Thinking Out Loud

October 29, 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Wouldn’t Want Your Parents to Name You ‘Messiah’

I have this linked on tomorrow’s post, but it seemed too good not to share in full here.  Send the creator known as Flagrant Regard — who gave kind permission for Thinking Out Loud to reblog this — some stats love by reading this at source

In Tennessee this week, a judge was cited for his ruling that a couple who’d petitioned to have their new-born son registered with the first-name, ‘Messiah’ could not do so on the grounds that, “The word ‘messiah’ is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.” 1

While we agree that the judge was a little over-zealous in his ruling – that people should have the right to name their kid almost anything they want – we DO think that growing up with the name, ‘Messiah’ may have its drawbacks.

Here now (ala David Letterman format) are the

TOP TEN REASONS WHY YOU WOULDN’T WANT YOUR PARENTS TO NAME YOU ‘MESSIAH’

10. Getting caught swearing by people who are happy to note, “Well that sure doesn’t sound Aramaic to me!”

9. Having to avoid common sayings that could offend such as, “I’m just hanging around” or “Really nailed it” … (sorry!)

8. Trying to live up to the high expectation your mom has that you’ll treat her like Holy Mother Mary at all times

7. Problem when there’s a shortage of grape juice at the family dinner and everyone turns to you, begging for you do something about it

6. Finding that, when another kid named ‘Messiah’ in your class is the one causing problems, you hear yourself telling the teacher, “But I’m not the Messiah you’re looking for!”

5. Your mother talks about you to her friends, saying, “Oh he’s fine – just don’t cross him.”

4. Being chided by your professor of religion (right after he informs you that you’re failing his class), “If you are indeed who you say you are, throw yourself into your work and I’ll give you all the great grades you see before you.”

3. High probability of bullies in the schoolyard whacking you from behind and shouting, “Okay Messiah, who hit you?”

2. Being told by your family waiting at the airport for your arrival during the thanksgiving holidays, “Yeah, we saw you coming in the clouds” every flippin’ year

… and the NUMBER ONE REASON FOR WHY YOU SHOULDN’T NAME YOUR CHILD ‘MESSIAH’ …

1.Far too easy for psychiatrists to figure out what kind of complex you’re developing.

© 2013 Flagrant Regard

(1) http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sns-rt-us-usa-tennessee-judge-20131025,0,617443.story

March 2, 2013

Rapture Cats

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:19 am

Sometimes an image is simply so powerful, so compelling, I just can’t say no. This is from the video produced by After The Rapture Pet Care.

Cats Watching the Rapture - from Rapture Pet Care

Related articles here (Colson: Pets don’t go to heaven) and here (Alcorn: Oh yes they do). And on the rapture, this piece (Rapture? What Rapture?).

July 25, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Click the image above to learn more about the comic book version of the book In His Steps, where the whole WWJD thing originated.

June 6, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday List Links

Welcome back to WLL. You’re not playing the game unless you click through. Place your mouse on the underlined section of each story and click.  (“Oh, you mean that’s how it works?”)  Above image: Sacred Sandwich archives.

  • Like his father before him — and at almost the same age and circumstances —  a Pentecostal minister from a snake-handling sect dies from a rattlesnake bite.
  • A former marine gets assigned to preach the section of the Sermon on the Mount dealing with non-violence. Reactions were strong, but not from military people.
  •  “For an insecure 16/17-year-old kid whose life, identity, main social activity, and faith were wrapped up in the church she’d been a part of her entire life, it was devastating.”   Check out 11 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When My Church Split.
  • Saturday, May 26, 2012 was supposed to be M.’s wedding day. But in between, after reading the book, When Sinners Say I Do by David Harvey, things changed.
  • Thanks to whoever sent me info about Cardiphonia. Original worship songs on three different themes on a pay-what-you-can basis. The newest is Hymns for the Ascension.  Or just listen.
  • Just when you thought you had solved the dilemma of whether to be buried or have your ashes scattered to the four winds, now there is the option of diamond burial.
  • On a similar theme, here’s a major discussion at Parchment and Pen on the subject some of you have considered, How Can Heaven Be Heaven When People You Love Are In Hell?
  • Got 9 minutes? On video, an orthodox priest teaches the difference between the Protestant view of salvation and the Orthodox view of salvation, under the title, Love Wins – An Orthodox View.
  • Got 53 minutes? That’s a greater commitment. But you’d get to hear the very first ever Phil Vischer podcast with Skye Jethani. (This is for you adults, not the kids.)
  • Got all day?  Check out the video-on-demand apologetics programs featuring Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis.
  • Joel Osteen is set to sit in the producer’s chair for a new movie about the life of Mary which he hopes will be “the biblical prequel to the story of The Passion of The Christ.”
  • Remember that story about the 43-building college campus that was going to be given away free of charge?  Well, it’s down to two finalists.
  • Here’s an article by yours truly at C201 designed for those of you who want to rethink how you draft your prayer lists. (I actually do some serious writing once in awhile.)
  • And a message to those graduating from the hallowed halls: The academy doesn’t need more academics, but the local church does.  Advice for theological seminary grads.
  • Mystery link: Does anyone know the story behind this Elevation Church music video? The YouTube location has no information and the blogger who posted this was equally silent.
  • Matt Hafer’s advice to pastors actually has application to anyone who proposes to stand before a group of people and lead them into God’s Word.
  • It’s “the only billion dollar house in the world.  Ironically, it’s found in one of the poorest countries; India.” America’s Next Top Mommy looks at over-indulgence.
  • You have to read the comments on this one: Advice for students heading off this fall to a Christian college or university.
  • Todd Rhoades thinks it’s only a matter of time before a pastor legally changes his name to something ending in dot com.
  • If the Blue Like Jazz movie missed your town, you can arrange for a showing.

Classic auto emblem from The Holy Observer

May 9, 2012

Wednesday Link List

I always type a ‘filler’ introductory paragraph here when I start, only last week, I didn’t update it and you were left with the rather lame, “Wednesday is here again.”  If you’re reading this, I didn’t catch this one, either.

  • For one week, Talbot Davis cancels the morning service at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Charlotte in favor of having multiple home church meetings instead, though they do gather at the church later in the day.  “You don’t bring your family to church… but we are living, breathing churches; the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we actually take the church with us to the campus each Sunday to celebrate in community what God is doing is in the home.”
  • For some people, the upcoming weekend just hurts, and church services just amplify that hurt. Those are the people dealing with infertility. Russell D. Moore rethinks Mother’s Day:”What if pastors and church leaders were to set aside a day for prayer for children for the infertile? In too many churches ministry to infertile couples is relegated to support groups that meet in the church basement during the week, under cover of darkness…”
  • Save the date: June 21-24 — The second Wildgoose Festival in North Carolina; with the most amazing mix of musicians and speakers. If I could get to only one U.S. summer festival, this would be it.
  • Here is Proverbs 1:8-9 in the new Social Media Bible: “My followers, read your father’s tweets & do not delete your mother’s messages. For they will be retweetable.”  The genealogies in Matthew are especially interesting.
  • Antioch Baptist Church pastor Ken Hutcherson says, “I am the gayest man I know.”  But then he explains what that means. “…Hutcherson is not a homosexual, nor does the happily married man have a same-sex attraction of any kind. He is, however, on a mission to take back words, phrases and symbols he believes groups…have “hijacked” from the American lexicon.
  • Michael Belote thinks that both at home school and public school, children aren’t learning how to learn.  “…we have become a nation of individuals who are firmly entrenched in philosophies that we do not understand: we are loyal to paradigms of which we remain mostly ignorant with regard to detail…”
  • Rebecca St. James narrates Mother India, a documentary premiering this fall about the real backstory in another film,  Slumdog Millionaire.  “…a compelling documentary following the adventure of 25 courageous orphans living as a family along the railway as they make pivotal decisions that will directly impact their future… filmed in January 2012 in southern India with a small production team…”
  • Karen Spears Zacharias has released a true story highlighting the impact of child abuse. A Silence of Mockingbirds is released through MacAdam Cage Publishing, which means this one may not be at your local Christian bookstore.
  • Does your church sing a lot of worship songs that are exclusive to your church; songs that were written by your own worship team leaders?  Bobby and Kristen Gilles recommend finding a place of balance.
  • An interesting dinner date: Canadian cult-watcher James Beverley dines in New York with Peter H. Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan. “…His positive characteristics are nonetheless evidence of God’s common grace…”
  • Don’t know where Tim Challies finds these things, but here’s an interesting blog about an Australian couple now serving in Mongolia.  This is a general link, scroll back and follow recent developments in a country where even buying a chair is a major accomplishment.
  • Michael Kruger suggests five different ways technology is affecting us in Rescuring Church from a Facebook Culture.  “…It is a low-commitment and low-accountability type of interaction.  We control—and entirely control—the duration, intensity, and level of contact.  At any moment, we can simply stop.   But, the Christian life, and real Christian relationships don’t work like this…”
  • Here’s another piece about technology at church, as in Matt Hafer’s Showing VHS’s to a Blu-Ray World. “Our financial giving isn’t where it needs to be and we brainstormed on why. One of the reasons that was plain to us is, we pass a bucket around and tell people the drop in cash or checks. The problems is, no one in 2012 carries cash and most people under 35 write a check about once a month…”
  • To post or not to post?  Matthew Paul Turner found this picture of a rather disturbing piece of fashion he called The Jesus Mini-Skirt.  If the image isn’t here, then you’ll have to click; it means better judgment prevailed.
  • Not exactly a Christian story, but CBN News reports on Chinese students being given IV hookups to amino acids to boost energy as they prepare for college entrance exams. It’s controversial, but not believed to be harmful.
  • Eugene Peterson didn’t just get up one morning and start translating the Bible. Several steps led up to the creation of The Message including: “…He read translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, from Greek to English. He discovered the translation principles use by these translators.”
  • The Grace Television Network now claims to be “Canada’s Largest 24/7 Provider of Christian Programming.”
  • As I type this, on Monday, Jon Acuff is at Stuff Christians Like #1199, but if I remember to update this, he will have passed the twelve hundred mark. [Later...] SCL #1200 was inspired by some people who chose to talk all through the service on Sunday… while sitting in the front row!
  • If you feel you must criticize something your pastor did or didn’t do, save it for Tuesday. Many pastors have a tougher time getting through Monday than Sunday.
  • Click the images to connect with more comics from ASBO Jesus (above) and For Heaven’s Sake (below).

April 4, 2012

Wednesday Link List

The timely graphic above has been making the rounds on Facebook.

  • Who was where, and when?  This Bible Gateway timeline of Holy Week is worth studying.  Click to see the post, then click again to see the image, and click a third time to enlarge it. You’ve never seen the Good Friday & Easter story in such detail.
  • And if you’re looking for a meaningful Easter song, go back a year on this blog and revisit this one.  Or this one.
  • A Christian group prayed over a section of highway leading into their town and anointed it with oil.  An atheist group decided to wash off the blessing. My favorite quote from this article: “What is inexplicable to me is how atheists or secularists could possibly be affected or  ‘offended’ by prayers when they don’t view them as having any real value?”
  • A Delta Airlines passengers refuses to shut off his iPad showing a child-centered pornographic film. The flight attendant refused to intervene.
  • Teens can see the Bully movie in Canada, but can’t in the U.S. In the meantime, the movie is drawing out discussion to a level that gives the issue some profile.
  • Mark Driscoll has stepped down from chairing the Acts 29 church planting network, turning responsibility over to Matt Chandler, which in turn relocates the ministry to Dallas from Seattle.  But he’s also stepping down from the council of The Gospel Coalition. 2-in-1 story at Wartburg Watch.
  • The blog Church and Synagogue Security News, now has a section devoted to security issues arising on mission trips.
  • CNN’s Religion blog gets inside the spiritual heritage of Oikos University, the Christian college in California where Monday’s shooting took place. Excerpt: “Korean-American Christianity probably represents the fastest-growing part of the Asian American religious landscape…”
  • If you enjoyed yesterday’s post by Alicia Yost from America’s Next Top Mommy, here’s another of her well-written adventures in parenting.
  • If October Baby isn’t playing at a theater near you, here’s the official trailer.  And here’s a review: Jeff and his wife really liked it.
  • Check out a couple of (very) modern worship songs from Harvest Bible Chapel in Oakville, Ontario.
  • Seductive faith: If it feels good, you’ve done it right. But consider the source of that kind of thinking.
  • Meet Jason Meyer, touted as the successor to John Piper at Bethlehem Church in Minneapolis. Elsewhere, Piper says, “The reason we are moving forward with the succession plan now has to do with a strong conviction that good pastoring is more than preaching.”
  • Financing a Christian college education ain’t easy. But a “miracle” can happen if you’re willing to work for it!  This Canadian story mentions a few principles that may apply more widely.
  • Nobody puts their hand up anymore in school, or elsewhere.  It’s all done with clickers.  Even the kids at the Bible Quiz at Southgate Church of Christ got mentioned in this New York Times technology story. They’re using 150 of them to record answers to 180 multiple choice questions.
  • Want more links? There’s always Lisa Buffaloe’s Links to Blog Blessings. Or check out The Read and Share File at Master’s Table.
  • Note to regular readers:  The link to the Christian Blog Topsites that usually appears in the sidebar has been removed as the site was apparently hacked. My computer did not entirely avoid some consequences, but is at least functional. Citing health concerns, proprietor Mark Strohm has decided to take the site down. We thank Mark for his years of service to this blog, introducing us to new blogs and introducing new readers to ours.

January 28, 2012

Are These Realistic Expectations?

Filed under: family, parenting — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:44 am

Later today, the Drew Marshall Show is introducing another God-blogger,  Rachel Snyder at The Lazy Christian.  I’m not sure with a blog name like that if Drew is providing role models or anti-role models — a few months ago it was Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.

Anyway, you can catch the show live starting at 1:00 PM EST (until 5:00) or wait a week and catch the segments from the week before which are always posted on Fridays.    Meanwhile, he’s a sneak peek at something from the Rachel’s blog:

A Short Play by Rachel: Great Expectations

Scene opens on RACHEL and FRIEND riding in RACHEL’S car. They are discussing raising RACHEL’S future daughter.


RACHEL:    I think that while they’re growing up, I’ll have my son open my daughter’s car door for her when we get in the car. 

FRIEND:     Why?

RACHEL:     Well, I want my son to know how to treat a woman, and I want my daughter to know how a gentleman should treat her.

FRIEND:     Don’t you think that’s setting up unrealistic expectations for her?

RACHEL:     In what way?

FRIEND:     Well, not all men open car doors for women. That’s not something she should expect.

RACHEL:     And why not? My husband opens the car door for me. If we teach our son to do it, there are probably other moms out there teaching their sons to do it. It’s those little niceties that make all the difference sometimes.

FRIEND:     But maybe she won’t meet one of those guys. Or date one. You’re setting her up with unrealistic expectations.

RACHEL:     I don’t think it’s an unrealistic expectation. It’s a high expectation. 

FRIEND:     Well, maybe it’s too high.

RACHEL:     And why wouldn’t I want my daughter to have high expectations? I want her to end up with a man who treats her the way my husband treats me—the way a man should treat a woman. I don’t want her to settle for some schmuck who doesn’t know how to treat her well. I wouldn’t raise her to think she should only marry a rich man or someone who falls at her feet. But opening a car door for her? That’s something small that says, “I care about you,” every time she gets in the car. 

FRIEND:     Well. My husband doesn’t do it for me.

RACHEL:     So you think I’m giving my daughter unrealistic expectations just because your husband doesn’t open the car door for you?

FRIEND:     I—I guess.

RACHEL:     Well, he should open the door for you. It’s not that hard. You tell him I said that.

END SCENE.

November 24, 2011

Family Circus Models Christian Values

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:40 am

If you don’t have time to read all the daily strips on the comic pages, chances are your eyes will at least catch the distinctive single-panel circle known as The Family Circus.  As is the case with a handful of today’s popular comic strips, the strip frequently reflects themes related to prayer, church life, and religion in general.

Today we’re remembering Family Circus creator Bil Keane, who passed away earlier this month at age 89.

While the church scenes in the comic were that of a generic, American house of worship, Keane was in fact a practicing Roman Catholic.  The blog, Get Religion, which focuses on ‘the story behind the religious stories in the media,’ recently devoted a highly-recommended article to Mr. Keane.

Keane was quoted in The Washington Post

“We are, in the comics, the last frontier of good, wholesome family humor and entertainment,” Keane said. “On radio and television, magazines and the movies, you can’t tell what you’re going to get. When you look at the comic page, you can usually depend on something acceptable by the entire family.”

Get Religion also cites a Keane story from the Catholic News Service

The comic also is known for its occasional religious themes. While the worship depicted in “The Family Circus” is of a generic Christian nature, Keane told St. Anthony Messenger it came from the family’s long connection to the Catholic Church. “I draw out of my lifestyle,” Bil said. “I grew up Catholic, my kids grew up Catholic.”

But the Catholic upbringing Keane had was apparently somewhat informal, as this piece at The Comics Journal notes:

“Laughter was a part of the church services I attended as a child,” said Keane, who believed that Jesus must’ve had a sense of humor: “I like to think of him as a guy who got people to listen to him by leaving them laughing and chuckling with one another.”

At the blog, Rule of Thumb, Sara Foss offers some reflections from when, as a writer for the Birmingham Post-Herald, she did a piece on religion in the comic pages, where she wrote:

“[Peanuts creator Charles] Schulz’s religious references didn’t sit well with all readers.

‘I believe it is inexcusably poor taste, and offensive to many readers both Christian and Jewish, to use texts from and reference to the Bible … especially in a comic strip,” one reader wrote to Schulz in 1969. The letter is included in ‘Peanuts: A Golden Celebration,” a collection of comics by Schulz.

But some people offered praise.

Like Schulz, ‘Family Circus’ creator Bil Keane, 77, said he used to get an occasional complaint about using religion in his strip.

‘Now those same people write to me to say, ‘Thank you for putting spirituality into the comics page,’ he said.

Keane often spins gags out of children saying prayers or the family attending church. In one, young Jeffy prays, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, how did you know my name?’

Keane’s depiction of the family’s grandfather sitting angelically on a cloud in heaven, listening to his grandchildren, is among his most popular images. Readers use the strip to show their own children where people go after they die.

‘To see that in a comic strip, it does more than 10 homilies by a priest,’ said Keane, a Catholic, from his home outside of Phoenix

‘I never set out to be an evangelist,’ he added. “‘All I’m doing is showing the way religion touches a child’s life or family life.'”

A Hollywood gossip blog reported,

On occasion, Mr. Keane quietly introduced religious themes into his cartoon.

One time, Dolly questioned, “Is God white, black, brown, yellow or red?”

Mommy answered, “Yes.”

The Family Circus continues under the direction of Bil’s son Jeff, now 53, who with a recent Sunday panel (see yesterday’s post here) indicates a willingness to continue the faith-oriented themes.


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.


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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

July 24, 2011

The Dinosaur Mystery Finally Explained

Filed under: cartoons — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:51 am

While searching for the first of three cartoon panels below from the Bizarro comic strip drawn by Dan Piraro, I suddenly realized the number of times he’s waded into religious themes and/or the degree to which certain Biblical imagery is part of the broader culture.   Anyway, I felt this is as good an explanation as any for what happened to the dinosaurs:

In the process, I stumbled across this little hiccup that may have befallen Noah during the early stages:

Hopefully God would have been sympathetic, because the creation of the world was no small task…

You can read more at the Bizarro website.

I believe Christians can take it as a compliment when Bible themes make it into the broader cultural media, especially if the writer or artist doesn’t necessarily claim to be a believer.  But some Christ-followers take everything so seriously that they feel that in comic panels like these the Bible is somehow being mocked or ridiculed; or that Biblical imagery belongs to us and cannot be expropriated by them

Do you feel that as a Christian you are easily offended?  I Cor. 13 may have something to say about that. 

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