Thinking Out Loud

November 20, 2015


Filed under: Christianity, health, Humor — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:33 am

okay to laughIt’s probably the world’s most-used (and overused) acronym on emails, but not everyone actually laughs out loud in the course of a day, or for some, even a week.

For many people, it’s hard to laugh right now. Circumstances are somewhat dark, or tense, or frustrating; you’re under a cloud. I get that. I’ve been there.

But for others, the problem is this: Laughter is a surprise emotion, and if you already have guessed the punchline, or noticed the bucket of water above the door, then having seen what’s coming, usually the best you’re good for is a smile.

Unless you’re one of the people who simply laughs at everything. I know you bring joy to a lot of situations, but always bear in mind that when your friends are making a point and want to be taken seriously, that’s not the time for hilarity.

I’ve spent a lifetime of figuring out punchlines before they’re spoken. I know that readers at this Christianity-focused blog may not appreciate all the plot-lines on Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory, but these two sitcoms represent the top of their craft and there is some really good writing that goes into each and every episode. With both this week, I did find myself quite literally lol-ing, even if I wasn’t exactly rofl — look it up — or experiencing a laughter so severe it causes certain body parts to disconnect.

And you need to laugh. The medical folk tell us it’s good for you. Whether it’s Mr. Bean, or Inspector Clouseau, or Basil Fawlty, or Tina Fey; or just that naturally funny person who is in your sphere of influence. Having a pet will also bring down your blood pressure, although they say you have to actually pet the pet for that to work. Dog food and cat litter can get pricey, but laughter is free.

Jesus LaughingAnd the Bible got there first: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine,” at least that’s how the old KJV puts Proverbs 17:22; but I much prefer to leave you with The Voice Bible’s “A joy-filled heart is curative balm.” That’s right, curative balm. I guess it’s part of trying to make your translation stand out from the rest of the pack.

Which reminds me…

…A conservative Evangelical Bible translator walked into a bar. “Gee,” the bartender said, “We don’t get many conservative Evangelical Bible translators in here.” To which he replied, “No, and at these prices you’re not going to get many more.”

Finally, from the movie Uncle Buck, a song that’s been stuck in my head ever since.


May 8, 2015

Missing the Point

Social Media version of Phil 4 8

Church History




December 9, 2014

More from Church Curmudgeon

He’s now closing in on 75,000 followers on Twitter. On the other hand, not everybody is on Twitter and this deserves a wider readership, not to mention preservation since Twitter offers little in terms of accessible archives. Welcome back to more from my favorite presence in the Twitterverse, Church Curmudgeon:

Church Curmudgeon

  • Any shop clerk wishes me “Happy Holidays” and I’m going to sing “‘Twas the Birthday of a King” at the top of my lungs.
  • The candlelight chili supper was an explosive success.
  • The shepherds washed their socks by night / By day they let them dry / They wore them with their sandals / And made the Baby cry
  • Pastor’s in his study, quietly hermeneutering the passage.
  • Red and yellow, black and white / We just pick our sides and fight / Jesus, save the little children of the world
  • You know it’s going to be a good cantata when the Homeschool Separatist Handbell Choir shows up with a fog machine.
  • That rise in humidity is church guitarists sweating because of Sunday’s Christmas music with weird chords and no rehearsal.
  • Interesting how energy drinks didn’t become a thing until people did nothing but use their thumbs.
  • The worst part about music piracy for me is how much the postage costs to send out the bootleg Gaither tapes.
  • Our pastor needs a hip replacement. He’s just not cool enough for our deacon board.
  • If you’re going to offer a long prayer to open the men’s breakfast, please pray that the eggs get hot again.
  • Please tell the secretary not to abbreviate the Worship Team Fellowship Bible Study in the bulletin.

For more, look for


November 9, 2014

Cartoon Theology

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:01 am

There are blogs devoted to all subjects, but one I’ve been reading for a long, long time is Josh Fruhlinger’s blog The Comics Curmudgeon, devoted entirely to the art of those lovely syndicated panels that reward newspaper buyers on days when the front page is less than beautiful.

Occasionally he wanders into topics that might interest readers here, and I wanted you to see both the Beetle Bailey comic and his analysis of it together. Click the image to read at source and look around the rest of his blog.

Cartoon Theology at Joshreads

If the text doesn’t come through on your mobile, it’s repeated below:

Not sure what denomination Chaplain Staneglass is supposed to be, but mainstream Christian theology has had a ready answer to this one since at least Aquinas and probably Augustine. The short version is that God is eternal and exists outside of time as we understand it — indeed, the linear progression of time, including the concept of cause and effect, is part of His creation, so it doesn’t really make sense to talk about Him being created by anyone or anything. You can find this logic varying degrees of satisfying based on your own personal beliefs, but the idea that a clergyman would respond to a sincere question about it with “WELP ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” makes me a little depressed about the quality of ministry available to our soldiers and/or cartoonists, and I’m an atheist.


October 7, 2014

Microblogging Tuesday

Filed under: Humor, Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:13 am

We’ve done Microblogging Monday a few times, but it always seems like we’re ripping off Happy Monday from Master’s Table. (That link takes you to one that’s a week old because yesterday Happy Monday went all serious on us!)

Anyway, here are some thing collected during the week that aren’t needed for tomorrow’s link list.

First, this forthcoming book cover…

Doctor Who Meets Duck Dynasty

… strikes me as Dr. Who meets Duck Dynasty and it seems appropriate that a redneck TARDIS would be an outhouse.

This one was from Postsecret…

Pens from Postsecret

…perhaps you’ve been that person.


This one is from…

Horse Drawn Carriage

…and gives new double-meaning to the term Amish Fiction.

I was going to press pause in my recent abduction of images from InterVarsity’s Twenty One Hundred Productions, but we had Chinese food on Sunday and it brought it all back to mind…

Lunar Calendar

…click the image to visit their Facebook page.

It’s been awhile since we visited For Heaven’s Sake…

Movie Titles Creed

…a comic Mike Morgan started in 1991. Clicking the panel takes you to another one I like.

This next one is of unknown origin…

Presbyterian Pentecostal Worship

…Nothing like denominational profiling, huh?

Finally, a poach from Happy Monday itself: Generally, each week there is a comic panel from Coffee With Jesus…

Coffee With Jesus - Singer

…which is also available in book form from IVP and makes a great Christmas gift.

October 2, 2014

Bad Bible Study Bingo

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:55 am

I was going to use this yesterday on the link list, but it really deserves a post of its own. This was posted almost exactly two years ago on the Facebook page of TwentyOneHundred Productions, the media division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

I think we’ve all been to Bible studies like this where some people should really get a “delaying the game” penalty. Perhaps we’ve even been the culprits. Yeah, definitely been found among the culprits…

Bad Bible Study Bingo

July 7, 2014

The Happy Rant Podcast

Church Clothes 2.5 John Piper LecraeOkay…I’m staying loyal to the Phil Vischer Podcast (and they’ve got video) but I now have new audio podcast favorite.

The Happy Rant is Stephen Altrogge, Barnabas Piper, and Ted Kluck

Self-described as “talking about things that don’t matter,” the latest, Episode 5, looks at alternative study Bibles we’d like to see. (Didn’t Mad Magazine do this premise?)

The Andre the Giant Study Bible
The Zangief from Street Fighter Study Bible
The Tootie from Facts of Life Study Bible
The Other Girl from Facts of Life, The One Who Is a Christian Speaker Study Bible
The Crease from Karate Kid Study Bible
The Dwight Schrute Study Bible
The “The Situation” Study Bible
The Chaz Marriot Study Bible
The “Platform” Study Bible
The Pete Rose Should Be in the Hall of Fame Study Bible
The Lloyd Dobler Study Bible
The U2 Lyrics Study Bible
The Mike Seaver Study Bible
The Super Bowl Shuffle Study Bible feat. William “The Refrigerator” Perry
The Twitter Every Word Is Hashtagged and Every Name is Squigglied Study Bible
The 1986 Mets Featuring Daryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez and Mookie Wilson Study Bible
The Joyce Meyer Study Bible

or this suggestion, “I want a Minnesota Sports Fan Study Bible which basically consists of Job, Ecclesiastes and Revelation.”

They also discuss John Piper’s upcoming gig with Lecrae, hence today’s graphic.

To listen to the podcast, click this link.

July 5, 2014

A Psalm for Summer

Filed under: Church, Humor — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:41 pm

Now it came to pass that spring turned to summer again. God’s people raised their voices and said,

Recreation is my shepherd. I shall not stay home.
He maketh me to lie down in a sleeping bag, He leadeth me down the interstate each weekend.
He restoreth my suntan, He leadeth me to state parks for my comfort’s sake.
Even though I stray on the Lord’s Day, I will fear no reprimand, for Thou art with me.
My rod and reel they comfort me.
I anoint my skin with SPF-50, my gas tank runneth dry.
Surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends this summer, and I shal return to the house of the Lord this fall.


June 12, 2014

Witnessing on the (Summer) Job

Filed under: evangelism, Humor — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:34 am

Witnessing on the (Summer) Job

This is from InterVarsity’s TwentyOneHundred Productions. (Click the link to source.) Jon Acuff has a word for these, he calls it a Jesus Juke. You can read that definition in this 2010 blog post. Since he coined the term it’s been adopted far and wide, to the point where if you Google the phrase (in quotation marks) you get “About 8,620 results.”

June 6, 2014

It’s All About Me!

Filed under: Humor, writing — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:15 am

James RubartWe’ve previously reviewed four books by James Rubart here: Rooms, The Book of Days, and The Chair. Recently James shared this story on his blog:

A man is enjoying watching a Seattle Mariners game when he finds himself thirsty and decides to get himself a Coke.

As he’s returning to this seat a few minutes later, he hears a voice cry out from high in the stands above him.

“Hey, Tony!”

The man stops and squints into the seats with a frown on his face. A few seconds later, he resumes his path back to his seat when the same voice bellows again. “Hey, Tony! Up here!”

The man turns and glares for a moment at the spot the voice is coming from, then trudges on.

Not more than three seconds passes before the voice calls out a third time. “Tony! Hey, Tony!”

The man stops, turns, and shouts in the direction of the voice with full force, “My name’s not Tony!”

Part Joke, Part Sobering Truth

We smile when hearing this joke because of the absurdity of the situation, but there’s a bit of truth in there that gives me pause.

The man who bought the Coke has also bought into a deadly lie. He thinks he’s the person the voice high in the stands is calling for, because he thinks the world is all about him.

Can you relate? When we walk into a party or a group of friends who are we fixated on? Yep. Ourselves. We’re thinking about how we look (or don’t look). We’re wondering if people will be glad to see us, or give us a bored glance and go back to their conversations.

When we post on Facebook, are we hoping what we say will encourage someone, or are we more focused on how many likes we get?

I could go on, but I know you understand what I’m driving at.

Ignore the voice from high in the stands. The idea of life being about us is woven into our culture so deeply it’s paralyzing. Advertisers are masters at convincing the masses that life is about them.

But if we’ve surrendered our lives to Jesus, it’s not about us. It’s about others. It’s about walking into the party asking Jesus who we should love on. (Because beyond the brave faces, people are hurting all around us. They need the Life we carry.)

It’s called dying to self. And there is such freedom when we do.


Review: Rooms
Review: The Chair
Review: Book of Days
Review: Soul Gate

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