Thinking Out Loud

December 13, 2012

The Wonderful World of CT

A couple of interesting goings-on at Christianity Today (CT) this week.

First, there was the piece, Should Churches Discourage Belief in Santa Claus? This is one of those pieces where they simply ask a handful of experts and then arrange their answers on a spectrum, which one expects in this case would run from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’  I had actually seen this when it appeared online and given it the requisite 10-seconds I needed to digest it.

But the I listened Tuesday night to The Phil Vischer Podcast #29, and Phil mentioned that he had been quoted:

“The notion of getting back to a ‘pure Christmas’ is misfounded; the holiday was a hodgepodge from the beginning. We should take those fun Santa traditions and link them back to St. Nicholas rather than getting rid of the fun part of Christmas and stick with the somber part.”
~ Phil Vischer, creator, VeggieTales and What’s in the Bible?

And so had Wheaton College associate professor Mary ‘Scottie’ May who teaches Christian Education and Family Ministry:

“The key word is belief. Emulating Saint Nick is awesome, but I have problems with parents duping their children into believing that Santa exists. A church could acknowledge in a family context the historical person of St. Nicholas. But the figure the culture has created does not belong in church.”
~ Scottie May, professor, Wheaton College

And then he dropped this: Scottie is Phil’s mom.

And the reporter didn’t know.

And neither interviewee knew the other had been interviewed.

And — yes there’s another and — they were quoted at opposite ends of the five-answer continuum even though their answers were very similar if not identical. (Podcast subject begins around 11:30 to about 13:30)

…Meanwhile, over at her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women’s blog, profiles OMG Tees, a product line described as “spiritual and sexy.”

I thought of including the picture that they did, but that would just be gratuitous. We would never do that here.

OMG Tees 1

Okay, too late. But not to worry; some people don’t scroll down this far.  Writer Michelle Van Loon notes:

OMG has created a line of casual tanks and tees designed for Saturday night parties and Sunday morning worship. Founded in 2010, the California company’s website features teen models giving the camera their best PG-13 “come hither” looks, often wearing little more than tees and tanks splashed with slogans like “A Date With J.C.”, “God Knows My Secrets,” and “Worship Crew.” Who knows? Perhaps the “come hither” is intended to be a non-verbal evangelistic tool.

There have been at least two generations of the Christian T-Shirt–the derivative-yet-earnest variety and the darkly ironic–but OMG has created a brand-new category: Sexy ‘n Spiritual. Christians have a long, ignoble history of trading in all manner of religious tchotchkes, but OMG, with its Second Commandment-bending name, takes this bad habit of ours in a new direction, with its products’ odd syncretism between pop religion and hyper-sexualized pop culture.

She then uses this as a springboard to discuss what she calls ‘fan behavior’ recalling the premise of Kyle Idleman’s popular Christian book, Not a Fan which we reviewed here in May.

She concludes:

I doubt that the Christians who are suiting up for this year’s round of court battles on behalf of their local town hall’s manger scene see themselves as kindred spirits with companies like OMG. I think they have one thing in common: They both appeal to the fans of Team Jesus. It might just be time to quit the team, and follow the captain instead.

…Because we’re considered a more progressive blog by some, I thought I’d toss in an extra gratuitous picture; however please keep in mind that (a) this is for educational purposes only, and (b) honestly, this is the only other picture at the site I considered remotely safe; the others being a sequence of pics that begin on a church platform and end with the same three girls lying on a bed together. And no, I am not making that up; the rest of the stuff is mildly pornographic, and the “Princess of Peace” product line is equally blasphemous.

OMG Tees 2

…All of this begs the question as to whether or not we need CT to bring us these articles or if we would be better served by them simply taking an online pass if it’s a slow evangelical news day.

November 23, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday List Lynx - The lynx is considered a national animal in Macedonia where it is featured on the five denar coin

I’ll have whatever links she’s having…

  • Let’s start out with some great music: A new song by Northpoint Community Church’s Eddie Kirkland; help yourself to a free download of Here and Now.
  • Maybe your marriage isn’t in trouble, but it’s in struggle.  Justin and Trisha Davis offer four reasons why some marriages are hurting.
  • Julie Clawson has a very short, but very profound piece about how the spiritual conversion journey does not end with finding Jesus; in other words, finding Jesus doesn’t complete the process.
  • It’s possible that Charles Spurgeon’s view of Arminian theology wasn’t shaped so much by reading as it was by the stage in history where the movement was when Spurgeon wrote.
  • InterVarsity Press, aka IVP, has purchased Biblica Books, a publisher whose 170-plus titles are truly a great fit for the Illinois-based company.
  • At The Ironic Catholic, this take on Genesis 3: 16-19 — “There are three aspects taken from a casual reading of the passage: 1) God makes childbirth painful, 2) Eve and all women get cursed by God as a punishment for sin, and 3) Adam appears to get off way easy.”
  • Not sure of David Brooks’ spirituality, but this NY Times article shows how certain kinds of inequality are tolerated, and certain types of inequality are not.
  • I know there’s a word that means “fear of the number 13,” but what about phobias about “666”??  Refusing to wear the number on religious grounds got this Georgia man fired.
  • Of the making of Calvinist/Arminian T-Shirts there is no end.  The one pictured at right is for those who prefer the middle of the road. Click the image if you want to buy; click here for the backstory at More Christ blog.
  • For those of you who use small-group discipleship curriculum, this video about a whole new paradigm from Downline Ministries is going to rock your world.
  • Jon Acuff explains why it’s possible to have the congregation extend you some grace when yours is the first cell phone (that’s mobile for you Brits) to go off during a church service, but why you don’t want to be the second person to have it ring.
  • Some of you may know more than I about the Duggar family, but apparently they are expecting their 20th child.  (HT: Clark Bunch)
  • Michael Hyatt thinks novelists should offer a “director’s cut” of their work at their blogs; along with twelve other blog ideas for writers of what we could call non-non-fiction.
  • C201 highlights this week: A 30-minute video interview with N.T. Wright, and a summary of C. Michael Patton’s Why Do We Love C. S. Lewis and Hate Rob Bell?
  • Tomorrow at Thinking Out Loud: Remembering Family Circus cartoonist Bil Keane.  Today the comic is drawn by “little Jeffy” who is actually, at age 53, not quite so little, and continues to feature church-based themes like this one from a week ago Sunday:

November 16, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday List Lynx

Link lists are like snowflakes, no two are the same…

  • Lots of video links this week, starting off with the ten minute short film, Change for a Dollar.  Pour an extra coffee and sit back and enjoy this in full screen.
  • So how did all those witches end up in Salem in the first place?  Maybe they weren’t there at all.  Seems much of the story owes itself to a fired-up minister who believed he was doing God’s work.
  • CNN’s John King takes Bob Jones III to task for reopening the whole Obama religion question; and John’s got some fairly solid video clips on his side.  (It’s the video here you should see, not necessarily the article.)
  • Just in time to tie in with the release of his book, Indescribable, here’s a peak at Louie Giglio teaching about Planets and Stars and Whales, oh my!  Listen to the end to sing along with the stars.
  • An Arminian blogger reviews Bloodlines by John Piper, and despite his opposite theological perspective, finds reasons to recommend the book.
  • And then, on the lighter side, a malapropistic (it’s not in the dictionary) look at The Bear Truth About Calvinism.
  • And also at Matt Stone’s Glocal Christianity blog, a 30 second video embed  he subtitled, A Catholic Girl’s Worst Nightmare.
  • Two pastors issue a defense of Rick Warren who is not — repeat definitely not — promoting some kind of Christian/Islamic syncretism being referred to as Chrislam.
  • Also this week, several links to various Christianity Today sites, beginning with this article, John Ortberg is My Dad but Don’t Call Me a PK, by Laura Ortberg Turner.
  • So what about that verse in Matthew 27 stating that after Jesus’ resurrection, many other saints also rose from their graves?  It’s sure open to discussion, but not usually challenged by a Southern Baptist.
  • Because there’s so many of you, here’s another one of a similar list of articles giving five things to look for when choosing A New Church Home.
  • A. J. Swoboda — also the author of today’s closing comment — investigates what it’s like for Ryan Saari to do a church plant in a pub, especially when he’s also working at the pub.  Well, actually he’s ‘planting’ the pub as well.
  • Steve McCoy suggests the next step for some prominent pastors is to take their message and their reputation and hit the road as evangelists.
  • Remember the little word, “Selah” which appeared at the end of some Psalms?   Well, it’s missing from the new NIV.  Scholars aren’t sure what it means, but some think we should leave it in.  (This is an excerpt, the full article’s link wasn’t working at the time of preparing this.)
  • How about An Open Letter to Worship Songwriters detailing what types of songs we’ve been saturated with?  Sample:  #1 — STOP writing about things you haven’t experienced personally. Write out of your own experiences with the Lord and out of deep convictions of your faith.
  • Here’s a look at Jonathan Brink’s new project, the online magazine, Provoketive.  (And he’s looking for contributors!)
  • Another somewhat new blog, Alex Humprey’s former Alex Speaks is now Entreprelife.
  • If you’re a Wednesday-only reader here — and there are some — there’s still time to voice your opinion about a church telling a 30-something to remove his baseball cap during services.  Update: The family actually left the church over this.
  • A no-link item–To the proprietors of GodTube: How is it possible for a video to be both your “Featured Video” of the week, and also be “access denied”???
  • When Dan Kimball preached on the A/C doctrinal differences, he blogged the following T-shirt picture.  I’d seen this before, but didn’t realize that it’s actually the front and back prints of a single shirt. Just think of the implications.  Below it is the best of the comments he received:

I didn’t choose the shirt, but sadly, I was the one who made choices that determined the size I needed ;) “

September 7, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Another collection of things my web history says I visited this week:

  • The Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit simulcast happens for Canada September 29th to 30th with the rebroadcast of  speakers from the U.S. event plus Canadians Tim Schroeder and Reginald Bibby. 
  • Clergy, or people doing the work of clergy, are entitled to IRS tax breaks in the United States including a generous housing allowance. But this doesn’t get applied in denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention that don’t offer ordination or equivalent credentialing.  So as applied by Baptists the housing allowance becomes a sexist issue.
  • And speaking of tax issues, is this another case of the head of a charity being overpaid? I refer to the case of lawyer Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.
  • New blog of the week — except it’s over a year old — is More Christ by K.W. Leslie where you’ll find some serious devotional articles, but, inexplicably, also a Jesus Junk page where you can purchase the t-shirt at right.
  • With the school year in full swing, Jon Acuff asks, When should you let your kids use Facebook?  130+ comments and counting.
  • Like most of you, I always keep a Salvation Army Captain or two on speed dial, and mine also happens to blog at Il Capitano Inquisitore. This week, he’s dealing with the contrast between the S.A.’s statement on gay and lesbian issues, and what it doesn’t say about when those same ‘welcomed’ people want to step into a leadership role. He tells me the comments pale in comparison to the off-the-blog mail…
  • Juanita Bynum updates Pentecostal and Charismatic distinctive theology by introducing typing in tongues on her Facebook page.  To which I say: fsdgklhs ddtowyet scprnap.
  • “…The man told me in the letter that he had seethed in a quiet fury and then picked up his Bible and walked out…”  Russell D. Moore tackles the thorny issue of “closed communion” or “fencing the communion table” in a piece at Touchstone appropriately titled, Table Manners.
  • Meanwhile, back at his own blog, Moore looks at the internet debates between people of different denominational and doctrinal (D&D) stripes as not much different than the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) club debates of his high school.  “The Dungeons and Dragons clubs came to mind because those guys, at least in my junior high school, seemed to be obsessed with something that seemed to have no relevance at all to their lives, or to anyone else’s. But D&D became their identity.” Read more, or rather, read Moore.
  • Glen Scrivener has written a poem that takes three minutes to read and contains 106 phrases that the King James Bible introduced into the language. He calls it a King James-themed something or other. (It may turn up here in full on a slow day, but you can read it now!) It’s also a video which you can watch here, or literally watch it here in the comments section.
  • Shawn Stutz offers his rant about Bible Gateway’s ‘sanctified’ version of Farmville.
  • Are you ready for “The Great Atomic Power?”  That’s the theme of a bluegrass/country song by the Louvin Brothers.  But as Darrell at SFL informed me, Ira Louvin’s story is a little checkered.
  • This one stretches all the way back to late July, but I guess this really hot breaking Christian news story took a little longer to reach us here.
  • This week’s cartoon — in keeping with our green t-shirt theme — is from No Apologies Allowed, which describes itself as “Weekly apologetics cartoons and quotes for the faithful, the faithless, and the full-of-its.” The blog consists recently of responses to atheists and Mormons.

August 25, 2010

Wednesday Link List

I was scrolling back through previous link lists, and I do miss the more creative titles.  I’d forgotten about “(B)link and You’ll Miss It.”   That was gold.   I’m available for copywriting your next brochure, and for children’s birthday parties.

  • Our upper and lower cartoons this week are from a source I only recently discovered.   Steve Wall is a Canadian living in British Columbia and his comic series is titled Trees of the Field.
  • Continuing our Canadian theme, this week CNN’s belief blog picked up on a self-published book by Calgary pastor of New Hope Church, John Van Sloten with the creative title The Day Metallica Came to Church. Also tracked down more information on his church website.
  • One more item of Canadian interest:  This week — nearly four months later — Christianity Today picked up on the Christians Horizons case involving lifestyle requirements for employees.   [You can read my version here,  as well as my original 2008 report.]
  • Take the scenes from the family-friendly movie Mary Poppins and re-edit them so it looks like a horror film.   Then, take the faux-movie-trailer and use it as an analogy for how some people re-edit Christianity to suit their purposes.   Check out this article by Dan Kimball.    [HT: Scott Shirley]
  • There’s much talk these days about “earning the right to be heard,” and needing to get to know someone before you can “speak into their life.”  But Dan Phillips contends that if he meets someone who is not a follower of Christ, there are fifteen things he already knows about them.
  • Here’s a t-shirt design (at right) I found on a tumblr blog, Churchy Design.   The shirt, of course, is called King of Kings.
  • OK.  I know some of you want to dig into something a little lengthier.  Here’s a piece from Catholic World Report on the implications of the current shortage of organs for organ transplantation.   It involves biomedical ethics, including our definition of death.
  • In another longer piece, Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk traces the life journey of the pioneer of the blended worship concept aka Ancient-Future worship, Robert Webber.
  • For most readers of this blog, the phrase “Prodigal God” refers to a book by Tim Keller.   But it’s also the name of a musical by Brian Doerksen featuring guests including Ron Kenoly and Colin Janz.   Find out more about the double-CD releasing October 12th, and enjoy listening to a preview of five songs.
  • A Sunday School teacher walks into a Christian bookstore looking to buy some novelty items like pencils or stickers for her young class.   But the clerk suggests that’s not what they need.
  • Theology professor Roger Olsen says that for his students — not to mention other theologians — the issue of Biblical inerrancy is as much a stumbling block as anything else.  He prefers to use a different word that’s close, but better suited.
  • Darrin Patrick calls them “bans.”  Neither boys nor men.   They play a lot of video games and watch a lot of pornography.   Their need to learn how to be men is, in his terms, a cultural crisis.   Read more at Resurgence.   [HT: Dwight Wagner]
  • Darryl Dash provides a pastor’s perspective on visiting other churches while on sabbatical.   Only this time they embedded themselves as a family in a single church-home-away-from-home.
  • Darryl also had a link in his weekly Saturday list this week to Justin Taylor’s piece which is an “interview” with the Apostle Paul to try to bring a different form to Paul’s discussion of the law in Romans 7.
  • Simon Sweetman takes the proverbial discussion of “Christian” music as a genre to the streets with a blog post at the award-winning New Zealand news site, Stuff.nz.
  • Here’s that other comic from Trees of the Field (click on either image to link) …That’s it for this week; today marks only 4 months to Christmas, so I’m off to do my shopping!

August 4, 2010

Wednesday Link List

There you go.   We’re number one.   Because e-mail is now mostly a mobile thing; social networks and blogs currently dominate online computer time.   Click the image to read the full report.

…I’m not exactly sure about this, but I think I am:  I got an e-mail this week from someone I’ve been e-mailing  for many years, who perhaps didn’t realize that when I send her something and it appears on her screen in blue with a line underneath, that’s a LINK and she’s supposed to click on it.   So just in case anybody here is missing the point, these little bullet points are not an end in themselves.   They are LINKS and it’s expected that you’re clicking on the ones that interest you.

  • The producers of the movies Fireproof and Facing The Giants have a 5-minute documentary on the website for their new movie, Courageous.
  • Can you handle another Bible translation?   Coming soon to a bookstore near you:  The Common English Bible.
  • John Ortberg asks the musical question, “Who speaks for Evangelicals?”  Or to make it more personal, “These days, who speaks for you?”  [Related on this blog, see trend # 10 for 2009]
  • Self-styled “pastor of the nerds,” Tony Kim provides a rundown of his visit to Comic Con.
  • Here’s the video for the book trailer of Peter Hitchens’ book (the brother of atheist Christopher Hitchens) The Rage Against God:  How Atheism Led Me To Faith (Zondervan).
  • The church that markets coffee mugs proclaiming “Islam is of the Devil” has a Quran burning ceremony scheduled for September 11th, though not every Christian group agrees with their tactics.
  • Time for some time-travel with David Fisher:  If you could spend a summer afternoon with any of the saints who are no longer with us, who would make your short list?   Check out his sixteen saints.
  • Another video link, this is a beautiful worship song; check out Keith & Kristyn Getty’s  Creation Sings the Father’s Song.
  • Talbot Davis suggests a different reason for introducing change in our local churches:  Because it creates muscle confusion.
  • Should an Anglican priest have slipped a communion wafer to a dog who went forward?   An interim priest in Toronto did just that, and now the Bishop isn’t very happy.
  • Megan Hyatt Miller — daughter of Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt — comes face to face with her inability to embrace the current social justice movement because she just doesn’t like the poor.
  • Many of you know this story, but for those who don’t here’s an interview Mark Driscoll did with Randy Alcorn explaining why Randy doesn’t keep his book royalties, and why he works for minimum wage.
  • Matt at The Church of No People blog suggests, “…when Christians can’t find the words to share Jesus, a much easier method of evangelism is available.  All you have to do is become a walking billboard.”  Check out Christian socks.
  • This has been up for over a year, but I found it interesting that the people from xtranormal.com (the text-to-movie site) took a script from Lifeline Productions (those little comedy moments you hear on Christian radio) about trying to earn salvation, and turned it into a video.   Watch 1,000 Points.
  • Is she in or she is out?   Vampire author Anne Rice is either out or simply challenging some definitions of  ‘Christian.’  Another author, John Shore, tries to sort it all out.  (No, she writes about vampires, she isn’t one herself…)  As does the Christian Q&A guy, Russell D. Moore who sees this as a definite leave of absence from the faith.
  • Piper gets asked if it’s okay for a guy to listen to Beth Moore, or female speakers in general.   His answer is somewhat conditional.
  • Speaking of women in ministry, Pam Hogeweide has an interesting perspective in Happy Christian Women, which Kathy Escobar then picked up as a natural lead-in to three(1) more(2) posts(3) which deal with “Spiritual Refugees;” people who have been displaced from the church.  Each post includes a 12-minute video.
  • On the topic of links, if you have a blog, consider adding Thinking Out Loud to your blogroll.
  • Hoping to save marine life after the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a 67-year old man has modeled his rescue project on Noah’s Ark.
  • Our cartoon this week is from Rev. Fun.  You see these on various websites and blogs rather frequently, but there’s also a print version that went on sale this summer.   For that person who isn’t internet connected, check out Rev. Fun … Offline from Zondervan.

March 31, 2010

“Out Like a Lamb” Link Day

Except that I don’t think March rolled “in like a lion;” at least it didn’t here.   And why does this phrase borrow the Biblical “lamb and lion” imagery anyway?

There’s something unsettling in the contrast of having April Fool’s Day directly adjacent to Good Friday.   Perhaps with that in mind, I thought we’d lead off with this picture:

She looks real, doesn’t she.   This “cybernetic human” can act surprised, or angry, or any other emotion you want to program her to express.   Unveiled in Japan on March 16th, you can see more robotics at Boston.com’s Big Picture site.

And then there’s this picture, source unknown, of the “Love Chapter” from I Corinthians expressed as a tattoo:

Not sure which translation this is, but then again, that raises the question:  Are there King James Only tattoo parlors?   If not, someone’s overlooking a major market.

Which brings us to this T-shirt:

But I’m getting distracted; we really should move on to the links:

  • John Piper’s unexpected seven-month leave of absence — starting May 1st — was probably the story of the week in the Christian blogosphere.   How will the multitude of his followers get by without their weekly dose of J.P.’s encyclicals?    Read the official announcement at Desiring God.
  • Speaking of the Pipester, here’s his rant on the whole Emergent church movement, which he figures is due to implode in about six seconds from now, with some additional commentary at Tall Skinny Kiwi.
  • Theological finger-pointing at the Emergents continued over at Harvest Bible Chapel in NW Chicago on a recent Friday night Q&A session with a Moody Professor speaking for the anti-Emergent side while to balance things out they had… nobody.   JR looks at this rather one-sided presentation in this report.
  • Blogger Michael Krahn becomes a guest columnist at Canada’s Christian Week website; suggesting that all that technology has convinced us that we can’t sing.   I wish this article was a bit longer, because there are implications for church worship that might have been considered in a longer piece.    Check it out.
  • And speaking of things from my home and native land, I want to totally show off Canada’s national Christian magazine, FaithToday.   They’ve just started doing digital issues and if your internet connection is up for it, here’s a look at the March/April edition.
  • One of my favorite authors, British humorist Adrian Plass joins with Jeff Lucas — who pastors on both sides of the Atlantic — are joining together for a new book, Seriously Funny. “Made up a letters between the two, ‘Seriously funny’ is an honest look at life, love, book-signings, Christian ‘celebrity’, church…”   Check out the announcement at Christian Today.
  • Here’s a follow-up to yesterday’s piece here on foot washing.   Only this one, from last year, was a drive thru foot washing.    Seriously.
  • With all the interest in the Twilight books and movies, the Christian Post decided it was good time to interview former vampire-genre writer Anne Rice.   Actually, they were promoting the I Am Second testimony website.
  • Mark Sayers — whose DVD The Trouble With Paris was reviewed here — is up something big with this mystery project, Bordertown. You’ll have to sign up for the e-mail announcement.
  • I usually lose patience waiting for their web server to keep up to speed, but for what it’s worth, GodTube is back.   Apparently, like New Coke, the brand switch to Tangle didn’t take.  John Scaddington reports.
  • Described as “a little free-will humor;” the image below is from the blog Mockingbird.

  • Our cartoon this week is from For Heaven’s Sake; reproduced here not because it’s anything you haven’t seen before, but so that you can copy and paste it to that person in your e-mail list who needs a not-so-subtle prod.   Be tactful.   Okay, maybe there’s no way to be tactful and send this out at the same time…

  • Finally, the I Can Has Cheezburger (aka Lolcats) people have a new site, My Food Looks Funny. Maybe if the western world only ate as much as the person did who carved this, there would be enough food for everybody!



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.

July 19, 2009

Random Thoughts on T-Shirts and other items of Clothing

On Saturday, Mrs. W. and I enjoyed a rare shopping day.   We visited four Christian bookstores, four thrift stores, two musical instrument dealerships, and a Hispanic flea-market mall.

Here in west Michigan, they’re ignoring the official government statistic that 16.6% (or one in six people) are unemployed.   They say it’s more like one in four people not working, because the stats don’t reflect the people not seeking or collecting benefits.   Or those who’ve given up hope on getting a job.

Across North America, people who once had one job, now have about three part time jobs, which, if they’re lucky, might come close to what they earning before.    But the bottom line on this is that the part time jobs they’ve taken to balance out the weekly income would normally have been the summer jobs for students.    So a lot of teens are without the summer income they might have received in better times.

The thrift stores — Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. — are doing well, but noticing the slowdown, too.   Tonight at the Army in Grand Rapids, everything with a yellow ticket was 49 cents after 5:00 PM.

The thing I notice in thrift stores when I try to find some Christian shirts for our youngest, is that many church youth groups get an idea to do a shirt for a special project, or to build solidarity among the kids, or to avoid losing kids on the trip to Niagara Falls; and some real creative person comes up with an idea that might have worked if a national T-shirt company had got to it first; and then they totally spoil it by putting the name of their church or youth group on it.

I mean, on one level, it’s a good souvenir of a special time in the lives of these kids, and you want them to invite their friends at the public high school to come out to Youth Group sometime; but if the idea is really good and really creative, and it’s quality artwork; then you have to ask yourself:  Am I trying to promote my church or promote Jesus?   I don’t think you can always do both.

The Hispanic mall — as it was advertised, but it was more like a flea market — contained some religious ‘gangsta’ style clothing.    Oversize T-shirts with busy cross designs; some of which reflected the light differently depending on the angle you viewed from.

But they also had some interesting ‘religious Hispanic cowboy’ dress shirts; with large crosses on the back; that I might have bought just for the novelty value, were they not $30 US apiece.

Also got to play an electric violin today for the first time.   I’m a closet violinist who is very uncomfortable playing that particular instrument in worship bands, because it tends to ‘stick out’ and also your intonation (pitch) needs to be dead on.    But the reverb and other effects on the electric seemed to cover a multitude of sins.   All I need now is $945 for the top of line model from Yamaha.

Or I could put the same money toward one of the new Fantom keyboards from Roland, with six models running around $3200 US.

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