Thinking Out Loud

August 27, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Wonderful the matchless

You know, that thing where you take a bucket of links and pour them over your head…

So there you have it! Not a single link about the social media story of the week, unless you count the sideways reference in that last item. To submit a link, send it by noon on Monday, except for next week, which is a holiday Monday.

 

April 27, 2013

A Couple’s Moral Responsibility to Frozen Embryos

Filed under: ethics, marriage, parenting — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:12 am

Christian Biomedical Ethics

Yikes! The world of biomedical ethics is complicated, but even more so when overlaid with a Christian worldview.  Take this question submitted to Russell D. Moore’s blog, Moore To The Point:

Dear Dr. Moore,

I know you don’t believe in in vitro fertilization, but my wife and I found it was a good solution to our infertility problem. We created multiple embryos, and carried two to term. We cannot afford any other children, so another round of pregnancies is not an option. Our quiver’s full. My conscience is bothering me a little, though, since we banked a number of other fertilized embryos, just in case the first round didn’t take. Do we have any responsibility for these embryos?

Sincerely,

A Stressed Dad

Okay, so if you haven’t read the column or haven’t peeked below, which way do you think he’s going to go on this?  Or, being perfectly honest, what the answer you would like to see, or the answer you would give if anyone asked you?

Time’s up!  Here’s a little bit of his answer, but clicking the link in the first paragraph here is highly recommended:

Dear Stressed,

Your quiver’s fuller than you think…

…In a Christian vision of reality there is no such thing as an “almost person,” which is what we think with the abstraction of “fertilized embryos.” Someone is either a human person, and therefore my neighbor, or not. You do not have “frozen embryos.” You have children, frozen in this cruelly clinical world of suspended animation.

It is one thing to decide you can’t afford to have children, before you conceive children, just as it is one thing to decide you can’t afford to marry, before you marry. You’re married though, and you’ve conceived children. You have an obligation to them. The one who does not care for his own household is, the Apostle Paul says, “worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

This doesn’t mean your game-plan is easy. There’s a cross to take up here. The path from frozen storage to birth is difficult, whether through bearing those children or making an adoption plan for them into loving families. But these are not things; these are persons, worthy of love and respect and sacrifice…

Any surprise or shock I had at his answer stemmed not from fundamental disagreement but from entering a world of consideration that was completely foreign to me.  A few days ago, I had no opinion on this issue.  Today, I see a couple in a particular situation who have sought advice that may not necessarily be the advice they want to hear. Despite this, I still find myself torn.

I want to look the couple in the eye and say, “I see your pain and struggle with this.” Then I want to look Dr. Moore in the eye and say, “That was a very wise answer.” In other words, “I agree with you and (turning my head) I agree with you.” It’s a great stance if you’re going into politics, but I’m not sure how it plays out in the world of faith and ethics.

Rather, there is the feeling of being confronted with an issue that is beyond yourself, something you feel you lack capacity to assess. Where is Solomon when you need him? I suppose that’s the role that Dr. Moore is being asked to play here.

He concludes by linking alluding to a familiar scripture passage,

Your conscience might seem to be a nuisance to you… But a nagging conscience can be a sign of grace. It might be that what you are hearing is a happy foretaste of obedience to Christ, as you hear his voice saying, “I was frozen and you remembered me.”

What do you think?

August 22, 2012

Wednesday Link List

  • He didn’t originate it, but the above graphic was found at Tony Jones’ blog who discusses the topic-we-haven’t-done-here involving a fast food restaurant we-haven’t-named-here.  Tony has another link here, too. 
  • Our top link today is to one of the blogs by Camille who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and writes on how to be a blessing to friends with chronic illnesses.
  • No link on this one, but there’s a guy who comments on several blogs I read under the name Eagle, who came down with a mystery illness a few weeks back. It was so good to see how the blog community came together to encourage him and pray for him and keep one another updated.
  • We took a week off from the link list last week only to have Clark Bunch encourage his readers to visit the link list that wasn’t here. So from our Returning-The-Favor Department, here’s a link to The Read and Share file at The Master’s Table.
  • My wife and I find so many church-based ‘friendships’ are really task-based and disappear when the project ends or people change churches. So I liked this quote: “People frequently think they have friends at work—or church or the tennis club or any location where like-minded people gather—when in fact what they have are ‘work neighbors.’” The rest of the article is more for women and those middle-aged, but I liked that ‘work neighbors’ concept.
  • Worship leaders not only articulate theology but in a real way they also shape theology. So they really need to know of what they sing. Zac Hicks explores this with advice for both musicians and pastors.
  • Jim Henderson talks about the thesis of his book The Resignation of Eve in the light of a new report from Barna Research about the role of women in ministry.
  • Bring your church bulletin to a restaurant on Sunday and get a discount. Seems like a fairly typical promotion, right? Well, a complaint has been filed with the Pennyslvania Human Rights Commission for just that special offer.
  • In other protest news, the man who symbolically burned a box of cereal on the front lawn of General Foods died a few days later.
  • The replacement for the “Touchdown Jesus” statue on Interstate 75 is just about ready to be put into place; and this time it’s fireproof.
  • Did I mention Phil Vischer’s podcast lately? Seriously, you need to listen to one of these; you’ll be hooked on the series. Here’s the one where his guest was his brother Rob Vischer though honestly, Episode 13 is much funnier. So you have a choice: serious or silly.
  • Cross Point’s Jenni Catron guests at Outreach Magazine suggesting that in church leadership, red tape was made to be cut.
  • How small is our God? Richard Beck counterpoints the ‘Your God is Too Small’ rhetoric with a piece about finding the small-ness of God.
  • There are definitely more than five things belonging to the realm of mystery in theology, but for C. Michael Patton, these are the major ones. (We might use this at C201 today, too!) 
  • Twenty years after his death, Christianity Today provides a lengthy tribute to the influence of Christian musician Mark Heard.
  • Meanwhile, at a venue quite familiar to Mark Heard, The Choir performs a final song on the final night of the Cornerstone Festival.
  • And here’s a 5-minute recap of the whole event
  • If you find yourself in remote parts of Africa, James Brett wants you to know how to build a rocket stove.
  • Oops!-I-Said-It-Again Department: Pat Robertson stands by guys who won’t date a woman with three adopted international children because in Pat’s view they might grow up weird or have brain damage. Russell D. Moore goes appropriately ballistic in response. “This is not just a statement we ought to disagree with. This is of the devil.” (I think his co-host would be wise to quit after this incident.)(Pat’s not Russell’s; Russel doesn’t have a co-host.)
  • The oft-cynical Naked Pastor, aka David Hayward pledges his new blog will be the up-side to his popular blog’s rants.  And the blog Pastor Jeff’s Ramblings announces that he is shutting down the blog, and then, a day later announces the start of Pastor Jeff’s Reviews.
  • Below, one of several new panels at Sacred Sandwich:

July 25, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Click the image above to learn more about the comic book version of the book In His Steps, where the whole WWJD thing originated.

November 30, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Paragraph containing witty introduction and possible lynx/links pun reference to Lynx canadensis or Lynx pardinus if picture is included.

  • Let’s kick off with a very short video on the influence the King James Bible had on the English language.  This is actually an excerpt from a very interesting eleven minute video on the language as a whole.
  • From there we go to a much longer video; a sermon video where N. T. Wright, the former Bishop of Durham, preaches in, of all places, Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  This was recorded just a few weeks ago on November 6th.
  • With church attendance slipping, Christian colleges and universities in the U.S. are cutting tuition costs, some by as much as 50%. “…One of the most pressing issues is that there are fewer prospective students for these schools to recruit. Religious membership has been on the decline, especially among young people.” Read the full story at CNN Money.
  • A new title in the Lego Bible series has been pulled from Sam’s Club outlets for being too violent.  One Facebook comment notes, ““I hear you are banning The Brick Testament for its offensive content but not the Bible which contains all the same content…”  The Brick Bible: A New Spin on The Old Testament is the 4th book in the series by illustrator Brendan Powell Smith.  [Update: Chaplain Mike covers this topic actual pictures!  Well, not violent ones, but one that's not suitable for young children.]
  • A good friend of ours has recorded a tribute cover for Larry Norman’s song UFO.  Enjoy a limited time free preview from Martin Barret Music.
  • My other blog, Christianity 201 marks 600 posts with some thoughts from James chapter 1 about seeing ourselves as we really are.
  • Eddy Arthur at Wycliffe Bible Translators UK posts a curiosity-inducing review of a new book, Pursuit of a Thirsty Fool by T. J. Macleslie, published by Bottomline Media. If you’re tired of the “then I became a Christian and now everything’s great” genre, this may be the story for you.  Here’s the review for the book pictured at right.
  • Annie Goebel, president and co-founder of the women’s prison ministry Daughters of Destiny, met the son she gave birth to as a teen in 1973 earlier this month.  Read the story at The Christian Post.
  • Laura Ortberg Turner and Owen Strachan discuss whether Scripture dictates that women work inside the home.  First, here’s Laura’s response to Owen’s critique of Tide’s “Dad-Mom” commercial.  Second, here is Owen’s response to Laura.  That this occurs at her•menuetics makes the comments all that much more interesting.
  • Rachel Held Evans hosts guest blogger Kathy Escobar (see blogroll at right) on the topic of spiritual insecurity.  Discussion starter: “The basic premise of Christianity is that there is nothing good in us.  That original sin has ruined us and we are miserable sinners, unworthy of anything good without the blood of Jesus…”
  • Family Feud Department: My one son has been getting into a popular card game, Magic: The Gathering; while my other son — who sees the game played at his college — is not entirely convinced it’s a good idea. He wrote up his thoughts which I’ve posted as a “page” here so you could read them.
  • Concert-goers in Canada already know them, but there’s a lot of buzz everywhere lately for brothers Nathan Finochio and Gabe Finochio aka The Royal Royal. You need to have an iTunes account to get their music.
  • Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity thinks this Coke Lite commercial is actually dramatizing A Catholic Girl’s Worst Nightmare.
  • Something lacking during announcement time at your church?  Adam Stadtmiller takes up the cause of what is often an epic fail.
  • And for all you worship team leaders and aspiring worship team members, here’s how one Canadian church auditions and integrates new musicians.
  • Tony Woodlief guests at World Magazine Online on why he was predisposed to agree the people who were boycotting Black Friday.
  • And this 3-minute video provides all the reason you need to skip the big sale.  Or any big sale.  Some scenes may be disturbing.

That’s it for WLL this week at TOL; try to submit your suggestions by 9:00 PM Mondays.

September 11, 2010

Adoption: Before and After

Filed under: family — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:10 am

My friend Graham tipped me off this week that veteran Christian musician, author and CCM columnist John Fischer launched a new blog recently called The Catch – Connecting Life to Faith.

In the time it took me to read just a half dozen posts, I knew I had found the theme for today’s blog here at Thinking Out Loud:  Adoption.   Not spiritual adoption — the way God adopts us into His family — although that’s important.   But the adoption of children.

This is a big theme right now in a lot of churches.   At North Point in Atlanta, Andy Stanley is encouraging church families to be at the forefront of program like Foster Parents and to consider adoption.

In the case of John Fischer’s story though; instead of reading his recent post as I did, and then linking back, I want to walk you through this as a “before and after” journey.    No cheating.

But you have to promise to actually click on the links, okay?   You won’t regret taking a few minutes to read this.

Here’s the before story.

Don’t even think about reading this sentence if you didn’t read the before story.   I can’t include a quotation from it ’cause you need to read it all.

Here’s the after story.

Isn’t that awesome?

March 21, 2010

The Top 100 Issues That Divide Us

When the blogger at Free In Christ started his blog in July of 2008, he noted his indebtedness to a book by Cecil Hook also called Free in Christ.   Not being a regular follower of that blog, and so not having read everything in between then and now, it does appear that 21 months later, he hasn’t stopped blogging his admiration for the book.

Recently, he cited Cecil Hook’s list of 100 things people disagree on in the churches of Christ.    Rather than simply link to it — many of you never click anyway, and even fewer leave comments — I wanted to have this list recorded here.    I’m not sure about the order in which these are listed, but here it is:

1. taking of oaths
2. serving in the military
3. inflicting capital punishment
4. using force to defend oneself or others
5. voting for political candidates
6. serving as a government official
7. engaging in political activism
8. Christmas or Easter programs
9. letting a non-member lead prayer
10. lifting hands while singing
11. joining a ministerial alliance
12. indwelling of the Holy Spirit
13. work of the Holy Spirit
14. baptism of the Holy Spirit
15. prayer for healing
16. the Trinity
17. special providence
18. how God answers prayer
19. fasting
20. translations of the Bible
21. use of Thee and Thou in prayer
22. authority of elders
23. who selects and appoints elders
24. qualifications of elders
25. tenure of elders
26. elders presiding at the Lord’s Table
27. qualifications of deacons
28. deaconesses
29. enrolling widows
30. addressing disciples as Major or Doctor
31. long hair on men
32. midweek contributions
33. dimming the lights during prayer
34. singing as the emblems are passed
35. use of church buildings for secular activities
36. use of pictures of Jesus
37. use of symbols such as the cross
38. use of steeples and stained glass windows
39. use of the term Sunday School
40. passing of the collection baskets
41. eating in the church building
42. grounds for disfellowshipping
43. support of colleges from the church treasury
44. divorce for any cause
45. remarriage of a divorced person
46. preacher officiating at a wedding of a divorced person
47. disciples marrying non-members
48. preacher officiating for a mixed marriage
49. use of an instrument in “church” weddings
50. method and type of inspiration of the Bible
51. re-baptism of Baptists and Christian Church members
52. the “five items of worship”
53. use of choirs, choruses, quartets, solos, etc.
54. serving the Lord’s Supper on Sunday evening
55. serving the Lord’s Supper other than in assemblies
56. integration of races
57. smoking
58. total abstinence from alcoholic beverages
59. membership in fraternal orders
60. contributing to public charities
61. use of Bible class literature
62. youth directors, youth rallies, youth camps
63. the six days of creation being literal days
64. the extent of evolution
65. the operation of Christian hospitals
66. awards and prizes for church activities
67. debating religious issues
68. ministers of education, ministers of music, etc.
69. benevolence to fellow-disciples only
70. the baptismal “formula”
71. formal confession before baptism
72. going to law against disciples
73. dedicating babies
74. signing contribution pledge cards
75. children’s homes under eldership or a board
76. dancing
77. women wearing shorts and slacks
78. women wearing slacks to church services
79. girls leading prayer in family devotionals
80. girls leading prayer in youth devotionals
81. clapping hands during singing
82. buying VBS refreshments from the treasury
83. the present day activity of demons
84. applauding in the assembly
85. use of God’s name as a by-word
86. use of euphemisms of God’s name in by-words
87. use of contraceptives
88. abortion
89. adopting out an illegitimate child
90. women working outside the home
91. Children’s Bible Hour
92. busing children to services
93. “What is to be will be.”
94. bodily resurrection
95. if we shall know each other in heaven
96. degrees of reward and punishment
97. whether heaven and hell are literal places
98. dress code for men serving the Lord’s Supper
99. whether Christ came in AD 70
100. a name for the church

The unnamed blogger follows the list with a brief discussion here, but I’m wondering if you think there’s anything there that shouldn’t be or anything that got left out?

And now, for today’s bonus item:

This is the “disagreement hierarchy.”  Anyone know the origin of this?   Here’s an article (without the chart) which would seem to attribute this to Paul Graham.

November 11, 2009

Link-O-Rama

First Baptist Church Dallas Architectural Rendering

Dallas' First Baptist Church Plans to Spend $130M U.S. on This Downtown Complex

  • The Office‘s Rainn Wilson is not a believer, but he does ask a good question:   Is television an acceptable method of ministry to the masses.  Personally, I like what Billy Graham did — nothing on a weekly basis, but quality crusade coverage once per quarter.   Better yet, I think would be for a church to pour resources into an annual prime time special.   Read the replies at Soul Pancake.
  • If you haven’t already, check out the podcasts featuring debates between A Christian and An Atheist.
  • Brant Hansen at Letters from Kamp Krusty (also linked a few lines below) had a link to seven pictures — be sure to see all seven — in the London Telegraph showing a human fetus (or foetus, as the Brits spell it) developing in the womb.
  • Perry Noble notes 15 signs that a church is in trouble.    #8 – Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made!  … #10 – The people in the church lose sight of the next generation and refuse to fund ministry simply because they don’t understand “those young people.” Check it out.
  • Speaking of churches in trouble, try to wrap your brain around the plans of First Baptist, Dallas, Texas; in spending 130 million dollars to build a Tower of Babel new sanctuary in the city core.  (See picture, above.)  Be sure to click the links to watch the series of seven or eight videos, especially “The Experience” and “Worship Center.”   To warm up, the insanity begins at Arthur Sido’s blog.
  • TC Robinson blogs at New Leaven and suggests there are Five Deeply De-Christian Doctrines.  (Pastors love alliteration…)
  • The blog, The Word from the Hood features a dramatic narrative of the life of Tina Barry and her attempts to learn her mother’s identity and reconnect with her siblings.    Her story takes about five minutes to read, but is well worth the time.
  • This one is for seminarians and theology junkies, not mathematicians:  Stephen Manskar on understanding the role of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience — Teaching The Wesleyan Quadrilateral.  (See picture below.)
  • If you’re a woman, or even worse (!) a SAHM, you’re going to love the story of what one Methodist pastor did.
  • Here’s some quick wisdom from Chuck Swindoll that will only take 15 seconds, but will stay with you all day.
  • This one is at the other end of the spectrum.  You’d want to allow a good 10 minutes or so to read this Boston Review article on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and religion.
  • Finally, on the lighter side, Brant Hansen at Letters from Kamp Krusty believes he has found what is truly The Best Christian T-Shirt Ever.
Wesley's Quadrilateral

You'll want a degree in Theology, not Mathematics, to understand the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

How To Build a Link List on Your Blog:

It’s fun!  It’s easy!  It’s really time consuming!

1) Each time you visit a link you want to share with other people, bookmark it to a short-list used just for this purpose.  Make sure you get the permalink for that particular post, not the blog in general, unless you think the whole blog is noteworthy.   This takes no time at all because you were already visiting those pages anyway.

2) Create a post and list the links and insert the actual URL in a keyword or phrase.   This takes a bit longer, especially when you’ve got 10 or 12 of them.

3) After you’re 100% sure that you’ve got all the right URLs in all the right places, you can delete the short-list and start building it again.

4) Don’t read your stats for that day’s post.  Sadly, a lot of people are interested in reading about various places you’ve been, but not interested enough to click the links.   So, if you believe in the quality of the links you’re recommending, keep at it, but don’t be disappointed if people are too busy to invest time in your recommendations.

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