Thinking Out Loud

January 2, 2019

Wednesday Connect

see story below for link

Welcome to Wednesday Connect #42. We’re back with more news and opinion pieces we hope you didn’t see elsewhere. Also, there was a list last week, so if you missed it, click this link.

♦ During a six-month period in 2008, three members of a well-known Evangelical family quietly left the staff of James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Chapel. In December, one of them decided to break years of silence.

I think that most of us felt that Harvest was the biggest thing, humanly speaking, that we would all ever be a part of – travelling to cool places; being invited to speak at conferences full of people who actually wanted to really listen to you; hobnobbing with famous people; making six figures as a 32-year-old worship leader… these are all things that are understandably hard to want to give up. They’re the kinds of things that condition you to not rock the boat. Who would be crazy enough to purposely flush an incredibly prosperous career or dare to try and go against the powerful, unspoken Christian cultural ethic of never “speaking poorly” about your church or pastor?

♦ This would be the equivalent of Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kelly Conway both quitting the same day, only it wasn’t in the President’s office, but across the ocean at The Vatican, where the Pope’s official spokesman and his deputy resigned.

♦ 2018 was an Urbana year and videos of all the teaching sessions from this year’s conference are already posted at Urbana.org. (The Inter-Varsity sponsored event convenes every two years.)

♦ This might be controversial where you live:  People visiting the new Doha’s new Sidra women’s and children’s hospital in Qatar are welcomed by 14 huge bronze sculptures that graphically chart the growth of a baby, from conception to birth, ending with a 14-metre (46ft) statue of a newborn. There are other reports on this available, but this video shows all 14 sculptures.

♦ A Gallup poll shows the rating given clergy in terms of honesty and ethics continues to decline.

♦ Didn’t get this in time to include last week, but highly worth the reading: Why more American Muslims celebrated Christmas this year.

♦ Everybody sing! ♫ “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…” ♫ which is also the newly-announced title of the movie about Mr. Rogers starring Tom Hanks. Relevant Magazine also noted, “He was a Presbyterian minister with a divinity degree, and he viewed his work as a children’s show host in pastoral terms. ‘The space between the TV screen and whoever is watching is very holy ground,’ he said once, and he took that belief seriously.”

♦ Twist of Circumstances: In Egypt, two Christians were killed by a policeman who had been assigned to guard their church…

♦ …meanwhile, violence against Christians by majority Muslims in Uganda is quickly escalating.

♦ For Christmas this year, Philip Yancey looked into accounts of the appearance of angels in the gospels.

♦ Philosophy Department: For those of you who like to go deeper, a revised “Correspondence Theory” of truth.

♦ It’s not too late to change your family devotion time to more of a family worship time, and roommates can do this as well. “…It has had a powerful impact on our lives. My wife and I often comment on how our personal faith has been strengthened, and our kids eagerly expect ‘Bible time’ each morning. They actually complain on the occasional days when we miss our time together due to life’s hiccups….Christian housemates, empty nesters, and married couples without children could consider committing to a regular household devotional gathering like this. Even engaged couples might want to think about beginning so they can get in the habit early. I wish we had!…” Their model includes singing together.

♦ Jesus accepted people as they were. No one was required to fill in a statement of faith before hanging out with him. He didn’t put people in boxes except insofar as he would categorize them in terms of how they responded to him and his message.

♦ This article is four months old, but it’s message is important: “…But there’s one thing I don’t like about online dating sites. The very first thing a user sees is a photograph. Whether on a website or at a co-ed party, many will instantly eliminate ninety percent of potentially great partners on the basis of looks and body type alone.”

♦ A popular California pastor, Craig Jultila suffered a heart attack and died during a snowboarding trip. He was 53.

♦ Ohio upheld the veto of a “heartbeat” test for abortion bans, but the fight is not over and the tide could change with a new government in 2019.

♦ Franklin Graham was banned from Facebook for 24 hours, not for something he posted recently, but for an item he posted in 2016

♦ Parents continue to pull their kids out of the centuries old Boy Scouts of America in favor of a faith-based organization, Trail Life USA. “In 2015 the group announced it would begin allowing openly gay and lesbian leaders. Eighteen months later, the Boy Scouts opened ranks to girls who self-identify as boys. Girls started joining Cub Scouts earlier this year and will be able to join the traditional scouting program for 11- to 17-year-olds, to be renamed Scouts BSA…” Meanwhile, at Trail Life, volunteers must adhere to a statement of faith.

♦ Can you identify the source of this quotation? Answer below

In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security.

♦ The recent season of Doctor Who, along with all the other changes it brought, seemed to make a greater allowance for the faith of its characters.

♫ A purple-haired Lauren Daigle performs You Say on Good Morning America.  

Chris Tomlin is again taking the show on the road…to Israel

♫ …or you could Kevin Max, TobyMac,The Newsboys, John Crist, Ryan Stevenson, Mandisa and others sailing on the Jesus Freak Cruise.

♦ There’s a classical music parody composer, Peter Shickele who once worked “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” into a ostensibly classical piece, but I never considered doing the Jeopardy theme during the offering

♦ 90 years after it was stolen, a statue of the baby Jesus was returned to a New Jersey church.

♦ Finally, if you’re like me, all the stores were sold out of Nativitalk, so I’m bookmarking this as a reminder to shop early next year.


The quotation is from the Charlie Chaplin movie The Great Dictator. You can read it in full here, and also hear portions of it on the live version of the song “A Head Full of Dreams” by Coldplay.

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1 Comment »

  1. One of the criticisms of The Walking Dead comes from the people that call, joking or otherwise, the Talking Dead. I don’t watch that show but my friend Dudley has followed it from the beginning and describes it as “a slow burn.” There are often several episodes in a row that revolve around the principal characters having lots of dialogue but not doing anything. This most recent season of Doctor Who felt like that to us. There were many changes in tone and feel this season and Teresa and I feel they are not for the best in terms of longevity for the show. It’s not Jody Whitaker either. She’s doing the best she can with what they are giving her. There is a huge crew of companions, which has happened in the past even though typically there are one or two at a time. As to faith (which is why this article is in the list) the show was not totally close minded to faithfulness in the past but yes, I do sense a difference. It’s somewhat muted but there is a social justice warrior kind of vibe lurking in pretty much every episode. None of the changes will matter much if they don’t keep the show on the air by making it interesting again. Compared to David Tennant, Matt Smith and even Peter Capaldi (who I didn’t like at all to begin with) the current show is boring by comparison. And again, it’s not the Doctor but every writer and producer behind the camera, imho.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — January 2, 2019 @ 8:59 am


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