Thinking Out Loud

September 25, 2019

Wednesday Connect

Well, that was rather cruel, wasn’t it.

Welcome to Wednesday Connect #74. Your comments and suggestions via email or Twitter are always appreciated.

■ The U.S. President, amid walking out during climate change presentations at the United Nations, comes out on behalf of worldwide religious freedom. “The United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution, to stop the crimes against prisoners of faith, to release prisoners of conscience.”

■ Disrupting the child sponsorship paradigm: I saw this earlier in the week and sent it to some people involved in missions. Pictures of kids waiting to be sponsored on a table in the church lobby? Not this time. It’s the kids looking at the pics and making the choices, turning ‘I hope someone chooses me’ completely upside-down.

■ Climate change is not exactly a Christian news story, but if you missed young activist Greta Thunberg’s speech to the United Nations, you really need to take the five minutes…

■ …But if you don’t believe in climate change, and its consequences, you’ll probably react like this.

■ Trinity Christian Center, the parent of Trinity Broadcasting Network, must pay $900,000 to the founders’ granddaughter Carra Crouch who said she was drugged and raped during a telethon in 2006 when she was just 13.

■ Provocative Headline of the Week: “What If Universalism Were True? A Question for Evangelical Christians Especially.”

■ Then again, maybe this one, charging racism at RELEVANT Media Group, is more provocative: “Black Christians Deserve Better Than Companies (And Churches) Like Relevant Media Group.”  … and then …

■ … an announcement Monday from Cameron Strang that he is taking an extended leave of absence from RELEVANT following the racism charges, which he does not dispute.

Essay of the Week: “…I also learned that the reason leaves fall from the trees is because the tree is trying to prepare itself for winter and, eventually, for the coming spring. Wherever a leaf falls from a tree, a new leaf will grow in its place. So, the mother tree must push its own leaves, those little extensions of itself, from the branches so that life can continue. If the earth is always doing what is necessary to keep the seasons, to keep going as is her custom, to keep creating and breathing life and dying and creating again, maybe we can do the same.”

■ Okay readers, this one’s not new. In fact this 2005 article predates this blog, let alone the Wednesday Link List. But it’s been the object of several discussions I’ve been part of in at least three locations during the last two weeks. It’s the idea of “Purge Sundays,” a daring ‘culling the herd’ which separates the passive from the committed, practiced by the church mentioned to this very month. Pastors, your thoughts?

■ Nothing ‘newsy’ in this link, either, but I really enjoy (when I remember) listening to A. J. Sherrill. The sermon begins at 36:00, but if you’re interested, there’s a thing at the beginning describing Mars Hill Church leasing their building long-term to a local school board which is bursting at the seams.

■ Want to start a blog of your own? Dee at Wartburg Watch writes, “One of the things people always ask me about is insurance. If you have a homeowners insurance, yo might check to see if they cover you for blogging and even leaving comments on Google, restaurant reviews, etc. My USAA insurance policy covers me for this. I did not have to buy it separately.”

■ I always think of Passion plays happening in the spring season, but this one rolls out each summer, has an extra 30 minutes devoted to the birth of Jesus, makes the audience part of the Sermon on the Mount story, and boasts an ecumenical cast, 80 percent of whom return each year.

■ Movies with a Message: “Here then, from a long-time movie buff, are ten recommendations from various eras and genres that hold forth the ancient ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty.”

■ Persecution, American style: “[F]our Wheaton College students pushed back when [Chicago’s] Millennium Park instituted rules they believe undercut the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.” They are now suing the city. Their lawyer says that one of the restricted areas is the sculpture Cloud Gate, commonly known as the Bean; adding that, “The Bean is one of the highest tourist attractions in the United States … that’s where you want to get your message out.”

■ Persecution, UK style: The headline reads,”Christian doctor lost his job after refusing to identify a six-foot-tall bearded man as ‘madam’, tribunal hears.” Well, almost true, except there was no actual “bearded man” in the story. He was being asked ideological questions about hypothetical clients.

■ If you follow Christian Fiction books, here are your 30 finalists for this year’s Christy Awards.

■ Leadership Lessons:  7 Errors in thinking that can hinder your church’s growth. 7 ministry “Thinkholes.” However, on the topic of growth…

■ …There’s strength in numbers. Big numbers as well as small numbers.

■ This is rather unsettling: “The Sept. 13 disclosure that the preserved remains of over 2,200 aborted babies had been found at the rural Illinois home of the recently deceased Indiana abortionist Ulrich “George” Klopfer has sparked outrage and demands for immediate investigations by authorities.”

■ Biblical confirmation or wishful thinking? A Christian archeology and research group claims to have found the boat anchor dating back to the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck on Malta.

■ For the (Married) Guys: 10 Ways to stay attractive to your wife. Five are about physical things, and five are about character.

■ New Music: ♪ From the author of Build My Life, Pat Barrett – Hymn of the Holy Spirit.

■ New Music: ♪ The Good Music Blog writes, “We recently met up with singer-songwriter indie worshipper Tina Boonstra at her church, Soul Survivor Watford, where she treated us to a live rendition of her new song ‘Second Chance’, a bold and honest song about God’s gracious love despite our constant struggles.” Tina Boonstra – Second Chances.

■ New Music ♪ From the same source, “We’ve been supporting Cortes since day one, and have loved seeing him grow as an artist over the years… Just like his latest releases, the vibe is smooth as ever, but lyrically he’s still coming strong with challenging the culture and not afraid to use the platform to point people back to the riches found in Christ, which he does in this song by reminding listeners of the truth that in all things, including our difficulties and struggles God is still working things for our good. Cortes – For The Best. (Audio).

■ New Music ♪ A heartfelt rendition of a song “dedicated to brain injury warriors, caregivers, and families.”  Cristabelle Braden – Not Giving Up (Piano Version). (Like the song? Here’s the full band version.)

■ Having dinner in the V.V.I.P. section with T.D. Jakes in Nairobi would set you back the equivalent of $723.30 US. “Those tickets were out of reach for the average Kenyan considering the per capita gross domestic product of Kenya is $2,010.”

■ Briefly anyway, last week’s story about Union Seminary students confessing to plants became a hashtag, #plantgate.

■ Finally, here’s the entire article, headlined “Priests spray holy water from plane to stop ‘fornication’” —

(ABC NEWS) — Russian Orthodox priests in the Central Russian city of Tver took to the skies in a small airplane to save citizens from “drunkenness and fornication,” reported a Russian local media outlet.

On Sept. 11, Sobriety Day, an unofficial Russian holiday, the priests carried 70 liters (about 18 gallons) of holy water onto the aircraft.

Once the plane reached an altitude of 200 to 300 meters (approximately 800 feet) the blessings began. Clergymen held a prayer service before pouring the holy water out of the plane’s open door.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. The reality of climate change due to human activity and the long term consequences to life on this planet are not a “I have my opinion and you have yours” sort of issue. It’s more like gravity. You can deny it, but you will still break some bones by trying to jump out of your 2nd story window. From a Christian perspective it should be a no brainier that caring for creation should be a higher priority than corporate profits. children are telling adults that things are screwed up – come on – doesn’t that set off the alarms – they don’t want to inherit our mess – fix it or get out of the way.

    And while I’m ranting…Trump championing religious freedom – really!! He doesn’t care at all about Gods Kingdom or Gods people. He uses the Christian political right and they use him. It’s a marriage made in hell. I hope they both get exposed for the hypocrites they are. Trump reminds me of those scary 1970s left behind movies where the anti-christ looks like a charismatic political leader then turns out to be the son of the devil.

    Oh well. On the positive side, I did love Roger Olson’s piece – very thought provoking and heart revealing!

    Comment by Jeff — September 26, 2019 @ 10:08 pm


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