Thinking Out Loud

May 9, 2018

Wednesday Connect

Pardon my Planet’s Vic Lee often dances around religious/spiritual themes as in this example and one below.

“I got baptized in the Jordan River and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” This connects with the video about the origins of baptism, linked below.


Perhaps we can get this new “variant on Special K” as a sponsor for Wednesday Connect. In the meantime, click the image to learn more about this trending breakfast cereal.

Welcome to Wednesday Connect #9. Or if you prefer, Wednesday Link List #409. I don’t really care what you call it, as long as you click things, and this week there are some pieces worth both clicking and sharing.

► Probably one of the most seen items online this week was Beth Moore’s revelation concerning what she has had to put up with from male Christian ministry leaders. (And a malicious response online from one of them that I won’t dignify by naming him.) She claims to have gone out of her way to avoid criticism. This one would be hilarious if it weren’t for the fact she found it necessary: “I wore flats instead of heels when I knew I’d be serving alongside a man of shorter stature so I wouldn’t be taller than he.” No matter what you feel about Beth Moore, her version of it contains a glimpse into attitudes that were far, far less than Christian

► …Which led to this apology from a spokesperson for a large bloc of Christians.

► You saw the reports last week about rainbow-themed Mickey Mouse ears just in time for Pride Month at Disney. Now comes word of the cancellation of a Christian-themed event which goes back to 1983, Night of Joy.

► As everyone knows, women outnumber men in church, but “…the fault lies not with the men who skip church each week and instead go golfing or fishing or to a game or simply stay in bed. No, the fault lies with the churches that fail to give them the presentation of Christianity that best suits them.”

► Lutheran publisher Concordia is told it can get its advertising back on Google if they’ll just edit out the pesky religious stuff.

► Bible translation is the extreme sport of Christian academics, research and scholarship. But to pursue it, one needs to be trained in linguistics. But the best linguist can’t be without the theological education. “Asking a Bible translator to choose between linguistics or theological education is like asking him to choose between his toothpaste and toothbrush.” The writer also identifies two schools that achieve this balance

► Across the Pond: “On May 25 Ireland will decide whether to repeal or retain the Eighth Amendment of our Constitution, which recognizes the equal right to life of mother and unborn child… I was not surprised that U2 came out for Repeal. It was only a matter of time. The world’s loudest folk band has been heading in that direction for years, its early truth-telling gradually giving way to a jostling for liberal kudos… Fans were bereft. One tweeted: ‘This breaks my heart. I have loved and followed you for 20 years. I still love you but I can’t follow you down this road. My tickets to upcoming shows will go unused…’ It’s hard to say where they stand with Jesus these days. He’s still there in (some of) the lyrics, but sometimes you get to thinking that the U2 trajectory looks more and more like a belated discovery of the delights they eschewed in youth, a front-loading of the piety of age followed by an eruption into delayed adolescence.”

A pastor is found beheaded in India.

► His perspective was probably quite different than most others who attended the summit in Wheaton, because his is a global perspective. Brian Stiller of the World Evangelical Alliance offers Six Takeaways from the Future of Evangelicalism meeting last month.

► Theology Nerd: In a special Q&A podcast, Dr. Tripp Fuller looks at the option of reopening the canon of scripture versus reasons for keeping it closed.

► Church attendance: Up or Down? “We tend to believe, thanks to research like Pew’s, that church attendance has waned. (From 2007 to 2014, the percentage of Americans who reported attending services at least monthly dropped from 54 to 50.) The map [in the Washington Post article] shows many places where there was an increase. In fact, the number of counties where church attendance increased since 1952 as a function of population is distributed fairly evenly, with slightly more counties seeing increased density in church attendance than decreases.”

► I debated about this one last week, and didn’t include it. Today, I’m just tossing it out there and you can decide the relevance. The story in a sentence is that author Mallory Ortberg has transitioned and is now Daniel Mallory Ortberg. (Related to the now-Presbyterian, former-Willow pastor? Yes.)

► Rethinking a respected Standard: “The “Billy Graham Rule” is rooted in an idea that men and women are inherently, uncontrollably (hetero-)sexual beings, and it is designed to discourage any situations in which extramarital temptations could arise. But I think this whole narrative is a) unbiblical, b) anti-women, and c) factually incorrect. I also think it does men a huge disservice.”

► Must-Read Essay of the Week: The real reason Millennials aren’t at church. One writes, “I don’t need your life to look like mine. I don’t mind your messy, kid-filled busy life. I would actually love to be a part of it. I can come over and help you fold laundry. I can laugh with you about the crazy comment your kid said over dinner. I can tag along at the grocery store or in the car during school pick-up. As a part of Christ’s family, I want to share my life with you too. The good, the bad and the ugly. The successes at work. The fears of not measuring up. The failures I need to say out loud to know someone will still love me despite them. As a millennial, I want to be a part of your life and am hoping you want to be a part of mine as well.”

► From the academic, nonsectarian video channel Religion for Breakfast, a look at the Pre-Christian origins of the practice of baptism. (5 minutes)

► Supermom! Is it unrealistic for a woman to try to live up to The Proverbs 31 Woman?

► “There’s one clear way the world can help the Syrian people. The Trump administration is doing the opposite… The Trump administration cut the targeted number of yearly refugee admissions in half, from 95,000 in previous years to 45,000 in 2018. And at the current pace, refugee experts say, the final tally for this year is likely to be half that figure. As a case in point: in the first three and a half months of this year, the U.S. admitted only 44 refugees from Syria—about one-twentieth of the number accepted in the corresponding period in 2016… The ostensible reason for the U.S. clampdown on refugees is national security… Yet the actual security risk posed by refugees is negligible. “

► Things the kids need to know if their Missionary Kids (MKs) or Third Culture Kids (TCKs): A writer who knows what it’s like has summarized some of past articles into an all-time Top Ten mindsets these kids need to have.

► Job Description: What does a church “Communications Director” actually do, and what type of person are you looking for if you feel your church needs one? 

► From Pew Research: Black Americans are more likely than others to read their Bibles regularly and revere it as God’s Word. Also, “Another sign of the importance of the Bible to African Americans is their participation in prayer and scripture study groups.”

► The Complete Apologetic Answers: “A group of vocal atheist YouTubers posted a video on the Non Sequitur Show YouTube channel entitled ‘Questions no Christians Can Answer! An Atheist Creators’ Collaboration.’ In the video, fifteen atheists who are popular on YouTube and/or social media each presented what they considered to be their most compelling questions for Christians.” Read the responses “from various sects of Christianity representing Catholicism, Southern Baptists, Anglicans, Calvinists, Mormons, Eastern Orthodox and Messianic Jews with both liberal and conservative viewpoints.”

► Karl Vaters and Drew Dyck are among the speakers at a conference for small(er) churches happening in 11 days in the northeast. Check out the 2-minute intro video at

► No good news for American Pastor Andrew Brunson who is “is one of many Americans currently imprisoned in Turkey, including a NASA scientist and consulate workers.” He remains in prison until his next hearing mid-July.

► Modern Worship touring events: “Is it really worship if they charge you to get in?” “VIP seating at something that’s supposed to be worship?” “Brother Tomlin is not the only one to bait people in with the promise of worship, but it’s apparently a successful venture for him… you can reserve your own spot before Tomlin’s throne.”

► Podcast Preferences: Honestly, I wish I had the time. Podcasts involve a much greater commitment than simply reading a blog post, and don’t always offer the portability of reading a book. A year ago we told you about Seminary Dropout with Shane Blackshear, and if I had the time to follow one more, this would be top of list.

► A near-death experience, this one well documented. “From no brain waves to now walking and talking and reading, doing math. A miracle,” [his mother] said. Trenton [McKinley, 13] said he believes he was in heaven while he was unconscious. “I was in an open field walking straight,” he told WALA-TV. “There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”

► Add the greater Toronto church C4 to the list of churches producing original worship music. Their album, What is a Mountain? released on a Sunday…just in time for church. Listen to a one-minute sample. (Available on Apple and Spotify.)

Zack Hunt is now blogging at Patheos.

► Hitting the Road: Your annual index to major Christian Music Festivals in the United States and Canada. (And for my UK readers, this list.)

► The Slippery Slope Begins: Ken Ham can’t find enough potential Creation Museum and Ark Encounter employees who meet his doctrinal standards so he’s relaxing the rules a little. (If you click through to the Facebook announcement, jump to the 5:45 mark.) 

► From our Fashion Department: This year’s Met Gala 2018 was entitled, “Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination;” the purpose of which is “to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.” Some say the fashions “went too far.” Preview and backstory; images (of which, if it weren’t for copyright, if I could have posted any here it would have been #22 and #24.)

► Finally, a new blog: Stephen Altrogge has launched including a look at Youth Group culture: “From what I can tell, lock-ins occur in two places: maximum security prisons and youth groups.” From his experience, such events are incredibly dangerous.



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