Thinking Out Loud

October 31, 2008

The Cross of Christ – As Central to Faith in November as it is at Easter

Filed under: bible, Christianity, Faith, Jesus — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:57 pm
“I must die or get somebody to die for me.   If the Bible doesn’t teach that it doesn’t teach anything.” ~ Dwight L. Moody

“The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders.   If he bids us carry a burden he carries it also.”     ~ Charles Spurgeon

“Jesus now has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross.”     ~ Thomas a Kempis

“In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept.   Easter makes him dangerous.   Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings.  Moreover, Easter means he must be loose out there somewhere.”     ~ Philip Yancey

“God proved his love on the cross. When Christ hung, bled and died it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” ~ Billy Graham


It Lost Something In The Translation

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:24 pm

The English is clear enough to lorry drivers – but the Welsh reads “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.” …Read the whole BBC News story here.

But Will Google Have a Graphic for All Saints Day?

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:43 am

Probably not.  Christian special days usually don’t rate the same attention.   But I’ll be happy to be proved wrong tomorrow morning.    All Saints Day is November 1st; the day after Halloween.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Western Christian holiday of All Saints Day falls on November 1, followed by All Souls’ Day on November 2, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite Roman Catholic Church.

The origin of the festival of All Saints as celebrated in the West dates to May 13, 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. The chosen day, May 13, was a pagan observation of great antiquity, the culmination of three days of the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Medieval liturgiologists based the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of “all the dead”.[citation needed]

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”, with the day moved to November 1.[5]

This usually fell within a few weeks of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to that of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, whose holiday Samhain had been, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this November 1 date, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: “…the Felire of Oengus and the ‘Martyrology of Tallaght’ prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20.”[6]

A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on November 1 in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued “at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops”, which confirmed its celebration on November 1. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471—1484).[3]

The festival was retained after the reformation in the calendar of the Church of England and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada and the Wesleyan Church. [1]

In the United Methodist Church, All Saint’s Day is on the first Sunday in November. It is held to remember all those that have passed away from the local church congregation. A candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person’s name is called out. Then, a liturgical prayer is offered for each soul in Heaven

Read the full Wikipedia article here.

>>>UPDATE:  The blog, Slice of Laodacia also had an All Saints Day post which contains ALL ELEVEN VERSES to the song, “For All The Saints.”   This paragraph was its link, but then that blog died, so in 2010, I posted them myself, as you can read here.

October 30, 2008

Godspell 35th Anniversary – The Christ Story Stands Up Well Whatever You Do To It

Filed under: bible, Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:32 pm

I know lots of evangelical people who don’t like Godspell.   They didn’t like it 35 years ago, and they don’t like it now.

To me, Godpsell was a transformational moment in time.   I saw it the first time at the Bayview Playhouse in Toronto.   I think a young Paul Shafer (from the David Letterman Show) may have been the keyboard player.   The classic story in my black, leather-bound, King James Version bible suddenly exploded on stage in the rock music of my generation.

I’d seen the movie when it first came out, but hadn’t seen it since.   When Columbia Pictures released the anniversary edition, I couldn’t resist buying one.  I decided the other night to just watch the opening song; after all, it was nearly 10 PM.   I ended up watching the whole thing.

Let me say at this point, I’d love to sit down and watch this with a group of pastors and leaders.   Each of us would have a legal pad, and the time indicator on the DVD player would be visible.   We would jot notes and note the time of each reflection or observation; and then for several hours after we would discuss the things we considered in the movie chronology in which we noted them.   There is much to think about here.

Knowing what I know now, I saw things in the movie that I know not to not be Biblically accurate.   But the Christ story stands up well, whatever you do to it.   It’s a hard story to wreck.   I loved the part where the disciples are “called out” of their everyday routines, just as today the “ecclesia” are called out to be Christ followers.   I liked the idea of putting all the accusations of the Pharasees in a single “Wizard of Oz” type confrontation wtih Jesus.   I liked the idea of including both male and female actors in the inner circle.   I was challenged with the concept of placing the wilderness temptation’s three questions in the scene in the garden just before Christ’s arrest.

But the disciples were chosen by Jesus, not simply ‘drawn’ to him by some invisible magic.   The Pharsees’ confrontations were part of an ongoing strategy to prove or disprove his messiahship.  The inner twelve were male.   The wilderness temptation was at the outset of Christ’s ministry years, not at the end.

I know all that.  But the story, the joy, the grace, the huge amount of the screenplay that is directly lifted from the pages of scripture; …it’s hard not to resonate positively with all that.

Some of the songs improve on the movie.   “All Good Gifts” tries desperately to get away from its operatic (i.e. very non-contemporary) sound on the original soundtrack.  The song unique to the movie, “Beautiful City,” continues to strike me as completely out of place.   “Day by Day” continues as the anthem of Godspell.

Visually, the movie brings an entirely new dimension to the Prodigal Son story; probably my favorite scene this time around.   Then there’s the costumes:  35 years ago — actually a few years earlier when the stage production opened — the biggest objection to the production was the casting of Jesus as a “clown.”   Try as I might, I still don’t see it that way.   I see brightly colored costumes on all the disciples, with makeup applied as a ‘mark’ of being part of Jesus’ tribe.   But Jesus himself removes the makeup to send the disciples back into the world that will await them when he is no longer with them.

I only wish the movie had a resurrection scene.   That’s the biggest drawback.   He was who he said he was, and he proved it by his triumph over death.   Godspell, the movie, ends with the disciples bearing the body of Jesus.   Nearly four decades removed from the original, it’s hard to say what intent was behind that decision.   If he hadn’t risen from death’s grip, would there be any interest in his story 2000 years later?

If the World Could Vote

Filed under: election, politics — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:27 pm

Thanks to our friend Amy for telling us about this website. Here’s the WHO and the WHY…

Who is behind the site?

Just three guys from Iceland. The site is independent from all political parties, companies or hidden agendas. It’s just an idea a 22 year old guy in Iceland came up with and executed with a little help from a couple of friends.

Why are you doing this?

Just out of curiosity. The president of the United States is a powerful man, probably the most powerful person on the planet. So everyone seems to have an opinion on who should be the next president of the United States. We thought it would be interesting to see who would be the next president if the whole world could vote. It’s also a challenge to try to beat the number of voters in the last US elections. So spread the news.

…So now that you’ve got the concept, you can click here.

Does This Apply To Church Organization and Hierarchy, Too?

Filed under: Christianity, Church — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:17 pm

This quote usually appears with the line “attributed to Petronius Arbiter, 210 BC…

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning
to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later
in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing;
and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress
while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.”

…But some people think it might really be Robert Townsend, circa 1970

It just reminds me of what churches do, especially when a new pastor arrives on the scene.

October 29, 2008

The Sarah Palin Internet Hook

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:27 pm

Christianity Today‘s editorial on evangelicalism that uses Sarah Palin as a hook generated quite a reaction on the main site.

Anything on Sarah Palin seems to guarantee strong reactions. See The Boston Globe‘s Michael Paulson post on comments.

“In my own brief blogging career, Sarah Palin has been the gift that keeps on giving — she has generated an astonishing number of comments, from both ends of the political, and theological, spectrum, many of them saturated with incredible hostility directed by the non-religious at the religious and vice versa.”

This entire article originally posted October 29, at the Christianity Today politics blog; written by Sarah Pulliam and posted here just to see how OUR blog traffic goes up after running it!!!

Photo insert:  This book from TYNDALE, a Christian publishing house, was one of the first out of the starting gate.

Choosing Where Your Computer Takes You (and Where It Shouldn’t)

Filed under: Christianity, internet, pornography — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:02 pm

When it comes to distractions, temptations, and the ugly side of the internet, I could write a book.   Oh… wait a minute I did write a book.   After doing research on this topic, I know where many of the sites in question are just a click away.    These days I don’t visit those sites.   I’m long done with it on a personal level and am no longer in any ‘research’ mode.   Still, there are times I find myself wasting time online looking for something ‘edgy.’   It’s not the same as the hardcore addiction that many deal with, but it’s probably trying to feed the same beast.  Or simply be a stepping stone to the next site, which would be more ‘edgy.’

So, in an effort to respond to the calling that God extends to everyone — to walk in greater degrees of purity and holiness — about ten days ago I taped a little yellow piece of paper to the bottom of my monitor that simply says, “Good Choices, Better Choices, Best Choices.”   I believe that many of the choices we face in life are not a matter of “Good versus bad;” but rather, “Good versus Better versus Best.”  (Capital letters intentional.)

And ya know what?   It works.   It really helps me stay focused on what I’m spending time online doing.   If you’re in a position where this applies to you, try it and let me know how it changes what you do on the net.   And if it’s someone else who uses the same computer who might have an issue with this, tape it to the monitor for them, too.   And if your kids have their own computer, tape it to theirs, and insist they leave it in place.

Great Moments in the Space Race: Colonel Steve Zodiac and Fireball XL5

Filed under: classic television — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:45 am

XL5 in Space City.

Set in the year 2063, Fireball XL5 stands by to launch from Space City.   The entire skyscraper in the background rotated.  The show was a simile to the space race between the United States and the USSR.  The show was broadcast “100 years earlier” in the 1960s when peoples’ imaginations were fired up by the possibilities in space and the space race itself between the U.S. and Russia mirrored tensions on the ground.   The show was created by Gerry & Sylvia Anderson who went on to do Stingray and Thunderbirds using the “Supermarionation” process (a nice way of saying ‘puppets’) but are best known for the live actor Space 1999 series.   Steve Zodiac’s partner was named Venus, which helps you understand the last line of the show’s theme:

I wish I was a space man.
The fastest guy alive.
I’d fly you round the universe,
In Fireball XL-5.
Way out in space together,
Compass of the sky,
My heart would be a fireball,
A fireball,
Everytime I gazed into your starry eyes.

We’d take the path to Jupiter,
And maybe very soon.
We’d cruise along the Milky Way,
And land upon the moon.
To our wonderland of stardust,
We’ll zoom our way to Mars,
My heart would be a fireball,
A fireball,
If you would be my Venus of the stars

October 28, 2008

When People, Things, Ideas, Etc. Don’t Fit Neatly Into Little Boxes

Filed under: Christianity, ethics, Faith, issues, theology — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:22 pm

Of the two of us, my wife is the better writer.  Her longest-running blog however, is largely focused on a particular local ministry which usually doesn’t touch on the issues we do here.  Until today.   I want you to read a particular piece she wrote about ways in which their ministry is being ‘stretched.’  About things that don’t neatly fit into the folders we create to try to maintain control over everything that comes our way.  And I hope you’ll be ‘stretched’ while you read it.   I was.

The piece is called Eggshells, and you can read it here.

If you wish to comment, copy your remarks to the response windows of both blogs!

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