Regular readers will know this already, but I’ve never quite come out and said it: I find it somewhat snobbish when bloggers publish link lists where anything older than 2-3 days is considered obsolete. A true link sleuth will unearth some great material and won’t be concerned if the post is dated 30 days ago. If it was true then…
- Essay of the week: Church Planting in Montreal. A somewhat typical couple has been living together for ten years but has never gotten close to having any kind of spiritual discussion. And that’s just one challenge. The Quebecois version of Hybels’ “unchurched Harry” is quite different from “Harry” in the rest of North America.
- Runner up: Remember that feeling when you were young and you came home from school only to find nobody home and you immediately thought everybody had been raptured? Well, it happens to not-so-young college students, too.
- Okay, so that video about how to write a worship song wasn’t the first time Jordan at BlimeyCow waded into Christian music criticism. Or church camp. And different types of churches.
- While everyone else on Sunday night was watching The Bible miniseries on History, one blogger was putting the final period on his review even as the credits rolled. I guess that way you get to say, “First!” (The cable channel show beat all the big networks in the ratings.)
- If you know people whose Christian faith is characterized by what they are against, may I suggest you copy and paste this article and email it to them.
- For people who don’t know how to use a “table of contents” in a book, The Alpha Bible presents the Bible books in… well you know.
- Given the success of The Book of Mormon, a Broadway production by The Foursquare Church denomination on the life of Aimee Semple McPherson probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
- The idea of gospel tracts probably seems somewhat archaic to most readers here, but the concision of these short presentations actual suits present attention spans. Now 31 Good News tracts are available on audio.
- Matt Hafer comes out of church leadership hibernation with five ways for pastors to tell if people are truly on board.
- I know I often link you over to Christianity 201, but I really want you all, if nothing else, to catch this video.
- In some ways connected to a link we had here last week, a Christianity Today women’s blog suggests a little bit of Christianese is OK.
- As someone whose entire wardrobe was purchased at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, this is scary: Pat Robertson allows the possibility that those shirts and sweaters could have demonic spirits attached. (That’s why Pat buys professionally tailored suits, I guess.)
- Once we know the name of the new Pope, the new Pope has to choose a name. Past Pope picks included these. (You remember Pope Urban, right?)
- How is it possible that this great song by the Wheaton College Gospel Choir has had less than 2,500 views in two years? If this don’t bring a smile to your face, your mouth is broken. Watch, copy the link and share.
- Jon Acuff finds himself in a prayer meeting with someone who gives a whole new meaning to the phrase too much information.
- If you missed it January, Shaun Groves shares songwriting secrets for worship composers. But ultimately, “I think worship writers have parted with standard songwriting practices because they’re creating with the live experience in mind. So their priorities are much different from those of a traditional songwriter.”
- The people at Thomas Nelson flatly refused us a review copy of this, but I’ll be nice and tell you about it anyway. Jesus: A Theography is a new book by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola combining theology and biography with –[free review time expired]
- …Mind you, that was already better than this guy’s review. “After a while, I finally put the book down and said enough.” (When you accept a free book you do agree to finish reading it.)
- Remember Anne Jackson? Well she’s still kicking around, still writing, and apparently this Friday is a special day.
- Nadia Bolz-Weber, the Lutheran with attitude, shares her struggle preparing to preach on The Parable of the Vineyard. (Open the audio link in a new tab, then click back to follow the text; the whole sermon is about ten minutes.) Actual quote: “…you’d think that I’d totally remember a parable where poop is mentioned.”
- Meanwhile Steve McCoy’s kids, age 12 and 14, are taking sermon notes while he preaches.
- On our fifth birthday, we introduced you to Derek the Cleric. We had a tough time that day choosing between two cartoons and thought we’d stretch the written permission we received to do just one more.
First, two strongly related links:
- Author Mike Breen guests at Verge Network with Obituary for the American Church. He notes three factors responsible for killing the church, celebrity, consumerism and competition.
- Rachel Held Evans guests at Relevant Magazine with a particular focus on the celebrity mindset in the church, check out When Jesus Meets TMZ.
Other links this week:
- Christian authors facing the justice system in the UK win some and lose some. Here’s a snapshot of just one day in a British courtroom.
- Cathy Cleaver Ruse of the Family Research Council guests at Washington Times, explaining why she won’t be buying Girl Scout cookies anymore, and why you might also want to reconsider your yearly purchase.
- Author Anne Jackson makes what is now a somewhat rare online appearance at Donald Miller’s blog, sharing her thoughts as she visited Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art.
- Rebecca Trotter shares with her sons, and all of us, her radically different approach to why we have a moral obligation not to have sex outside of marriage.
- Here’s a new song from the band Caleb, fronted by Caleb Chapman, son of Steven Curtis Chapman. Enjoy the music video, We Will Wait.
- From Sunday night’s Grammy Awards here are the winners in the gospel and contemporary Christian categories you didn’t see in the telecast.
- Carolyn Arends gets together with several other older brothers and older sisters, and concludes that for older siblings, pleasing God is often performance based.
- One day late for Valentine’s here’s a rerun of Biblical Ways a Man Finds a Wife; with some added commentary by myself this time around.
- Out of Toronto’s Eight Letter Conference, comes a book from InterVarsity Press releasing in April: Letters to a Future Church, including contributions from such diverse voices as Ron Sider, Peter Rollins, Tim Challies and Andy Crouch; and many others who participated in the event.
- Your pastor’s job description actually requires him to fulfill five different roles on a weekly basis. (And that doesn’t count about a dozen more things he does if your church is smaller in size.)
- Russell D. Moore notes that although the “worship wars” have abated, we still need to “seek the well-being of others in worship… resonate with worship through musical forms we previously never considered.” He makes it clear that choosing songs on the basis of nostalgia isn’t worship.
- Stand to Reason, an apologetics blog, offers some instruction to people who think that homosexuality is the worst sin.
- Closing graphic here was chosen mostly because I really enjoyed singing the song this week at church. Click the image to see more. Click here to listen to the song as recorded by Matt Redman.
- That’s it for this week; thanks for tuning in.
The long hot summer is just about over, and the kids are back in school. Time for a look at the pages that grabbed my attention this week, with a little help from our friend (at right) the links lynx.
- First of all, there’s a live event online tomorrow (Thursday September 9th) night: A Night of Worship, streaming live from North Point Community Church at 7:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 PM Central. To watch at home you need enough bandwidth to capture the live feed, and this website.
- When Chad Holtz isn’t busy pastoring a rural Methodist church, he’s busy confronting evil at the local Islamic Center. Sort of.
- Greg at the blog, Lost in the Clouds posts an edgy response to the Christianity Today cover story Hipster Christianity by Brent McCracken based on his book of the same name. Greg says “I’m sorry, but all of this is adding up to a sorry picture of our tour guide through the world of Hipster Christianity…” I think he struck a nerve.
- Students at Belmont University are being handed cash to make a difference. Donald Miller explains the $20 giveaway; but I wonder what they’d do if — after the manner of Matthew 25 — one of the students simply handed back $40?
- Carlos Whitaker doesn’t want attendees at the Catalyst Conference to be singing the songs he chooses, so he asks his readers to report the song titles they are connecting with at their churches. So far, over 125 replies.
- Frank Turk, who probably doesn’t write a lot of music reviews, joins a number of bloggers who are noticing what can only be termed a “modern hymnwriter,” Matthew Smith.
- Andrew Jones lists five major game changers that revolutionized who he is today. People in ministry, don’t miss this one.
- Thom Turner knows that baptism can be a divisive subject, but suggests there’s room for diversity even within denominations and possibly within local churches as well.
- If you missed the blog tour — actually it was more like a progressive dinner — for Anne Jackson’s Permission to Speak Freely (Thomas Nelson), you can still catch all seven excerpts by following the links, starting here. Anne’s honesty will resonate with anyone dealing with various types of pain.
- Brian, a regular reader of this blog, invites you to join him and others in a week of prayer for Beja people — nomadic camel herders — of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea. Read more here.
- Our video link this week is a worship song you may not know by Willow Creek’s Aaron Niequist, simply titled Changed.
- U.S. Fundamentalist nutcase Terry Jones is determined to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th — I doubt even the U.S. President could stop this guy — so as of Tuesday night officials announced plans to quell access to his property through an identification checkpoint, so fewer people can see him do it.
- John Stackhouse has no problem with street preaching, but that’s usually in commercial areas, right? What happens when the preachers invade a residential street? That, he says, is going too far.
- Anglicans in Nova Scotia, not content with the annual “blessing of the pets” service, are having a “blessing of the techs” service for laptops, cellphones and mobile devices.
- This may be your church, or at least your church sign: Grace Methodist Episcopal in New York, circa 1922; from Shorpy.com; a classic photograph site. Middle picture is from the Gospel Mission in Georgetown, circa 1920; final picture is a storefront church from the “Black Belt” of Chicago in 1941 and where deciding where you’re going to eat after church isn’t an issue with the lunch wagon next door. Click through any of the pictures to see the images in super-giant size.
Here’s the list for Wednesday the 21st: That means spring is one-third gone already! (Or autumn for all our mates down under.)
- Gotta love the new style of church names, right? Okay, maybe not all of them. The blog Out of Ur has put them all in this collection.
- What’s the worst thing a Methodist preacher can do? Re-baptize someone, according to this piece by Talbot Davis at The Heart of the Matter. Mind you, I can think of worse things!
- Cornerstone Church without Francis Chan? Tell me he’s just testing his congregation again. Here’s the 11-minute video at Resurgence. Or listen to the message on 4/18 here.
- David Kenney went to church on Good Friday and Easter, only Jesus never died at the one, and never rose again at the other. In this piece, he suggests that it’s all about life.
- Tom Datema sets the bar low enough on church “purpose statements” that any local church can attain, in this piece at Brain Twitch.
- Can you handle one more Jennifer Knapp post. “…Let’s assume that it is a sin. Then my question is: Can a sinful person love Jesus? Oh! We’ve got to be so careful how we answer that question. To me, the answer is an obvious “yes”. It is obvious to me because my own life testifies to it. In every season of my life, I have struggled with different sins. But in all of those seasons I have still loved Jesus.” Read in full at Upwrite.
- All those progressive Christian radio stations can keep playing Owl City, now that Adam Young has hit the online pages of Christianity Today.
- Colin at the blog simply titled Words has an analogy on the subject of “constructive reconstruction” of faith with the piece, My Brother the Bike Mechanic.
- Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like finally gets around to doing a book promo video, but you might draw more from this CNN clip of a piece he appeared in. (Canadian readers: Does John Roberts hint at the end that he attends North Point?)
- Allen Flemming, who claims an intimate knowledge of the family says that Canadian David DiSabatino’s DVD documentary on Larry Norman has got it all wrong, setting up a website refuting Fallen Angel called Failed Angle.
- Pastor Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv re-establishes his church’s purposes in The Code, a series of 13 statements spread out over three blog posts at Swerve. You’ll have to click here and then head for April 14, 15 and 16 posts; but they’re good reading. (Or see them all in the comments section here.)
- Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, has a balanced look at discernment ministries in 10 Ways to Keep Watchdogs from Barking.
- Jason Wert is thankful for Anne Jackson drawing attention to the issue of human trafficking in Moldova, but suggests this event has been going on for a long while, even in the United States.
- Adrienne at the blog, Contemplative Life, has a short post here introducing a piece by Ann Voskamp about Ann’s daughter’s baptism. Start here, and then click the link to Ann’s piece.
- Bill at the blog, A New Language for Christians, puts a more modern spin on the story of the good Samaritan.
- This week’s cartoon is from Thom Tapp at Baptist Press:
Our last link collection was rather heavy. So here’s some stuff that won’t leave you drained.
- She once was lost, but now she’s found. Christian music singer Jennifer Knapp has surfaced after being AWOL for what seemed forever. Read her statement on her website. “I haven’t actually disappeared. I’ve been truly corporeal this whole time.” Betcha the speculation will continue, however.
- Why is Ronald McDonald praying? That was the question readers of the blog The Ironic Catholic were asking (and captioning.) The answer was to be found in the link in the teeny tiny type under the picture as it appeared there, but we’ll spoonfeed it to you here.
- While some people are talking about Anne Jackson’s future book with Thomas Nelson, Permission to Speak Freely, which borrows the whole Post Secrets concept, here’s a variation on the whole online confessional thing from the folks at Long Hollow Baptist, a three campus church in greater Nashville, TN. Sample from Anne’s: “I’ve tried so hard not to be the stereotypical Christian, that I’ve sinned against God.” Sample from Long Hollow: “God, I miss You and I want to come home. I’m sorry I chose the world over You.” (…and to think today we’re doing lighter blog links…)
- David Keen at the blog, St. Aidan to Abbey Manor (yeah, I know, I wanted that blog name, too, but it was taken) offers us some suggestions for naming the new NIV/TNIV hybrid when it appears in 2011. Possibilities so far:
- Tomorrows New International Version (TNIV, not to be confused with TNIV)
- Newer International Version (NIV, not to be confused with NIV)
- Very New International Version (VNIV, which is starting to look like a Roman date)
- Brand New International Version (BNIV, which ceases to be true as soon as you’ve bought it, and so risks making a complete liar out of everyone who owns a copy)
- New International Version 3.0, which can be released in digital form and updated by download whenever a new bit of translation becomes available.
- 21st Century NIV: bit of a hostage to fortune, as you then can’t amend it again for 89 years. Actually ’21st century’ already sounds dated.
- Many years ago I attended a church where the pastor was roundly condemned for wearing Hush Puppies instead of Oxfords and a turtleneck sweater instead of a shirt and tie. How times have changed. Well, not everywhere. The Coral Ridge Presbyterian faction would have new pastor Tullian Tchividjian removed for not wearing a robe. (No, it’s not like he’s preaching nude; he wears other stuff.) Anyway, they’re also upset that he isn’t weighing in on political issues. Guess James Kennedy was more of a headline maker. Tullian is safe for now, having been reaffirmed with a 69% vote. Read the silliness here.
…and you thought I was always serious. We’ll leave you with something from Pundit Kitchen:
Related posts on this blog:
Review of Anne Jackson’s first book, Mad Church Disease
Story explaining the revision of the NIV in 2011 and ending publication of the TNIV