Thinking Out Loud

January 19, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Enjoy this week’s links; there’s ice cream at the end!

  • You Give Me Your Shows and I’ll Give You Mine Department:  Canada’s Christian television network, CTS has put together a reciprocal deal with Robert A. Schuller’s American Life Network to share programming and media platforms.  Currently a limited list of CTS programs are available on the NRB Network.  Read more at BDBO.
  • Tattooed Pastor Department:  Jay Bakker has a new book out, Fall to Grace (Faithwords) which Tony Jones reviews at Take and Read.
  • Read This One For the Gipper Department:  Here’s another book review, this one for The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Beth Brown, reviewed by Darrell Dow.
  • Biting The Hand That Feeds Them Department:  The Feed-a-Friend program in downtown Houston, Texas is now being required to purchase a $17/day permit from the city to carry out its mission of feeding the homeless.  The group is trying to avoid an us-versus-them mentality.
  • Killing Me Softly Department: Dee at Wartburg Watch takes a trip down memory lane profiling a not-yet-published book by Irishman Charlie Boyd, and reminds us of The Jesus Movement, Arthur Blessitt, Larry Norman, The Late Great Planet Earth, the Shepherding Movement, Calvary Chapel, and so many other times and places worth remembering.
  • Big Bang Theory Department:  If your tastes run to quantum physics, Michael Belote’s recent posts at Reboot Christianity might be just what you’re looking for, starting with the most recent, Schrodinger’s Christianity. (This makes a good forward for your science-type friends. Spoiler: Our souls are like quantum particles.)
  • Ministry Copycat Department:  We all know of churches which offer conferences and seminars for pastors to learn how the big guys do it.  The seminars aren’t free; the churches are basically selling their expertise.   Now comes word that one megachurch actually charges a fee just to see the wording of their staff job descriptions. Yikes!
  • Dialing for Doctrine Department: At The Arminian Blog (caption line: Theology in the Dutch Reformed Tradition of Jacob Arminius) comes this article about inconsistencies among Southern Baptist Calvinists when it comes to missions.
  • Glass Houses Department: We all have a public persona and a private persona, but what really goes on behind the closed door of our houses when it’s just us and the fam?  It’s a question worth considering in the light of this homespun article by Trey Morgan listing ten things you’d notice if you were a guest. Not sure why I’m attracted to this article, but after reading it, I feel I’ve already spent time with Lea, Trey and the boys.
  • Church Plant Withers Department:  This is a link to Jamie Arpin-Ricci’s blog, selected because it takes you to all four parts of Jason Coker’s blog where he describes the final days of the Ikon church plant in San Diego.  Or you can also get there from David Fitch’s blog along with much additional analysis. The similarities between Jason’s experience in southern California and my own experience with Transformation Church an hour east of Toronto are rather striking.
  • Authors of Confusion Department: Keith Brenton lists some indicators of bad theology in a December piece I missed earlier, How To Spot False Teaching.
  • Higher Education Department: At my own alma mater, The University of Toronto, a couple of local churches and ministry organizations are lending support to a Jesus Awareness Week. Oh, to be a student again, and be part of the events.
  • Interfaith Dialog Department:  Mark Galli at Christianity Today suggests that step one in starting the conversation with people of other faiths actually lies in evangelizing ourselves.
  • Truth is Stranger Than Cartoons Department:  We leave this week with two, count ’em two links to the blog American Jesus.  The first is a 40-second mystery video about church pageantry and formality gone wrong.  The second link gets you an explanation for the picture which appears below.  See ya in seven days with more links.

December 9, 2009

Robert Schuller Quadruples Broadcast Reach in Network Acquisitions

Tuesday, the Dallas Morning News reported the following deal with between Robert A. Schuller’s company and the network owned by Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries:

A Dallas private equity firm co-founded by Robert A. Schuller, the former televangelist from the Hour of Power, has acquired two media companies in Atlanta that nearly quadruple its reach to 50 million U.S. households.

ComStar Media said Monday that it’s buying FamilyNet Television and FamilyNet Radio for an undisclosed amount.

“It’s a pretty big leap,” said ComStar co-founder and chief executive Chris Wyatt, who is Schuller’s son-in-law. “No one knows who we are in Dallas, and we run two major television networks.”

Wyatt hopes to change that.

He projects that ComStar’s $5 million in revenue will at least double next year.

Wyatt and Schuller, who is chairman of ComStar, started the company late last year to buy distressed faith-based media companies. Its first fund has a target of $10 million, but the next fund will shoot for $50 million, Wyatt said.

In May, ComStar made its first acquisition, AmericanLife Television Network, which reaches 13 million households…  […continue reading here]

To learn more about Schuller’s new program, Everyday Life,  and American Life Network, click here.

Photo:  Scene from Everyday Life, ALN Network

November 30, 2009

Robert A. Schuller Returns to Television in a Different Format

This is an item that’s over 18 months old as of July, 2011.  If a search engine directed you here, consider using the search tab at right to look up more recent info on “Crystal Cathedral” or “Robert Schuller” including this recent piece.

Robert A. Schuller returned to television this week in a vastly different format to what we’re accustomed to seeing.   Everyday Life on the American Life Network was, well, here’s the bullet points:

  • 23 minute — online anyway, broadcast version may have had commercials — narrative story with RAS as the narrator, popping in and out to talk to the audience
  • High quality film production; more like H2O than Nooma with credible acting and a realistic story line; and a mystery character a la books like The Noticer or Bo’s Café.
  • Not preachy, which is what they were going for; your unchurched friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers would watch this; there’s no sermon at all, but sometimes a story can ‘preach it’ better than a sermon can.
  • Nonetheless, some thought provoking concepts: “The thing about ‘destiny’ is, only the soul sees it coming, when it arrives it always seems like a surprise.”    Chew on that one.
  • Not actually very Christocentric or even ‘religious’ at all; that may draw some criticism,  but you have to remember this is the first episode of a series; a relationship with the audience will be built over time and the storyline will continue.  There’s a bit of foreshadowing of that at the 14:50 mark.

Verdict:   Too soon to tell.  Generally an affable program that will take several episodes to fully define itself.

Posture:   Encouragement.   Looking forward to the next installment.   Is this weekly?  Monthly?  Not sure.

Anything on this blog concerning Robert Schuller has generated a lot of comments on a site that is usually fair on readership but low on comments.   However, most of these comments have been directed to RAS, which drove me nuts once or twice.   That’s not normally how blogging works.  However, I’ve figured out a channel whereby I will get those comments to Robert and Donna; and I know there is large outpouring of love that people want to post online.

So…are you ready to watch the first episode?  Here’s the link to American Life Television; Everyday Life is the first video that starts rolling as soon as you arrive.

The next broadcast airing is Friday, December 4th at 4:30 PM

Bonus: Here’s a 4-minute interview Robert’s daughter Angie did concerning the new series.   (Where you can also leave comments after watching the show.)

October 7, 2009

Robert Schuller Broadcast Date Announced

OK, so I’m a slave to blog stats.   Nothing drives traffic here like updated info on the rather public family feud between Robert A. Schuller (the younger) and Robert H. Schuller (the elder).   However, some are finding the information hard to come by, so I suppose we’re performing a valid service here.

So the official date is now set:  Thanksgiving Weekend.   (That’s U.S. Thanksgiving for my Canadian readers, not ours, which is this weekend.)  Sunday, November 29th to be specific.

The show will launch on American Life Network (ALN) and the “thirteen week scripted dramatic series” titled Everyday Life will kick off as a holiday special.

Schuller Everyday Life article that wouldn't copy and paste

In other words, using narrative story instead of traditional preaching.   Brian McLaren and Donald Miller should like this approach.

You can read more here.

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