Thinking Out Loud

May 2, 2018

Wednesday Connect

Baylor University Homiletics Heavyweights: How many can you name? To see who these “A dozen pastors known for their consistently stellar performances in the pulpit” are, click the image. Your assessment of who’s in and who’s missing from this list may vary.

So I wrapped this up last night, and then this morning, as I was turning on my computer I realized I hadn’t written the introduction. There was just a placeholder that said ‘int.’ That’s a first. Again, welcome to Wednesday Connect and I hope you benefit from some articles and news items you might not see otherwise. Also, let me know if you want me to bring back the music videos; we weren’t getting a lot of clicks on those…

► Article of the Week: While speaking at a fairly conservative church, a suit-wearing Philip Yancey has an unexpected interruption from an unexpected guest

► Must Reading: Kristen Welch, author of Raising World Changers in a Changing World offers you, right here in this article, 100 Ways Your Family Can Change the World. Or, if you prefer, read a free chapter excerpt from her book. (22 pg .pdf)

► Clarification Needed: Rumors are widely circulating that a California bill would ban sales of Bibles

► My University is Bigger Than Your University: Apparently size matters, at least to Jerry Falwell, Jr. who when confronted with the news that Grand Canyon University (GCU) was bigger, said, “Our definition of a Christian university only includes universities who hire faculty who adhere to fundamental Christian doctrine. GCU does not. Liberty does.” (Expect this to go on for awhile.)

► Lastest Pew Research findings on belief: “About half (48%) of U.S. adults believe God determines what happens to them most or all of the time. Nearly eight-in-ten U.S. adults think God or a higher power has protected them, and two-thirds of Americans say they have been rewarded by the Almighty. At the same time, fewer see God as judgmental and punitive, with just four-in-ten saying they have been punished by the deity in which they believe.”

► On Benny Hinn: “Growing up in the Hinn family dynasty is a hybrid of the Royal Family and the Mafia.” Six weeks ago, nephew Costi Hinn sat down with HLN. (6½ min.)

► Meet Kristan Hawkins. I don’t know about her faith, but Kristan is the president of Students for Life of America, the largest pro-life youth organization in the nation. Since 2006, she has grown SFLA from a few dozen pro-life student groups to over 1,200 high school and college clubs throughout all 50 states…Kristan has been speaking on college campuses for her ‘Lies Feminists Tell’ tour, exposing how the abortion industry manipulates women into killing their children.”

► Listened to this Week: All 2 hours and 20 minutes of Greg Boyd taking questions from his parishioners on a variety of topics in 3 different services.

► Most under-reported story of last week: The firing of House of Representatives Chaplain, Father Patrick Conroy. Why the silence, even from Catholic media?

► After reading Brian Stiller’s book, From Jerusalem to Timbuktu, I gravitated toward this article, which also looks at what is called, the serial growth of Christianity.

► Is the conservative Evangelical response to the #MeToo crisis the correct one? This abuse survivor blogger says no.

► I have mixed feelings about sharing this, but for some of you who aren’t easily offended, it needs to be seen. In a few days a classic Christian blogger, Jamie Wright is releasing the book The Very Worst Missionary (Waterbrook Press) which is liberally peppered with expletives. It’s unfortunate in some ways, because over the years she was a powerful voice on such things as the foolishness involved in some short-term missions trips as seen from the perspective of full-time career missionaries. But rather than apologizing for the earthly language, she flaunts it in this post, telling people if they don’t like it, they can redact the words on the pages they occur, providing an index of each instance of crude language.

► The Psychology of Guilt: “In 21st Century America, guilt ain’t what it used to be — on the surface. It is often portrayed as a needless, even damaging, burden…Is guilt disappearing as religion is moved from the center of cultural influence in the West? Quite the opposite…Secularization makes matters worse because so many can no longer rely on Jewish and Christian forms of absolution that make guilt bearable.”

► All things to all men: “Today’s missionary theorists talk about ‘inculturation’ by which foreign workers learn about another culture, assimilate, and reshape methods to attract adherents. The same applies to outreach within a culture that is secularizing or post-Christian. But how to do this yet uphold the essentials of Christian belief

► I grew up in a church which did things like this. Still, it takes courage to invite someone of another faith to share in your sermon, as Bruxy Cavey did inviting a Zen Buddhist to speak last week.  

► For Roger Olson, the journey of Carlton Pearson — both as seen on NetFlix and in real life — is rather personal. But Come Sunday is also a film about Oral Roberts: “Oral did not permit any formal, written statement of faith at his university. Doctrine was whatever he said it was. And that fluctuated greatly. In the departments of theology we faculty took turns taking phone calls from people asking about Oral’s theology. I simply explained to callers that Oral was not a theologian and they should not expect him to be perfectly consistent or deep in his thinking or presentations of doctrines.”

► As someone who has stuck with a basic, free WordPress blog for more than ten years — not even changing the theme — this article really resonated.

► At the Movies: Alien Intrusion has been playing single night performances since February 28th and aims to show a connection between UFO sightings and evolution. It’s based on a bestselling book of the same name by Gary Bates. If anyone has seen this film, I’d love to learn more.

► One host site, not far from the main venue, is passing on the Global Leadership Summit this year in light of allegations against its founder Bill Hybels: “In light of the allegations now swirling around the former senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church AND the larger national movement drawing needed attention to the stories of women treated in harmful ways, this message comes to inform you that Christ Church will not serve as a host site for the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) this coming August…We’d like to see the largely constructive witness of Bill Hybels, the Willow Creek Church, and its Association continue. But, given the high identification between Bill and the GLS conference, this year we are taking a purposeful pause.”

► Disney. Again. This time it’s rainbow-themed Mickey Mouse ears; gearing up for its annual LGBT-Pride Month in June. (Updated link 6:25 PM)

► A wonderful side-benefit of becoming a Christian is that you now have 17 different ways to say ‘no.’

► Finally, The Jimmy Kimmel Show has a staffer who is assigned (hopefully among other things) to troll Pat Robertson. He finally got a made-up question read to Pat on the air.


  1. 12 preachers that can really preach – 6 of them I am familiar, some I quote from time to time, but I only recognized John Piper from the head shots. I often fail to recognize people that I know in real life; I rely on my wife to tell me who people are that recognize me in public. I think I could have spotted Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, T.D. Jakes, John Hagee or Joyce Meyers if those had been options. I know Joel Osteen’s face really well but that’s a different list.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 2, 2018 @ 9:38 am

  2. I start writing a comment about Disney. By the time it was over I copied and pasted the text as a new blog post. My thoughts on Disney, for what it’s worth, can be found here:

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 2, 2018 @ 10:22 am

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