Thinking Out Loud

January 27, 2010

The Links Lynx is Back

The Wednesday Link List.    A Thinking Out Loud tradition for at least a few months now…

  • Say what you will about Rob Bell — and I know many of you would jump at the chance — but you’ve never experienced a better transition of a pastor from one church to another than when the people of Trinity Mennonite “gift” Shane Hipps to the people at Mars Hill Grand Rapids.   This link is valid for about ten more weeks, click on the sermon for 01.17.10 and listen to the first ten minutes.
  • Gary Molander also has an excellent post on the above item at the blog It’s Complicated, under the title Pastor Poaching.
  • I was going to include this last week, but hesitated.   First, it’s a six page article and secondly the first page is extremely graphic.   But I think this should be on your must-read list.   It compares a medical condition gynecologists call meno-metrorrhagia, with the condition of the hemorrhaging woman in Mark 5: 25-34, bringing modern science and historical background together to help us understand the passage more fully and also to focus on current conditions in Africa.   Check out “Jesus and the Unclean Woman” by L. Lewis Wall at Christianity Today.
  • This was actually posted to YouTube back in August, but it’s a great moment at the LoveSong reunion when pastor Chuck Smith introduces the song which, in many respects, marked the absolute beginning of today’s Contemporary Christian music.   If you’re into Christian music, this nine minute video shows you how it all began.
  • Jeff McQuilkin considers what it was like putting together a ‘worship show’ each week, from the perspective of someone who is no longer doing so.   Check out “The Show Must Go On” at The Communitas Collective.  (Read Jeff regularly at Losing My Religion.)
  • Jon Acuff is in classic form giving you a chance to rate the bumper sticker(s) on your vehicle(s), not to mention seven great new ones (and one cheesy one) of his own.   Check out Stuff Christians Like #694.  (It took 694 posts to get to bumper stickers?)
  • “If your kids are awake, they’re online.”   Albert Mohler discusses The Online Life of Kids.    Mohler writes well, but it’s not a true blog if you can’t leave comments.
  • The best books of 2009 you’ve never read:  It’s the Christianity Today Book Awards.   The more esoteric and eclectic, the better, right?   How about, as George Costanza might say, ‘book awards for the rest of us?’
  • Check out the various free image files available to your church — see sample at right — from CreativeMYK.com
  • Congratulations to blogger Carlos Whittaker (Ragamuffin Soul) on a deal with Integrity Music.   Check out a few of the songs here.
  • Don’t feel you learn enough reading blogs?   This week’s lynx is actually an Iberian lynx.   Wikipedia says, “It is the most endangered cat species in the world.  According to the conservation group SOS Lynx, if this species died out, it would be the first feline extinction since the Smilodon 10,000 years ago.”   Use that in a conversation in the next 24 hours.
  • I guess it had to happen. Is there anything we do in church life that doesn’t have its own seminar? An upcoming conference offers three workshops for people who staff the church coffee bar.   At least they’ll be well-trained.
  • Here’s a repeat link from six months ago: New Direction in Canada has put together a 4-week DVD curriculum,  Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending Our Gay Neighbors. It includes 3-hours of video content and a 40-page leader guide with reproducible worksheets.   Material on this subject is badly needed.  Guests include Brian McLaren, Bruxy Cavey, Tony Campolo and eight more.   Read more about it, here.
  • He’s a 19 year old college student.   He seems like a good Christian kid.  He wants a tattoo.   Wants to put “Bought With A Price” on it.   Parents say no.   Time for Russell D. Moore at the blog Moore to the Point to sort it out.
  • If you’ve recently joined us, and you’re a woman who has a husband, father, son, brother or boyfriend who is hooked on pornography, check out a resource I wrote a couple of years ago, The Pornography Effect.  It’s a modified blog page where the chapters appear in order; clicking “previous posts” actually yields the next chapters, 7-15.  Takes about 50 minutes to read.
  • Today’s cartoon is from JAW Toons by Jay Allen:

HT for CreativeMYK = Kent Shaffer

No animals were harmed in the making of this week’s link list.  The idea of LoveSong as the true root of contemporary Christian music is open to debate if you consider the Catholic folk masses of the late 1960s, or the influence of Larry Norman.

September 15, 2009

Third World Sponsorship of Another Kind

I’m gonna be totally honest here, and it’s not pretty.   Our family doesn’t do the child sponsorship thing.   I know that in Christian circles it’s spiritually incorrect to say that, but it’s true.   We’ve talked about it.   We can do the monthly payment.   We can do the praying.   But when it comes to committing to write the letters and getting emotionally involved, we feel somewhat spent.    And some days, I write dozens of letters, articles and blog posts.

Last year, we felt that all our charitable giving was too focused on North America, and concerns even closer to where we live.   So we cut back on Christmas presents — at least I’m told we cut back — and donated some money to a project my wife’s uncle is involved in, which is providing well restoration to parts of Africa.    It was, pardon the pun, a drop in the bucket in a much larger project.

turn on the tap

Two weeks ago someone told me about a project that Samaritan’s Purse is promoting called “Turn On The Tap.”   You don’t adopt a cute kid who sends you letters and a fresh picture every year, but for $100 you finance a well that services a whole family, using the technology found in BioSand water filters.

The BioSand Water Filter is an award-winning Canadian water filtration technology developed by Dr. David Manz, a former University of Calgary professor. BioSand Water Filters are an adaptation of slow-sand filtration, designed for use at the household level. The filter removes water-borne bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other organisms that cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and amoebic dysentery. The filter also strains out the particles and organic matter that cause cloudiness, unpleasant taste, color, and odor.

Filters can be built on location with local materials. The exterior is made of concrete, with gravel and sand layered inside. Rain, surface, or ground water is poured through the top and filtered as it passes through the layers of sand and gravel. The sand filters 1 litre of water per minute, enough to provide an entire family with sufficient water for their daily drinking, cooking, cleaning, and hygiene needs.

To service one family takes $100.   That’s it.   Not a monthly gift.   Not an obligation to write letters and send them your picture.  You just reach into your pocket and give, and a family has clear, clean water.

To learn more about the Canadian project, Canadian link here.  In the UK, Turn on The Tap is promoted through the Global Walk for Water;  UK link here.  In the U.S., Turn on the Tap didn’t get started until April of this year and operates differently; U.S. link here.

If you’ve always been cynical about child sponsorships, or, like us, you were just too stretched to get involved, here’s something you can do.   There are a variety of similar programs available for individuals or your entire church.   And you don’t have to wait for Christmas.



Gain a better perspective on this from someone who’s been there:

Anne Jackson makes the case far better than I can in an excellent blogpost at FlowerDust; click here to read it.

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