Some great stories for your weekend reading:
The Benefits of Bad Preaching – “My Evangelical friends just don’t get [liturgy], and so I’m always happy when they join me at Mass to experience it for themselves – although I know what the fallout will often be: Scrunched up faces and raised eyebrows as they suffer through seemingly mindless ritual, rote prayers, and the occasional lousy sermon…Indeed, there’s a benefit to mediocre preaching once in a while, and it’s this: The faithful will be all the more likely to focus on what’s most important in the Mass if they aren’t distracted by the brilliant homily. ‘A preacher may be able to hold the attention of his listeners for a whole hour,’ Pope Francis wrote in Evangelii Gaudium, ‘but in this case his words become more important than the celebration of faith.'”
Growing Up Global – A blog devoted to “communicating across boundaries” asked Third Culture Kids (TCKs) to share their experience, producing a number of responses. She writes, “Our shared history is like a puzzle with pieces scattered all over the globe and very few pieces right beside us. I remember a couple of years ago saying to my husband ‘We can’t keep friendships! There is no one we’ve known longer than x number of years.’ but then we thought about it and realize we have so many long term friends, just very few right around us.” She would like to hear from more TCKs about their experience.
The Problem with Religion – While not actually using the R-word a whole lot, Andy Stanley shifts the discussion to the problem with “the temple model” which he defines as one which “grants extraordinary power to sacred men in sacred places who determine the meaning of sacred texts…The heart of the temple model is this question: what must I do or believe to make things and keep things right between God and me? Because at the end of the day, my religion is all about me.” But if this seems demanding fear not, “In temple religion, you will always find a loophole..” Read a summary of the sermon series which wraps up this weekend, or watch the messages at this dedicated link.
The Christian Edition of #SNL40 – Reframe Media has assembled all of the best religious themed skits from Saturday Night Live in one place so you and Church Lady and Father Guido Sarducci can do your own 40th Anniversary show.
It’s All Greek to Me – While admittedly this article is promoting a particular piece of Bible software, it’s a computer program that doesn’t require you to know Greek or Hebrew, though it’s more helpful if you do. The unique feature of the Phrasing software is that you manipulate the text which “allows you to visually trace a passage’s argument: simply indent to subordinate.” A series of five videos explains the methodology with examples in Hebrew, Greek and (for me) English.
Balancing the Load – She and her husband lead an international orphan-care ministry, but she’s also a mother of nine. “Just the other day, I came home from a trip and I could tell the kids were not amused. They were feeling my two day absence. I sat them down and took the opportunity to tell them about an upcoming trip to another country we had just bought tickets for us to experience as a family. Their eyes lit up and I told them, this isn’t a bribe, I am not trying to get myself off the hook from where I have been, I am just telling you honestly that what mom does sometimes costs us as a family and sometimes benefits us. And that’s how most of life will be.”
Reviewing The NIV Proclamation Bible – “In the summer of 1981, 40 men engaged in a preaching ministry gathered at a center in Surrey for a conference on ‘expository preaching’…the “Proclamation Trust” was born and it is this group that is spearheading the release of this new Bible…Tim Keller calls this a “study Bible” and I suppose that term can be loosely applied to any volume, but for me, when I call something a study Bible it has passage notes. It has tools that allow me to “study” the text built into the Bible. This Bible – as far as the text goes – only has chain reference and textual footnotes. This Bible has no actual textual commentary.”
Teaching Memory Verses to Two-Year Olds – “Can we really expect a 4-year-old to recite the memory verse two hours after he heard it in your small group on Sunday morning? Can we expect a 2-year-old to properly pronounce all of those words so that Mom and Dad understand what she is saying? …We can also expect that parents will need to have the memory verse to take home to review, sing, and move along with the words. It is frustrating to a 3-year-old who is trying very hard to tell Grandma about her verse from church and Grandma just doesn’t quite get it. Some type of written version made available to take or send home solves that problem…”
Publishers Who Can’t Stand the Heat Should Get out of the Kitchen – In a scene eerily similar to last year’s God and the Gay Christian, a Christian publishing house has distanced itself from the gay-sympathetic author by canceling publication of a book that was designed to attract a new generation of readers. Brandan Robertson’s Nomad was scheduled for fall release, but Destiny Image’s Don Nori in a ‘nothing to see here’ response dismisses the idea that the cancellation was anything other than financial. It seems they want the revenues that progressive Christian book buyers can bring, but not the ideas associated with them.
- Song of the Week: In the modern hymn style (with a bridge) “Always Be Enough.”
- Continue to pray for Rev. Phyllis Sortor, 70, Seattle missionary abducted in Liberia.
- If you haven’t already, here’s a free download of Andy Stanley’s The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating; well at least the first 40 pages.
- U.S. Child prodigy, artist Akiane Kramarik has moved to Australia with her family, who always dreamed of calling the Gold Coast home. Her work also figures into the movie Heaven is for Real.
- Benjamin L. Corey — an existing Destiny Image author with another title planned for summer release — comments on the situation with Brandan Robertson we reported yesterday.
Actual things on the internet:
- The Catholic church in Brazil is recommending that a 34-year old priest-in-training who died while surfing be considered for sainthood.
- This is an actual page from the student housing service of Wesleyan University. A house set aside for LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM community. (Some language in this is NSFW.)
- Why does Hillsong Church need an agent? And what does it have to do with Justin Bieber?
- The connection between heavy metal music and dinosaurs…
- …from a website that deserves its own mention: Christians Against Dinosaurs.
- I didn’t believe it until I heard it: An all-acapella Christian music internet-only radio station.
- The fake Ann Voskamp Twitter feed now has company, there’s a fake Ann Voskamp’s husband account.