporary people can harmonise spiritual teaching from a variety of divergent sources.

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