Thinking Out Loud

November 16, 2014

Bruxy Cavey | The Meeting House | The Rise of ISIS | Part Two

We continue our weekend with The Meeting House Church in Greater Toronto. In part two, teaching pastor Bruxy Cavey spends time interviewing a spokesperson for a Toronto-area mosque.

Depending on the timing of its release on Monday, we might be able to put all three episodes back-to-back here. So subscribers should expect that Monday’s post might be late.

November 15, 2014

Bruxy Cavey | The Meeting House | The Rise of ISIS | Part One

Filed under: current events — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:52 am

Bruxy Cavey is the teaching pastor of The Meeting House, a Canadian church movement that meets in 15 theaters on Sunday mornings and is based in Oakville, a city just west of Toronto, Canada.  I believe this series of three messages is important for our time and that it was handled with a great deal of diplomacy. That’s why I want to include it here. Come back tomorrow for part two. Comments can be left at YouTube.

The Spirit of Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:44 am

This was posted on Wednesday and has already been seen by millions. Sainsbury’s is a British supermarket chain.

November 14, 2014

Skepticism of Another Kind

So yesterday there were four of us, all male, in a room; two of whom I had never met before and one I had only met the week prior. He was the one who was holding the letter.

The letter was posted (that’s mailed for Americans) in the UK and urgently requested his aid in helping someone in Nigeria claim a $4,000,000 US inheritance. You know the pitch. The type of letter you get as an email perhaps as much as once a day.

Only this guy doesn’t have email. So they tracked down a mailing address for him. It was reminiscent of chain letters. He had never seen anything like this. Imagine never owning a computer and being unaware of the barrage of appeals that are sent out using this same scam.

“They should teach skepticism as a school subject;” I said; but then immediately regretted my choice of words. I thought of the various skeptic clubs and societies which scratch at the door of Christian faith; the people for whom doubting is a default response. Did I want to encourage more of that?

trust1We speak of healthy skepticism, but that implies an unhealthy counterpart. There is after all, a place for trust. I’m glad I never was required to do that team-building exercise where you lean backwards off a chair or table and trust your friends or coworkers to catch you. I don’t think I could commit fully.

“Don’t you trust us?” they would ask; and I would reply, “No, I don’t.”

There is also a place for faith.

If a constant stream of email solicitations leave you simply unwilling to trust, commit, or put faith in anything — let’s say anything other than yourself — you are to be pitied because it implies you can’t find anything good or trustworthy in the larger world.

The next action we take with our scam mail is to press the delete button, and at the urging of a 5th person who waded into the conversation, the letter’s recipient was told to shred it — the physical equivalent — and minutes later the sound of an office shredder was exactly what was heard.

I guess my proposed skepticism class would ultimate teach that it’s all about what you put your faith in. Knowing how to discern truth from lies. And knowing that sometimes it is indeed difficult to tell the difference.

 

November 13, 2014

When Church Gets Too Informal

Filed under: Church — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:20 am

What’s the most distracting thing you’ve seen someone do in church?

I had noticed her for many weeks. A very animated conversationalist. Frizzy hair that swung back and forth as she made various points to her conversational companion. I spotted this taking place for several weeks in a row. Talking up a storm. In church. During the service.

I never understood why the ushers didn’t address the problem. This was a very conservative church and there was no missing her hair and head bobbing back and forth. Surely the leadership here would DO something.

Then came the week that we ended up sitting directly behind her. She talked through the call to worship. She talked through the opening prayer. She talked through the first half of the opening scripture reading. Okay, this was scripture, the Word, right? It was then that with a voice that was reined in so it wouldn’t travel too far, but with a voice that was distinct, clear and firm, I said, “W-i-l-l  y-o-u  p-l-e-a-s-e  b-e  q-u-i-e-t.”

She got the message. I hoped she would think about whatever might have motivated me to do that. (Gee, I dunno know; maybe wanting to hear the service? Maybe something about having respect for the reading of the Word of God?) Instead, the service ended, and her son-in-law, who was sitting two seats over, stood up, turned around slowly towards me in all his massive 260 lb. frame, and informed me that if I ever did something like that again he would take care of me out in the parking lot. Or something like that.

We left that church shortly after. Not because of her, or him, but because the ushers, deacons and other leaders were gutless to deal with her. It took me to do it.

text_message_girlFlash forward several years. My youngest son returned home from church — a different church — with the news that a girl whom he named in the youth group who was sitting a row behind him was text messaging throughout the entire sermon. I happen to know this girl’s family and they are infected with the same germ as the woman with the bobbing hair. I’ve seen them conversing in a manner so animated that it was distracting to me on the farthest part of the other side of a very wide auditorium. Texting uses no audio, but in a church service, it’s amazing how the little taps can carry.

Interesting how you can be in a room with 300 other people but it only takes one person to spoil the experience. If the person was making a lot of noise, it would be dealt with, but sometimes these things sit on the borderline between requiring action or determining that confronting the situation might make a greater (and more memorable) distraction.

I like that we can dress casually for church. I like that we sing contemporary songs. I like that we show cuts from popular movies. I like that we laugh and are transparent about our lives. But…

I miss reverence. I miss solemnity. I miss the awe with which should approach that part of our week where we enter into the transcendency of bringing our worship before a holy God. I miss the holy hush I experienced in some meetings I attended in my early twenties.  I miss people treating that part of the week as something special.

If I had been sitting anywhere near this girl, I don’t know exactly what I might have done, but it wouldn’t have been pleasant. I might have gone for “P-u-t  t-h-a-t  t-h-i-n-g  a-w-a-y  n-o-w.” But remember, he was sitting in front of in this case and would have had to turn around to do this.

Then again, I might have simply stepped out of the service for a few minutes.

To make a whip out of cords. 

So… what’s the most distracting thing you’ve seen someone do in church?

November 12, 2014

Wednesday Link List

 

We continue our scintillating series of celebrity photos with this dinnerware shot by Matthew Paul Turner

We continue our scintillating series of Christian author photos with this dinnerware shot by Matthew Paul Turner

Welcome back to classic format Wednesday Link List…

Here’s a cartoon left over from our weekend look at Beetle Bailey:

i141104bb

November 11, 2014

How Things Look From the Platform

Filed under: music, worship — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:36 am

aka What the Worship Leader Sees

This is something my wife came up with four years ago. Have you ever wondered what the congregation looks like when you’re standing at the front leading? Fortunately, the ones the team notice most are the people really entering into worship; but if you look more carefully — and it’s not recommended — it probably looks like this:


November 10, 2014

When People Try to Guess The Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:51 pm
It’s just about that time again…

In an article in The Futurist magazine, writer Laura Lee catalogues some of the worst predictions of all time:

“Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.” —Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” —John Eric Ericksen, surgeon to Queen Victoria, 1873

“Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed.” —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893

“It doesn’t matter what he does, he will never amount to anything.” —Albert Einstein’s teacher to Einstein’s father, 1895

“It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology.” —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949

“The Japanese don’t make anything the people in the U.S. would want.” —Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954

“Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years.” —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in the New York Times, June 10, 1955

“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959

“By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society.” —Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986

“I predict the internet … will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” —Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995

Aren’t you glad your faith does not rest on human words?

~

 

The Futurist, (September/October, 2000), p. 20–25

November 9, 2014

Prominent Author and Pastor Myles Munroe Killed in Plane Crash

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:16 pm

Posted Sunday night at The [Grand Bahama] Tribune

Myles MunroeTHE leader of Bahamas Faith Ministries, Dr Myles Munroe, and his wife Ruth have been killed in a plane crash in Grand Bahama.

The crash took place this afternoon and killed all nine people on board the private jet. The plane reportedly struck a crane at the Grand Bahama Ship Yard, exploding on impact and crashing into the ground near a junkyard area.

The Department of Civil Aviation reported that the plane was a Lear 36 executive jet which departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for the Grand Bahama International Airport.

The plane left LPIA at 4.07pm with nine people on board and crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5.10pm, the Department of Civil Aviation said.

A police on source on the island previously said two were feared dead. However, police sources later confirmed that all those on board had been killed…

Continue reading at The Tribune

Dr. Munroe was the author of many bestselling Christian books, including:

  • Myles Munroe on Relationship
  • Pass it On
  • Kingdom Principles: Preparing for Kingdom Experience and Expansion
  • Rediscovering the Kingdom
  • The Most Important Person on Earth
  • Understanding Your Potential
  • Waiting and Dating
  • The Spirit of Leadership
  • The Principles and Power of Vision
  • Understanding the Purpose and Power of Prayer
  • Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman
  • Understanding the Purpose and Power of Men
  • God’s Big Idea
  • Overcoming The Crisis
  • Principles and Benefits of Change
  • Releasing Your Potential

(Wikipedia)

Cartoon Theology

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:01 am

There are blogs devoted to all subjects, but one I’ve been reading for a long, long time is Josh Fruhlinger’s blog The Comics Curmudgeon, devoted entirely to the art of those lovely syndicated panels that reward newspaper buyers on days when the front page is less than beautiful.

Occasionally he wanders into topics that might interest readers here, and I wanted you to see both the Beetle Bailey comic and his analysis of it together. Click the image to read at source and look around the rest of his blog.

Cartoon Theology at Joshreads

If the text doesn’t come through on your mobile, it’s repeated below:

Not sure what denomination Chaplain Staneglass is supposed to be, but mainstream Christian theology has had a ready answer to this one since at least Aquinas and probably Augustine. The short version is that God is eternal and exists outside of time as we understand it — indeed, the linear progression of time, including the concept of cause and effect, is part of His creation, so it doesn’t really make sense to talk about Him being created by anyone or anything. You can find this logic varying degrees of satisfying based on your own personal beliefs, but the idea that a clergyman would respond to a sincere question about it with “WELP ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” makes me a little depressed about the quality of ministry available to our soldiers and/or cartoonists, and I’m an atheist.

 

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