Thinking Out Loud

December 5, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday List Lynx

Wednesday List Lynx

Not only these, but there was a link list on Saturday as well. *UPDATE* 8:00 PM — Yes, I know about the PSY parody. We might run it here Friday. Click to watch Farmer Style. *END UPDATE*

Religiously Confusing Sign

  • The lynx is not alone this time: We end today with some book covers which appeared here in a 2008 post dealing with whether or not Fluffy and Fido will be in heaven. These are real books that were available for purchase when the post was written. First we took the Chuck Colson position that argues against animals in the afterlife. Then, four months later, in August, 2008; I was persuaded by the Randy Alcorn position which argues for furry friends, though not resurrected ones. Trust me, you could split a church over this topic…

Animals in the Afterlife

December 15, 2011

The World is a Beautiful Place

Filed under: photography — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:57 am

The Big Picture at Boston.Com is featuring 54 beautiful full size photos of entries in the 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest.  This one is my favorite.   The caption reads:

ATACAMA SUNSET: Setting sun lights up clouds over Salar de Atacama in north Chile. I took this photo in July 2011 and at that time clouds like this were worrying sign of more unusual snow fall which already blocked roads to Bolivia and Argentina. Thankfully this time it just served as spectacular canvas to a sunset and reminder how beautiful is the world we live in. Salar de Atacama, Chile. (Photo and caption by Magdalena Rakita/Nature/National Geographic Photo Contest)

If your computer is up to it — it uses a lot of memory — visit all the pictures at this link. (There are also many other collections to see at Boston.Com)

Psalm 19

New Living Translation (NLT)

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

 1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.


August 14, 2011

God’s Blog Attracts The Expected Comments

This article appeared a few days ago in The New Yorker, and was pointed out to me at the blog The Ironic Catholic.  It was written by Paul Simms and purports to be something God posted on His blog after a particular six-day project with which you might be familiar.  It ends up attracting all the usual types of people who leave blog comments…

First, God posts:

UPDATE: Pretty pleased with what I’ve come up with in just six days. Going to take tomorrow off. Feel free to check out what I’ve done so far. Suggestions and criticism (constructive, please!) more than welcome. God out.

And then…

COMMENTS (24)


Not sure who this is for. Seems like a fix for a problem that didn’t exist. Liked it better when the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep.


Going carbon-based for the life-forms seems a tad obvious, no?


The creeping things that creepeth over the earth are gross.


Not enough action. Needs more conflict. Maybe put in a whole bunch more people, limit the resources, and see if we can get some fights going. Give them different skin colors so they can tell each other apart.


Disagree with the haters out there who have a problem with man having dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle of the earth, and so on. However, I do think it’s worth considering giving the fowl of the air dominion over the cattle of the earth, because it would be really funny to see, like, a wildebeest or whatever getting bossed around by a baby duck.


The “herb yielding seed” is a hella fresh move. 4:20!


Why are the creatures more or less symmetrical on a vertical axis but completely asymmetrical on a horizontal axis? It’s almost like You had a great idea but You didn’t have the balls to go all the way with it.


The dodo should just have a sign on him that says, “Please kill me.” Ridiculous.


Amoebas are too small to see. They should be at least the size of a plum.


Beta version was better. I thought the Adam-Steve dynamic was much more compelling than the Adam-Eve work-around You finally settled on.


I liked the old commenting format better, when you could get automatic alerts when someone replied to your comment. This new way, you have to click through three or four pages to see new comments, and they’re not even organized by threads. Until this is fixed, I’m afraid I won’t be checking in on Your creation.


***SPOILER***
One of them is going to eat something off that tree You told them not to touch.


Adam was obviously created somewhere else and then just put here. So, until I see some paperwork proving otherwise, I question the legitimacy of his dominion over any of this.


Why do they have to poop? Seems like there could have been a more elegant/family-friendly solution to the food-waste-disposal problem.


The lemon tree: very pretty. The lemon flower: sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon? Impossible to eat. Is this a bug or a feature?


Unfocussed. Seems like a mishmash at best. You’ve got creatures that can speak but aren’t smart (parrots). Then, You’ve got creatures that are smart but can’t speak (dolphins, dogs, houseflies). Then, You’ve got man, who is smart and can speak but who can’t fly, breathe underwater, or unhinge his jaws to swallow large prey in one gulp. If it’s supposed to be chaos, then mission accomplished. But it seems more like laziness and bad planning.


If it’s not too late to make changes, in version 2.0 You should make water reflective, so the creatures have a way of seeing what they look like.


S*H*O*E*S!!! Manolo Jimmy Choo Vuitton Prada +++ All sizes Great deals Free shipping! @@@ [www.shoezwarehouze.com]


Penguins are retarded. Their wings don’t work and their legs are too short. I guess they’re supposed to be cute in a “I liek to eat teh fishes” way, but it’s such obvious pandering to the lowest common denominator.


There’s imitation, and then there’s homage, and then there’s straight-up idea theft, which is what Your thing appears to be. Anyone who wants to check out the original should go to http://www.VishnuAndBrahma.com. (And check it out soon, because I think they’re about to go behind a paywall.)


Putting boobs on the woman is sexist.


Wow. Just wow. I don’t even know where to start. So the man and his buddy the rib-thing have dominion over everything. They’re going to get pretty unbearable really fast. What You need to do is make them think that there were other, bigger, scarier creatures around a long time before them. I suggest dinosaurs. No need to actually create dinosaurs—just create some weird-ass dinosaur bones and skeletons and bury them in random locations. Man will dig them up eventually and think, What the f?


Epic fail.


Meh. ♦

~Paul Simms

January 15, 2011

Winning the Life Lottery

The very fact you’re reading this on a computer places you among the wealthiest of the seven billion or so people who inhabit the planet.  While the evening news brings reports of devastation in Haiti or political uprising in Tunisia, most of you are enjoyed a much less stressful week.

I frequently visit The Ad Collector, a blog which features the best of advertising campaigns from around the world, with a special focus on adverts for non-profits and public service organizations.  A month ago they featured a Swedish series of billboard-type display ads  under the caption, The Lottery of Life which juxtaposed life in Sierra Leone, Darfur, Palestine and The Phillipines with life in Sweden, with the aim of getting people to visit a website sponsored by Save The Children. (If you have high-speed internet, enter your name and spin the wheel to see how things might have worked out differently.)

But is it just a spin of the wheel that you ended up in the UK, or the US, or Canada, or New Zealand, or some other less troubled place? I’m not a huge fan of this poem by Roy Lesson, founder of Dayspring cards — I can’t believe I’m actually posting it –  because they tend to plaster it all over so many pieces of merchandise they create, including seasonal variants, but if you believe in the sovereignty of God, your geographic placement has to be more than just the random spinning of a giant wheel…

Just think,
you’re here not by chance,
but by God’s choosing.
His hand formed you
and made you the person you are.
He compares you to no one else.
You are one of a kind.
You lack nothing
that His grace can’t give you.
He has allowed you to be here
at this time in history
to fulfill His special purpose
for this generation.

-Roy Lessin

Notice I did not say, “if you had been born somewhere else;” because some would argue that then you would not be you. Nonetheless, you are a product of your environment generally, and its geography in particular. This ought to fill you with much gratitude to God, especially in light of these pictures which remind you of the conditions in all the other places around the world.   Conditions that exist right here, right now, even as you sip your beverage in a comfortable chair reading these lines…

So what is our response?

Photo captions: Hold your mouse over each picture for the caption; or, respectively the pictures are Sierra Leone, Darfur, Palestine and The Philippines.

December 8, 2010

Wednesday Link List

The finest links have been assembled for your reading pleasure…

  • Without doubt, the site to see this week is Paperless Christmas.   Start your tour by clicking on the guy in the delivery uniform and the other clips (all approx 1:00 in length; 9 in total) will play in sequence.   Great music, too.
  • A big HT to Vitamin Z for the above book cover shot.   He got it from Brian Lopez who got it from [drum roll] Exotesparemboles, which everyone knows means… [cricket, cricket] …
  • After being involved in a four-car crash, Greg Boyd is asked how an event like this squares with his open-theology view vis-a-vis praying for protection before you drive somewhere.
  • Don’t blow it, guys.  Trey Morgan has ten gifts your wife would like for Christmas;  which, three days later, resulted in a list of ten gifts your husband would like for Christmas.
  • England’s John P. Richardson gets into the moral and ethical dilemma created by the WikiLeaks story.
  • Linda at the blog, I Wonder as I Wander, would like you to meet Josh Garrels, who she describes quite well when she says, “He ain’t your typical Christian musician.”
  • The whole NIV thing gets a little more complicated for Bill Mounce after hearing someone’s proof that the Holy Spirit is a “she.”
  • Here’s the link for this year’s edition of Boston.com’s Big Picture series of Hubble Space Telescope advent pictures; with a new picture added each day.  I like to call this Artwork by God.
  • Here’s another website dealing with issues of sexuality; check out Six:11 Ministries, in particular, this organization ministers to the GLBT community.   Here’s their blog.
  • Brian Welch, a former member of the band Korn was a guest last week on The 700 Club.
  • Carlos Whittaker gets told, in essence, that he’s not white enough to lead worship in a particular church.
  • Tim Elmore guests at Michael Hyatt’s blog with a piece on teaching your kids generosity at this time year.   Would your kids be willing to think in terms of giving away some toys this season?
  • Youth worship from Canada:  Here’s a link for a free download of the band Nine O Five from east Toronto doing Hillsong’s With Everything with guest Aaron Gillespie.
  • Producers of the third and newest Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawntreader, are hoping to capture the spirit and the profitability of the first one, as explained to the L.A. Times.
  • Ron Pai, aka The Brown Kid, is back blogging — or was — and asks the question, How Then Shall We Church Plant?   Some good thoughts.
  • Here are your CCM/gospel category nominees for this year’s Grammy Awards, not including Christian musicians who may be part of projects nominated in other categories.
  • Our picture this week (below) was found at the blog Ironic Catholic.

June 13, 2010

The “Apparent Age” of the Earth

Filed under: Faith, issues — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 3:13 pm

*  Today I’m also guest-blogging as part of a month-long “blogapalooza” over at Rick Apperson’s blog, “Just a Thought.”  To read that post, click here.

Today’s post is a repeat of one from June, 2008. It’s meant to get your brain going; but in the end, faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ doesn’t rest on tangential discussions of Bible & Science issues.

One of the most difficult aspects of the various debates in creationism has to do with the young earth / old earth issue. Some believe that God took his time to make the earth, that the “days” of Genesis 1 are really “ages” and by this reasoning, “theistic evolution” is possible; the idea that God used evolution.

This means that when we look at the garden of Eden we see a tree and the tree is mature. It looks like it might be at least 20 years old. (Though counting the rings would be interesting!) Underneath the tree is a rock. The rock appears to be 20,000 years old. Adam himself becomes more problematic. He’s clearly a man, not an infant. Today, Jewish boys become a man at 13; in North America we use 18; it used to be 21; Jesus began his ministry at 30. Any one of those ages denotes the idea of “man” and not “boy.” From the earliest times, our earth seems to have either aged considerably or has some age built into it.

This morning I started thinking about Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine. Wine needs fermentation and fermentation takes time. A batch of homemade brew would need at least six months, I think; aging only improves the quality, and they did say at the time that the host of the wedding had “saved the best wine until last.” Did Jesus press a “pause” button, and everyone froze in place for a year while the batch brewed, or did he simply do a creative miracle in an instant?

The former suggestion is something I just made up; I’ve never heard it suggested. If you believe in this miracle at all; it’s the latter you believe in. If that’s the case, it’s interesting that Jesus’ first recorded creative act in the New Testament; and God’s first recorded creative act in the Old Testament should involve things that have apparent age; things that seem to have been created outside the constraints of time as we know it.

And if the earth is as young as some believe, then we are still witnessing the miracle of something created with apparent age, for each time the light of a star is seen at night, we know that scientifically, the light of stars that Adam, and Abraham, and Moses saw left those distant suns thousands of years before the earth was created. Which I know doesn’t make sense to many people. But next time you’re wrestling with this issue, either personally or in discussion or with someone else, step outside Genesis for a minute and consider the water-into-wine miracle of the New Testament. Fermentation takes time. The wine definitely had an apparent age. Could this principle extend back into Genesis?

~ Paul Wilkinson


March 21, 2010

The Top 100 Issues That Divide Us

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

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

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

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

And now, for today’s bonus item:

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

November 2, 2009

Genesis for the Comic Book Crowd

Filed under: books, cartoons — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:57 am

Time Magazine began the week joining other media who have noted the publication of The Book of Genesis by 66-year old American comic book illustrator Robert Crumb aka R. Crumb. In a November 1st online story, the magazine said:

R. Crumb - The Book of GenesisCrumb’s manuscript is — for a man who has said he doesn’t believe Genesis is God’s word — oddly reminiscent of those produced by monks before printing presses: a faithful, verse for verse copy, painstakingly rendered. He hardly needed to change a thing; Genesis offers a smorgasbord of the kind of behavior Crumb is given to portraying: the persistent, colorful, depressing failure of humans to not give in to their baser desires. It’s sufficiently literal that cultural conservatives could hardly be offended, but it has more than enough supernatural events, betrayals and epic storylines to satisfy the comic book reader.

Despite the above, the book is not selling through comic book stores, Crumb’s traditional core market.  That might have to do with the content and the price; the book retails for $24.99 U.S. in hardcover.

The story also links to a review by the more Evangelical Ben Witherington III, who writes at Beliefnet:

…This super-lapsed Catholic has decided to depict scenes from all 50 chapters of Genesis, with the emphasis on verbatim. Those of us who knew a bit about his snarky past were holding our collective breath… The kudos for this book are also coming in from other quarters–Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and chronicler of pop culture thinks Crumb is successfully translating the Bible into a new medium… In the end Crumb after long debating how to depict God (as a bright light???) fell back on the old stand by–God as the old white guy with the long white beard. I wonder what the Mormons would say about this Genesis.,

Contrast this with Crumb’s other works which include the Hot ‘n Heavy collection which introduced readers to a number of characters including the not-so-religious Fritz The Cat.

Don’t look for copies of this at Family Christian Bookstores, though it would be interesting to see if they would order it for a customer.

July 13, 2009

Getting Some Fresh Air

Filed under: Christianity, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:10 am

The_Great_Outdoors

In a Christianity Today online article, Philip Yancey suggests that there is much of God to be discovered in The Great Outdoors.

“…I have met a pastor in Bahrain who can identify by sight 2,000 species of seashells, and a missionary in Costa Rica who has assembled a world-class collection of butterflies and moths. Church historian Mark Noll remarks that the song “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus” plainly errs when it says, “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” No, he says, the rest of the world grows clearer, not dimmer, in the light of Christ. God created matter; in Jesus, God joined it…”

I think I know what the songwriter intended, but I agree with Mark Noll as well.   Click the link above to read this short, but excellent article.

May 5, 2009

Tuesday Links: Life in Blogland

practice

Lots to see in the blogosphere today:

  • Jeff at Losing My Religion is celebrating a birthday today (5/5) and this week has a great, lengthy interview with Michael Frost, missional church guru and co-author (with Alan Hirsch) of the book ReJesus.
  • Video book promos on YouTube are somewhat mandatory these days if you have a new release; and Tony Morgan‘s gives an excellent preview of his book Killing Cockroaches without any hype.  (HT: Church Relevance blog)
  • If you want to re-write the definitive standard for an over-the-top church website, the one for Evangel Cathedral should do it.  (HT: Pragmatic Electric blog.  Be sure to check out his Apr. 25 post, If Jesus Returns Tonight, Who Will Feed Your Pets?  It contains a vital link to Post Rapture Pets.)
  • Jim Upchurch has renamed his blog, Christ: His Work and His Word.   Last weekend he wrote an excellent devotional piece, What if You Knew How and When You Would Die?
  • Quoted on Bob Hyatt’s blog:  “In a faster world, maybe we need a slower church.” ~ Leighton Ford
  • Two entire chapters of Hebrews.   Totally memorized.    Shared with passion by Ryan Ferguson.    Takes eleven minutes.   Google Video link here.   (HT: Tony Miano’s blog, Lawman Chronicles)
  • Finally, on the lighter side; Michael Tait isn’t the newest member of Newsboys after all, as the blog Backseat Writer makes visibly clear in this post.   That’s it for today’s links.
  • Almost every time I do links like this, I always include a link to my unpublished book The Pornography Effect: Understanding for the Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Girlfriends, because every day there’s someone new who needs to read it.   It’s online and it’s free to read.
  • Since you asked, I’m currently reading The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight (Zondervan) and the revised — 14 years later — edition of The King James Only Controversy by James White (Bethany House).   Both deal with the Bible and how we both read and translate it, so I don’t mind reading the two books at once.   If you want to make it a hat-trick, you’d have to add How To Choose a Bible Translation For All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss (Zondervan).
  • Today’s cartoon is from ASBO Jesus.  Now with over 700 thought-provoking, intriguing, controversial and sometimes frustrating cartoons served.   Never a dull moment at that cartoon blog.   (It’s Brit-speak for Anti-Social Behavior Order.)
  • Since this post is a potpourri already, the survey, which follows, is from Christianity Today and reflects that readers of its various websites have a rather secularized view of how we all got here.  If you’re going to comment on something here, this would be the one.
    Christianity Today Poll
    What best describes your view of the origins of creation?
    Young-earth creationism


    10%
    Old-earth creationism


    10%
    Theistic evolution


    10%
    Naturalistic evolution


    62%
    I don’t know


    3%
    None of the above

    4%


    Total Votes: 4153

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