Thinking Out Loud

October 30, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Pumpkin Theology

I couldn’t decide whether my intro should tie in with Halloween or All Saints Day, so I decided to play it safe and just get to this week’s links…These links don’t actually link to anything other than today’s Out of Ur version of the list!

  • The UK has become Biblically illiterate to the point where while watching the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian, viewers no longer get the humor.
  • The Liberty Convocation videos on YouTube are a Who’s Who of Christians thinkers and leaders. Last week they welcomed National Community Church pastor Mark Batterson.
  • Essay of the Week: This one will leave you speechless. A writer shares her heart in the middle of a marriage that seems like a giant mistake.
  • Analogy Avenue: One more response to John MacArthur’s conference, this one invoking transportation (trains and the lunar rover) from author Mark Rutland.
  • So here is possibly the last word on that kid who was given the name Messiah, and the challenges that could create.
  • After Natalie Grant and Wow 2014, the number 3 position on the Billboard Christian music chart goes to Bryan and Katie Torwalt. “Who,” you ask? They’re part of Jesus Culture, and sound like this.
  • Randy Alcorn engages the subject of pro-life organizations that use explicit photographs to reinforce their anti-abortion message.
  • The authors of the non-Canonical gospel texts hoped that they would be taken seriously. It’s our job, however, to eliminate the late stories and isolate the early eyewitness accounts, even though we’re tempted to do otherwise.
  • The only thing noteworthy about an article that advocates for Christians to enjoy dancing, is when you find it at the website of Associated Baptist Press.
  • When your kids have a question, do they ask you, or do they automatically take all their questions to a search engine?
  • If you get struck by lightning twice in the same day, you may be correct in assuming that God is trying to get your attention.
  • When you read the Bible, do you follow the Flyover Route, the Direct Route, or the Scenic Route? David Kenney reviews a new NLT edition I’ve had my eye on for awhile: The Wayfinding Bible. (Tyndale Publishing, you have my address!)
  • Resource of the Week: You’ll want to bookmark (or share) Sam Storms’ eleven factors that can destroy objectivity in Bible hermeneutics, along with his basic rules for Bible interpretation.
  • Passionate Teaching: I always love it when Wheaton College’s Dr. Gary Burge drops in for a midweek service at Willow.
  • In Detroit a female Bishop in a Baptist denomination informed her congregation that for more than six months she has been married to another woman. And then she resigned.
  • After a week of focus on Steven Furtick’s house and John MacArthur’s conference, who would guess our attention on the weekend would be on Mark Driscoll, as evidenced here, here and here?
  • Meanwhile, Furtick debriefed his church on all the attention they’ve been getting.
  • Here’s another article suggesting you take an Internet hiatus. What makes this different is that it spells out exactly how to keep important messages coming. (Don’t all of you do this however, or nobody will be here next week!)
  • Here’s a link that gets you eight more links…to eight short newsletter articles the National Association of Evangelicals published on the subject of Holy Humor. (Includes some writers you know well.)
  • …And speaking of links to other links, here’s what an Academic edition of the Wednesday Link List might look like. (Brian LePort publishes one of these each week.)
  • 48% of teenagers have received a sexually explicit message on their smartphones. A mobile monitoring system offers some advice applicable to youth workers.
  • Get Religion is a media analysis site which last week looked at the coverage of the baptism of England’s Prince George from two different perspectives on what wasn’t mentioned.
  • Got 3 minutes? Turns out Eric Niequist, the brother of Willow Creek’s Aaron Niequist has a film company which recently completed this very short film.
  • That wraps up this week’s list. If we could end with a cartoon, it would be this one.

The Wednesday Link List is produced in our studios just east of Toronto, Canada where, for the record, we don’t have snow yet. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this link list, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited.

Today’s graphics were located at Matthew Paul Turner’s blog.

Amazing Grace Baptist Church Book Burning

January 2, 2013

Wednesday Link List

II Cor 10_13--15  Online Translation

And you thought I would take the day off, didn’t you? Well, the link list crew worked all New Year’s Day to bring this to you.

  • Russell D. Moore has a unique observation post from which to consider the decision by the Russian government to suspend adoptions of Russian children by Americans. I think his two Russian born children would agree with his summary.
  • Hi readers. Meet Matt Rawlings. Matt read 134 books last year. How did you do? 
  • And here’s another Matt. Matt Appling has put together an amazing essay on why the concept of shame is ripe for a comeback.
  • David Murrow has an interesting idea in which popular TV pastors are a brand that is a type of new denomination. He also has other ideas about what the church will look like in 50 years. (Or read the Todd Rhoades summary.)
  • Some readers here also blog, and if that’s you, perhaps you do the “top posts” thing. (I don’t.) But if you had a post-of-the-year, I can almost guarantee it weren’t nothin’ like this must-read one.
  • “This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen.” Denny Burk on what is largely a U.S.-based story, but with justice issues anyone can appreciate: The case of Hobby Lobby.
  • Can some of you see yourself in this story? “It’s really hard for me to read God’s word without dissecting it. I like to have commentaries and cross references. I like to take notes. I like to circle, underline, rewrite. And then my time with God turns into another homework assignment.” I can. More at Reflect blog.
  • This one may be sobering for a few of you. David Fitch offers three signs that you are not a leader, at least where the Kingdom of God is concerned.
  • “We put people into leadership roles too early, on purpose. We operate under the assumption that adults learn on a need-to-know basis. The sooner they discover what they don’t know, the sooner they will be interested in learning what they need to know…At times, it creates problems. We like those kinds of problems…” Read a sample of Andy Stanley’s new book, Deep and Wide, at Catalyst blog.
  • So for some of you, 2013 represents getting back on the horse again, even though you feel you failed so many times last year. Jon Acuff seems to understand what you’re going through.
  • Dan Gilgoff leaves the editor’s desk at CNN Belief Blog after three years and notes five things he learned in the process.
  • More detail on the Westboro petition(s) at the blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars; along with our get well wishes to blog proprietor Ed Brayton, recovering from open heart surgery.
  • Rachel Held Evans mentioned this one yesterday: The How To Talk Evangelical Project.  Sample: “If Christianese was a language, evangelical was our own special dialect. A cadence. A rhythm…” Click the banner at the top for recent posts.
  • Not sure how long this has been available, but for all you Bible study types,  here’s the ultimate list for academically-inclined people who want to own the best Bible commentary for each Bible book. (And support your local bookstore if you still have one!)
  • Bob Kauflin salutes the average worship leader, working with the average team at the average church. Which despite what you see online is mostly people like us.
  • Flashback all the way to September for this one: Gary Molander notes that the primary work of a pastor is somewhat in direct conflict with the calling they feel they are to pursue. He calls it, Why is it So Stinkin’ Hard to Work for a Church?
  • Nearly three years ago, we linked to this one and it’s still running: CreationSwap.com where media shared for videos, photos, logos, church bulletins, is sold or given away by thousands of Christian artists.

Christian books I hope you never see

December 6, 2012

Where is Pro-Choice Protest over Royal ‘Baby’ News?

Baby or tissue

From a hardcore pro-choice position, it’s not a baby. Not yet. But absolutely everyone is caught up in the celebration. And at least one blogger at Flagrant Regard had the courage to point out the resulting double-standard in an open letter to pro-choicers:

You rant and scream at your rallies, on your blogs, in your liberal-leaning newspaper columns and directly at your detractors that abortion – especially if performed on a woman prior to the 24-weeks-pregnant mark – is okay because the creature, the ‘it-thing’ inside that woman’s body is a fetus. ‘Fetus’, in your minds, being a word for a disposable type of developing life-form that’s not, in fact, a little human person.

Really? ‘Cause you wouldn’t know it today.

Every news server this morning broke the story that Kate Middleton, the internationally admired, beloved Dutchess and wife of the future king of England is about 12 weeks pregnant.

Websites have already been created in homage to the ‘baby-to-be’, throngs of royal-watchers are passionately discussing what the baby’s name might be if it’s a boy or a girl, women everywhere are gushing and/or vicariously ‘glowing’ over, with or for Kate Middleton in anticipation of the newly expected ‘child’ who will be 3rd in line to the royal throne (as if he/she had the job in hand already).

Is the issue here the celebrity brought on by pure celebrity or because this is a ‘royal’ pregnancy? Maybe there would be fewer abortions if all women felt they were carrying a child in line to a royal throne.

So if I am understanding this correctly, a woman has the right to call something growing inside her a “zygote, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus” (thank you for the terminology, Pro-Choice Action Network) and then rip it out of her body if she believes it to be anything less than a prince or princess in the making?

And that’s just the beginning. Our anonymous blogger has just begun his well-placed rant.

Continue reading here. I’m sure some of you will want to comment, too; so I’ve shut comments off here so you can leave them with the author. You know you want to.

October 12, 2010

Police Acting as Agents of the State

To Canadians, especially those in the country’s most populous province, Ontario, the name Michael Coren is well respected.   The conservative radio talk show host also hosts a weekday television program, writes a weekly column for The Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, and is the author of several books, including a biography of C. S. Lewis.

His most recent column, published on Saturday (9/10) re-posted below, is one of many that may be found in his page at The Toronto Sun.   (The nearly 200 comments to date on this one indicate the size of his national following.)


In Ottawa [last] week, police arrested five university students for displaying a pro-life exhibition.

They were peaceful and merely expressing an opinion and showing the realities of abortion.

In Toronto at the same time, the trial began of a man arrested and charged by police for defending his store against a career criminal with a mass of convictions. The drug-dealing crook was offered a reduced sentence if he would help their case against the model citizen of a store-owner.

The inescapable conclusion is while the police in this country are supposed to be guardians of the people, they are increasingly becoming agents of the state.

That they are political, or at least obey political masters, is surely now beyond dispute. Notice how they repeatedly refused to arrest or charge violent native protesters in Caledonia, Ont., even after there was filmed evidence of some of the demonstrators attacking people and destroying property.

Such refusal to apply the law when sensitive or controversial politics is involved is now common in Canada.

Less violent but similarly illegal is the phenomenon of men taking their clothes off and strolling around downtown Toronto during the Gay Pride Parade, sometimes simulating sex acts or participating in the real thing. Those who complain have been ignored, or even threatened with arrest themselves.

What happened at Carleton University with a group of young people with a social conscience, however, is extraordinary. They were hurting, and have hurt nobody. They were not demanding special privileges or grants. They were not insulting people, not even raising their voices. What they were displaying was a visual argument that the slaughter of the unborn is akin to genocide.

If you don’t agree with them, do what social conservatives have been told to do for decades every time they complain about pornography on TV or obscene behavior. Turn away. Don’t look. Ignore it.

Odd how when more conservative individuals are offended, they’re called prudes and told to grow up or ignore what they see, yet when allegedly liberal types are upset, the result is often police intervention and hours spent in a cell.

In Colorado, at the moment, a picture of Jesus Christ taking part in an obscene sex act is on show at a gallery that receives public funding. The museum, the artist and the funding have all been defended by some of the same people who have called for the arrest of activists from the American branch of the movement that participated in the pro-life display in Ottawa.

Last weekend in Toronto, a city-wide art show, backed by hundreds of thousands of tax dollars featured, among other things, two women posing naked for more than 24 hours. Parents with children were not warned before they entered the room and some complained. They were told not to have “such closed minds.”

Actually, their minds were not closed, but their hearts were open. There is a major difference between having an open mind and an empty one, and there is something repugnant about hypocrisy, particularly when it is backed by police muscle and a legal system that prefers political fashion to the absolutes of the law.

November 16, 2009

Planned Parenthood Director Resignation Gets Mixed Reaction at Church

This story deserved more than to be buried in a link list of suggested reading a few days from now.   It’s more significant than that.   And if you think you’re already on top of this one, just hang in there for a few paragraphs, or jump to the asterisk  * below for a rather strange twist updating as of November 15th.

Here’s a sample of how the story begins at The Christian Post:

The director of a Planned Parenthood abortion center in Texas has resigned and embraced the pro-life movement after witnessing an abortion through an ultrasound.

(Photo: Coalition for Life) Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas

Abby Johnson had worked at the clinic in Bryan/College Station, Texas, for eight years before departing from the facility after her change of heart.

“I left on good terms and simply had a change of heart on this issue,” she told 40 Days for Life, which had been holding prayer and fasting initiatives outside her clinic since fall of 2004. “Over the past few months I had seen a change in motivation regarding the financial impact of abortions and really reached my breaking point after witnessing a particular kind of abortion on an ultrasound.”

According to reports, Johnson had never seen an abortion take place on an ultrasound but happened to be present during one procedure, in which she saw a 13-weeks-old fetus trying to move away from the doctor’s probe

“I just thought, ‘What am I doing?'” she told ABC News. “And then I thought, ‘Never again.'”

Here’s another summary at World Magazine:

In late September, the abortionist at Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, needed assistance, so he asked the center’s director Abby Johnson to hold the ultrasound probe during a dilation and evacuation abortion. Johnson watched as the 13-week-old unborn child attempted to avoid the probe. “I saw a full profile of the baby from head to foot,” she told me.

Once the abortion procedure began, Johnson saw the child “crumple” under the pressure of the vacuum and then in an instant the child was gone. The reality of seeing the baby moving struck her as she stood in shock and dropped the ultrasound probe, she recalled: “My heart was racing. I kept thinking about my daughter.”

Blogger Stevan Sheets has an embedded 2-minute news report from local station KBTX.

I thought if any blogger would have commentary on this, it would be pro-life proponent La Shawn Barber, but her blog simply mentions the story in passing in a couple of posts, including a 3-minute embedded report from CBN News.

* End of story, right?   Not quite.  Johnson is finding some of the greatest resistance to her decision coming from her home church; as this story on the website Stand Firm reports:

Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose about-face on abortion prompted her to resign her job, says she’s gotten flack for her decision from an unexpected quarter: her own church.

Her Oct. 6 decision to leave Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas – after viewing an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13-week-old fetus two weeks earlier – made headlines, especially when she ended up volunteering at the Coalition for Life center a few doors away. Her former employer filed a restraining order to silence Mrs. Johnson, but a judge threw out the case on Tuesday.

Now she is facing a different kind of music at her parish, St. Francis Episcopal in nearby College Station, the home of Texas A&M University.

Whereas clergy and parishioners welcomed her as a Planned Parenthood employee, now they are buttonholing her after Sunday services.

“Now that I have taken this stand, some of the people there are not accepting of that,” she told The Washington Times. “People have told me they disagree with my choice. One of the things I’ve been told is that as Episcopalians, we embrace our differences and disagreements. While I agree with that, I am not sure I can go to a place where I don’t feel I am welcome.”

Wow!

Abby, if you’re reading this, I’m sure the whole world is looking a lot different than it did a few weeks ago.   Stand strong on what you know your heart — and God’s Spirit — is showing you and telling you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.    Psalm 139: 13-16

——Read the full stories by clicking the individual links.   The Stand Firm story is reprinted in full and the Washington Times article it refers to is worth reading in full.    An attempt by Planned Parenthood to obtain an injunction silencing Johnson failed as reported in this story in Metro Catholic.

Also, here’s a repeat from a few days ago of a link to seven pictures — be sure to see all seven — in the London Telegraph showing a human fetus (or foetus, as the Brits spell it) developing in the womb.

May 20, 2009

Why The Life/Choice Stats are Shifting: Time Magazine

Filed under: family, issues — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 1:15 pm

Time Magazine Nancy Gibbs May 18_09“…When the folks at Gallup announced that, for the first time, more Americans are pro-life than pro-choice, there were all kinds of ways to misunderstand what that means.

“..Most people are neither pro-choice nor pro-life, but both; we cherish life, we value choice, and we trade them off with great reluctance. Good luck explaining that to someone who is politely requesting a binary answer over the phone.

“…For 35 years, a majority of Americans have wanted abortion to be, essentially, legal with limits. But the movement toward greater restraint is clear.

“…I think the numbers, inadequate and simplified though they may be, reflect deeper changes — some generational, some legal, some technological. People under 30 are more opposed to abortion than those who are older, perhaps because their first baby pictures were often taken in utero. I also wonder if younger women are now sure enough of their sexual autonomy and their choices generally that they don’t view limits on abortion as attacks on their overall freedom.

“…The President appeared to understand this… addressing the possibility of common ground and the need for ‘…open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words….I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away,’ he said.  ‘Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it — indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory — the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.'”

Read the entire Time Magazine article by Nancy Gibbs here; complete with an observation in the final paragraph I’ve left unquoted for you to consider on your own.

I have nothing to add to this… now it’s your turn…

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