Thinking Out Loud

April 22, 2014

The Touch of the Master’s Hand: Revisited

Filed under: Humor, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:07 am

Not exactly the way you remember it…

 

old-violin

It was battered and scarred, And the auctioneer thought it
Hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,
“Who starts the bidding for me?”
“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”
“Two dollars, who makes it three?”
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three”,

But, No,
From the room far back a grey haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”
As he held it aloft with its bow.
“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”
“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”
“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered, But I just cried,
I hardly could believe
I’d almost got that old violin -
I could have had it for three.

‘Til that interfering old know-it-all sod
Stuck his nose where I wished he had not
And some overdressed twit outbid my three bucks
By a thousand times what I had brought.

So I watched that old fiddler return to his seat
Near the back where he had been sittin’
As he passed where I sat, I just couldn’t resist
I stuck out my foot and I tripped him.


Ruth Wilkinson

 

December 30, 2013

Latest from the Church Curmudgeon

On the one hand, he has 63,300 followers on Twitter. On the other hand, not everybody is on Twitter and this deserves a wider readership, not to mention preservation since Twitter offers little in terms of accessible archives.  Welcome back to more from my favorite presence in the Twitterverse,  Church Curmudgeon:

Church Curmudgeon

  • Our drummer hasn’t seen many dangers or toils, but he’s sure gone through a lot of snares.
  • Who among you, if his son asked for a donut, would give him a scone?
  • Worship leader found the old choir music closet. I told him they’re Greek manuscripts. Doesn’t know the difference.
  • When Noah realized how long he was going to be on the ark with those animals, he felt like he’d been hit with a 2 by 2.
  • A guy got caught stealing an idol from our local museum in hopes of auctioning it off. Baal has been set at $50,000.
  • The church cut the Senior’s group budget to 20 bucks per event. So tonight we’re going to party like it’s $19.99.
  • Please pray for the children’s director, who fell off a ladder and suffered injuries to her head and shoulders, knees & toes, knees & toes.
  • I tried to cancel my meeting with Hank from the King-James-Only church, but he didn’t receptus my textus.
  • Headed over to the seminary barbecue this afternoon. Otherwise known as casting a pig into a herd of D. Mins
  • They kicked the guitarist off the worship team, and won’t let him come back until he finds Gsus.
  • It would be easier for the congregation to lip-sync if they’d put the right words up.
  • It’s one thing to be at a loss for words in worship. It’s another to write a song called “Jesus, I’m All, Like, Dude”.
  • When my pastor’s discouraged, I’ve always found that a note reminding him how to do his job helps me feel better.
  • If you leave your Bible at church, we highlight all the really weird passages to make your children wonder about you when you die.
  • Blowout deals on hymns at How Great Thou Mart.
  • You can’t debunk someone who had nowhere to bunk in the first place.
  • Today, in an effort to be more accurate, the tech team is just going to type in what they think we’re singing as we go.
  • Changing our vision statement from “Excellence in All Things” to “Somebody Has to Be Below Average”.
  • Joel Holstein – Your Best Life Cow
  • People don’t care about how much you grumble unless you grumble about how much they care.
  • I love how people who mock the Bible for having food laws change their whole diet on the basis of a Facebook link.
  • Pastor’s “attending” a webinar today. I’m assuming this will lead to a degree from a webinary.
  • If our creepy puppet ministry saves one creepy kid, it will be worth it all.
  • What’s the SleepNumber® on your pew?
  • In a better world, there would also be a theologian named OT Wong.
  • If you don’t think God is patient, forgiving, and long-suffering, consider that He has read ALL of Twitter.

Well that covers about a 90-day window, but is just a small part of the 4,600+ Tweets on the curmudgeon’s feed.

So is it just me, or is Church Curmudgeon a Christian publishing deal waiting to happen?

Church Curmudgeon eschatology

December 1, 2013

Great Christian Sitcom Idea

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:05 am
Jamie Wright

Jamie Wright

Jenna Elfman

Jenna Elfman

So…if anyone from Cornerstone Television, or even TBN is listening, I have a great idea for a Christian weekly half-hour sitcom, and the script ideas already exist online.  Here it is:

Jamie The Very Worst Missionary

Jamie Wright, now living in the U.S., has built a huge blog following on being inept at various things; and yet behind the self-deprecating humor, there is a great deal of both insight and heart. I was thinking we could get Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg; 1600 Penn) to play Jamie.  And Jamie Wright could have some kind of creative control, thus adding Jamie The Very Worst Scriptwriter to her list of ‘worsts.’  And how about a nice 1960′s style opening theme song, “She’s Jamie, the very worst miss-ion-aa-ree…”

October 9, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Christ the Redeemer Statue

 

A big shout out this week to the people who track me down and submit link suggestions. Weekly deadline is 6:00 PM Eastern on Mondays.  To view clickable links for all that follows, read the Wednesday Link List at Out of Ur.

  • Although this movie trailer was posted in May, it was new to me: Coming in January, 2014 a movie about singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, aptly titled Ragamuffin…
  • …and a more recently posted trailer for a documentary exploring “the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality,” with interviews with “a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers.” The 7-part DVD series is titled Painting The Stars.
  • It’s not just a Catholic problem; a group is actively protesting to push for the ordination of Mormon women.
  • Just weeks before his formal installation, the President of the American Bible Society announces that the Board of Trustees has “brought [his] service to a close.”
  • “Christians in the Middle East are hostages in the hands of Islamic forces.” “Many of Israel’s Christians feel that their history, culture and heritage have been hijacked by Muslim Arabs in the region.” Read more at this report from a recent conference.
  • Sometimes in the quest to free ourselves from the constraints of religion, we discover we’ve simply immersed ourselves in a different form of religion.
  • Thanks to Canadian blogger Michael Bell, I was finally able to track down data on megachurches in Canada, a much shorter list than its U.S. counterpart.
  • 1-Source, a collaboration of four Christian publishing companies will offer titles by established authors like Bill Myers and Brandilyn Collins, as well as self-publishing.
  • David and Goliath becomes the theme of a TED Talk, but this explanation of the story is a little different from the one we know.
  • Essay of the Week: From right here at Christianity Today, Andy Crouch on the power we confer to those in church leadership and why it matters.
  • Find of the Week: Christian cartoonist Wes Molebash whose adventures with JP and Miles at the fictional Paper City Church make up the comic Insert Image.
  • Retort of the Week: Russell D. Moore responds to Pope Francis’ recent interview with an Italian journalist and the danger severing the love of God from the holiness of God…
  • …while Shane Claiborne remembers the original Francis.
  • There is so much to read at the blog of Samantha Field that it’s hard to just link to one post, but here’s 15 things you shouldn’t say to a recovering Fundamentalist.
  • Apologetics in part involves responding to Christianity’s critics, and these are some interesting responses.
  • One year ago at this time, I was crusading to get a classic book on the history of teaching about the Holy Spirit put back in print.
  • Typology: “So [Mommy/Daddy], [was/is] [name of prominent figure] a good guy or a bad guy?” Sometimes the answer is a bit of both. (Tangent: Check out the blogroll on this one.)
  • Not only does a portrait of Jesus have to be removed, but an Ohio school district has to pay the ACLU’s $80,000 in legal costs.
  • Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas is producing a number of quality videos to go along with a dramatic reading of chapters in Genesis.
  • I think this was more common in a previous generation, but why not today? Praying for your children’s future spouses.
  • In some conservative Christian circles, the phrase “Guard your heart,” has an entirely different spin with consequences the writer of Proverbs never intended.
  • Jamie The Very Worst Goodwill Ambassador articulates her ambivalence after a tour with World Vision.
  • In the spirit of what’s termed Paul-Timothy relationships, Donald Miller suggests you should take your cues from people notably older than yourself, not your peers.
  • She “is a girl, just like you and me, who made a mistake. She knows when you are talking about her. She knows when you are looking at her and judging her.” An insider look at birth-mothers.
  • Don’t roll your eyes, but it’s one more Arminianism vs. Calvinism comparison.
  • For Italians, the name Simone Saltarelli denotes both a well known motorcyclist and a figure in Catholic church history.
  • The 2013 Catalyst Conference, as covered by the hometown newspaper, or more relevant details at Christianity Today.
  • Lost Song of the Week: Standin’ in the Need of Prayer by Deitrick Haddon and the Voices of Unity; a flashback to 2004.
  • Christianity Meets Culture: A blog featuring “reviews and news on the board gaming industry from a ministry point of view.” Not surprisingly, it’s called Theology of Games.
  • And then there’s this graphic which I’m sure you have use for, but I wasn’t sure how to introduce it. (What’s an .svg file anyway?)
  • Back on the comic front, nearly seven years and more than 1,100 panels later, the UK’s Jon Birch is still cartooning at ASBO Jesus.
  • Finally, a story for which I’ll quote the entire first paragraph, so you know I’m not making this up: “The Robertson clan from A&E’s reality show Duck Dynasty, will release a Christmas album called “Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” on October 29, featuring several top country stars.”

Link curator Paul Wilkinson blogs daily here and Tweets as inspiration strikes at @PaulW1lk1nson (or is “at @” a redundancy?)

Peace - Rob Bell

October 8, 2013

Edgy Christian Comic: Insert Image

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:16 am

Insert Image by Wes Molebash - Prayer Soap

Insert Image is the continuing story of Miles and JP from Paper City Church, as created by Wes Molebash. There’s a new comic panel every Monday.

having trouble viewing the complete image? Click here.

October 2, 2013

Wednesday Link List

This is what greeted worshipers as they arrived at church on Sunday; Mrs. W. snapped a picture.

This is what greeted worshipers as they arrived at church on Sunday; Mrs. W. snapped a picture.

[B]link and you’ll miss it!  As per usual, the links are missing in all the stories below. You have two options: (a) spend hours using search engines to try to figure out where the pirate treasure is buried (see above) or (b) visit the Link List’s new owners at Out of Ur

  • Usually the video links come near the end. But not when it’s a new song by Gungor.
  • So why does Compassion invite online writers to apply for one of their overseas trips if they only choose A-list faith bloggers?
  • Apparently a respected Canadian Bible college has some history with the world’s favorite funeral protestor.
  • If 150 churches donated $1,000, it would buy a home for Saeed Abedini’s family. Meanwhile, Billy Graham asks Iran’s President for Saeed’s release, as does President Obama.
  • Two architectural firms are set to begin the transformation of the former Crystal Cathedral into a Catholic-friendly facility.
  • Seven years later, the wife of the Amish schoolhouse shooter breaks her silence.
  • A Chinese pastor thinks Rick Warren needs a lesson in cultural sensitivity, while the blogger known as Naked Pastor discusses the same adapted Red Guard propaganda poster.
  • A Wisconsin truck driver has so far spent over half a million dollars funding a billboard ministry on major highways.
  • A pastor in Louisiana was shot to death during a Friday night church service. Then, after reading that, the story gets worse a few days later.
  • When their daughter’s wedding was canceled, the parents of the bride invited 200 homeless people to the four-course meal that would have been the reception.
  • Essay(s) of the Week: A tie between two pieces by Hannah Anderson, her piece on Childlessness, and an open letter to her insurance company.
  • Married people remember their single days with affection, but for those still single, their experience doesn’t match the stories.
  • Why clergy shouldn’t dispense medical advice: Women who drive automobiles risk damaging their ovaries.
  • A Church planter proves the axiom that hindsight is always 20/20 .
  • History Lesson: Once upon a time, people wrote music reviews of new albums.
  • Some pastoral leadership errors can be overcome, but there are three mistakes you really want to avoid.
  • Church. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. But it’s the best because of what Jesus is doing.
  • Speculative Church History Department: Would U.S. President Barak Obama bomb the Canaanites?
  • Speculative Music History Department: What if The Beatles sang theology?
  • The problem with prostitution is that we sugarcoat it instead of seeing it as a form of rape.
  • Bible Translation of the Week: The International Standard Version, version 2.0 (that would be the ISV-V2.0)
  • Alternative Bible Version of the Week: God is Disappointed in You; by humorist Mark Russell along with a cartoonist from New Yorker magazine.
  • Also in the humor section of your local e-bookstore is  Joel Osteen’s Jokes: Collection of Joel Osteen’s Funniest Short, Clean Jokes. Apparently this is the latest in the potentially copyright-infringing series called Joel’s Gems.
  • Seems like everywhere you turn, there is a television show with a faith-based theme.
  • Finally, there are some great articles online promoting Christian higher education, and then, on the other hand, there’s hype and propaganda.

Now you’re curious, right?  Click over to Out of Ur, a website of Christianity Today.

I love this photo of the work done by the girls at this year's Fine Arts Edge Camp at Camp IAWAH in Ontario, Canada

I love this photo of the work done by the girls at this year’s Fine Arts Edge Camp at Camp IAWAH in Ontario, Canada

September 28, 2013

Confusing Scripture Graphic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:46 am

Psalm 91 Confusing Image

No, it’s not you. There’s something wrong here.  I’ll let Jon Acuff followed by some of his friends Tweet their response:

  • It bothers me that it’s a cheetah not a lion. Am I a horrible Christian?
  • Am I equally horrible for thinking the kid should be STANDING, not crouching?
  • Ok so why would you follow someone’s IG if all you wanted to do was rip them apart?? I thought it was funny ( and so were the comments).
  •  Hahaha, I love when people try to demonize you. You always have great comebacks!
  • I was thinking the same thing, before I read your comment!
  • This designer doesn’t play by all your direct scripture quoting rules; (yeah you know where this is going) he’s a CHEETAH!
  • You should photo shop a lion’s head onto this image… “There, I fixed it”
  • If you look closely you can see it’s clearly a lion wearing a cheetah costume.
  • Bhahaha
  • Before I read your caption I was like, “b-b-but that’s not a lion…” I’m with ya!
  •  I think both cheetah and the kid are standing on a lion.
  • I looked at that (before I saw who posted it) and thought “That’s a cheetah. What’s going on here?” LOL
  • Also, is that the largest cheetah on earth or what? Sheesh.
  • It could be kinda accurate! There were mountain leopards in many of the places where David hid from Saul, including the caves of En-Gedi!
  • With God you will crouch unharmed next to giant cheetahs. I like the original too. Either way the sentiment rocks.

Well…for another take on Psalm 91; check out the video here by Sonicflood

…and if you missed the excitement over Jon’s resignation this week from the Dave Ramsay team, there’s this article

August 14, 2013

Wednesday Link List

I thought we’d kick off with something timely for back-to-school from Zazzle.com:

Classroom rules poster from Zazzle dot com.gif

Here are this week’s links, and one or two I accidentally left off last week’s list.  As usual you need to scoot over to Out of Ur for the actual linking.

  • Yeah, I know. Three links to Dictionary of Christianese in six weeks.  But how I could pass when the word was narthex? Meet you in the narthex when you’re done reading the rest of the list.
  • A trailer is out for a movie celebrating 40 years of England’s Greenbelt Music & Arts Festival.
  • Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love is an all-time Christian fiction bestseller. Now, word that after many years, Bridge to Haven, a new title, will release in spring 2014.
  • Essay of the Week: A Facebook fast isn’t fasting. Actress and writer Hannah Rivard guest posts at The Rebelution, the blog of Alex and Brett Harris.
  • A Tennessee judge rules you can’t call a child Messiah.
  • The above item reminds us of a story we did a few months ago: In New Zealand you can name a kid Faith, Hope or Charity, but not Justice.  (They turned down two Messiah’s there also.)
  • Because your kids’ picture Bible storybooks tend to be family friendly, odds are that these five stories didn’t make the final edit.
  • Related: A serious management feasibility study on how Noah got all the animals to fit inside.
  • At Stuff Christians Like, a few lines of dialog that even your adult Bible is missing.
  • The best articles on Bible translation are always written by people who actually do Bible translation.
  • Despite being on record as not wanting to speak to certain topics, it turns out that C. S. Lewis actually did address homosexuality.
  • You’ve heard him on radio, now meet the face behind the voice: Christian financial planning expert Dave Ramsey takes to video.
  • If we believe in the priesthood of all believers, does that by definition diminish the need for structured leadership?
  • Another outdoor concert stage collapse, this time involving Christian bands MercyMe and The Afters at the Cleveland County fairgrounds.
  • The names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty: A tale of two pastoral transitions.
  • We may be on a journey to eternal life, but a Pew Research survey claims that only one in three of us want this life to last eternally.
  • David Hayward aka The Naked Pastor is the latest Christian blogger to try the podcast thing.
  • Confession isn’t just good for the soul, it’s necessary for taking steps toward a holy God.
  • In the Assemblies of God denomination, growth is taking place, but their trademark distinctive, speaking in tongues, is on the decline.
  • Is it blasphemous or just plain vulgar? A UK vicar claims the former Archbishop of Canterbury rode in her car and wasn’t disturbed by her edgy and controversial bumper sticker.  [Content advisory]
  • Related: Describing her book as “a messy profanity- and prayer-laden theological memoir,” the Sarcastic Lutheran aka Nadia Bolz-Weber introduces Pastrix. No wonder reviewers like myself aren’t being given advance copies. Here’s a video trailer. [Much stronger content advisory: NSFCO (Not safe for church offices)]
  • In your local church, do you have the gift of diapers or the gift of chairs?
  • Hoping to flee what they consider U.S. government interference in religion; a family ends up lost at sea.
  • I never know how to end the list each week, but the Canadian in me is drawn to this.

The graphic below was located at The Master’s Table, where similar things can be found each Monday. (You’ll have to look up the verses.)

reading-from-john

One thing I really miss with the new arrangement is the feedback from readers on particular links. So feel free to comment either here or at Out of Ur.

August 11, 2013

Conversation Excerpts Your Bible Omitted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:00 am

I love this post from Stuff Christians Like last week with guest writer Stephen Pepper.  You can read it here, but you’ll miss the other suggestions readers at SCL added. So click through to  20 Conversations The Bible Left Out

Have you ever wondered what’s missing from the Bible? There are so many people whose lives are covered over the course of thousands of years in the Bible, millions of situations and conversations will have gone unrecorded.

To try to fill in some of that gap, here are 20 conversations the Bible left out.

Noah: Told you so.

Jonah: And I pray for traveling mercies…

Job: Relax – what’s the worst thing that could happen today?

Eve: Should I wear the green fig leaf or the brown fig leaf?

Lot’s friend: Please could you pass the sa….. Sorry.

David: I’d give Bathsheba a good side hug.

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego: I’m sorry; we’d prefer not to eat meat. We we’d rather eat Bob, Larry and Jr instead.

Isaac: Um, Dad – this game of “Tie your firstborn son to an altar and hold a knife above his head” doesn’t seem like it’s the most age-appropriate game we could be playing.

Balaam: Your voice doesn’t sound like Eddie Murphy’s.

Abraham: “I have many sons. Many sons have I.” I’m sorry Sarah – the song will never catch on.

Saul / Paul: I’ve just had a real Road To Damascus experience.

The Magi: Our love language is giving gifts.

Person at the feeding of the 5,000: Do you have a gluten-free vegan option?

Noah’s wife: Really Noah? Cockroaches?

Jabez: I wonder if one day someone will write an entire book based on two sentences that I prayed.

John The Baptist: Ooh, that’s a really nice shiny platter – why are you bringing that into a prison?

Solomon: I don’t understand why my 700 wives think I don’t spend enough time with each of them.

Paul: Was it Philippians, Phillippians, Philipians or Phillipians?

Samson: Because I’m worth it.

Adam: What do you mean, why did I call that a hippopotamus? Look at it – it so looks like it should be called a hippopotamus.

Question: What other conversations do you think the Bible didn’t include?

(For more great writing from Stephen, check out his blog here.)

August 7, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Darwin - Cats

Is it Wednesday already? Time for another list of links of interest to people like you from blogs and websites great and small. But wait! None of the links below actually work; you need to click through to the Wednesday Link List’s new home at Out of Ur, the blog of Leadership Journal.

  • How about a 19-second video to kick things off? (Apologies to those who clicked!)
  • Frank Viola offers a completely different take on the spiritual life of John Lennon.
  • What did the Pope really say in that in-flight news conference? One writer thinks it’s not exactly what was reported.
  • You thought there were fewer this year and you were right. Stats on why not as many churches are doing VBS.
  • Got the standard 2.3 kids? John Wesley would not approve. I suppose you could call this an article about being procreative.
  • A UK church organist, 68, was walking to a midnight Christmas Eve service as he had done for 40 years when two men, both 22, beat him to death in a motiveless attack. Now, his widow offers a message of forgiveness.
  • Essay of the Month for June (but you may not like it): The atheist daughter of a noted Christian apologist shares her story so far.
  • Related: An Atheism, Theism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism infographic.
  • Essay of the Week: Ten things church worship leaders want the rest of us to understand.
  • Related: What if we looked at our church’s corporate worship time as a spiritual discipline?
  • The year isn’t even over and already we have a winner for the worst reporting of a religious story in 2013.
  • I’ll let Michael Frost Tweet this intro: “The conservative journal Christianity Today makes the case for welcoming same-sex couples to church.”
  • A blog to know about: Jesus I Will Follow You is a tumblr that answers questions from young readers on tough subjects.
  • From my own blog this week: A blog summary on the Presbyterian Church USA’s “In Christ Alone” hymnbook controversy and a look at same sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • It’s easy to deal with what’s appropriate beachwear for women when you’re on a Christian radio show. It’s harder when it’s your own 13-year old daughter.
  • Rob Bell is offering two more of his 2-day conferences in September and October that are already renowned for their lunch break to go surfing.
  • Music to brighten your day: Shine Bright Baby’s song from their new album Dreamers; enjoy Beautiful Love.
  • A link that takes you to more links: An Arizona pastors offers a 6-part blog series on the sins pastors commit including letting their wives manage everything on the homefront.
  • Here’s a March post which is a link to ten articles at the blog “Canon Fodder” by the author of The Question of Canon on — wait for it — ten things you should know about the New Testament canon.
  • In searching through blogs I had bookmarked months earlier, I landed on this very succinct post which I offer for your prayer consideration.
  • Before you hit the FWD button next time, here’s four reasons that Christians need to stop forwarding hoax emails.
  • A historic Roman Catholic Church that is already a shrine to a saint whose legacy is devotion to animals plans to set aside a memorial space for Fido and Fluffy.
  • Your assignment: Write a modern worship chorus utilizing the titles of television soap operas. [Warning: Consumes 4.5 valuable minutes]
  • Finally, a reminder for the end of the week, end of the month, end of the summer, or anytime you need a reminder.

I have no idea where the first graphic — the premise of which I’m not sure I agree with — originated; but the comic books below are purported to be real.  For additional wit and wisdom, follow me (please!) on Twitter. And one last time, here’s the link to today’s Wednesday Link List without the Linkectomy.

the-pat-robertson-and-friends-coloring-book-9781891053955Christian Conservative Coloring Book

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