Thinking Out Loud

August 8, 2018

Wednesday Connect

Filed under: Christianity, links — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:31 am

Follow the bouncing ellipses … as many of our stories this week are related and one feeds into the other. The first three items also appeared yesterday as a separate blog post, as this issue continues to grow in size and scope. Got a suggestion for this list? Try to have it to me by mid-morning on Tuesday.

♦ Author, seminary professor and veteran blogger Scot McKnight calls for sweeping restructuring at Willow Creek Community Church in the wake of new accusations concerning the personal conduct of Bill Hybels

♦ …and most of you know by now that Willow teaching pastor Steve Carter has resigned. ” I offered my resignation many weeks ago, but I was requested to delay an announcement and continue with my duties until the leadership determined how to make the decision public. At this point, however, I cannot, in good conscience, appear before you as your Lead Teaching Pastor when my soul is so at odds with the institution.”…

♦ …and in this statement from the Global Leadership Summit, don’t miss the wording of the section which forms the hyperlink: “Bill’s engagement with the Summit and Willow Creek Association was completely severed in early April. He has had no involvement in the 2018 Summit or Willow Creek Association since, and there is no path for him to return.” …

♦ …meanwhile, Rev. David Kim is out — similar circumstances — at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, the church led for years by author Timothy Keller. (The source by which I found out about this is as interesting to me as the story itself. I tried to find another link, but…)

♦ …Staying with Tim Keller for a moment, the prolific author was the speaker at this year’s Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast in the UK. TGC reports that “attended by 170 members of Parliament (MPs) and members of the House of Lords, which are the upper and lower chambers of the United Kingdom Parliament. The audience included several senior members of the British government, including Prime Minister Teresa May.” A video of the full 25-minute address is available at YouTube.

It happens in other religions, also.

♦ Article of the Week: This item is an adaptation from an online course at Zondervan Academic, and examines ten types of apologetics found within the Bible itself. I’m guessing you’ll want to take notes from this list, or even get your hands on the course itself. Allow 15 well-invested minutes to read this fully.

♦ Special Needs: According to a just-published national study following three waves of the National Survey of Children’s Health, “The odds of a child with autism never attending religious services were nearly twice as high as compared to children with no chronic health conditions.”  …

♦ …and for the parents of such children, the kids who can’t get past the wall, this encouragement/devotional/story: “When I scour the Bible now, I skip over the miracle stories. I read instead about the wilderness, and I imagine how slowly time moves in that parched, barren land. I read about Jesus at Gethsemane, deserted and afraid. I read about manna—mysterious sustenance for one day at a time. And I read about the lost lamb the shepherd follows into the treacherous night, the little one who can’t help but wander. The exhausted, endangered one who needs so badly to come home but just can’t find her way.”

♦ Rwanda’s New Law: “Pastors must now have a degree in theological education from an accredited school. The law also prohibits church leaders from urging their followers to fast for lengthy periods—like Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness—in order to better secure God’s blessing; authorities claim this is a form of starvation. Many churchgoers look at the new law as a form of harassment and restriction on freedom of worship.”

♦ Baptist megachurch mogul and Donald Trump Fan Club President Rev. Robert Jeffress is attacking Pope Francis for the latter’s statement on capital punishment. “…But the Pope is sincerely wrong on this. Popes, pastors, and churches may change their opinions, but God’s Word never changes.” [Sigh!]

♦ The theological implications of the Susan Pevensie story: Missed that one on TMZ or Entertainment Tonight? Actually, Susan is a character in the Chronicles of Narnia. “There are two things that really bother evangelical friends of Narnia, and they both show up in The Last Battle. One of them is the presence of Emeth in Aslan’s country, and the other is the absence of Susan in that same country;” writes Doug Wilson in an epic-length article on the subject. “My intention is to show that a final apostasy on the part of Susan is really a literary impossibility.” (Perseverance of the saints? Or is it Pevensiearance?)

♦ Ever wondered why a Christian author’s second book is disappointingly similar to the first one? I always thought that they had simply said all they had to say; explored the themes about which they were most passionate in the first publication. It turns out that’s not necessarily the case. “A successful book can be a blessing or even a curse, as excellent sales ‘brand’ you a certain way. You will be expected to repeat the success, and more than likely, you will be required to do something ‘same, but different.’ Frequently, this means to write a similar book to a more focused audience. A very small number of authors can write whatever they want, and their readership follows them to whatever they write. The bulk of successful authors are known for something relatively narrow.” (Is this why Max Lucado writes so often on fear and anxiety?)

♦ Toward a more visual reading of Psalm 23: The camera begins in close up with the sheep and the shepherd but is ever slowly zooming out to a wider and then wider shot. I’d love to see what’s in this blog post expressed as an actual short film.

♦ The provocative line of the week: “Catholic nuns being forced to buy contraceptives.” A new poll reveals that increasingly, Americans feel any business owner should have the right to refuse to serve a customer where serving them violates their religious beliefs.

♦ FREE! With everyone crying “Fake news,” Abdu Murray’s book Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World (Zondervan) may just be the right book for the right time. For the price of admission — your email address — you can enjoy a free download of the first chapter.

♦ Media: NBC News profiles Pure Flix, the Christian movie company. “In the eyes of many of its viewers, Pure Flix helps fill a void, providing a substantial group of Americans with what is marketed as a wholesome alternative to Hollywood and other mainstream media choices…But the Pure Flix fan base might need validation of its political beliefs, too. The three films in the God’s Not Dead trilogy, for example, tackle supposed anti-Christian fervor on American campuses, making the case for religious liberty in the face of academic secularism.

♦ Theological Discussion Point of the Week: Defining God in terms of Jesus, namely, “This paradigm shift in modern, contemporary Christian theology toward thinking through logically and without restraint the principle that Jesus is the perfect revelation of the character of God has precursors and profound implications. One of those might be that our Bibles should begin with the New Testament! I have gone so far as to encourage my students to ‘read the Bible backwards.'” Roger Olson on infusing this truth into more of our doctrines and study.

♦ Would Jesus give a TED Talk? Two reasons why today’s preachers shouldn’t try to emulate the form.

♦ Division in the ranks of Latter Day Saints over a familiar issue: “The Mormon and LGBT communities have been at odds, notably in 2008 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supported California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative, which eliminated state residents’ right to same-sex marriage. And in 2015, a church policy that barred the children of same-sex couples from being blessed or baptized until they turned 18 and disavowed same-sex relationships became public.” A look at Salt Lake City’s Love Loud festival, in support of LGBT youth.

♦ Biomedical Ethics/Canada Corner: The current situation in Canada where assisted suicide (aka euthanasia) is repeatedly offered to a man who makes clear he wants to go home instead

♦ …meanwhile: Children are being euthanized in Belgium.

♦ Parenting: The movie Eighth Grade was given an R-rating, though many disagree with that decision. In the meantime, if you’re reading this today (8/8) there are free, unrestricted showings in all 50 states tonight. (Word is that some theaters are defying the R-rating anyway on a 24/7 basis.) Which brings us to…

♦ Parenting: Seven things you should know about middle school kids.

♦ “The annual Church & Culture Conference is expanding its reach across the U.S. by taking the conference on the road! Starting this month with dates in Albuquerque, Tampa, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Charlotte, and more; all led by Dr. James Emery White. Watch a brief promotional video

♦ …meanwhile, Andy Stanley’s Deep and Wide Tour will take him to Irvine, Lancaster, Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago, Orlando and yes, also Charlotte. (The latter must be a conference hub or something.) Everyone who registers gets a copy of the much-anticipated new book, Irresistible.

♦ Radio Biz: A print interview — is that odd for a radio blog? — with Sherri Lynn, producer and co-host of The Brant Hansen Show. Asked what is the greatest obstacle facing Christian radio: “Lack of diversity – not just on the air but also in management and ownership. As the world continues to grow and change in this area it’s weird that this industry has not. If it doesn’t, it may be rendered at best antiquated and at worst, irrelevant.”

♦ Love the title of this forthcoming (October) book from IVP, Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much by (California suburbanite) Ashley Hales.

♦ Before You Say “I Do”: Here are ten things you should work out as a couple before the exchange of rings. Sample: #4 How do you function together in group settings? This is an article that both young adults, and those who do pre-marriage counseling should file away for future reference.

♦ I wasn’t expecting anyone so fluent in Spurgeon to be a fan of Hillsong, but I share this for your consideration. “Spurgeon speaks succinctly about the impossibility of combining genuine Christian preaching with a light-hearted attempt to entertain. How can serious preaching prosper when combined with gaiety, frivolity and forms of entertainment? Conversion preaching must bring about genuine conviction of, and repentance from, sin; it must highlight the dangers of eternal damnation for the unrepentant; and it must demonstrate the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross to provide sinful humanity with salvation.”

♦ New Music ♫ – for King and Country – God Only Knows.

♦ New Music ♫ – Lauren Daigle – You Say

♦ Are you a worship leader looking for some fresh material for Christmas? Praise Charts has compiled a list of their top-requested songs from last year, along with 60-second audio previews.

♦ Whimsy: If your church or your denomination had a mascot, what would it be?

♦ Finally, if no one else in the family is willing to ask the blessing at the evening meal, you could always ask Alexa to step up.

Vic Lee – Pardon My Planet – Click image to link

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