As tempting as it was to come up with something in lieu of today’s date, I decided that the stories and articles here are often strange enough. Besides, I felt bad five years ago when some people went for this one.
A Different Type of Creation Debate - The UK’s top Christian podcast, Unbelievable?: “John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, Illinois, has authored the book The Lost World of Adam and Eve. He argues that Adam and Eve were intended as archetypes for humankind, and the story is not mean to be taken as an account of our material origins. Stephen Lloyd, who holds to Young Earth Creation, argues that Walton undermines Christian theology as a whole with his view of Genesis.” 80 minutes of agree to disagree. (John is also a guest on this week’s Phil Vischer Podcast.)
On Taking Notes During the Sermon - Jerad Wilson: “I first began thinking about note-taking in relation to what preaching is when I heard Tim Keller, echoing Lloyd-Jones, say in a sermon, ‘I don’t mind if you take notes at the beginning of a message, but if you’re still taking notes at the end, I feel like I haven’t brought it home.’… I began discouraging note-taking (not forbidding it) and relieving my church from the duty of note taking (meaning, saying they didn’t have to) because I want them to see preaching in the worship service not as a lecture or as primarily an educational transmission to their minds, but as prophetic proclamation and as primarily aimed at their hearts.”
Church Decor That Welcomes Men - David Murrow: “Men are intensely visual. The way a room is decorated tells guys whether they are welcome in that space… The typical church is decorated grandma-style: Quilted banners and silk flower arrangements adorn church lobbies. More quilts, banners, and ribbons cover the sanctuary walls, complemented with fresh flowers on the altar, a lace doily on the Communion table, and boxes of Kleenex under every pew… This femme décor sends a powerful subconscious message to men: you are out of place. The moment men set foot in the vestibule, they look around get the same uneasy feeling they experience in a fabric store, flower shop, or any other female-oriented locale.” Be sure to click the two photo galleries.
Welcome Gifts for Your Church Visitors - “You are inviting guests to come to your church and a great way to indicate to them that you expected them is to have a gift ready just for them…A gift for your guests gives you the opportunity to explain what makes your church tick … you can give them an inside look at what it means to be a part of you community.” A 9-minute podcast with notes, plus a look at what’s in all those church gift bags.
The Bible on Disabilities - A short teaser for a short article: A new look at who are the weaker members of the body in I Corinthians 12.
God with a Capital G - Terry Mattingly, who notices such things, thinks we may be seeing a subtle shift in style occurring in Associated Press news stories. As it stands right now at AP: “Capitalize God in references to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Capitalize all noun references to the deity: God the Father, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, Allah, etc. Lowercase personal pronouns: he, him, thee, thou. Lowercase gods and goddesses in references to the deities of polytheistic religions. Lowercase god, gods and goddesses in references to false gods: He made money his god.” But rules change. (I now find myself vacillating between ‘He’ and ‘he.’)
Proportional Giving Isn’t Always Sacrificial - “I knew a preacher who mentioned the challenge he and his wife had experienced, trying to increase their giving by 1 percent each year. And I wonder, Why am I satisfied to give only what I’m giving today? …Stewardship is about managing every dollar, every asset, every possession, every experience to please God and lift up his name. The fact that I give doesn’t make me a good steward.”
Down is Up - People with Down Syndrome often report the highest levels of happiness. “The lives of people with developmental disabilities speak sermons and image the great mysteries of life. How can we prepare ourselves to be taught discernment and wisdom in this way? People with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities are just people. I often hear others tell me that they couldn’t do my job. Most of the time, I quickly correct them: ‘Yes, you could. You can treat humans like they are human.’ We don’t do it perfectly, but we make sure to get involved.”
When Your Childhood Hobby is Satanic - On a new book about Dungeons and Dragons: “I think than fantasy role-playing games really can function like a religion, in the sense that players work together to construct an alternative world in which they can meaningfully dwell. As sociologists of religion know, when people can imagine an alternative world they tend to see the social order differently. Much like religion, these games create a new mental space from which players can look back on the world and their lives from a new perspective. The converse of this comparison is that a religious worldview can be compared to a fantasy role-playing game: As long as the adherents of the religion ‘play their roles,’ the world of the religion is ‘real’ and does not require empirical confirmation.”
One for the Road - You know you go to a cool church when Stevie Wonder drops in for a visit. And you know that means you’re gonna hear a song.
- LGBT. It stands for Let God Be True.
- Charisma magazine affirms that when someone has “a word from the Lord,” this does not and cannot supersede scripture.
- A classic Graham Kendrick song is now on YouTube; enjoy Let the Flame Burn Brighter.
- If your church does sermon series theme slides, why not do a sermon series wall?
- This story about Pope Michael — you remember him — was working out well until I noticed the 2005 date. Sigh! Still an interesting read.
- Do moderates or extremists represent the true nature of Islam?
- The sometimes controversial Wild Goose Festival is offering a discount to ticket buyers willing to opt in before the lineup is announced.
- Below, interesting to see how Gospel Music performers land on this “cause of death” chart. Link to original source.