Thinking Out Loud

December 5, 2018

Wednesday Connect

Yesterday’s “doodle” on the UK Google site recognized the 153rd birthday of Edith Cavell.
“Guided by her strong Christian beliefs, her life embodied the service of others, and the need to love everyone, including her enemies.
“She was arrested on 3 August 1915, and was sentenced to death for helping 60 British and 15 French soldiers to escape.
Before her execution, she took communion with an Anglican chaplain, Revd Gahan, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the hymn Abide With Me.
“Moments before her death by firing squad, she said: ‘Tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe, and that I am glad to die for my country.’”
Sourced at The Christian Institute.

Putting this week’s link collection together I couldn’t help but notice that stories and articles dealing with what one person has called “pelvic” themes dominated the list. Further, if you think the two items dealing with “Transmania” don’t matter in North America because that’s an issue for the UK to deal with; I promise you, blink twice and it will be on our doorstep. Even elsewhere in the list, there was no getting away from LGBTQ issues.

This isn’t a particular positive collection this week, but hopefully by this time next week there is more to celebrate. Remember, you can contribute story and opinion-piece leads at any time.

♦ Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce, right? Actually, hold on… with closer examination the rate has never hit 50% or been even close. Never!

♦ From the roof you can see Disneyland! A look at the transformation process of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral into a fully realized official Roman Catholic Cathedral.

♦ …And from the same blog: Ten things we can apply from John Chau’s death

♦ …Another article clarifies the mission agency’s position on John Chau’s mission to the natives of North Sentinel Island, which ended in his death.

♦ Sloppy language can lead to misinformation. “I remember in the 1980s taking a tour of the House of Commons in London. The tour guide pointed to a plaque on the wall in honor of a minister ‘who was killed by the Irish Catholics.’ Not the IRA, not the Provos, not the terrorists, but the Irish Catholics. Today we do the same thing when we say, ‘Muslims are killing Christians’ Saying that the Catholic church did not protect children is just as wrong. It was the bishops. It was the hierarchy.” The writer argues for the use of the word ‘hierarchy’ in place of the word ‘church.

♦ Out of the mouths of babes: “Wait, Dad. Are we for them or against them?” Kent Annan was talking with his eight-year-old son about the worldwide immigrant and refugee crisis. His son’s innocent question is one that many adults are asking. Kent Annan’s new book You Welcomed Me — his 4th with IVP — looks at overcoming fear to confidently answer that question.

♦ A Case for Catholic Worship: A brief list of 15 things the authors believe Jesus would recognize as familiar were he to visit a traditional Catholic mass.

♦ A University in Western Canada is demanding a pro-life group put up a $17,500 security deposit in order to hold a meeting on campus.

♦ Can James MacDonald be fired from Harvest Bible Chapel. No. Not ever. Not according to this Tweet: “Just read the Bylaws of Harvest Bible Chapel: Bylaws: 803. i.e. 804.b everything we need to know about his leadership, control and grip on the Elder board; he can’t be fired. EVER.” (A wise move on his part, looking back from how things are today.)…

♦ …Meanwhile the initial legal defense fund on GoFundMe (for the bloggers being sued by James MacDonald) has exceeded its $10,000 goal. (However, if the case drags on, possibly as much as 24 months, legal costs will be in “the high six figures.)

♦ Trans groups in the UK have been targeting children between 11 and 16, including coaching them online on what to say to the doctor to get hormone prescriptions. “The group has been highly active at Dorothy Stringer School, which now has 76 gender-confused students…”

Jane Galloway, parent and women’s rights campaigner, concludes: “I fear greatly that in 10 to 15 years’ time, we will find ourselves with a slew of young adults with mutilated bodies, no sexual function, who will turn round to the NHS and ask, ‘Why did you let us do this?’” …

♦ … This isn’t a one-off item online, One writer compiles eight stories in a single week that are part of Transmania. One article notes:

When I ask whether it can really be true that children could be sent off to consult with gender clinics without the parents’ knowledge, she explains that, currently, “the confidentiality of a trans child actually trumps everything, including a parent’s right to know. And if a school believes a child is mature enough to understand the implications of what they’re doing, they don’t need parental consent.”

While another writer observes:

It isn’t only the still small number of kids who are trans-diagnosed who are impacted upon by the transgender ideology. All kids are. The problem here is not some all-powerful trans lobby – it’s the unwillingness of institutions to withstand the transgender worldview. Schools are embracing the new religion of gender-neutrality and are encouraging their charges not to prejudge people’s gender and to believe that sex at birth is irrelevant in comparison with what you feel. The binary that has traditionally allowed children to negotiate an otherwise confusing world – between female and male, mother and father, girl and boy – is being erased, leaving kids socially bereft, uncertain, and re-engineered to think in the way the new elite thinks they should.

♦ Ongoing Story Department: An update from the ex-wife of Saeed Abedini

♦ The future of the church is young(er) leaders: “Don’t wait for a strategy. Just start inviting young people into opportunities to lead alongside you. In your next leadership gathering or board meeting, have you invited a young person in to experience what leadership looks like?

♦ Back to the U.S., Attacks on churches or a tax on churches? Russell Moore writes,

A little-noticed provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 now looms over faith communities in America, raising serious questions about religious freedom and the First Amendment. While this provision is a relatively small piece of the overall package, the effect of the policy it created will be felt by the faithful around the country. This change is a new policy to tax nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship, like the Southern Baptist churches I serve—for the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to employees. This effectively creates an income tax on churches…that has never happened in U.S. history.

♦ After his son was shamed for his African American hairstyle by a Christian school, the father announced last week he’s decided to pursue legal action.

♦ A worldwide group of 20 feminist Bible scholars have released a book of commentaries in order to address “the lingering patriarchal readings that have justified numerous restrictions and bans on women.”

♦ More on Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Before … 31,000 teenagers at that [Evangelical Lutheran Church] Youth Gathering, she altered the set of renunciations that parents or godparents are expected to answer at a baptism: “Do you renounce the devil and all his empty promises?” She rewrote that question: “Do you renounce the lie that Queerness is anything other than beauty?” To which the crowd dutifully replied: “I renounce them!” According to Bolz-Weber then, those Christians who held classic views about homosexual orientation and conduct are purveyors of the devil’s lies.

♦ A 3-year old is sexually molested at New Spring Church in South Carolina. “The North Charleston police are going after this big time.”

♦ Two board members have quit Azuza Pacific University over the drift of classroom teaching toward a more LGBT friendly environment. One said, “My solemn fear is it may be too late to save the university.”…

♦ …Meanwhile the President of another California Christian university, John MacArthur made a speech back in August defending Master’s College after a terrible accreditation review. The substance of that speech includes attacks on other colleges.

♦ Lauren Daigle can’t say for sure if homosexuality is a sin. “In a sense, I have too many people that I love that they are homosexual. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God.”

♦ Free: Read the first three pages of a new book from WestBow Press, Jesus’ Stenographers: The Story of the Red Letters.  Author Ben van Noort says “Jesus was followed by speedy writers and stenographers who used to make records after the events. The gospels are compilations of these early records.”

♦ What If Department: What if your last year of Facebook posts became the substance of your eulogy?

♦ A way to ease into the week: Happy Monday celebrates its 300th blog post.

♦ Finally, Jon Crist films inside The Creation Museum and promises a special blessing to those who made it through all 5-minutes of the cellphone video.

Next time you’re hanging out with one of your Episcopal or Roman Catholic friends, ask them if their denomination has a College of Prophets. With a “General of Spiritual Warfare.” Whose specialty is “Warfarecology.” (My goodness, this poster is the gift that keeps on giving.)




  1. I have heard and repeated the 50% divorce stat. Why has no one done the research and disputed the claim before now? I’ve even heard that the divorce rate is higher among Christians now because people outside the church are living together in higher numbers than ever before and those numbers don’t figure in to the divorce rate when they split.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — December 5, 2018 @ 9:08 am

    • I looked long and hard at that piece, and asked much the same questions. Really? Why now? I see there’s only been 4 comments there, but feel free to jump in. I made it the first item this week because it does go against so much of what we’ve been hearing.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 5, 2018 @ 9:15 am

  2. Great list this week Paul! I don’t know about you guys but I can’t get enough Happy Monday. :-D

    Comment by Van Til — December 5, 2018 @ 9:11 am

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