Thinking Out Loud

January 15, 2014

Wednesday Link List

When is a bargain not a bargain

I spent a lot of the week listening to Christian radio stations from around the world on DeliCast.com; so the temptation was to make the entire list this week simply links to all the wonderful stations I found. However, reason prevailed…  Each of the following will lead you back to Out of Ur, a division of Christianity Today, where you may then click through to the stories.

Paul Wilkinson writes from Canada (Motto: Home of the Polar Vortex) and blogs at Thinking Out Loud and edits Christianity 201, a daily devotional.

 

December 4, 2012

Concordia Decides Enough is Enough with VBS Entertainment

Concordia VBS

VBS (Vacation Bible School) is a major industry. Let me be clear, VBS is big business. In North America, nearly two dozen publishers compete — in every sense of the word — for your church’s summer Christian Education dollars to be spent on their program. Each year the programs get more and more elaborate and involve an increasing number of ancillary products which help vindicate what each publisher spends on marketing.

And according to one publisher, each year it gets, from a Biblical viewpoint, more and more silly. Concordia Publishing has decided to swim against the current. Good for them.

On another blog that I write, I deal with issues confronting the world of Christian publishing in general and Christian bookstores in particular. Sometimes I link to articles at a Strang Publishing website called Christian Retailing, but usually I don’t need to because bookstore owners and managers already have that information covered and are regular readers there.

So normally, I wouldn’t reblog anything from Christian Retailing there, let alone here, but this is something every Kid Min director, every Children’s pastor, every Christian Education department head needs to be aware of. As always, reading at source is encouraged, click here.

Concordia Takes Stand Against VBS Entertainment Machine

Concordia Publishing House is calling on Vacation Bible School (VBS) publishers to make the gospel—not entertainment—central to their VBS programs.

“Our stand is against Vacation Bible School programs that confuse children with images and characters that are unrealistic and too similar to cartoons on TV and in the movies—where is the Christian focus?” said Emily Barlean, senior public relations specialist.

Acknowledging that VBS themes may use cartoonish figures or themes to “hook” children and get them interested in participating in a church VBS program, a company statement observed that “the steady transformation of VBS programs into full-on entertainment machines has created a rather distressing situation.

“Instead of being used to share the Word of the Lord, VBS is being used to babysit and cure boredom—and many children are leaving VBS more confused than ever as to who and what is real and who and what are just characters and stories.”

Laying the blame at the feet of publishers, parents and churches alike, Concordia, publisher for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), has spent three years refocusing its VBS brand and creating programming that remains faithful to the gospel message and the Scriptures as a whole. The publisher calls this renewed focus “VBS with Purpose.”

“After many years of trying to mold our VBS programs after what was considered fun and popular, we decided that we’d had enough,” said Pam Nummela, Concordia’s VBS editor, who is also a director of Christian education and a 30-year veteran leader of VBS programs.

Concordia’s VBS curricula will be changing significantly as a result. Stores and churches will see the publisher’s VBS programs will no longer be set in locations that cannot be found in the Bible, stories will no longer feature characters outside of the Bible, all artwork will be realistic, and “wise-cracking animals” will not be the spokesmen for Concordia VBS themes.

“Kids love all kinds of art, but that does not mean all art is best for presenting Bible stories,” said Gail Pawlitz, a childhood education expert. “During the early childhood years when children sort out for themselves what is real from what is not real, realistic images for Bible stories trump others because they communicate the idea that if ‘it looks real, it is real.’ “

…[T]o learn more about Concordia’s 2013 program, click Tell It on the Mountain.

May 17, 2010

Religious News All About Sex and Gender

What makes a religious news story these days?   According to a quick look at the religion page of USAToday on Sunday, it’s all about GLBT issues and sex scandals.   Four out of the five “top news” items fall into that category, as do four of the remaining ten stories, and the featured story about the rally at the Vatican to support the Pope’s handling of the abuse scandal.

You can check the page for yourself anytime, here. Hopefully, in the days to come, you’ll find a “good news” story or something about doctrine or theology.   Right now, editorially, it’s becoming increasingly about a single issue.  In the meantime, please note that Christ followers have many more concerns and activities taking place than what you’re seeing reported.

March 3, 2010

B(link) and You’ll Miss It

Don’t miss this week’s links or else!

  • The blog Man of Depravity considers why websites like Church Rater are a bad idea;  and then, the next day, considers why they might be a good great idea.
  • Catholic seminarian Mike G. provides our “classic art meets modern convenience” photo images at right, from his blog The Night Is Passing.
  • It was actually a good week for discovering Catholic bloggers.  That’s where I discovered Nick Alexander aka the Catholic Weird Al Yankovic.  This YouTube video explains the traditions of Lent and Ash Wednesday.  (Also recommended for fans of The Police!) [HT: The Ironic Catholic]
  • Blog of the Week:  You think you know a thing or two about Bibles don’t you?   But forget translation for a minute; what about types of leather, binding, gilding, fonts, features, etc?   That’s where you need to know someone like J. Mark Bertrand at the Bible Design Blog. [HT: Christian Book Shop Talk]
  • Pastor Ed Young raps his way through an admonition to pastors to be themselves in a video simply called UBU.  [HT: Wil Mancini]
  • New word of the week: “Acedia.”   If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may be in the company of early church saints, therefore Catholic author Kathleen Norris wants you to know this word.
  • David Housholder explains why you’ve never met any missional Lutherans, or read any Lutheran prophecy books for that matter, at this lengthy but extremely interesting and well-written post at his Journal blog.  Seriously, don’t miss this one.
  • Ruth Wilkinson (who may or may not be related to me) now has a new relationship to crucifixes.
  • Book Review:  Jamie Arpin-Ricci looks at The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray (Herald Press) (forward by Greg Boyd) in this excellent summary.
  • Storytime:  Mark Sayers walks us through The Parable of the Lotus, The Impossiblly Handsome Man and The Church.   A must read for pastors and leaders especially.
  • Here are some pictures of the damage in Chili from the weekend earthquake at Boston.Com’s The Big Picture.
  • Internal Link:  I really thought Friday’s piece on Peter Rollins’ interpretation of The Prodigal Son story would have evoked a comment or two.   When did the younger son actually repent?
  • A USAToday article about sex on television warns that things are scheduled to get worse.  [HT: Brett Hendrix at Changing Lanes]
  • For the third week in a row we return to Baptist Press for our cartoon, this one is Doug Michael at Beyond The Ark.

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.