Thinking Out Loud

October 15, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Sunset - Mark BattersonThis is another photograph in a continuing series by people known to readers here; this sunset was taken Monday night by author and pastor Mark Batterson.

 

On Monday I raked leaves and collected links; you could call it my own little feast of ingathering.

Paul Wilkinson’s wisdom and Christian multi-level business opportunities — “just drop by our house tomorrow night, we have something wonderful we’d like to share with you” — can be gleaned the rest of the week at Thinking Out Loud, Christianity 201 and in the Twitterverse

From the archives:
The problem with out-of-office email notifications:


Lost in translation: The English is clear enough to lorry drivers – but the Welsh reads “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.” …Read the whole 2008 BBC News story here.

October 9, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Christ the Redeemer Statue

 

A big shout out this week to the people who track me down and submit link suggestions. Weekly deadline is 6:00 PM Eastern on Mondays.  To view clickable links for all that follows, read the Wednesday Link List at Out of Ur.

  • Although this movie trailer was posted in May, it was new to me: Coming in January, 2014 a movie about singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, aptly titled Ragamuffin…
  • …and a more recently posted trailer for a documentary exploring “the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality,” with interviews with “a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers.” The 7-part DVD series is titled Painting The Stars.
  • It’s not just a Catholic problem; a group is actively protesting to push for the ordination of Mormon women.
  • Just weeks before his formal installation, the President of the American Bible Society announces that the Board of Trustees has “brought [his] service to a close.”
  • “Christians in the Middle East are hostages in the hands of Islamic forces.” “Many of Israel’s Christians feel that their history, culture and heritage have been hijacked by Muslim Arabs in the region.” Read more at this report from a recent conference.
  • Sometimes in the quest to free ourselves from the constraints of religion, we discover we’ve simply immersed ourselves in a different form of religion.
  • Thanks to Canadian blogger Michael Bell, I was finally able to track down data on megachurches in Canada, a much shorter list than its U.S. counterpart.
  • 1-Source, a collaboration of four Christian publishing companies will offer titles by established authors like Bill Myers and Brandilyn Collins, as well as self-publishing.
  • David and Goliath becomes the theme of a TED Talk, but this explanation of the story is a little different from the one we know.
  • Essay of the Week: From right here at Christianity Today, Andy Crouch on the power we confer to those in church leadership and why it matters.
  • Find of the Week: Christian cartoonist Wes Molebash whose adventures with JP and Miles at the fictional Paper City Church make up the comic Insert Image.
  • Retort of the Week: Russell D. Moore responds to Pope Francis’ recent interview with an Italian journalist and the danger severing the love of God from the holiness of God…
  • …while Shane Claiborne remembers the original Francis.
  • There is so much to read at the blog of Samantha Field that it’s hard to just link to one post, but here’s 15 things you shouldn’t say to a recovering Fundamentalist.
  • Apologetics in part involves responding to Christianity’s critics, and these are some interesting responses.
  • One year ago at this time, I was crusading to get a classic book on the history of teaching about the Holy Spirit put back in print.
  • Typology: “So [Mommy/Daddy], [was/is] [name of prominent figure] a good guy or a bad guy?” Sometimes the answer is a bit of both. (Tangent: Check out the blogroll on this one.)
  • Not only does a portrait of Jesus have to be removed, but an Ohio school district has to pay the ACLU’s $80,000 in legal costs.
  • Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas is producing a number of quality videos to go along with a dramatic reading of chapters in Genesis.
  • I think this was more common in a previous generation, but why not today? Praying for your children’s future spouses.
  • In some conservative Christian circles, the phrase “Guard your heart,” has an entirely different spin with consequences the writer of Proverbs never intended.
  • Jamie The Very Worst Goodwill Ambassador articulates her ambivalence after a tour with World Vision.
  • In the spirit of what’s termed Paul-Timothy relationships, Donald Miller suggests you should take your cues from people notably older than yourself, not your peers.
  • She “is a girl, just like you and me, who made a mistake. She knows when you are talking about her. She knows when you are looking at her and judging her.” An insider look at birth-mothers.
  • Don’t roll your eyes, but it’s one more Arminianism vs. Calvinism comparison.
  • For Italians, the name Simone Saltarelli denotes both a well known motorcyclist and a figure in Catholic church history.
  • The 2013 Catalyst Conference, as covered by the hometown newspaper, or more relevant details at Christianity Today.
  • Lost Song of the Week: Standin’ in the Need of Prayer by Deitrick Haddon and the Voices of Unity; a flashback to 2004.
  • Christianity Meets Culture: A blog featuring “reviews and news on the board gaming industry from a ministry point of view.” Not surprisingly, it’s called Theology of Games.
  • And then there’s this graphic which I’m sure you have use for, but I wasn’t sure how to introduce it. (What’s an .svg file anyway?)
  • Back on the comic front, nearly seven years and more than 1,100 panels later, the UK’s Jon Birch is still cartooning at ASBO Jesus.
  • Finally, a story for which I’ll quote the entire first paragraph, so you know I’m not making this up: “The Robertson clan from A&E’s reality show Duck Dynasty, will release a Christmas album called “Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” on October 29, featuring several top country stars.”

Link curator Paul Wilkinson blogs daily here and Tweets as inspiration strikes at @PaulW1lk1nson (or is “at @” a redundancy?)

Peace - Rob Bell

August 11, 2013

Conversation Excerpts Your Bible Omitted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:00 am

I love this post from Stuff Christians Like last week with guest writer Stephen Pepper.  You can read it here, but you’ll miss the other suggestions readers at SCL added. So click through to  20 Conversations The Bible Left Out

Have you ever wondered what’s missing from the Bible? There are so many people whose lives are covered over the course of thousands of years in the Bible, millions of situations and conversations will have gone unrecorded.

To try to fill in some of that gap, here are 20 conversations the Bible left out.

Noah: Told you so.

Jonah: And I pray for traveling mercies…

Job: Relax – what’s the worst thing that could happen today?

Eve: Should I wear the green fig leaf or the brown fig leaf?

Lot’s friend: Please could you pass the sa….. Sorry.

David: I’d give Bathsheba a good side hug.

Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego: I’m sorry; we’d prefer not to eat meat. We we’d rather eat Bob, Larry and Jr instead.

Isaac: Um, Dad – this game of “Tie your firstborn son to an altar and hold a knife above his head” doesn’t seem like it’s the most age-appropriate game we could be playing.

Balaam: Your voice doesn’t sound like Eddie Murphy’s.

Abraham: “I have many sons. Many sons have I.” I’m sorry Sarah – the song will never catch on.

Saul / Paul: I’ve just had a real Road To Damascus experience.

The Magi: Our love language is giving gifts.

Person at the feeding of the 5,000: Do you have a gluten-free vegan option?

Noah’s wife: Really Noah? Cockroaches?

Jabez: I wonder if one day someone will write an entire book based on two sentences that I prayed.

John The Baptist: Ooh, that’s a really nice shiny platter – why are you bringing that into a prison?

Solomon: I don’t understand why my 700 wives think I don’t spend enough time with each of them.

Paul: Was it Philippians, Phillippians, Philipians or Phillipians?

Samson: Because I’m worth it.

Adam: What do you mean, why did I call that a hippopotamus? Look at it – it so looks like it should be called a hippopotamus.

Question: What other conversations do you think the Bible didn’t include?

(For more great writing from Stephen, check out his blog here.)

July 31, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Bible for Christmas

We scan the internet so you don’t have to!

Got a suggestion for a link here? Contact me through Thinking Out Loud before 6 PM Eastern on Mondays.

July 25, 2011

To Be Continued…

Filed under: bible, books — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:03 am

Matthew B. Redmond blogs at Scribo Facio Noto

My daughter was “reading” through our copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible stopping every so often and asking me a question. When she got to the end, she saw the words, “To be continued…” and was confused. She had seen the words in other books and knew it meant there were books where the story continued. Was there another Bible with more Bible stories? She told me she had hoped there were more Bible stories.

She was pretty disappointed when I told her the Bible was God’s story of all he has done to save us and there is only one Bible. But I then explained “To be continued…” means God is still writing his story of all he is doing.

“And you are part of this story.”

Her eyes lit up and a smile emerged from the confusion.

“Your growing belief and love for Jesus is part of the story that God will tell for all eternity…You know how we have talked about heaven and being with Jesus forever?…Well, there will be another book and your story of all God has done in you and through you will be in that book…You will be featured in that book.

“Really?! Coooool.”

It is cool.

December 16, 2010

Why People Love to Argue Noah, Jonah and Adam

Okay, I’ll say it.

While I have no reason to doubt the Biblical accounts I learned as a child, my faith journey is not contingent on whether David killed a giant with a slingshot (I think he did) or Joshua blew a trumpet and and the walls of Jericho fell (I think he did and they did) or whether Jesus put mud in a man’s eyes and then he could see (which I not only think he did, but think that belief on that one becomes a bit more central.)

But there are many people who love to argue these points.   The reason is simple:

  • If it should turn out that the Bible narrative is true, then that would make the Bible authoritative in other areas of life.
  • If the Bible is authoritative in all that it says, then that would require some kind of response from its hearers/readers.
  • That response would require a change in lifestyle; a change in priorities.
  • Many people, simply don’t want to make those changes.

So it’s easier for them to look at you and say, “You don’t really believe that Joshua prayed and God halted the earth’s rotation, resulting in more than 36 continuous hours of daylight, do you?”   A discussion that’s motivated more by the love of sin and not having to deal with accountability than it is with science.

And if you’re honest, you’ll probably say that while you do believe that God can (and did) cause the sun to stand still, that’s not what your faith journey, your God’s-love-receiving,  your Christ-following, your Spirit-indwelling, etc., is all about.

Because let’s face it:  While the children’s department of Christian bookstores is packed with stories about Jesus feeding 5,000 men or walking on water, Elijah being fed by ravens, and Daniel’s lack of appetizing characteristics to the large felines; the adult Christian living section of the same bookstore is relatively sparse on those particular narratives.

So what’s the deal?   Maybe, just maybe…

The woman who says, “You don’t really believe that a guy named Jonah lived inside a whale — sorry, ‘large fish’ — for three days do you?” is actually carrying on an illicit affair with a guy in the warehouse.   If the Bible is true in its narratives, it means it is reliable in everything, and that would require a response and a change in lifestyle.

The guy who says, “You don’t really believe that Noah and all those animals lived on board a yacht — sorry, ‘large boat’ — for a full year do you? is actually transferring money from an advertising account to a bogus consulting company which is actually a personal bank account.  If the Bible is true in its narratives, it means it is reliable in everything, and that would require a response and a change in lifestyle.

The woman who says, “You don’t really believe that stuff about God creating Adam and then taking one of his bones — sorry, ‘large rib’ — to create a woman do you? is actually getting her son to purchase ecstasy for her from a dealer in his high school.  If the Bible is true in its narratives, it means it is reliable in everything, and that would require a response and a change in lifestyle.

For some of us, here’s the 411:

  • The Bible is authoritative and reliable in what it says; there’s no picking and choosing; you either trust the book or you don’t.
  • We have heard and listened and chosen to respond to God’s offer of love and forgiveness, of which whales, arks and Adam’s ribs is but a small part — the realm of the miraculous — in a much, much larger ‘love letter’ to His creation.
  • This has changed our perspective, our worldview, our priorities and values; a change that can be seen by people who knew us before vs. after or know how we live in contrast to the larger society around us.
  • While we’re far from perfect, we think we’ve got the hottest news on the rack and want you to share in both what we’ve learned and the grace we’ve received.

September 15, 2010

Wednesday Link List

This week's links lynx is actually an Iberian Lynx

A special blessing will come your way if you click all these links and then send the list to ten friends.   Seriously.   Would I lie to you?

Actually, it’s just a list of things I found worth reading this week.   This weekly list is now consider the #1 list of links published on a Wednesday by a blog called Thinking Out Loud.   BTW, the Iberian Lynx is making what is only his second appearance here.  The first was in January this year.

  • If 56 million Bibles are printed annual in China, why would you bother to smuggle any?   Maybe because the number of Bibles produced are often English Bibles and Bible story books for kids which are exported for sale here in the west.   So the need is still there.
  • She was the champion of the use of the arts in church worship.   And still is.   But right now, former Willow Creek creative arts guru Nancy Beach is sitting in a director’s chair in Toronto on the set of a movie.
  • Sometimes you hear about charity fund raising projects and you wonder if anything is actually being accomplished.   18 months ago, I wrote about one involving worship musicians, Compassionart.   (I still enjoy the CD/DVD combo, especially the DVD.)   This past week, Rick Apperson dug up the stats on the projects accomplished by the project so far.
  • You can vote in the comments section whether or not you love this week’s YouTube clip or hate it.   But how can you not like little Mary Margaret’s flawless dramatic narration of the story of Jonah?
  • Back to the heavy stuff.  Here’s a great piece at Think Christian that helps you identify American “civil religion” when you see it. Simple marker: “Any statement that identifies the USA as God’s unique instrument for the salvation of the world is by definition blasphemous and idolatrous for a Christian to make.”
  • Mandy Thompson’s husband discovers that he didn’t actually marry that Mandy Thompson.
  • Thirty seconds of thinking:  Seth Godin on why it matters that there’s a difference to jazz versus bowling.
  • David Fitch wants you think twice about church planting in an auditorium as opposed to church planting in a living room.   Your choice could have repercussions for decades.
  • Here’s a great 5-minute animation of the Casting Crowns song, Praise You In The Storm.
  • Actually, I’ll give you a bonus video this week.   This is by Aaron Niequist, former Mars Hill (Grand Rapids) now doing the same job at Willow Creek.   The song is simply titled Changed.
  • Then again, why not go three-for-three.   This one may not fit your definition of a worship song, but it earn the adjective as much as anything else.   Check out Owl City’s Meteor Shower.
  • It’s one thing to have a more gender-inclusive translation of the Bible, but T.C. Robinson wonders aloud what do you do when “elders” in Titus 1 is gender-neutral as it is in the Common English Bible?
  • Are you a book-review blogger?  Here’s some advice to put what you do in perspective.
  • Skye Jethani is concerned because there are people attending church each week who are just plain bored.   Certainly that shouldn’t be.
  • Personal link:  This is what my oldest son gets up to when we’re not looking.   The musical instrument he’s playing here is called a Sonome.   Elsewhere on his channel you can do a quick tutorial he posted and find out how they work.   (If you’re reading this months later, it’s the Super Mario clip that was upfront when I wrote this.)
  • Our comic this week should be familiar to you.  Here we have Dolly partially deep in prayer at The Family Circus by Bil Keane.   Do you ever pray like that?   I’ll bet Mary Margaret does.

November 3, 2009

Zacchaeus Meets The Christmas Story

The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19: 1-9 is the ultimate children’s Bible story.   Think about, it’s got:

  • zacchaeusa short key character; kids can identify
  • a parade — or something similar —  about to pass by
  • tree climbing; what kid doesn’t like that?
  • unlikely guy gets singled out for special treatment
  • Zacchaeus and Jesus have a tea party, at least according to the children’s song; actual serving of tea may have been unlikely
  • restitution of unfair trade practices; he did something bad and is going to make it right

But the tree climbing is the fun part of the story, so much so that we omit to notice the fact that respectable adults in the culture don’t climb trees.   In the book Preaching the Parables to Postmoderns, Brian Stiller reminds of another story where we miss the cultural nuances.

Stiller notes that in the story of the prodigal son, the father sees his returning son in the distance and runs to meet him.   To run meant to lift the lower hem of the tunics worn at that time, which would expose the ankles and lower leg.   While that may not seem out of line with the bathrobes worn in most church plays you’ve seen, it in fact is out of line with norms in that society.   Besides, the patriarchal head of household doesn’t run, period.

Zacchaeus climbs up a tree because he doesn’t want to miss Jesus.   The father in the story of the two brothers runs because he doesn’t want to miss a moment with or hide his enthusiasm for the return of his lost son.   Both actions involve a considerable loss of dignity on the part of both parties.

David understood this.   Consider this account from II Samuel 6:

14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”

21 David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the LORD’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the LORD. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

The line I like is verse 22: I will become even more undignified than this.    Nothing reinforces this like the Matt Redman song,

David Danced by Steve PhelpsI will dance I will sing
To be mad for my King
Nothing Lord is hindering
The passion in my soul

And I’ll become even more
Undignified than this
Some would say it’s foolishness but
I’ll become even more
Undignified than this

David’s removal of his outer garment ought to remind you of something else.  Think about this moment from John 13:

1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place.

The outer garment that Jesus removed was the fine piece of clothing that symbolized his authority as a rabbi.   Hours later, Roman soldiers would gamble for the chance to walk way with this prime specimen of clothing as a souvenir of their day’s work.

This action symbolized his servant leadership, but as he told Peter, there was a bigger picture yet to be grasped.   I believe that the removal of his outer garment symbolizes something else entirely, as shown in Philippians 2:

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor…

Jesus gave up the splendor of heaven — took of his outer robe — to enter into our human condition.   But then, as John 13:12 shows us, he puts that outer robe back on, i.e. he returns to the glory he had known before at the right hand of the Father.

There are lots of words we could use to describe this, but the key one for today is that he made himself undignified.

Now, he invites you to find a place where you can lose your own dignity in order to accomplish his purposes in your generation.

I Samuel and John passages – NIV; Philippians passage – NLT

March 27, 2009

David vs. Goliath on Twitter

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:57 pm

I came across this blog today.   I’m not seeing any information as to who Christian Ranter is or where this originates.  He posts infrequently, but it’s quality not quantity that counts here.  This piece is too funny.   Don’t forget that in Twitter, as in blogging, to catch the sequence of what follows you want to start reading from the bottom up.    (Note:  If you decide to link to this blog, be warned that this is a “must read every post” kind of blog.   I’m blogrolling this one for sure.)

david-vs-goliath

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