Thinking Out Loud

January 25, 2014

Weekend Link List

The Weekend List Lynx

The Weekend List Lynx

Some classic stuff from my files; none of this is new — most is from the Summer of 2011 — but it might be new to you. Mostly these are links I saved that I felt worth keeping at the time…

  • For those of us who are too Evangelical for Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” here is a new set of lyrics for which the author obtained a mechanical rights release, the way you’re supposed to. You might want to bookmark this for Easter.
  • “Are religious enthusiasts just naturally obnoxious? Or do certain forms of Christianity attract people who have an insatiable need to impose their beliefs on others? Do some of us simply have nothing on the the mental dashboard that registers “too intense?”  Classic Michael Spencer at Internet Monk.
  • And some classic Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen: What if the Apostle Paul’s story of the Messiah were a book proposal or a movie pitch? Paul would almost certainly get a rejection letter for having something unmarketable.
  • From a 2011 Pew Forum study, when asked what is the main threat to Evangelical Christianity 47 percent of leaders said Islam is the main threat  but 71 percent put secularism in that category.
  • There are a lot of blogs and websites for pastors about leadership, but Mark Galli suggests that what is really needed is pastors trained for chaplaincy.
  • Ten quick facts about Mormonism.
  • The part of the church service that usually doesn’t come under the microscope is the announcements. The author of this piece once tweeted, “I wish the bible had direction on how to do announcements during a service. It has to be the least effective thing the church does universally.”
  • Since the beginning of time as we know it, Phil Johnson and the Kalvinist Klan at Pyromaniacs have been offering us a “Weekly Dose of Spurgeon.” if C. H. Spurgeon has never been on your radar, drop your scanning speed down a gear and soak up his explanation of what it means to say “Jesus emptied himself.”
  • “..There was a bacteria in this youth-ministry entrepreneurial movement that has now been passed on to pastors. Because the focus was on winning participation, there was a little need or desire to reflect, especially to reflect theologically about the practice of ministry.” Andrew Root at IVP’s Online Pulpit.
  • Predating The Phil Vischer Podcast: Skye Jethani interviews Phil Vischer in April, 2012.
  • I remember when atheist Hemant Mehta posted this like it was yesterday: A survey that found many atheists who were also scientists enroll their children in a church program.
  • Ravi Zacharias quotes one of his professors: “Prophecy is very difficult, especially when it’s about the future.” What’s the future of western culture?

 

I think we’ll limit this rewind edition to a dozen; sometimes there are so many and people don’t know where to begin. I tend to be a “hoarder” with bookmarks in my computer; I hate to delete things, even if they appeared in previous link lists, because I keep thinking they are going to be needful and relevant to someone.

There is definitely a wealth of “backlist” items in the blogosphere that one hopes will keep being discovered.

June 30, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Check your calendar:  The year is half over.   Just eighteen months left until the world ends in 2012.    Here’s where we were this week:

  • Without question my number one link this week is Francis Chan’s children’s book trailer — that’s right, a kids book — for The Big Red Tractor releasing in September from David C. Cook.
  • Pete Wilson pays tribute to a retiring staff member who he hired seven years ago to bring some experience and wisdom to an otherwise younger team; sharing some valuable lessons he learned from Tom Tyndall.  Here’s a sample:

    Great sermons will get you pats on the back. Savvy leadership skills will win you admiration from your colleagues. Hard work will catch peoples eyes as you separate from the pack. But if you don’t love you’re nothing more than a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal. If you don’t love the people God has placed in your life nothing else really matters.

  • Andy LePeau at InterVarsity has a surefire way to increase the earning potential of your children and it’s not (directly, at least) education.   Check it out.
  • I really enjoyed Rick Apperson’s Blogapalooza throughout the entire month of June at Just a Thought, but especially this guest piece by Clay Crosse.  (Check out the other posts, too.)
  • Mark Wilson has a hilarious hypothetical conversation between God and St. Francis on the subject of lawn maintenance.

    GOD : They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
    ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
    GOD:  They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

  • Know somebody who is giving your pastor a hard time?  Probably not anything like this story.   This guy was a terrorist.  This is a book trailer for an upcoming non-fiction book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Alonzo; releasing August 1st.
  • A 2006 iMonk column by Michael Spencer showed considerable insight in trying to bring balance to the young-earth/old-earth tensions in science vs. creationism.  He felt the Bible was a book about God and Jesus, not a book about science.
  • Here’s something you don’t see every day; a book about the ascension of Jesus and why it matters.   Check out Jeff Loach’s review of He Ascended Into Heaven.
  • First it was the hymn people versus the chorus people.  But recently there’s been more visible unrest within the modern worship community itself.   Michael Krahn comments,  in a blog post inspired by one by Canadian Chris Vacher.
  • New Blog of the Week:  Contrast by Terry Foote in Florida.   No particular post, though you might read a father’s perspective on the loss of a child.
  • Atheists have put the “under God” part of “One Nation Under God” back on the agenda with a billboard campaign .
  • There are parts of the Christian internet I’m sure some of you (us) never get to see. Not sure what to make of this one: The blog Enoch Route introduces us to “Billy” who offers some signs you might be in a cult.
  • Can you handle one more Drew Marshall Show link?   When the new archived interviews (from last week’s show) go up on Friday, it’s Drew’s first “Gay Day” with Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network, Wendy Gritter from New Direction Ministries, and singer-songwriter Derek Webb, just back from a tour with Jennifer Knapp.  Click here after 7.2.10 and select the show from 6.26
  • Ruth Graham observes that the themes in Christian young adult fiction are creeping into the mainstream book market.  (Some critics felt it was the other way around.) Check out her article at Slate.
  • Some people have all the answers until you start asking spiritual questions.   Check out this Soul Chat promo.   More Soul Chat video content here.
  • If you’ve read the last chapter of the book version of Stuff Christians Like (as opposed to the website) you know the (somewhat) serious side of Jon Acuff (pictured at right). CNN’s Belief blog had him back again, this time to tell everyone why some Christians act like jerks online.
  • Late breaking item:  With too many contradictions in his Muslim-turned-Christian story, when Ergun Caner’s current term as dean of Liberty University Theological Seminary expires today (6/30) the job won’t be renewed, though he gets to stay on staff.   The Washington Post tells the story, additional background is at World Magazine.
  • Our cartoon today is a classic — in internet terms, it’s actually only from 2008 — Hi and Lois by Brian and Greg Walker.

If you were listed in the blogroll here at Thinking Out Loud, and your blog name begins with “The,” don’t panic, you’re still here.  Look for your blog’s title without the “the.”  (Requests to have it reinstated will be considered by a bureaucratic committee that meets in Switzerland twice a year.)

Last week’s link list got bumped from its home page position by another post, check it out here.

June 14, 2010

How They Began (2)

This is the second time I’ve looked at the first, or an early post by a blogger you already know.   (The first one is here; it had five quotations; I’ll try to do this more often with fewer bloggers.  Submissions welcomed!)   Availability is limited to the current blog however, some have been blogging a lot longer than what is currently online…

Zach Nielsen (Take Your Vitamin Z)

Worship disconnect

I was recently in a prominent church in the midwest and observed something that troubled me very deeply. The worship leader was leading the congregation in the song “Blessed Be The Name” by Matt Redman. The context of the song is Job and the song talks all about suffering. When all was stripped away from Job he was still able to say, “Blessed Be The Name of the Lord”. Now in light of the fact that all of Job’s family was killed, except for his wife and he lost all his material possessions as well, it goes with out saying that this song is not a “happy” song. The problem was that the worship leader was leading the song with a huge smile and his face and he was exhorting us to dance and clap like it was a high school pep rally. Granted it is a an upbeat song, but for sure it is not chipper in light of the lyrics. There seemed to a be vast disconnect between the content of the song and the way in which it was presented. It was a great reminder for me as a worship leader (cause I have done this in the past I’m sure) to seek to be true to the tone and meaning of the song in its presentation. The flip side would be presenting a song about the joy of the Lord and we lead it stone faced and seemingly bored.. .

Michael Spencer (Internet Monk)

It’s been no secret that

It’s been no secret that Denise has always thought my views on “the will of God” to be distinctly unspiritual, and I found hers to be far too mystical. Tonight we listened to two programs on the subject (from a recent series on the White Horse Inn) and I think I won out!

God has a secret will and a revealed will. We are not called to try and discover the secret will of God. There is no “secret thread” of certainty waiting for those who find a way to “hear God’s voice.” God gives us His Word, His son, reason, providence, examples, desires, interests, opportunities, etc. We follow these and “Do as we please.” This seemed a great relief to her, even though it took quite a bit of discussion to clear out those old evangelical notions of playing “let’s make a deal” with the Almighty.

Steve McCoy (Reformissionary)

theology proper/proper theology

Sometimes what people mean when they say “I don’t want theology, I just want Jesus” is that they don’t want to read really big books with big words written by overeducated guys who explain God like a scientist would explain the elements of a foot fungus on a Petri dish.

In the proper sense, theology is the business of every Christian as we meditate on and study our great God through the Scriptures for the purpose of knowing Him better, praising His greatness, and knowing how to devote our lives to Him with greater fervor and consistency.    (July 31/04)

May 26, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Another Wednesday rolls around… where did you go this week online?

  • Ruth Tucker at Christianity Today marks  the passing of Moishe Rosen, the sometimes controversial founder of Jews for Jesus, as does an article in the New York Times.
  • Readers of The Internet Monk blog can catch a free download of the first chapter of the late Michael Spencer’s book, Mere Churchianity.
  • A candid Leadership Magazine interview with Francis Chan — is he ever not candid? — about how things work at Cornerstone Church.
  • While I usually laugh at the blog, Stuff Fundies Like, here’s a piece that makes a very, very solid point about Outcome Based Justification.  If just one person clicks on this…
  • Yikes!  A 13-year-old student in New York State can’t wear a rosary to school because of a statute prohibiting “gang related dress.”  Who ya gonna call?  Jay Sekulow.   But wait a minute, could the school board be justified?  The police think so.
  • Blogger Jeff Leake has reason to be proud of his talented 16-year old son, Josh Leake who has released a new album.   Right now they’re selling actual CDs, but they might want to also consider downloads.   Check out his MySpace page.
  • Trevin Wax thinks that, “Traditional evangelistic strategies are not necessarily deficient in what they say, but in what they assume.”  Read more at Kingdom People.
  • I know a number of bloggers have already mentioned this, but if you’re a parent, you need to watch this Vimeo clip from Randy Alcorn about Pornography from 12 days ago, and also this more recent one — despite the audio problems — from 7 days ago for parents who have daughters.
  • What is God’s relationship to time.   Not an easy question.   Start your thinking process at this article at Prodigal Magazine.
  • Unequally yoked?  Russell D. Moore got a letter in April about a conservative, dispensational Calvinist marrying a tongues-speaking Pentecostal.  Two weeks later, he’s still getting mail.
  • Blog discovery of the week (but it’s been around since 2007) — E-Royal by Royal Farris.   Lots of good video embeds recently.  Which is where I first saw
  • “The Gospel According To Krispy Kreme” a ten-minute YouTube video of Louie Giglio from 2009.
  • Whatever happened to scripture memory.   Here’s a top ten list of some Bible passages everyone should know by heart.
  • It would be great if God spoke to us by sending little written notes to us throughout the day.   That’s the theme of this 2-minute free sermon video download at Floodgate Productions.
  • Currently reading:  I actually don’t limit my reading to Christian books; I’m currently enjoying The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee.  (Love that middle initial!)  The book is a fascinating history of Chinese food.   I discovered Jennifer at TED Talks.
  • Currently fundraising: Chris, our oldest is going to be working in the kitchen at a Christian camp for ten weeks this summer.   Based on a 48-hour (i.e. six day) week, they’re giving him $3.00 per hour; he has to come up with sponsors for the rest.   Contact us if you want to help.
  • Currently listening to:  A Ton of Worship.  A  collection of church worship from the UK, but check out the stats:  5-CDs.  20 songs per CD.   That’s 100 songs for only $12.99 US/$15.99 CDN.  Also a kids version for $9.99 US/$12.99 CDN.   From Kingsway Music.
  • Message to certain bloggers:  Your Twitter updates are really slowing down your page loads.   Is it worth it?
  • Question to video uploaders:  Why Vimeo and not YouTube?   I have a fairly high speed connection, but the Vimeo server — especially when embedded in blogs — doesn’t even come close to the speed of the YouTube servers.
  • Our cartoon panel this week is from Calvinist Cartoons by Eddie Eddings (c/o John Scaddington).

April 14, 2010

The Wednesday Link List

“Officially voted the finest Wednesday Link List on any blog called Thinking Out Loud”

Here’s some places my computer took me this week.   What about you?

  • Here’s a reprint from a few days of ago of what would be Michael Spencer’s final blog post on February 22 at Internet Monk.
  • My choice for in-depth article of the week is Ted Olsen’s online-only piece at Christianity Today suggesting that the annunciation may be more important than Christmas and Easter, especially in view of its relationship to the abortion debate.
  • The Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860.  It’s a little-known law in the UK — and some places closer to home — but as this person found out, it’s illegal to disrupt a worship service, as reported at Answers for the Faith.
  • They’re “disgusting and disturbing” but does that mean the Hutaree militant fringe group are not Christians?   Julie Clawson at the blog One Hand Clapping tackles an interesting subject in Militias, The Church & Christians.
  • David Hayward, aka Naked Pastor, resigns after 25 years at a Canadian Vineyard church.
  • The journalism blog Get Religion looks at the story of a church which offered love and compassion to a mentally ill man who later set fire to their church.
  • Sometimes I think we get too hung up on the “latest” thing in the blogosphere.   Here’s a post from January of last year about churches coming together to help with a funeral at the blog, 300 Words a Day.
  • If you remember my piece on bullying, republished here just a few days ago, you might also appreciate this piece by Mike Furches at The Virtual Pew.
  • At the blog Arminian Today, the blogger known as The Seeking Disciple asks the musical question, Does Calvinism Make it Easier To Sin?   Easier may not be the right word, but he makes an argument for complacency.
  • Brian McLaren plays the piano and discusses eschatology and open theology in a video series about his book posted at The Ooze TV.
  • Jeffrey Overstreet looks at Christian publishing with a little help from C. S. Lewis, Oscar Wilde and this gem from T. S. Eliot:

    “[T]he last thing I would wish for would be the existence of two literatures, one for Christian consumption and the other for the pagan world. What I believe to be incumbent upon all Christians is the duty of maintaining consciously certain standards and criteria of criticism over and above those applied by the rest of the world; and that by these criteria and standards everything that we read must be tested.”
    Continue reading here.

  • Shaun Groves returns to the U.S. from Canada and is readmitted only after he gives the border patrol a mini-version of his Canadian seminar on poverty for Compassion International (complete with Q&A time!)
  • Author John Shore finds out late in March that his mother passed away — five years ago.
  • Cynthia Ware of the Center for Church Communication guests at UrbanMinistry.org with a piece of 5 Trends affecting Church communicators.
  • Academic story of the week:  Evangelical scholar and author Bruce Waltke finds his job at Reformed Theological Seminary over after he posts a video which supports evolution.   Details at USAToday, or you can read more at Jon Rising’s Word and Spirit blog.
  • Blog discovery of the week:  Confident Christianity by Mary Jo Sharpe who has just signed a book contract with Kregel Publishing.
  • Classic video discovery the week:  Christian music veteran Kathy Trocolli and the Beach Boys (yes it’s really them) team up for I Can Hear Music.  Posted in 2007.  Turn it up loud.
  • Jon Acuff is back in classic form as he examines that most unusual species: The Youth Pastor.  “#52. Tells youth group that the Psalms are kind of emo.” Check out Stuff Christians Like # 747.
  • Our cartoon this week is from the usually-not-so-religiously-oriented cartoon blog Beartoons.com where he also discusses the whole concept of atheist missionaries:

HT for Jeffrey Overstreet piece:  Nathan Douglas at Cinema Truth.

April 6, 2010

Tributes to Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk

  • Michael wasn’t the anybody of the blogosphere. He was the Internet Monk of the blogosphere. There is now the post-iMonk Christian blogosphere. A few weeks ago I said on Twitter that none of us are gonna get to heaven and hear Jesus say, “Great blog, dude.” I take that back. Michael made so many people, from so many different places and traditions and perspectives and experiences, feel like they weren’t alone — many times through sharing his own sense of exile — and he did it by stubbornly insisting a fixation on Jesus. ~ Notes from a Small Place blog
  • Michael Spencer’s online writings have affected me deeply from the first day I discovered them.  They’ve always pointed me toward the gospel of Jesus Christ. ~ Meg’s blog
  • Coming back to the Church and life in Christ after a long absence, I found myself in need of this sense of perspective, of finding, for lack of a better word, those spiritual guides, who offered true guidance and direction to those of us with many, many, many questions.  Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk, was one of those guides for me over the past few years.    ~Wandering Tree blog
  • I felt like I came to know Michael and his quest through the “post-evangelical wilderness” over the past few years. He will be missed… ~Green Leaf blog
  • Michael Spencer has graduated.  He has left this world for bigger and better things.  The sum total of all our years will seem like a moment in the span of eternity.  The time until we met again will pass like vapor in the wind.  We can mourn and comfort each other in the void he leaves behind, and at the same time rejoice as he rejoices on the streets of glory.  His desire each day was to more clearly see the face of our Lord; and now that joy is complete. ~ The Master’s Table blog
  • Michael was a good friend of mine, even though I never met him in real life. I found his blog back in the 1990s sometime – I don’t even recall what I was looking for – and was hooked. Through reading his stuff there and through participating in the Boar’s Head Tavern collaborative site, I got to know how he thought. At the time he was a Calvinist, and I disagreed with him; but through engaging with him, I learned a great deal about what I believed and why I believed it. Michael’s thinking shaped mine in many ways; his well-thought writings required that I also think well. ~ Cogita Est Ora blog
  • I feel like I lost: a friend, a brother, a guide, and a safety-net for my own inadequacies. The irony in this is that I have never met Michael in person.  We exchanged one or two emails, but that was the extent of our personal contact. Meeting him in person was on my list of things to do before I died.  It looks like that goal will have to wait now. What Michael provided in my life was the sanity check that I so desperately needed as I was drowning in deep despair in Evangelicalism.  The constant questioning of the feeling that I didn’t belong and that I sensed that something was wrong, were all answered by Michael’s writings.  He helped me to become who I am today and how I view things in the church. The Lord used him to take away the bitterness and resentment that I had built up towards Evangelicalism. ~ Peaceful Walk With Jesus blog
  • Michael’s prodigious output as a blogger, both at Internet Monk and at the Boars Head Tavern that he started, relentlessly directed readers to the person of Jesus. His wide-ranging reading interests incurred the ire of some, but many readers like me found provocation of the best kind, inspiration and encouragement. Michael was captivated by radical grace, and now that Grace has captured him. Though he died, yet does he live. ~ Common Ground Online
  • Michael was Jesus’ man – on a life-long journey to center his thoughts, emotions, actions and character around Jesus and to genuinely know Jesus.  That quest was not simple for Michael.  It was often quite complicated, full of questions and doubt and darkness.  But it was also marked by unique clarity, certainty and the light of heaven’s smile. ~ Ponder Anew blog
  • Michael Spencer, the graceful writer behind Internet Monk, died yesterday surrounded by his family. What a wonderful writer. What a wonderful man.  ~Dating Jesus blog.
  • A wonderful writer who influenced my decision to move to a more liturgical church. Thank you Michael.  ~Becoming Episcopalian blog

These are just some of the tributes from everyday Internet Monk readers such as you and I.   You can also read tributes from Frank ViolaSteve McCoy at Reformissionary, and Andrew Jones at Tall Skinny Kiwi.

If all of these leaves you scratching your head going, “Who?,” then I’m sorry that you missed out on Internet Monk.    Hopefully the back catalog of posts will remain online for a long, long time; so you can still catch up.   He was a unique voice among bloggers.

This outpouring of love and sympathy online also proves the value of Christian online community.    In many respects we may come to know each other with a depth not always achieved in face-to-face communication.   And we come to grieve the loss of someone we knew in this manner every bit as deeply as those with whom we have what some think more direct contact.   One post at Boar’s Head Tavern reads:

I hate weeping alone at my keyboard when I should be weeping in the same room with you guys.

There are many, many other tributes posted there, and as of this writing, over 200 posts in the past 24 hours on Google.

It would not be surprising if Michael Spencer reached his widest audience with the publication of his book Mere Churchianity, due September 7th from Waterbrook Press.   I wonder if some of his online writings might also be preserved in print form for those who heretofore didn’t know him.   It would be a daunting project, but there is much worth publishing.

Finally, I want to end by referring back to the post on this blog just a few hours ago.   I concluded by asking the question, “What do you want your life to be remembered for?”

Michael Spencer’s life will be well-remembered.

August 26, 2009

Link Land

I’ll keep these short and sweet so you have time to click on all of them!

  • Michael Spencer, aka Internet Monk is blogging through a series of analysis and commentary on the elements that make up an Evangelical church service.   No particular post link here, as you’ll have to scroll up and down to catch the entire series, The Evangelical Liturgy.   (But if you’re coming to this beyond early September ’09, then use this link to the first six posts.)
  • Christianity Today has done an interesting piece for women called What Not To Wear, advice for women in church leadership.    Apparently “Sally is too pretty to preach.”  (No, guys, there’s no pictures.)
  • Regent College professor John Stackhouse suggests that it might be to our advantage to stop the drive towards extinction of that endangered species known as the Christian bookstore.   The piece  is titled, Good Bookstores: If We Ignore Them, They’ll Go Away.
  • Congratulations to Denver-bound Jeff McQuilken at Losing My Religion on the occasion of 500 thought provoking blog posts.   Well, maybe not the anniversary one.   BTW, that blog title would make a great song title, don’t ya think?
  • Ben Bateman at Mankind Toons has picked up his pen or brush or whatever cartoonists use after a long break, and also launched a new website.    See below for a sample of his work.
  • Blogger Michael Kruse at Kruse Kronicle posts the 2013 Beloit College list, significant for me since I have one headed to college in a week.
  • If you ever endured Philosophy 101, you know all about Plato’s Cave aka Plato’s Cave Analogy.   Someone has done a short Claymation, which in turn has been posted at Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice.
  • Worried about Fluffy and Fido after the rapture.   Here’s another service that will take care of them, for a fee that is, at Eternal Earthbound Pets.  But don’t worry any longer, because in an interview with Jayson Boyette, the atheist founder admits they have no intention of ever actually having to feed the cats and dogs.     Part One.   Interview Part Two.

Super Apostles - Mankind Toons

July 24, 2009

Link Letter

lynxIt’s been awhile since I ran some lynx links here, so lets take a run at it:

  • Back on July 12th, Michael Spencer aka Internet Monk did an assessment of the spirituality to be found in the blogosphere.    First observation: “The Christian blogosphere is overwhelmingly male. It is not only male; it thrives on “maleness” in perspective and voice. For various reasons, some confessional, some not, many of us have a seriously limited exposure to the feminine mind, voice and experience of the Christian journey. In fact, our “maleness” is affirmed in the blogosphere in ways that are useful, and neutral and harmful.” Read the rest of this one, plus nine other key observations, here.
  • It’s not just Christians who are listening to Christian radio.   According to a Sojourners Magazine article,  Jewish and Muslim listeners are tuning in also:  “Last spring, Asra Nomani, a Muslim writer living in the Washington, D.C. area, programmed “number three” on her car radio to 91.9, her spirits as a stressed single mother lifted by the lyrics she heard. ‘No matter how daunting your problems seem, this music gives you hope,’ she said.” Read the story here after creating a free login.
  • On July 21st, Justin Wise at the blog BeDeviant (yes, that’s the name) asks the musical question, “Is ‘No Sex Before Marriage’ a Realistic Expectation?”  He writes:  “I would rather marry a couple who is living together and provide some sort of Christ-centered influence than let them go off and find a non-Christian alternative.” So far, over 100 comments.   Join the conversation, here.
  • Some of you are huge fans of the humor/satire blog Stuff Christians Like, but unless you’ve caught a live webcast or been to one of the live events, you’ve never seen Jon Acuff live.   Recently, Jon was asked by Pete Wilson to speak at CrossPoint church in Nashville, and the message is posted at CrossPoint (click on “Adam and the Three Questions”) as well at SCL, where you can catch it here.
  • Author and seminary professor Randal Rauser writes “A Note to Atheists Before They Attempt to Refute Christianity.”    He begins with this: “But what is frustrating for an atheist is doubly frustrating for a Christian. Countless times I have seen atheists assume what I as a Christian must believe. And often this assumption reflects what is no doubt a very restricted experience with Christianity… As a result, atheists who assume what a Christian must believe because they read a few Christian books or attended a church for several years are like self-described travel experts who offer authoritative advice on California vacations because they once stayed at the Super 8 in Pasadena.” Check out his piece, here.   (BTW, in an offline note, I linked Randal to the piece I did here, “You Think You Know Us,” which he appreciated.)
  • Bridging the Gap DVDI’m not sure if this item is available for shipping outside of Canada, but New Direction has put together a 4-week DVD curriculum titled, Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending Our Gay Neighbours. The kit includes 3-hours of video content and a 40-page leader guide with reproducable worksheets.   I haven’t seen this yet, but I know that material on this subject is badly needed.  Guests include Brian McLaren, Bruxy Cavey, Tony Campolo and eight more.   You can read more about it, here.
  • How about a vacation in Chernobyl?   Or a museum of genitals?  This one has no Christian connection that I can think of, but just for fun, I wanted to tell you about Atlas Obscura, which describes itself as “A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities and Esoterica.”
  • With a backlog of new subjects to consider, I haven’t done many remixes of older blog posts.   I might repost this one sometime, but for those of you who joined us recently, here’s one from February entitled, “Why II Kings is in the Bible.”    Okay, I doubt it’s the only reason.   Link to that one, here.
  • Canada’s leading Christian male vocalist and recording artist Steve Bell has a new website with occasional free song downloads.   Check that one out, here.
  • The item that was originally my tenth and final link here had to be removed at the request of its author.   So in exchange — to keep it an even ten — Anne Jackson offers an excellent piece on how Christian activity and “busyness” have a drug-like effect that keeps us from Jesus Himself.   Read that piece, here.

June 19, 2009

Sunday Morning = Worship + Preaching

Filed under: Church, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:17 pm

Let’s start with preaching.

Rob Bell is hosting a conference in Grand Rapids in a couple of weeks that I hope is well attended by those who are paid to to entertain us minister the Word of God to us on a weekly basis.   The conference is called, “POETS, PROPHETS, and PREACHERS.”   It features ROB BELL, SHANE HIPPS and PETER ROLLINS, and runs July 5 – 7.

Here’s what he said in his sermon on May 10th about the conference:

rob_bell“A sermon should be electric.   It shouldn’t be something that people ‘sit through’ so they can go to lunch.   It should be something that rattles your cage and disturbs you and comforts you and inspires you and provokes you…  Preaching is an ancient, primal art form.  You didn’t just sit back and ‘evaluate them,’ you were caught up in something because the communicator was caught up in them.”

To learn more about the conference — registration fee of $250 covers both you and a spouse or both you and a friend — visit this website.   If you can’t go, read about the conference anyway.   You might just decide you do want to go.  Hey, you might even decide you want to preach.

Now let’s talk about worship.

The Internet Monk (a.k.a. Michael Spencer, who is not a monk) has done it again.  Although this one was one of his shorter posts, it has produced a lot of comments, which means this is an issue that causes people to want to put in their two cents.   (That’s two pence for you Brits!)

This was actually posted on June 12th, so we’re latecomers to this one:

treble clefWe have, within a matter of 50 years, completely changed the entire concept of what is a worship service. We’ve adopted an approach that demands ridiculous levels of musical, technical and financial commitment and resources.

We have tied ourselves to the Christian music industry and its endless appetite for change and profit. We have accepted that all of our worship leaders are going to be very, very young people…

…There is no way for this to end well. This is like a NASCAR car with the throttle stuck open. We’re stuck on a roller coaster and we can’t get off.

Worship has now become a musical term. Praise and worship means music. Let’s worship means the band will play. We need to give more time to worship doesn’t mean silent prayer or public scripture reading or any kind of participatory liturgy. It means music.

Even singing is getting lost in this. As the volume and the performance level goes up, who knows who is singing?

And who can stand for 20, 30 or 40 minutes?

Check out the whole article here.  It just takes a couple of minutes.   But don’t stop there.   There were 197 comments posted before iMonk got the concert security people ushers to close the doors.   Some of them will hit where you live.

The second graphic is a thing called a ‘treble clef.’  You see a long time ago, before there were guitar charts for everything, we used something called staff notation, a staff having five lines…

March 13, 2009

The Newsboys, Michael Tait, Oral Roberts, Bill Hybels, The Pollen Index and the Coming Evangelical Collapse

They Don’t Do Weather Forecasting Like This Where We Live

Barbeque
Index
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Arthritis
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Cold
Index
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Lawn
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UV
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Flu
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Frizz
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Pollen
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Asthma
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But then again, maybe they should.  How useful would these three factors be to your situation?

And the Commencement Speaker At Oral Roberts University This Year Is…
…(wait for it)…BILL HYBELS!   Yes, that Bill Hybels.   ORU continues to try to rebrand itself as a little less charismatic will Willow Creek founder Hybels as this year’s speaker.   You can read more here.

Michael Tait as a Newsboy?
It’s official.  The man we’ve come to identify with DCTalk is officially replacing Peter Furler with the Newsboys.    Furler leaves the band after 22 years but will make several guest appearances with the band throughout the coming year.  You can read that story here.
The Coming Evangelical Collapse

There’s been a lot of talk this week about Michael Spencer (aka Internet Monk) and the article he wrote for The Christian Science Monitor.   I especially appreciated these comments, blended from his second and sixth points:

Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

You can read that article here.   Or if you have time, link to all the original articles in Michael’s blog.

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