Thinking Out Loud

May 9, 2012

Wednesday Link List

I always type a ‘filler’ introductory paragraph here when I start, only last week, I didn’t update it and you were left with the rather lame, “Wednesday is here again.”  If you’re reading this, I didn’t catch this one, either.

  • For one week, Talbot Davis cancels the morning service at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Charlotte in favor of having multiple home church meetings instead, though they do gather at the church later in the day.  “You don’t bring your family to church… but we are living, breathing churches; the temple of the Holy Spirit, so we actually take the church with us to the campus each Sunday to celebrate in community what God is doing is in the home.”
  • For some people, the upcoming weekend just hurts, and church services just amplify that hurt. Those are the people dealing with infertility. Russell D. Moore rethinks Mother’s Day:”What if pastors and church leaders were to set aside a day for prayer for children for the infertile? In too many churches ministry to infertile couples is relegated to support groups that meet in the church basement during the week, under cover of darkness…”
  • Save the date: June 21-24 — The second Wildgoose Festival in North Carolina; with the most amazing mix of musicians and speakers. If I could get to only one U.S. summer festival, this would be it.
  • Here is Proverbs 1:8-9 in the new Social Media Bible: “My followers, read your father’s tweets & do not delete your mother’s messages. For they will be retweetable.”  The genealogies in Matthew are especially interesting.
  • Antioch Baptist Church pastor Ken Hutcherson says, “I am the gayest man I know.”  But then he explains what that means. “…Hutcherson is not a homosexual, nor does the happily married man have a same-sex attraction of any kind. He is, however, on a mission to take back words, phrases and symbols he believes groups…have “hijacked” from the American lexicon.
  • Michael Belote thinks that both at home school and public school, children aren’t learning how to learn.  “…we have become a nation of individuals who are firmly entrenched in philosophies that we do not understand: we are loyal to paradigms of which we remain mostly ignorant with regard to detail…”
  • Rebecca St. James narrates Mother India, a documentary premiering this fall about the real backstory in another film,  Slumdog Millionaire.  “…a compelling documentary following the adventure of 25 courageous orphans living as a family along the railway as they make pivotal decisions that will directly impact their future… filmed in January 2012 in southern India with a small production team…”
  • Karen Spears Zacharias has released a true story highlighting the impact of child abuse. A Silence of Mockingbirds is released through MacAdam Cage Publishing, which means this one may not be at your local Christian bookstore.
  • Does your church sing a lot of worship songs that are exclusive to your church; songs that were written by your own worship team leaders?  Bobby and Kristen Gilles recommend finding a place of balance.
  • An interesting dinner date: Canadian cult-watcher James Beverley dines in New York with Peter H. Gilmore, head of the Church of Satan. “…His positive characteristics are nonetheless evidence of God’s common grace…”
  • Don’t know where Tim Challies finds these things, but here’s an interesting blog about an Australian couple now serving in Mongolia.  This is a general link, scroll back and follow recent developments in a country where even buying a chair is a major accomplishment.
  • Michael Kruger suggests five different ways technology is affecting us in Rescuring Church from a Facebook Culture.  “…It is a low-commitment and low-accountability type of interaction.  We control—and entirely control—the duration, intensity, and level of contact.  At any moment, we can simply stop.   But, the Christian life, and real Christian relationships don’t work like this…”
  • Here’s another piece about technology at church, as in Matt Hafer’s Showing VHS’s to a Blu-Ray World. “Our financial giving isn’t where it needs to be and we brainstormed on why. One of the reasons that was plain to us is, we pass a bucket around and tell people the drop in cash or checks. The problems is, no one in 2012 carries cash and most people under 35 write a check about once a month…”
  • To post or not to post?  Matthew Paul Turner found this picture of a rather disturbing piece of fashion he called The Jesus Mini-Skirt.  If the image isn’t here, then you’ll have to click; it means better judgment prevailed.
  • Not exactly a Christian story, but CBN News reports on Chinese students being given IV hookups to amino acids to boost energy as they prepare for college entrance exams. It’s controversial, but not believed to be harmful.
  • Eugene Peterson didn’t just get up one morning and start translating the Bible. Several steps led up to the creation of The Message including: “…He read translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, from Greek to English. He discovered the translation principles use by these translators.”
  • The Grace Television Network now claims to be “Canada’s Largest 24/7 Provider of Christian Programming.”
  • As I type this, on Monday, Jon Acuff is at Stuff Christians Like #1199, but if I remember to update this, he will have passed the twelve hundred mark. [Later…] SCL #1200 was inspired by some people who chose to talk all through the service on Sunday… while sitting in the front row!
  • If you feel you must criticize something your pastor did or didn’t do, save it for Tuesday. Many pastors have a tougher time getting through Monday than Sunday.
  • Click the images to connect with more comics from ASBO Jesus (above) and For Heaven’s Sake (below).


  1. Children aren’t learning how to learn. It’s worse than that; we’ve quit training teachers how to teach. Before I started teaching in 2003 I was a system wide substitute. At the elementary level everything was spoon-fed. The teacher’s book has every statement, prompt, question and possible answers listed verbatim. The book reads “Say ‘What color is the sky?’ Wait for answers. Say ‘Yes, the sky is blue.’ ” Teachers are instructed to read the bold face statements without deviation. They are told what questions to ask and what answers are acceptable. It’s like a computer program with a human interface. The script is based on state mandated objectives, and the objectives are tied to standardized testing procedures. Schools are graded based on student test scores, and “failing” schools may have state funding pulled. This is what it’s come to in the name of “improving” American education. More than teaching the test, we’ve engineering the educational process around the test. One result is higher test scores; another is a generation of high school graduates that can’t think for themselves.

    No doubt there have been some incompetent teachers over the years that should not have been in the classroom. There are also some exceptional teachers that go above and beyond what is expected, demanding that each student put forth their best effort and challenging each student no matter their level of aptitude. Both types are being eliminated. Teachers are now mass produced on an assembly line from interchangeable parts.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 9, 2012 @ 8:43 am

    • Here’s something related we noticed: About five or six years ago they switched over to a new method of doing report cards. The teachers must choose from pre-written phrases and copy/paste these as appropriate for each student. They can’t add particular comments — good or bad — if they aren’t on the approved list.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — May 9, 2012 @ 8:58 am

      • The same thing is translating to the career world. To avoid legal action, some managers can only give references that say yes that person worked here and for how long. Opinion statements, like the quality of work that was done or the person’s best qualities, can get you sued.

        Comment by Clark Bunch — May 9, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  2. My wife and I have been teaching at a private Christian school since 2003, but even private schools are not immune to state boards of education. My wife works in a wonderful program called the Tutoring Lab. Students that are behind (grade levels behind) are taken from their regular class in the field in which they are deficient and given one-on-one attention to bring them back to grade level. Usually reading and math skills are focused on. Some students improve 3 or 4 grade levels in reading and/or math skills in as little as one academic year in the T-lab. The goal is to return the student to the classroom at the proper grade level; put them back in the mainstream. My wife continues to work with middle schools students, but the state (I’m biting my tongue to not say which state) made us stop tutoring high school students this way. High school students must be in a regular grade level classroom for the core academic subjects – math, science, history, English – even if that means failing those subjects because they cannot do the work. All high school students can do in the tutoring lab is get “study help.”

    We had a program for many years that helped students get back on track and succeed in the regular classroom and the state made us quit offering it.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 9, 2012 @ 8:58 am

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