Thinking Out Loud

December 18, 2019

Wednesday Connect

Here we go again…

…and speaking of front pages, this is what the blog Internet Monk thinks the front page of Time should have looked like.


Just hours after last week’s Connect, the hottest thing making the rounds was a picture of a gathering of modern worship composers and musicians in the Oval Office of The White House. This brought out a variety of responses from across the spectrum of emotions concerning the man sitting at the desk in the center of the picture, a topic I try to avoid here. It’s posted everywhere, but if you missed it, try this link

Next Wednesday is Christmas Day, and the following one is New Year’s Day, so it looks like I have a few weeks off! But check back here anyway, there’s more to Thinking Out Loud than the weekly list.

■ Ignoring the sex abuse scandals dogging so many churches right now, The Gospel Coalition chooses the conversion of Kanye West as its Theology Story of the Year.

■ Get to know this term: Extinction Religion. It’s not exactly about religion, but it’s about people coalescing around a cause that could prove to be an activisim-oriented model for movements in Christianity, including missions. 

■ When Charismatic belief in a God without limits comes face-to-face with the reality of death. “The daughter of worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal passed away… and she and the church [were] praying that God [would] raise the child from the dead.” [Update]

Feature Article of the Week: 50 years of CCM: Why the glory days of Christian music are over. The article from our friends across the pond references artists such as Bryn Haworth and After The Fire, but you’ll also see some names you recognize in this British analysis of the movement which germinated in the early ’70s.

■ Catholic veneration of Mary on steroids involves declaring her co-redemptrix. (The word means what you think it does.) Does this place her in a quadrinity? “The formula ‘co-redemptrix’ departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers, and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings.”

■ Most provocative opening sentence: “Being known as a nice person has been considered by some to be detrimental to effective leadership.” (I wonder if Jesus was consulted for this article.)

■ The money isn’t going where the donors think it’s going: “The investigation found that most of Pope Francis’s Peter’s Pence collection went to Vatican budget deficit.” CBC interview with Wall Street Journal reporter:

…So you found that only 10 per cent is being used to support charitable works. Where’s the rest going? 

Well that’s true at least of the last five years. Two thirds has been going to plug the deficit in the Holy See. This is a deficit in the operations of the central administration of the Catholic Church and the Pope’s diplomatic network around the world, which has been running an increasing deficit in recent years due to rising wage costs and unsuccessful investments and inefficiencies…

■ … and it’s not just the Roman Catholic Church. In a Washington Post report, a whistle-blower alleges that the Mormon Church (or whatever it’s called now) has misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund. “The complaint was filed by David A. Nielsen, a 41-year-old Mormon who worked until September as a senior portfolio manager at the church’s investment division, a company named Ensign Peak Advisors that is based near the church’s headquarters.” [Optional discussion question: What’s your church’s investment division called? We’ll go around the circle.] 

■ Boz Tchividjian announced that in the Spring he will step down both from the sexual abuse advocacy organization he founded, and his teaching position at Liberty University in order to return to practicing law.

■ When a family loses a child. This is both painful to read and must-reading at the same time.

■ Future Heir? If you go to the videos page for the YouTube channel of Joel Osteen Ministries, you’ll see that son Jonathan Osteen has built a back-catalog of sermons over the past year.

■ The aging of the church. For mainline Protestant denominations, the modal (most recurring) age is now 67. Check out this graphic.

■ Noteworthy Conversion: “An internationally renowned Anglican bishop and former chaplain to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is leaving the Anglican Church to become a Catholic.”

The Top Books of 2019 at Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight’s blog).

■ ICYMI: The Hallmark Channel gay kiss tempest.

■ Resources Roster: Kidology, everything you need for Children’s ministry…

■ … also on the subject of KidMin, if you upload anything to YouTube that either you or the online platform deems as being content made for the consumption of children, you need to know that COPPA takes effect January 1st.

■ Parents in New Jersey won’t be able to use religion as a reason for not getting their children vaccinated.

Yet another writer leaving Patheos.

■ New Music: ♫ We introduced you a few months ago to these four Dutch guys mixing South American and Irish folk with African beats. This one is more ballad-like. Trinity – Songs of Life.

■ New Music: ♫ Six months ago we introduced you to Bethany (not Bethel) Music. Like many ministries they have a youth component. Check out – BOLD YTH – Only Wanna Sing. “This is no performance / Lord I pray it’s worship / Empty words I can’t afford.”

■ New Music: ♫ A band referenced in our feature article (above), Wildwood Kin was also covered in a separate article at Premier Magazine. Check out their recent release, Wildwood Kin – Headed for the Water.

♪ Watch for a special-edition of New Christmas Music later this week ♪

■ Meanwhile, on Netflix: “The First Temptation of Christ is a 46-minute film depicting Our Lord and Savior as a homosexual involved in a same-sex relationship with a man named Orlando. It also portrays Mary, Jesus’ mother, as a pot-smoking adulterer.” (But I’m sure that other than that it follows the Biblical narrative, right?)

■ In deference to the people for whom Jesus is not Lord, a London school substituted the word baby for Lord in the carol, Away in a Manger.

■ They were first-time visitors to the church, but they were asked to bring their payroll stubs from work so the church would know that they would actually be tithing 10%.

■ Finally, and also from the collection at Not Always Right, their Dad, the pastor, on showing respect for ‘The Good Book.’

Jesus Shaves: It’s a temperature-sensitive, reactive mug miracle. Some people really do have too much time on their hands.

It was the subtitle that got me: Abstinence, Drugs, Satanism, and Other Thing That Threaten Their Nine Lives… The book “How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety answers crucial questions such as, ‘What is the right age to talk to my cat about the proper use of firearms?’ and ‘What are the benefits of my cat living a lifestyle of abstinence?’ and especially ‘Why does my cat need to use the internet? Can’t he just play with yarn like cats used to do?'”




  1. Wait. After the Fire? I definitely clicked on that link!

    Comment by David Rupert — December 29, 2019 @ 5:18 pm

    • I’m a rather rabid ATF fan, and pushed heavily to get their “Best of” album released in Canada, albeit under a different title. Strangely, all these years later, it’s one of my son’s favorite bands!

      I’ve mentioned them here on the blog many times. I’ve always felt that even though it was ahead of its time, “One Rule for You” is one of the best songs expressing the postmodern response to Christianity; the whole “That’s okay for you and I’ll find what’s okay for me” type of response.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — December 29, 2019 @ 7:17 pm

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