Thinking Out Loud

June 26, 2019

Wednesday Connect

David Hayward, aka The Naked Pastor sells his original artwork, so if you buy now, you could be presenting this one to your minister at this fall’s Pastor Appreciation Sunday.

Welcome to Wednesday Connect #66, so we’re calling this the Route 66 edition. This week wraps up with some great alternative Christian music videos from artists I’d never heard of until last night!

Essay of the Week: “During my teenage years, I experienced periods of intense disdain for my physicality. In becoming fully aware of my sexuality and my existence as a sexual being, I came to oppose such an existence. I envied the sexual unawareness of my prepubescent self. I began to believe my sexuality to be more a curse than a gift…Growing up in a Christian home, I might be tempted to blame my upbringing for my bodily and sexual antipathies…Looking back, I know, in part, what drove me: consumerism and marketing. I experienced sexuality through American advertising and internet pornography. The American machine had to be built, and my body with its sexuality represented a good to be extracted, purchased, and consumed by the leviathan of the liberal economy…”

■ Ravi Again: “Following the story coming out about Ravi Zacharias and his fall from grace, I felt it was time to tell my story and experience about this hypocrite. About his using his pastoral position to influence a 16-year girl (me) to have an abortion. Because his brother Ramesh Zacharias (then 20 years old) was the father.” Shirley Steward tells her story almost 50 years later.

[Do not read the linked article on a mobile device] After being mentioned briefly in the James MacDonald saga, Ed Stetzer is another one to keep a watchful eye on. The tone of the article is harsh and unmistakably anti-Christian, but the reporting seems about right. I was aware of Ed Stetzer, but just in print. I first ‘saw’ him on Phil Visher’s podcast and found his arrogance beyond detestable and said so. (Another reason I dropped the podcast; anyone that would give this guy airtime was totally lacking discernment.) Within an hour he’d found the comment, so he must be constantly tracking references to himself. And that’s this author’s point. The man is full of himself. If the author isn’t a Christian, he’s at least doing us the favor of highlighting the possibility that Stetzer may be doing the cause more harm than good. [Re. the phone thing: I mentioned before that we were done with Patheos links, but this article had me curious. As of last night there were 38 advertising elements in this one, and they pop up between each paragraph. Earlier in the day, I accidentally clicked one, and then it took about ten minutes to restore my phone from an assortment of all-white and all-black screens. Patheos is the worst. I hope some of its better writers will find a home elsewhere. Soon.]

■ “Though people like to talk about the ‘culture wars,’ Christian colleges today are more endangered by economic forces. Higher education is increasingly dividing into winners and losers as the number of thriving schools is shrinking and a handful grow in prestige, enrollment, and endowments. Small colleges, in particular, are hurting because they are more tuition-driven and less able to weather the storms of economic cycles.”

■ All the tweets in one place: Relevant Magazine collates what different Christian leaders are saying about the U.S. child detention crisis.

■ Infuriating Headline of the Week: “New Survey Shows Rise in Number of Americans Who Believe Refusing Service to Jews Should Be Allowed.” (Biting my tongue on this one…)

■ Equally Disturbing Headline: “Alabama Quietly Passes Law Allowing Church With History of Racism and Homophobia to Form Its Own Police Force.”

■ Apparently, when it comes to secularizing the landscape, in the case of religious monuments, historical conservancy outranks humanistic neutrality.

■ The Liberalism You Never Knew: “[Richard] Rorty ought to know something about liberalism, and something about man-made utopias. His grandfather was Walter Rauschenbusch, the liberal Baptist who pioneered the Social Gospel. Rauschenbusch rejected cardinal Christian doctrines on the deity of Christ, the sinfulness of humanity, and the need for personal regeneration, calling instead for the ‘salvation’ of social structures through political activism. Rauschenbusch believed turning Christianity away from a supernatural gospel would ‘rescue’ the faith for enlightened moderns.”

■ Intriguing Headline of the Week: Food, Fat, Faith, and the Gospel: Reflections of an Overweight Christian. Five reflections that you or someone you know may need to read.

■ Worthy of Recognition: “The Queen is to celebrate the work of UK faith and belief groups in bringing local communities together during a reception at Buckingham Palace.”

■ Coming eventually to a city near you, we have a report on the Make America Straight Again Conference, which happened (of course) earlier in Pride Month. “Steven Anderson, well-known for his calls for the murder of LGBTQ people, spearheads the New Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement (New IFB), whose ministers spoke at the gathering. But it was the inclusion of Anderson’s lesser-known associates that revealed the breadth of the New IFB’s growing influence.”

■ The labels that the parents of an autistic child use to describe themselves apparently offends other parents.

■ Declining church attendance? J. D. Greear believes there’s one thing that can reverse any church’s decline.

■ Following his decision to invite Vice President Mike Pence to speak at Taylor University, President Paul Lowell Haines has resigned.

■ Last year at this time, the #1 faith-based news story in Canada had to do with Christian charities being shut out of the summer job grant program. This year, the problem was rectified, but some groups were still refused.

■ Giving “opening in prayer” equal time, an Alaska government meeting began with “Hail, Satan!” As you might expect, several people walked out.

■ The church in Plains, Georgia where 94-year old former U.S. President Jimmy Carter occasionally teaches Sunday School, Maranatha Baptist has its first black pastor.

■ Testimony Time: She was raised Assemblies of God. He was raised United Pentecostal. Today they pastor a Southern Baptist Convention church. (“Well, he pastors; I pastor-wife.”)

■ Yes, Brad Lomenick still does his Young Influencers List. Here are another seven younger people to watch.

■ I asked my wife what her church was doing for Petertide. She said, “Same as last year.” This Sunday is Petertide.

■ Burned out on church right now? Find some connection in The Lasting Supper online community. (Learn the background here.)

♫ Weirdest Christian Music Ever: Radical by Ecclesia. (Maybe someone can explain this one to me.)

♫ Recently Discovered: Posted in January, I Give You My All by Isla Vista Worship. (Again though, can someone explain the last 30 seconds?)

♫ A Most Prolific Artist: Jaisua – Breathe featuring Adanna Duru.

■ Finally, understanding the Bible in its context; Olfactory Observations: “The report states that, though it is not intended to insult the disciples of Jesus, fact remains that they most definitely stank like holy hell, and that, had not everyone else at the time also reeked, no one would have come within two miles of them to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Don’t you hate it when you leave the house with some copies of The Four Spiritual Laws, or Steps to Peace with God? This guy found a permanent solution.


  1. The Isla Vista video ends with him clearing His calendar, which is filled with entries that say “my plans,” “my dreams,” “girls,” “finances,” “despair,” etc. It’s being deleted to symbolize giving it all to God (at least that’s how I take it).

    The Ecclesia video is strange – perhaps it’s the Holy Spirit and ‘tongues of fire’ on her head like at Pentecost?

    In any case, I enjoyed both of those, thanks for posting them!

    Comment by joshgaudreau — June 26, 2019 @ 12:21 pm

    • Whoops, didn’t meant to capitalize the “him” the 2nd time.

      Comment by joshgaudreau — June 26, 2019 @ 12:22 pm

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