Two stories today that have a common link
Christian Publishing: Who owns what?
First, Christianity Today ran this chart a few days ago which helps put the various Christian publishers that are part of huge multi-nationals in perspective. Each stream begins with the corporate name of the parent company, and then you see divisions and individual book imprints (if it were music, we’d call them labels) color-coded as to the type of audience they primarily target.
Click the image to read the article. A similar analysis can be found at this link.
Putting music sales in perspective
Each one of the following statements can be supported by a quick online search, but I chose not to clutter this with the links. Basically, the point is that country-turned-pop singer Taylor Swift had great success in the past week with the album 1989 which left everything else that’s happened lately in the dust…
- In just 7 days, Taylor Swift sold more copies of 1989 than the combined sales of albums at # 2 to # 107 on Billboard.
- 22% of all albums sold in the U.S. last week were Taylor Swift.
- Just 3 weeks ago people were saying “2014 is expected to become the first year in modern history where no artist has sold more than 1m albums in the US.” *
- With only about seven weeks left in the year, she is the first platinum album for 2014, and possibly the last platinum album ever.
- In a broader perspective, the new album is the fastest selling record in the past twelve years.
*studio albums, since the Frozen soundtrack achieved this
Our graphic image theme this week is parody. The upper one is a supplement to the Orange Curriculum, a weekend service Christian education experience for children. You can click on the image and then surf the rest of the web page to learn more.
A bumper harvest this week; get coffee first.
- The downside of giftedness: “When we elevate people in the church based on our need and their gifts, we put everyone in a precarious position.”
- This children’s book’s publicity was so ubiquitous this week, it’s hard to imagine that eleven publishers said ‘no.’
- A 2,400 seat auditorium and only 150 in attendance. New Birth Church in Charlotte has entered foreclosure.
- Two weeks ago, someone posted a threatening note on the doors of every church in Ashland, Nebraska.
- VBS Debrief: In a two-part essay, a mom recalls the realization that the program in which her kids were registered was too focused on peripheral issues. Part One: Initial concerns. Part Two: Pulling the kids out.
- Rapidly shifting demographics in the UK church: “In five decades, the number of people with no religion in Britain has grown from just 3 per cent of the population to nearly half, according to a new survey. Among adults aged under 25, nearly two-thirds define themselves as “nones”, or people with no religious affiliation...”
- …and staying with the UK for a moment, a look at the pressures Independent Christian Schools there are feeling.
- On last week’s shooting at the Canadian Parliament Buildings: One man writes while still under lockdown, and then reflects further a day later…
- …and Canadian author Sheila Wray-Gregoire visits Ottawa and the shrine that appears hours later.
- Come see the softer side of Calvinism.
- The case for bi-vocational ministry, increasingly becoming the new normal.
- Whether it’s over a wedding cake, invitations or flowers; you haven’t really considered the full implications of gay marriage until you’ve put a face to it. This video was shown Monday at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Conference in Nashville.
- God is not mentioned by name in the Book of Esther, so later on, Jewish scribes fixed that problem…
- …More recently, saving Halloween — apologies to Kirk Cameron — and what one observant Jew plans to do with the scary day falling on a Sabbath.
- Church leadership, by definition, means often having difficult conversations.
- Essay of the Week (1): A book review of Drew Dyck’s Yawning at Tigers is really the springboard for a much longer article on God’s transcendence.
- Essay of the Week (2): The power of event; how going to church reminds us that we are the church.
- Essay of the Week (3): Take a moment to get inside the thoughts of how some women in the church feel as other-class citizens. (The bullet-point section is worth discussing with your church staff.)
- Essay of the Week (4): This one isn’t for everyone, but those curious might linger on the blog and look around at other items. It’s a website for Messianic Christians who no doubt wrestle with what to retain and what to discard from Jewish practice. This one is about whether or not to keep having a Mezuzah at the front door.
- Essay of the Week (5): Author Sarah Bessey on the firing of a well-liked Canadian (and NPR) radio personality, and its relationship to violence against women.
- One time I had a dream. I saw a set of footprints. Later on, a lot of people saw a Footprints Statue in the park.
- The raw 7-minute video as Mark D. takes the stage post-resignation at Robert Morris’ Gateway Conference.
- Tony Jones looks at some interesting stats from eight denoms on clergy who see themselves as part of the Emerging Church Movement.
- If it’s Wednesday, there must be another faith-related movie to mention. This time it’s the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s extra-Biblical novel about Jesus’ childhood, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt now filming…
- …and from the African American community, the movie For the Love of Jesus described as “an up close and personal look into the lives of Christian Pastors raw and uncut…”
- Literature: Take a peek at a section of Mind Has Mountains, a forthcoming memoir.
- As this article reminds us, some of the top-priced residential real estate in the United States is owned by the Roman Catholic Church.
- The Church of the Nazarene is shutting down Beacon Hill Press in just over 30 days.
- That United Methodist minister who was defrocked last year for officiating at his gay son’s wedding has had his credentials reinstated.
- Also at Religion News Service, the Westboro Baptist saga continues.
- Video of the Week: The band The Surrender reworks old hymns…
- …Meanwhile, the author of Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns believes the decline of contemporary worship is imminent.
- Emily Wierenga guests at The Better Mom: Parenting is fine as long as you don’t become one of those parents.
- Essay from the broader internet: Stop Sleeping With Liars.
- If a blog post begins with the word ‘farewell,’ you know a popular Christian figure is about to get trashed. Sometimes, an apology is in order.
- Perspective: It’s one thing to be single at a wedding. It’s another thing to attend 32 weddings single.
- KidMin: I don’t know if you have to be using the Orange curriculum to buy their materials or if you can just order items piecemeal, but these movie poster parodies are awesome. (Click images to enlarge; one is pictured above, but not focused enough to read the detail.)
- The Church horror stories contest found a winner. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it would be being in this church service…
- …Maybe it feels like Tim Challies’ first-time visit to a health club: “Let me explain. I am a pastor and I think, for the first time, I understand what an atheist feels like when he walks into church… I don’t know what the expectations are here, I don’t know how anything works, and I feel like a total outsider.”
- While this blog post is unabashedly commercial, there’s an interesting section in the middle on how things worked for musicians in the years before royalties…
- …Of course, even before that, worship might have had its complications.
- I suppose everyone’s baptism is special, this one was just specialer.
- Oh to just be turning thirty! Tyler Braun’s birthday wisdom.
- Our closing graphic (below) belongs to Church Curmudgeon who appears to have graduated from simply posting his coffee hymn parodies on Twitter to full-blown sheet music.
The rest of the week Paul Wilkinson offers you a daily choice between trick at Thinking Out Loud, or treat at Christianity 201.
Okay, so this was everywhere online this past week, but if you missed it here’s an explanation of the Biblical phrase Gird Your Loins. (click image to link)
Here are the news and opinion pieces from the past week that stood out. You can also read today’s links at PARSE by clicking here.
- The world of Christian publishing: A guide to who owns who, and who isn’t owned.
- Why didn’t I think of this? VBS for seniors. Are curriculum publishers paying attention?
- The grandson of Robert H. Schuller, Bobby Schuller is now officially the new host of the Hour of Power telecast and now officially lead pastor of Shepherd’s Grove.
- For those of you who have the time to run these weekly rabbit trails, you’re going to need 42 minutes for this one, and about halfway through you may be tempted to bail, but I guarantee you there’s nothing like Kirk Cameron’s address last week at Liberty University as he explains the forthcoming movie Saving Christmas.
- I really hope you can’t relate to this new book’s title, but I suspect some might: When Bad Churches Happen To Good Pastors, coming soon from Beacon Hill Press.
- A dozen elderly Iraqi Christians were told to convert or die; they chose to die and were released instead.
- Churches liable for sexual solicitation? “The suit alleges that the churches put [the youth worker] in a position that allowed him to manipulate and sexually exploit children. It also says that despite…not properly being trained to deal with children, Second Baptist encouraged him to foster bonds with them.”
- Worship Moment: Here’s a new song by Keith and Kristyn Getty, co-written with Graham Kendrick, My Worth Is Not In What I Own from a new online-only album.
- Andy Stanley and North Point Community Church now top the list of the 100 largest churches in the U.S., though admittedly numbers from Lakewood and Lifechurch aren’t showing.
- For college and university students, their freshman year is often a spiritual valley.
- The YouVersion Bible app has over 700 languages and now, one thousand translations.
- Are they fronts for abortion providers or, as this article suggests, are pregnancy help organizations “the best kept secret in the pro-life movement?”
- The co-founder of the UK Christian network, GOD-TV is withdrawing from ministry due to moral failure. Rory Alec’s wife, author Wendy Alec will assume management of the channel where she has overseen programming for 19 years.
- For this one, we take you all the way back to 2012: The Dark Side of Pastor Appreciation Month.
- Speculative Theology Department: What if we keep incarnation and resurrection, but have a Christianity without the cross.
- This next one is about **pauses to sip from water bottle** the annoying things people in ministry say and do from the platform.
- In Nepal, a celebrity singer and actress converts from Hinduism to Christianity and refuses to sing material venerating a Hindu goddess.
- Ministry Refresher Course: Why senior pastors should take a turn teaching the preschool class. (Link to a 2-page .pdf)
- From our agricultural news department, this year in the Jewish calendar, 5775, is a sabbath year which makes growing crops a challenge. Sample: “But people have to eat, so a century ago rabbis found a way to bypass the law so no one goes hungry.”
- This book isn’t new, but it offers the counterpoint to Left Behind rapture doctrine.
- Story coverage from the other side: The Freedom From Religion Foundation contests the “Bible-like” cover of an elementary school yearbook.
- Congratulations to my editor of these weekly bullets, Paul Pastor, on winning Multnomah University’s Distinguished Young Alumnus Award for 2014.
- Essay of the Week: We return to the subject of whether the children should sit through the worship service, and one pastor’s compromise.
- Wait, it’s not the end of the year yet! Beating the rush with a subject-indexed top ten books list for church leaders which contains 150 titles.
- He’s got the #5 position on this week’s Billboard Top Christian Albums chart. Check out Matty Mullins song My Dear, and note the lyrical similarity to the Jesus Calling books.
- U.S. economic health is sometimes measured by mobility, but many Americans are staying put because moving would mean changing churches.
- Video of the Week: From July, a young Autistic man has his own “Heaven is for Real” experience and reflects on its impact.
- The internet loves an infographic, especially if measured by the reposts and re-Tweets of this detailed explanation of what it means to ‘gird up your loins.’
- Apparently those “terms and conditions” boxes we click when downloading can have serious spiritual implications.
- In the name of religious accommodation for Ultra Orthodox Jewish men, passengers on a New York to Tel Aviv flight encountered a number of flight delays.
- Separation of Church and State Trooper: Should a policeman proselytize while he’s got people pulled over for routine traffic stops?
- Tim Tebow can but a Muslim football player can’t. So now the NFL is reviewing the rules regarding touchdown celebrations.
- Diversion 1: Preaching to an older demographic means making sure you are heard correctly.
- Diversion 2: This direct telephone to God is featured this Christmas in a catalog used by a number of Christian bookstores. “Compliments Any Décor.” Operators are standing by.
- A movie we missed: Believe Me opened two weeks ago in select markets and satirizes Christian culture.
- Finally, even if you don’t play the video this is funny. But it gets really strange when you do.
Because this is Blogger Appreciation Month, you can catch Paul Wilkinson at Thinking Out Loud, Christianity 201, or @PaulW1lk1nson on Twitter.
With all the buzz on Twitter, I would love for this space to contain a review of Matthew Paul Turner’s Our Great Big American God: A Short History of Our Ever Growing Deity but alas, getting review books from Hachette Book Group is like pulling teeth and only once — with Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book which, by the way, is coming out in paperback in September — have I been successful. (I really wanted to review Rob Strong’s The Big Guy Upstairs so I could present my conspiracy theory that Strong is really Rob Bell; a theory I maintain despite the lack of physical resemblance…)
But I found it interesting who is on the list of review citations appearing at Ingram Book Company, the world’s largest book distributor. It’s certainly A-list, but it’s also a list of progressive writers who would be unlikely to say anything negative. (Not that they would; from what I hear the book is a must-read.)
Here’s a sample:
- Ed Cyzewski author, The Good News of Revelation and A Christian Survival Guide
- Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of Start
- Micha Boyett, Author of Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer
- Nish Weiseth, author of Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World
- Frank Schaeffer, author, And God Said, Billy!
- Peter Rollins
- A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically
- Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist
- Timothy Kurek, author of the bestselling book, The Cross in the Closet
Okay, so maybe I’m not quite in their league, but I’m not asking to be part of the print edition, I just want to review the book on the blog. Jericho Books, are you listening? Still, it’s interesting to see the omission of endorsements by Max Lucado, Jerry Jenkins or even Bill Gaither. (Does Bill read?)
Oh and by the way book marketing people, Peter Rollins looks really lame on this list, so I will say what the online product detail didn’t: Peter is the author of at least seven books and an unpublished PhD thesis that “offers a survey of religious thinking in the aftermath of Marx, Freud and Nietzsche. It engages directly with Martin Heidegger’s critique of onto-theology and explores the religious significance of Jacques Derrida’s post-structural theory and Jean-Luc Marion’s saturated phenomenology…” (Wikipedia) Hence the doctorate in “Post-Structural Theory.” But onto-theology is out of my league also.
And that’s just a sample of what my research department would provide Matthew Paul Turner if Hachette/Faithwords/Jericho wants to ante up with a print copy, mailed to my lavish executive offices (see yesterday’s post) in the next 72 hours.
By the look of it, this “internet” thing could be really big someday. Here’s this week’s highlights:
- Christian groups are asking a top rated cable network to call off the series Black Jesus, scheduled to debut a week tomorrow.
- When an evangelism team blitzes nursing homes, residents know they can’t defer the decision for ten years.
- In Canada’s French-language province, a church closes every week.
- You thought the comment sections of Christian blogs were heated, but that’s nothing compared the writing and rewriting that goes on at Wikipedia pages for Jesus, Christianity, The Catholic Church, etc.
Worst case scenario: When dissent at a local church, in this case Mars Hill Seattle, appears in mainstream media.
You can also read today’s links at PARSE, a Christianity Today website; click this image
- The members of Protect Portland Children bought a full-page ad in the local alternative weekly to warn parents about Child Evangelism Fellowship’s conversion tactics.
- Nine suggestions for pastors entering a new church, or first time pastors. (Sample: #1 — “You have only four jobs…”)
- Chad Estes reviews Matthew Paul Turner’s Our Great Big American God. From the review, “America was the land of opportunity and God needed a fresh start from His messy history in Europe.” Now I want to read it, too.
- On Martin Luther: “What can we learn from a man so greatly used of God…yet so prone to the sins that beset us all?” Like all of us, Luther had a dark side.
- As Calvinism becomes a default doctrinal position for many Southern Baptists, sometimes the language gets heated.
- Not sure what to do with their backlot, an Austin, Texas church turned it into a disc golf course (aka Frisbee golf).
- An insider look at a PCUSA church’s decision to leave the denomination. (The headline incorrectly says ‘church split;’ the vote was in fact almost unanimous.)
- Most quoted and Tweeted religion article this week: Cindy Brandt on the trend toward irreverence.
- The Children’s Church option: Should they stay or should they go.
- Christians, culture and taste: “We go to the movies and read books with a pre-approved ideology and plot already in mind. It’s like going to a get-together hoping to meet only ourselves.”
- This article gets four Zs: A Biblical theology of sleep.
- Maybe you didn’t get the memo: Holding to a position that was common a few years back may today be considered bigotry.
- Thinking twice before packing up the hymnbooks.
- Ken Ham’s outspoken statement on life on other planets, and a time-frame for locating our new friends.
- The new BibleGateway.com site reminds me of my old Logos Bible software. Many available resources, but you have to pay to unlock them.
- That Bible project we mentioned here a few weeks ago went way past its $37K goal. Try $1.44M as in million! And you can still order the 4-volume ASV edition…
- …Michael Hyatt sees this as a significant moment in publishing…
- …also, there might be ways you can use the crowd-funding approach for church projects…
- …and also at Church Tech Today, important rules for preachers to remember if you’re using video in other venues.
- Essay of the Week: Zondervan author Nish Weiseth on her generation’s exodus from the suburbs.
- No less than Warner Bros. Pictures is behind the making of a movie documenting the rise of the band Hillsong United.
- A newspaper editor who criticized the Queen James Bible in his private blog is appealing the termination of his employment.
- The members of the Amish sect that were imprisoned in 2012 found themselves immersed in a different world while in prison.
- There seems to be no shortage of articles suggesting why people don’t sing during the worship times anymore. Either the problem is huge, or churches aren’t getting the message.
- Another recurring article theme is the eternal destiny of the unevangelized.
- Just two days to go! CT’s own Skye Jethani launches With God, a daily devotional subscription especially for mobile users.
- A Happy Birthday shoutout to the Assemblies of God denomination which turns 100, and the band Jars of Clay, which turns 20.
- Canadian author and retired missionary Eric Wright has released his tenth book, his third foray into suspense and mystery fiction.
- Quotation of the Week: “Minecraft is essentially online Lego with infinite bricks.” A look at what players derive from the popular game.
- On my own blog this week, getting over Evangelism-phobia; and when worship leaders should stop singing.
- The movie When God Left The Building continues one-night showings this fall from California to Ohio. (If you haven’t yet, watch the trailer and this recently posted excerpt.)
- And the faith-oriented movies keep on coming. The Green Prince is based on Son of Hamas a Tyndale House memoir published in 2010 and releases this fall.
- Finally, creating a welcoming place for visitors.
Remember, every time you share the link list on Twitter or Facebook, an angel gets its wings.
Paul Wilkinson hunts for devotional writing each day at C201, rants at Thinking Out Loud and tweets to a vast army of followers. (They keep leaving the “K” out after the number.)
Each week, I get paid to write teasers for some great online resources, as well as some quirky ones.
- After 40 years as a writer, Philip Yancey looks at The Golden Age of Publishing.
- Analysis: Some hints as to a recent survey showing that the love Evangelicals have for Jewish people is not reciprocated.
- Someone you know may need this book: An interview with author J. J. Jasper on grieving the loss of a child.
- Christians in Mosul ordered to leave this city found their homes identified with a painted letter ‘N’ for ‘Nazarene.’
- The drive home and the Sunday dinner: A look at how to debrief the weekend sermon with your children.
- I have an inkling about this one: A movie probing the friendship between J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
- The McCormick Ridge Holiness Church in Whitleyville, Tennessee begins life after buying back its building from the Wesleyan Church denomination after a dispute that began over what the pastor considered unethical investments in the pension fund for ministers.
If your church grows (like you want it to) some key people may lose their favorite seat. (And parking spot.)
You can also read today’s links at PARSE, a Christianity Today website; click this image
- Canadian North Point affiliate pastor has a great back-catalog of leadership articles on his blog. Recently posted, 21 signs that a “closed” sign may be heading for your church, unless things change…
- …and another article which shows that, while you may not read tea leaves to spot societal shifts, you can read into 5 things Netflix can teach us.
- A Pentecostal who frequently writes as to why the (capital C) Church should permit women in ministry offers seven reasons why the same (capital C) Church often does not.
- Christian Leadership Parental Complications: When your child is dating a non-Christian. (The author says to skip the “unequal yoke” bit.) …
- …Related: “What if a daughter’s father took some responsibility not just in vetting a young man, but in investing in him and preparing him to make much of Jesus in dating and marriage?” How to date your daughter’s boyfriend.
- Some people think the Bible is just an ancient book that belongs in a museum. Now, that museum is becoming a reality.
- Perseverance (and preservation) of the saints: R. C. Sproul seems to allow the possibility of “falling past the point of no return.” Or appearing to have “irretrievably fallen.” A Reformer looks at apostasy…
- (…Which of course reminded me of the Steve Taylor song, Not Gonna Fall Away, which seems to exist on YouTube only in this 8-minute remix.)
- A North Carolina Baptist pastor takes scripture memorization to extremes.
- Do I really have what it takes to lead this missions trip? That and four other questions leaders ask while packing their suitcase.
- Flashing back to ’90s Christian culture: If I had a Kindle, I’d probably download this book, the title of which is…uh…
- Pastors have problems with what people think about them. That and nine other things they don’t admit publicly.
- Teaching teens that, over the long term, monogamy makes sense.
- A seemingly impossible story of pregnancy, pregnancy termination, and a live, healthy birth.
- After the upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings movie releases, director Ridley Scott plans to tackle the life of King David.
- A social media ‘Dear John’ letter, only this one begins, “Dear Facebook…“
- Ten ways the seniors in your church can be integrated into youth ministry.
- Essay of Last Week: With 40 links last Wednesday, some things were edited. This one is Anne Marie Miller’s take on why discussions on modesty are often misdirected.
- Essay of This Week: Perhaps the way some Evangelicals do communion is “too painless.”
- 12 signs of abusive leadership in churches that pastors should not tolerate.
- This acoustic version of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) was posted by K-LOVE back in October, but given the popularity of the song today, I mention it here. The top ten video versions at YouTube have a combined viewership around 31,500,000…
- …while a group that often covers other artists songs, Worship Mob, is our Video of the Week with a 7-minute original song.
- Symbols Quiz Time: You have a fish on your car, and you know the dove represents the Holy Spirit, but what about the pelican?
- Moving forward, your church’s website will need to be mobile-compatible.
- Christian singer Natalie Grant makes her film debut in the movie Persecuted, an American political suspense thriller involving an evangelist framed for murder.
- Remember when the front of the church consisted of the choir loft, communion table, wooden pulpit and overstuffed high-back chairs? That’s no longer the case.
- Here are three very disparate false assumptions that worship leaders can make…
- …also from Canada, this report on swimming upstream: A music society fights for the preservation of hymns by condemning modern worship leaders…
- …and concluding our music links trio, this writer calls the various distractions one encounters during worship time, Worshiping in the Wild. (Please do not feed the animals.)
- Finally, proving that the American-biased, success-based teaching of Joel Osteen has absolutely no application outside of, for example, the G20 nations, there is the website Third World Osteen.
- Well…I don’t know about you, but I could keep doing this all day, but… Our closing image comes from The Master’s Table (click below) and was photographed at WalMart. (The upper image is also a t-shirt from Gardenfire.)