Thinking Out Loud

January 12, 2020

Service Cancelled Due to the Weather

Filed under: Church, Christianity, weather — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:48 pm

“Father MacKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear…”
– The Beatles

Perhaps the lyric was on my mind as we recently watched the movie Yesterday. Twice actually.

On our own yesterday we had to make a run to Emergency as I was in great agony with a pain in my foot which was diagnosed as a tear in the Achilles tendon. Or something like that. I was more concerned with the care and the prognosis than the particular title the injury received.

Mrs. W. was in the waiting room, working on her laptop on a sermon outline that had been percolating for awhile, in case it was needed the next day. The pastor is in Montreal with family, and the scheduled speaker, who would have needed to drive a significant distance, had done the prudent thing and cancelled ahead of time.

So my wife had offered to be the back-up speaker for the other back-up speaker.

As it turned out, the church cancelled their service. About half of the Evangelical churches that are active on Facebook did the same, and another half did not. The Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches had nothing on social media (if they have it at all) so we assume they went ahead.

Hence The Beatles quotation above. Poor Father MacKenzie. Did no one come to the service?

We saw this happen a few years ago. A priest in Boston was going through all of the forms for the 5:00 PM mass in an empty sanctuary. Empty, but for the two tourists peeking through a back door, on whom his dedication had a significant impact; so perhaps it wasn’t all for naught.

I have no memories of church services being cancelled when I was young. It was a large church in a big city, and maybe the roads were kept cleared enough that people could arrive without incident. We probably had a few rural members and adherents, but for the most part, this was an urban church, transplanted from a downtown location that made it even more urban. As long as public transit was operating, people could attend.

Some of that may also be due to the changing weather patterns we are experiencing. I’ve written about that five years ago. On the 6:30 U.S. network newscasts I’ve watched for as long as we’ve been married, the last seven or eight years have almost always included a breaking weather-related story among the opening headlines.

I’ve run the picture below, with the same caption, previously on the blog. It’s not always about the weather, but the extremes of weather we experience.

In the meantime, we’ve missed this week’s opportunity for fellowship, teaching and worship. My wife’s earlier attempt to watch a live stream of the church where she grew up failed due to unusually slow internet speeds. We went to different rooms and read different books. I had downloaded a sermon last night, and will probably choose another one (or more) before the day is over.

I hope that both Father MacKenzie and my wife get to deliver their sermons to some actual people. And perhaps one of the ladies in the church will step up and offer to darn the priest’s socks so he doesn’t have to do this himself.

On New Year's Day 2009, Ippswich in Australia was expecting a high of +38C, which is about 100F. Meanwhile, back at home, my Weather Network indicator on my computer is showing that we’re heading to a low of -18C, which is about -1F. Their high temperature on a summer mid-afternoon Thursday would be occurring at the same time as my Wednesday mid-winter night. That's 101 degrees F difference. That day I was asking,

On New Year’s Day 2009, Ippswich in Australia was expecting a high of +38C, which is about 100F. Meanwhile, back at home, my Weather Network indicator on my computer was showing that we were heading to a low of -18C, which is about -1F. Their high temperature on a summer mid-afternoon Thursday would be occurring at the same time as my Wednesday mid-winter night. That’s 101 degrees F difference. That day I was asking, “Are we even on the same planet?” (The left picture was actually Bondi Beach.) Where I live, houses, cars and our collection of clothing has to withstand wind chill factors as low as -50 C (which was reached in Winnipeg several times that year, almost not needing the chill factor) and humidity index temps higher than +40 C.


We plough the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered
by God’s almighty hand.
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft, refreshing rain. 1

… He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matt 5:45)


1Classic hymn based on a poem published in 1782 and set to music in 1800; also the basis of the song All Good Gifts from the musical Godspell; section cited based on Psalm 147:16.

September 4, 2009

Comments Left in the Blogosphere

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:39 pm

blog ratingHonestly, sometimes I think I do my best work on other people’s sites. Others may just think of it as dropping more litter on the information highway…

On the Jaycee Dugard case, I left this at Julie Clawson‘s site:

I think there’s also a broader element to this story which so captivates us. The highway to my house passes through a dense forest. I’ve often wondered if there is any unsolved crime evidence hidden there. There’s a man on my street who in 20+ years has never planted a tree, never paved his driveway. I often wonder what goes on inside that house. There’s a property a few miles from me where for years, the interior was completely ringed by a six-foot solid wood plank fence. What on earth was going on behind that wall?

We drive through the woods and past homes and property oblivious to what stories are written there. It’s astonishing that something like this story could go on right under the noses of the neighbors for all those years, but then I ask, what could be going on right under our noses? But we don’t want to answer that question because to truly answer it would be to give up basic freedoms. I remember how, years ago, as an apartment tenant, I would resent the annual inspection by the landlord. I wanted to be king of my castle.

But maybe the loss of such freedom is the price we must pay to ensure the safety of people like Jaycee. On television at least, that property looked like it was dying for a closer audit; and health, fire, safety and environmental concerns are sufficient grounds for authorities to get a closer look.

I don’t visit the Emerging Women blog too often (!), but left this remark in regards to the TNIV discussion:

I was really impressed with the book How To Choose a Bible Translation for All It’s Worth by Mark Strauss and Gordon Fee, especially the way the book dealt with the Greek term ‘anthropos’– hope the spelling is close — referring to mankind not males. My fear is that we’ll look back on this day about a dozen years from now and decide that this was an overreaction. The TNIV was not the translation equivalent of New Coke.

Eric Miller is somehow able to attend a Beatles-inspired concert and get Christianity Today to print his review of it, under the rather offbeat title, Vacationing With The Pagans.    You can almost see the lightning and hear the thunder as the clash of cultures reveals itself in the emerging comments section.   I was rather amazed they ran the piece and wrote:

Wow!  If Eric Miller can get all this out of watching a Beatles tribute band do a beach concert, I hope he has a full book coming out.  Chesterton’s analysis notwithstanding, I’m sure this was a very professionally done performance; recreating very familiar original music is most difficult to do, but it is a joy to watch, especially when that music helped transform both a generation specifically, and Western society in general.

I’m sure it was most evocative, especially for those who lived through those days from 1963 to 1970.  After an experience like that, you want to share it with someone, and as Christ-followers, sometimes the only frame of reference we have is our faith; our spirituality.

But I’m also not certain where this fits into the online pages of CT, though I do see a value in celebrating these moments when they take place. Probably there were other Christ-followers in the audience, too; whether or not they would call it ‘vacationing with the pagans,’ I’m not so sure…


Finally, here’s one on Stuff Christians Like concerning the online church fad:

Occasionally… I’ll listen to a podcast while sitting at the desktop. Over the last few months I’ve been coming to the conclusion that I’ve been ADD all my life, before the diagnosis ever existed.

So I’ll never forget the first time — and the associated guilt — when I started clicking Solitaire cards as I was listening. Frankly, this type of multi-tasking only sharpens my concentration on the sermon.

Now I’m looking for a church that has video monitors installed in the last two rows for those of us who need a built-in distraction to hear the message more clearly.

So what about you?  Do you leave comments on blogs?  I guess if you respond to that, the answer is yes.

May 4, 2009

Monday Links — Christian News Update


Shack Publisher To Launch Music Division

Christian Retailing — a bookstore trade magazine published by the same people who publish Charisma magazine — is announcing that “The publishing newcomers behind Christian fiction phenomenon The Shack are hoping for a repeat success in the music world. Windblown Records, a new division of Windblown Media–the company formed to publish William P. Young’s novel after it was turned down by more than 20 established publishers–has released My Beautiful One. The 12-track CD features instrumental arrangements of worship songs by Chris DuPré.” …Continue reading the whole story here.


Adam Gregory To Star in WWJD Movie

The website Country Standard Time is reporting that Adam Gregory will star in a movie based on the book that inspired the whole WWJD phenomenon a few years ago. “…The upcoming film “WWJD” [is] based on one of the best-selling Christian books of all-time… Gregory’s original song What Would Jesus Do from his recent Canadian release “Crazy Days” will also be featured in the film. The song was co-written by Keith Follese and Billy Yates. …Filming on the project begins this week in Los Angeles.” The book referred to is In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. …Read the entire story here.


Jesus More Popular Than Beatles

John Lennon may have once suggested that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, but at the first ever auction in the 44-year history of the Hollywood Wax Museum, the wax figures of the Beatles fetched only $13,000; compared to $15,000 for Jesus and His disciples at The Last Supper. To read the short report at the Starpulse Entertainment site, link here.


Afghan Official Calls for Bible Distribution Probe

“A former Afghan official says an investigation should be conducted into U.S. soldiers allegedly trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.” So begins a report from United Press International (UPI) in which a former Afghan Prime Minister suggests that what the soldiers are doing is outside the limits of the U.S.’ own constitution. Continue reading the UPI story here.


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