Welcome to a new, slightly slimmed-down link list. The bottom line is that blog engagement is not what it once was, and Thinking Out Loud is no exception. Providing 35-40 links is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work; work for which we don’t get paid, as the blog is not monetized. So it’s actually the number of hours spent on this week’s link that were cut. If you send in suggestions then the quantity might go up slightly in those weeks.
Top links last week were (1) Reformed/Anabaptist; (2) Worship industry killing worship; and (3) Gospel Centered ministry.
Also, if you only show up here once a week, 6 days ago there was a Thursday Link List you missed.
- Essay of the Week: A honest hard look at what we pay “the guest speaker” and how it’s usually on the lower side of fair.
- A ghostwriter of a chance: Who really wrote Billy Graham’s most recent work?
- People like a church “where everybody knows your name; and they’re always glad you came…” but even in Cheers, only the main characters knew Norm.
- The 613 is not a book about Ottawa, Canada’s area code. Rather it’s a one pound, 640-page art book with each of the 613 Torah commandments from the Mitzvot illustrated in surrealistic colors.
- The whole point of a small group is to have a small, tight community, right? Well, in performing an autopsy on his failed small group, this writer realized they had been too internally focused.
- Above My Pay Grade Department (which I was also tempted to call ‘I Dream of Genealogy’): A look at the discrepancies between the family trees in Matthew and Luke.
- Scot McKnight reviews Partners in Christ by John Stackhouse which he finds just might be “the most honest book ever written in the complementarian-egalitarian debate; it is without doubt the fairest book on the topic I’ve seen.” The subtitle is A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism.
- Devotional for the media/tech team: “Every tech person is pursuing great sound and video, but are we pursuing the face of God? Even if you aren’t on stage your prayers can do great things.”
- Belief in God is “still remarkably high by comparison with other advanced industrial countries;” but overall Pew Research is reporting a decline in religion in America.
- For several years now, The Gideons in Canada have been charting their own course. That ministry now moves to next steps with the launch of Shareword Global.
- Listicle of the Week: A look at the top ten all-time most popular works of Christian fiction.
- Years ago some of us knew her as Anne Jackson. Now, Anne Marie Miller is six months away from a new title with Baker Books: Five Things Every Parent Needs to Know About their Kids and Sex.
- This time around the butler didn’t do it: “The Vatican on Monday (Nov. 2) announced the arrest of two people in connection with the alleged theft of confidential documents, the first such case since the “Vatileaks” scandal saw the papal butler jailed for leaking Holy See secrets.”
- Barna Research’s David Kinnaman guests on The Phil Vischer podcast discussing religious freedom (once you get past the banter, which makes it kinda like a What’s in the Bible episode.) (Did I say that out loud?)
- Media from the other side: A Humanist take on Operation Christmas Child.
- Not entirely new, but if you’re looking for a really unique small group experience for Christmas (or Easter) here’s an eight session Lifeguide Bible study based on different pieces from Handel’s Messiah.
- Have you heard of those medical insurance alternatives where Christians cover each other’s expenses? Here’s one satisfied customer.
- The Royal Mail in the UK unveils this year’s nativity-themed Christmas stamps.
- At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, SEO stands for Spiritual Enquiry Optimization. (Okay, I thought it was clever, but my spellcheck had never seen the other spelling of inquiry before.)
- Not every meme you see about Icelandic atheists and crime is 100% true.
- Church pickup lines and equally cheesy Christian breakup lines.
- What not to wear to a funeral, plus 19 other pictures of weird liturgical vestments.
For our closing graphic, Mad Magazine gets rather serious: