As we often are, today we’re indebted again to the multimedia team at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, aka Twenty-One-Hundred Productions for a list of recommended “life verses” depending on your Myers-Briggs personality type. Click the image to source.
Portions of today’s link list were pre-recorded for later broadcast.
- An article at Mission Network Online claims that ISIS has set a date for “open warfare” on the world’s non-Muslim population.
- Maybe Family Christian Stores should have gone this route: Australian Christian bookstore chain Koorong has been sold to that country’s national Bible society. Reaction from Koorong and Bible Society Australia.
- XXXChurch founder Craig Gross has teamed up with author Shaunti Feldhahn to produce a new book and ten-session video workshop. Check out Men are Visual…
- …and from the same ministry organization: If you want tabloid-style shocking headlines, these days, it would be the couples celebrating their 50th anniversary.
- Kathie Lee Gifford shared her testimony on NBC’s Today show following the death of her husband, sports commentator Frank Gifford.
- Dealing with The Dones: Scott McKnight reviews Chasing Refugees: “They wanted community…and got judgment. They wanted to affect the life of the church…and got bureaucracy. They wanted conversation…and got doctrine. They wanted meaningful engagement with the world… and got moral prescription.”
- A Missouri congregation leaving the Presbyterian Church in the US (PCUSA) is taking unusual steps to protect its land and buildings.
- Eight points for your consideration from Sam Storms: Do babies who die in infancy go to heaven?
- As happened in Colorado two years ago, now wildfires in California are impacting Christian camp. When the main lodge burns down, you lose both a facility and memories.
- This one is long, but John Piper is still very influential (in some circles) and his pronouncements never fail to be provocative, like the idea that women should not be police officers. Or go to the gym.
- Call it satire or comedy or whatever you want, but John Oliver’s piece on Last Week Tonight raises serious questions about what constitutes a ‘church’ in the United States…
- …and while we’re defining things, Can a Baptist pastor perform an infant baptism and still be a Baptist?
- The elder Graham and the younger Graham don’t seem to share the same leadership DNA. A comparison between Billy and Franklin.
- James Emery White: “Too many churches look at things from the inside. They think about what is easiest for them, best for them or makes sense for them. They don’t think about someone coming in from the outside; what is easiest, best and makes sense for others.”
- Author Bob Goff quits something every Thursday. Here are 30 things you can quit.
- Connecting with the Community: This writer offers eight principles and goals to keep in mind.
- Sandra Stanley: “Amazing grace, sufficient grace—exactly what we need, when we need it.“
- For younger leaders: Eight ways to be sure you will be taken seriously. (#4 – Get Results.)
- Feeling your way in the dark: A look at a different type of theme examined in a new book by Nancy Ortberg.
- Not the type of church potluck you want to attend: After food poisoning from a potato salad, 21 people were hospitalized and one died. (Next Lee Strobel book: “The Case for Catering.”)
- Including women in next year’s golf tournament, and nine other ways men can fight sexism in your church.
- Worship Corner: It’s not too early to start checking out Christmas worship songs. (Christmas is four months yesterday!)
- Francis Fix: If you need a Francis Chan fix, this message was recorded in the fresh air a few weeks ago.
- For LGBTQ students at Christian colleges, the choice is often between staying in the closet or being expelled.
- Leaning on the Everlasting Paws.
- Beer and Bible Department: This devotional was inspired by an Old Milwaukee commercial.
- Lessons Learned: A homeschool parent has 9 takeaways from her first year as home teacher. (Has anyone else noticed that Aaron Armstrong’s blog and Tim Challies’ blog are eerily similar?)
- Lost and Found: The only memories they have of their child’s brief time on earth turns up in a Bible for sale at Ollies.
- Doing Life: Happy Rant podcaster Steve Altrogge has picked up the translating Christianese mantle.
- The Steve Brown minus Steve Brown podcast welcomes Canadian “Naked Pastor” David Hayward.
- What it feels like back on the farm, when the megachurch moves into the city. (Login required to read. Unfortunate, because it’s a great article.)
- Skye Jethani’s subscription devotional, With God, is now a year old.
- After an already rough week, this couple’s life is now complicated by the revelation he had an Ashley-Madison account.
- For future reference: Catholic Priests should not grope women on airlplanes.
- They change the hip-hop song lyrics so they have religious content, but unlike Christian bands like Apologetix, the music of Deen Squad is contemporary Muslim music.
- Video Curiosity of the Week: On an Adventist website, one year ago, the question, should the church youth group hand out condoms?
- Finally, perhaps distinguished Oral Roberts University alumnus Ned Flanders can explain the noose hanging from the ORU Prayer Tower.
Sorry, our run of 50,000 of these is all sold out!
Don’t forget to check Paul’s Twitter on Thursday or Friday to see which stories got the most clicks.
- Kicking someone off your church property in the middle of a post-service lunch is always counter-intuitive, but sometimes it’s necessary.
- Sarah Bessey on how the charismatic faith she was raised in went from ultra-fringe to a position of influence.
- If nothing else, take note of the graphic in this story, contrasting the “natural amenities” of parts of the U.S. with church attendance. “But the story isn’t as simple as nature versus religion, some experts say. Try simply ‘nature religion.'”
- When one spouse has an affair, it’s like a relationship renovation has to take place, requiring trust and faith in a God who heals. If it misses the mark, it’s sin. Here are 9 Sins the Church is Comfortable With.
- Every time she plays in a tennis tournament, Serena Williams is breaking a Jehovah’s Witness edict against competitive sports.
- Essay of the Week: When good advice backfires. (That would never happen, would it?)
- Challenge of the Week: What church people need to know about people who once sat in those seats and sang those songs.>
- Don’t you hate it when the anti-drug people you invite to your surfing competition turn out to be Scientologists?
- Zach Hunt coins a new term: Scamgelists™. In 2015, people still fall for the pitch.
- The 2014 film Calvary is now out on video, though this review has some spoilers.
- A quick sketch of five men who started out as atheists and then changed sides.
- Got some VBS resources left over from the summer? Take the program to a local seniors home.
- With a variety of possible applications, your church address database can be visualized through free Geo-targeted maps from Google.
- Rob Bell on the megachurch: “Institutions arc towards self-preservation…innovations happen in garages.” A recent interview that covered many topics and includes this quote: “I’m as orthodox as they come!”
- And speaking of megachurches, an alliterative report from Chasing News about a mega lawsuit being filed by a pastor against his former church.
- Still making great music: Bryan Duncan.
- Literal Translation Department: “Bible believers must defend the truth that the moon emanates its own light.” The Bible says it, that settles it.
- If you missed the whole summer festival thing, you could always plan for September at the 2-day Uprise Fest in PA, or the smaller one-day PointFest in OH.
- Hashtag of the Week: #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.
- Liner Notes: Gungor talks about One Wild Life and the philosophical underpinnings of his next three albums.
- The whole Mormon underwear thing returns to the forefront after it’s revealed (literally) as a plot point in a fall series on ABC.
- Finally, from Happy Monday at Master’s Table:
A realistic look at Psalm 139 from Greg at the blog, Loose Him and Let Him Go:
Here are this week’s links:
- Lead Item: The Sandra Bland story is probably repeated more times than anyone realizes. This time it was an Episcopal priest. (Something is seriously wrong in the U.S. right now.)
- Family Christian Stores will continue to exist, for now, but even as they are breathed back into live, Gospel Light Publishing, a casualty of the restructuring, files for Chapter 11. Here’s a report at Thinking Out Loud’s Christian publishing sister blog…
- …Meanwhile, time has run out for Canada’s largest Christian bookstore.
- Red letter Bibles? That’s so 1899. Today, printing technology combines with marketing zeal to offer various types of Bible color coding combinations.
- Leadership Lessons: This one gets harsh, but pastors, here’s why your sermon is being ignored…
- …Also for pastors, even though a minister’s life consists of constant interruptions, you don’t have to attend every committee meeting or accept every guest speaker invitation. A pastor shares his greatest regret.
- Relevant Magazine’s top 10 book recommendations for twenty-somethings, and one writer’s observation as to what the list was missing.
- Persecution Potential: “[P]roposed amendments to Nepal’s new constitution, likely to come into effect on Monday (10 August) after seven years of parliamentary discussions, could eventually render all Christian activity illegal.”
- Pope Francis has signaled a softer stance on divorce, that impacts other Catholic doctrines such as the annulment of the previous marriage, and who can take communion.
- Essay of the Week: The Bridegroom Loves to Hear His Bride Sing.
- Book Review of the Week: A look at Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace; a scripture-centered approach by Timothy Lane.
- Worship Resource of the Week: What great musicianship looks like; four characteristics. (Via Worship Links as usual!)
- Women’s Feature of the Week: Holley Gerth on helping someone in the middle of a situation with which you have no experience.
- Two authors you know join forces on a new book to help women understand their role in helping men battle porn…
- …Also at On Faith: How to be monastic without becoming a monk.
- Separation of Church and State-funding: New rules for U.S. federal faith-based partnerships.
- VBS with a Difference: This one in Michigan ran over four nights and taught the kids apologetics…
- …Also at Ratio Christi: Who needs apologetics?
- Proof of the Proof: Verification for the Mathematical proof of the existence of God.
- Pictures like the ones in this short blog post arrest me in my tracks. White Anglo Protestants have convinced themselves that Jesus looked a lot like they do.
- If you missed it earlier, here’s the video trailer for the movie War Room, releasing in the U.S. August 28th. (Quarter million views so far.)
- Who says churches are tax exempt? A 5-minute podcast on the taxes churches actually pay. (Poor audio, but good content.)
- You don’t hear a lot of Amish conversion stories but it does happen. Of the 200,000 American Amish, perhaps 200 are converts like Christina Cortez.
Not sure which is better, giving you more links or concentrating on a smaller list of about twenty or so…
Don’t forget the summary of things most clicked appears late Thursday or Friday on my Twitter. Not sure I’ve ever mentioned that before; sorry!
- I’m not sure what I like best about Eric Metaxas’s new radio show, his ability to attract a different type of guest, or his ability to take serious, academic interviews and make it sound like a weekend party. (Okay, it’s actually the segment bridge music.)
- A Canadian pastor has written a 13-page letter outlining why his church has pulled Gospel for Asia from their budget.
- Essay of the Week: No matter how much you get or achieve, it’s never enough.
- We would probably see a greater exercise of spiritual gifts in our churches if we would cut the microphone cable and burn the stage.
- 33 years ago today I was working at a Christian camp when one of our water-ski instructors told me he’d just heard on the news of the death of Keith Green the previous day.
- A spot on the Jordan River “believed to be” where Jesus was baptized has been designated by the UN as a World Heritage Site.
- Can of Worms Department: This article raises all sorts of issues surrounding the Evangelical practice of asking younger children to wait until they are order to be baptized.
- The pop-ups resulted in a huge increase in subscribers, but they were annoying, unwelcome and frustrating; so this website owner removed them because they are “the opposite of the Christian ethic.” But despite how much people hate them, on most sites, “pragmatics has trumped service.”
- Video of the Week (if not the month): Truly awe-inspiring video of Brian Doerksen’s worship song Creation Calls.
- Given that the man had broken into his church, first the pastor shot him in the shoulder. Then he led him in the sinner’s prayer.
- A Mormon apologist “insists that Christian and Mormons are peas from the same pod: ‘Even if we believe different things about Christ, it’s still the same Christ. I’ve never come across any valid argument that it’s a different Christ we worship.’”
- After her Janet Mefford Show — instrumental in the plagiarism outing of Mark Driscoll — disappeared from the airwaves in May, she’s back with the one-hour Janet Mefford Today.
- For a limited time, enjoy a free chapter sample of a new book from Ravi Zacharias associate Andy Bannister’s The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist.
- From the author of God’s Crime Scene, what does it mean to say that God created the universe from nothing?
- Your latest update on Rob Bell.
- Leadership Lessons: Top Five Pitfalls of Pastoral Ministry.
- Great devotional story: A Bible college student finds a way to do the preaching assignment needed for graduation without having to worry about an actual audience.
- A school district in Mississippi promised there would not be prayer at student assemblies. When an invocation at an awards ceremony violated that, a judge ordered the school district to pay her $7,500 in compensation.
- From the Church for Men archives: The next Billy Graham will be a comedian.
- Rainbow flags in Russia? Not right now. Rather, they’ve adopted a straight flag…
- …which is a good lead-in to this article on countering the gospel of Miley Cyrus.
- For your computer’s picture file: Rick Warren as a young anime figure.
- Okay, you want a serious one … our Picture of the Week Award goes to Eugene Cho.
- This week’s Phil Vischer podcast noted Tony Campolo’s classic distinction between Dog Chuches and Cat Churches. (Starts at 11:20, but the only print corroboration of this online was on page four of this sermon.)
- It’s confirmed, Mark Driscoll is moving to set up shop in Phoenix…
- …and if you need to know, Mark Driscoll’s net worth is $2.5M. For comparison, I typed in Joel Osteen. And Rick Warren.
- Finally, do you think people — say Dodie Osteen for example — should have to pass a test to get a Twitter account? Perhaps you want further proof.
Both our opening and closing images today were sent by reader and fellow-blogger Clark Bunch whose own image collection appears each week at his blog The Master’s Table at a feature called Happy Monday. Kinda feel sorry for the woman in the picture below; ya gotta pick your subway/bus seat carefully.
Normally we lead off with a funny picture or cartoon, but after yesterday’s reports on the Iran nuclear negotiations, I want to give the space to the Saeed Abedini story instead. Some of you know I give this story prominent display space from time to time, but truth be told, I’m one of a very small handful of bloggers devoting attention to this story.
And now, back to our regular programming.
- For you, hospitality may mean having another couple over for dinner. For the people in these stores, it was a much greater commitment.
- Finding God’s grace in the middle of a challenging adoption of a 7-year old.
- While Saeed Abedini’s story is unique because of his American citizenship, he is but one of many, many Christians jailed in Iran.
- Essay of the Week: Two days before the nation was going to be celebrating, one writer, with great honesty, could only see reasons to weep.
- Back in America, we’re not physically suffering for our beliefs, but we are experiencing increased verbal persecution.
- Forward this link to your pastor(s), church staff, board members, elders, deacons, etc.: A thorough look at protecting your church from same-sex-marriage lawsuits.
- The Emergent Church: Gone, and somewhat forgotten.
- Even if you only read the twelve-point outline, it’s surprising to see things that Augustine believed that isn’t shared by the people who revere him.
- From a journalism perspective, use of the term fundamentalist is complicated by whether the newspaper/website/magazine is using it themselves, or if their source used it about another group or individual.
- A two-for-one link to archive articles from author David Murrow: Why Gay is Suddenly OK, and Why Extra-Marital Sex is Suddenly OK. Quoted in the 2nd one, “Our world has never had more sex and less love.”
- And then there’s the one about the guy suing two giant Bible publishers because he’s gay and finds the verses on homosexuality are causing him emotional distress.
- Best. Church. Welcome. Ever.
- Whether you’re a pastor or not, men, how would you like to hear this? “Honey, I wish everyone who hears you speak could know how well you live what you teach. You’re the real deal.” Sandra Stanley on why she’s not trying to keep Andy humble.
- The Family Christian Stores bankruptcy thing drags on… and on…
- In Mars Hill’s hometown, reports that Pastor Mark Driscoll is back on the preaching circuit.
- Here’s a way to thank your church parking team for hot summer Sunday service.
- LifeWay extends its tentacles into the Billy Graham Evangelism program at Wheaton College. Sigh!
- Classic Michael Spencer on the Genesis 1 debate: “What view of inspiration is it that puts the Bible on trial before the current scientific and historical models? Has anyone noticed what this obsession with literalty does to the Bible itself?”
- Your kids loved the What’s In The Bible DVD series. Now Buck Denver is heading into space to fulfill the Great Commission. (“…and if there’s life on other planets, I’m sure that He must know…”)
- Short take: Two things not to say at a funeral.
- Not surprisingly, the religious beliefs you have influence the religious beliefs of a U.S. President you’d be okay with.
- Undoubtedly the most significant religious news story of the week: The voice of Oral Roberts University graduate Ned Flanders will return to The Simpsons.
In all the excitement over Pope Francis visiting South America, you might have missed the related video game:
An online game in which Pope Francis careers through the streets of Asuncion in his “popemobile” dodging potholes is delighting Paraguayans fed up with the capital city’s dilapidated streets.
In “Papa Road,” which is popular locally, players navigate the Argentine-born pontiff through the city center against a backdrop of the national Congress and cathedrals. Hit three craters and it is game over, with the pope holding his head in his hands.
From the Church Curmudgeon Twitter feed:
Worship Leader: There will be a potluck at 5 pm
Congregation. The announcements endure forever
Worship Leader: Deacons meeting on Wednesday
Congregation: The announcements endure forever…
Not sure how long this week’s link list will be right now because the wind is really whipping out there and there’s a possibility of power outa/]
- It’s now been 1,000 days that Saeed has been in prison in Iraq.
- Calvinism is slowly replacing Baptist Traditionalism in the Southern Baptist Conference.
- After being banned, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has been reinstated on 19 California college campuses.
- Quickly, what percentage of the worship choruses your church sings are in minor keys? Even the ones you think are, probably resolve to a major chord structure.
- Janet Mefford: On moral failure and endless Evangelical scandals.
- How to reach the blue people in your community when all your church’s programs are aimed at green people.
- “Fasting without prayer is just going hungry.”A Roman Catholic decides to join his Muslim friends in fasting during Ramadan.
- Ahh…the internet. Where else can you find something like this article proposing a Hillsong boycott. (And this response.)
- Never a dull moment on Twitter this week if you choose to monitor the hashtag #VBS.
- When you say, ‘They run that church like it’s a business;’ that corporate mentality has roots in scripture.
- Quote of the Week: “If forced to make the decision, our church from day one has decided that we will offend the self-seeking Christian before the spiritually seeking non-Christian.”
- When you hear, “I’m pregnant.” “…It’s a story that’s hard and messy, but it’s never without hope…”
- If you’re a Bible Archeology geek, you’re going to love the latest find.
- Dave Wakerley of Hillsong Kids offers 5 tips for creating YouTube content for children’s ministry.
- A name I never knew: Sister Nirmala Joshi, was Mother Teresa’s immediate successor serving from 1997 to 2009. She died on Tuesday.
- Another installation of the Homeless Jesus statue is scheduled for Indianapolis.
- Congratulations to Karl Vaters whose passion for small churches has earned him a position with Leadership Journal.
- Essay of the Week: Exploring the idea that discipleship consists in passing on craft knowledge.
- Rolling Stone reports Tim McGraw has been added to the cast of The Shack movie.
- “I already have a death plan for Mom and Dad: they are supposed to die peacefully in their sleep forty years from now on the same night holding hands.” Jen Hatmaker looks back six months on her family’s cancer battle plan.
- The Pope says you can’t be a Christian and be involved or invested in companies that manufacture weapons.
- ‘Adimral, there be unicorns here.’ Why there are unicorns in the KJV.
- If you don’t get enough worship song data from CCLI and PraiseCharts.com, you could always check the Proclaim Charts, updated weekly.
- Reformed Pastor Families: First, Barnabas Piper wrote The Pastor’s Kid for David C. Cook. Now Crossway has published The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman.
- How does your garden grow? Apparently it’s now possible to have a gay garden. Update at Snopes.com
- Has a certain Pixar movie got you second-guessing the voices in your head? How to know when you’re hearing from God.
- Finally, something from The Onion; so you know what to expect.
Some stories this week from The Christian Post and Christian Today were rejected because of distracting links to other web content.
Because of our arrangement with Christianity Today, many Wednesday Link Lists here simply link to PARSE, no matter what you click; but as of last week, PARSE no longer exists. If you want to know more about a particular story, email us the date of the link list, and we’ll post the original list with all the links. It’s all very time-consuming, but we’ll eventually get to all of them.
So years ago, we were driving along in the car, when my oldest son suddenly got very loud and said, “LOOK at the odometer, it’s 143,517.” In his mind, this number was as worth celebrating as the ones that end in a lot of zeroes. (For my U.S. readers, and those in whatever is the only other country that didn’t go metric, that’s kilometers, not miles.) It was a rather funny moment. He tends to think outside the box. Last night, he cooked spaghetti and used cornbread to make garlic bread. It actually worked quite well.
But this truly my 3,200th blog post, and that’s just here at Thinking Out Loud.
As you might imagine, 3,200 posts can wear a guy out, so we thought we’d get lazy today and post some visuals. Hairy Brother is one of a long series of movie poster knockoffs created for the Orange kidmin (Children’s ministry) program. Click the image to get into the store and see more. A lot of churches use Orange, but some don’t know that the driving force behind it is Reggie Joiner, who started out with Andy Stanley at North Point. Considering that Louis Giglio (Passion Conferences) also started there got me wondering how many different ministries sprang from this one Atlanta church. Anyone got the time to research that one?
Also, a few weeks ago I ran a story on the current trend of revamping the hymns for fun and profit. I wish I’d had this cartoon at hand at the time. I’m not sure of who the artist is, but it’s from one of the many Christian comic collections that were common in the mid-80s.
Finally, this video clip has been languishing in a back alley of YouTube for several months, with a very low view count. It’s an auto-tuned version of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. If you have the time click through to the video channel; the guy has some rather brilliant stuff posted. (Check out the National Anthem mash up.)
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery – Kiev, Ukraine. More interesting church architecture at this link.
Some day I’m only going to run links from blogs that don’t have pop-ups asking for subscriptions. There will only be about five links that week.
- We don’t make up the stories here… “A vicar in the Church of England has proposed a motion that would allow for a liturgical celebration of an individual’s identity following gender transition, much like a baptism, and would include a renaming ceremony.”
- Piper Pontificates: If you “sowed some wild oats” in your day, there is the question of how much of that is relevant to telling your children.
- A Rabbi looks at the use of the term “Old Testament” in relation to various alternatives.
- Brother Lawrence would be proud: A recipe for praying for racial reconciliation while making soup. At the very least, skim this one; it’s a great concept.
- Do you find it seems that people in your church seem to dress down to come to weekend services? This author gives four balanced guidelines on what we should wear to church.
- “[B]ecause the [Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum] is operated by the Christian group Foundation Advancing Creation Truth (FACT) and puts forth a biblical worldview about creation, the church-state separation group Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) sought to put an end to the trip. It sent a letter to school officials earlier this month asserting that it would be illegal for a public school to send children to the museum.” The Montana school’s trip was canceled…
- …Meanwhile the Freedom From Religion Foundation is fighting a Colorado school over a variety of what it calls illegal religious activities.
- Leadership Lessons 1: Don’t blame the big church down the street, or anyone else, for ministry fails. Here are twelve reasons.
- Leadership Lessons 2: “Nine stupid things I did as a pastor.”
- From a veteran Charismatic insider, five ways he feels they quenched the movement.
- A pastors wife reflects on events surrounding the day her husband, a student pastor, was arrested on sex crimes.
- His quotations are in much of what you read. Here’s a primer on why you should read G.K. Chesterton for yourself.
- At a ministry fork in the road: Should I stay or should I go?
- Essay of the Week: Zach Hunt on the Duggar Disaster…
- …Related: “It’s the Law of Reality TV. Whether what goes wrong is a fact that emerges from a cast member’s personal life or a fiction that emerges from the way producers edit the show, something always goes wrong. Reality TV thrives by balancing on the knife’s edge of fact and fiction, between creating drama to attract viewers and deflecting drama when it will repulse them.”
- Equal Time Department: We know what Calvin believed because it’s ubiquitous online. Here’s what Arminius taught.
- Musing of the Month for May: Challenging the idea of issuing a ministry license to someone before they can serve.
- More on the Gospel for Asia story: “Dividing currency amongst travelers requires the filing of a CMIR for the entire amount as intentionally aggregating currency exceeding $10,000 to evade reporting is against the law.”
- Your Mileage May Vary: A mom of three males offers five ways to raise strong Christian boys. Sample: “I let my boys fight with weapons. Not real ones, mind you.”
- Remember last week’s college pool link? Sheila Walsh posted this on Monday.
- The teenaged daughter of a Canadian blogger wrote a short essay and created a video on the subject of dignity with respect to the homeless.
- Don’t know where he found this, but Jeremy Myers offers seven examples of Christianese.
- Some mailmen have complained to Israel Post that they don’t want to be forced to deliver material from a Baptist group seeking Jewish converts. One of the arguments was that “children, who arrive home from school before their parents and collect the mail, are the first to be exposed to the material.”
- A year later, the With God Daily Devotional subscription program is still going strong.
- The Very Worst Prayer Card: Some classic JTVWM from 2009.
- Voter’s Guide: “In my mind, whenever someone touts their Christian beliefs in a political campaign, it ought to immediately disqualify that person as a trustworthy candidate in the eyes of every serious Christ follower.”
- Finally, a Twitter account dedicated to the October 15, 2015 rapture date.
Poor signage or a creatively named new outreach for Teen Challenge?
Okay, hands up everyone who remembers the Bible story about The Horn of the Llamas?
Witty introduction, not in the Advance Reader Copy, to appear here in print edition.
- R. T. Kendall pastored at Westminster Chapel for 25 years and has authored dozens of books. As part of a continuing series at Premier Christianity, here is his Open Letter to the U.K. Church.
- The Cross and the Crescent: “I really felt like I had failed as a mother and a Christian and church member and the daughter of my parents, failed by not passing onto her what I call a saving knowledge of who Jesus is.” An evangelical author and lifelong churchgoer learns that left Christianity for orthodox Islam, becoming a Muslim.
- Some people go on mission trips and sneak in a few Bibles. Other are traveling with sealed envelopes packed with wads of cash. [Update: The practice is being discontinued.]
- So here’s a wedding cake story with a difference. Yes, it was a gay wedding, but as we learn in the comments section, the script wanted was “Support Gay Marriage.” The Christian baker refused. The customer sued. The baker lost.
- If you haven’t heard of churches doing this, you need to read this. One church we attended called it “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” These guys called it The Open Table.
- Driscoll returns to a Seattle-area church, preaches three services, and gets at least one standing ovation. There were protests there…
- …and there will be protests at Sydney, Australia’s Hillsong Conference.
- After 128 years, a Lutheran Church in Allentown, Pennyslvania is closing down and donating its property and building to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- When one of the babies in the church nursery is a child of rape.
- An interview I never expected to exist: A family counselor weighs in on why pastors commit suicide…
- …Related article: Things that validate a pastor’s gifts and ministry.
- Was there really a guy named Adam? Or was that story more of an allegory. Peter Enns lists eleven recurring errors occurring in the discussion of the historical Adam.
- This one links to a very, very long article but one many of you will find worth the time. Among other things it includes five top ways to use Twitter in ministry.
- Denominational doldrums: Eight reasons people are leaving denominational churches in favor of attending non-denominational churches…
- …speaking of which… Now you can be a missionary in the Southern Baptist Convention if you drink and smoke. Okay, not really, but they did relax a few rules, including one that eliminated you if you’d ever spoken in tongues.
- Over at PARSE, the blog I was released from as a writer because presumably it was shutting down, there’s an interview with a nurse from Michigan on what it’s like to keep your bags packed, and then find you’re going to Liberia to fight Ebola.
- Teen archeology hobbyists in Israel took it upon themselves to dig up at 1,400 year-old wine press.
- Two pastors, a hotel room and a couple of lesbians. 4 1/2 min. video.
- This couldn’t happen in most of North America, but in Wales, a group of mourners got confused in a traffic circle (roundabout) and ended up following the wrong hearse for nine miles.
- ‘We don’t need a church website because our church is on Facebook.’ Agree or disagree?
- Rear View Mirror: Was Olympic springer Eric Liddell a legalist?
- Now it can be told: What the creator of Veggie Tales and What’s In The Bible is working on next. It’s truly out of this world.
- Sermon Shoutout: Kyle Idleman just launch a new series at Southeast Christian: Flip The Script.
- Forget Star Wars; in Fountain Valley, Arizona it’s all about theology wars.
- When John Walton’s brother Jim Walton joined Phil and the gang on this week’s Phil Vischer Podcast, they recommended you visit The3rdChoice.org, an apologetics website.
- A Texas teen was without a heartbeat for 20 minutes, during which he says he saw Jesus.
- According to this article at Huffington, there are more important things Christians should be concerned about than the recent religious stats.
- Tweet of the Week: “Finishing off the last two chapters of my book with pink eye and a broken finger. I look like an albino rabbit with a swollen paw! :)” — Sheila Walsh…
- …and speaking of writers, keeping it all in the family, Ted Dekker’s daughter Rachel is Tyndale House’s newest fiction writer.
- Finally, there was the church that did the blessing of the toilet paper.
Tomorrow on the blog: In Case of Rapture, Or Long Weekend, This Church will be Closed — a look at a major megachurch that already takes one weekend off in the winter, now doing the same in late Spring. (Title similarity to the graphic above was pure coincidence.)
Video of the Week: This reminded me so much of Boney M who did Rivers of Babylon, though this sounds more like Rasputin.
The interior of an abandoned church is seen on September 5, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. From the Huffington Post link below, click through to see 14 more abandoned churches.
What you see each week are the links that ‘survived.’ You don’t get to see the rabbit trails which led nowhere, which can tie up the better half of an hour before I realize they aren’t yielding anything worth publishing.
- The place for Christian humor and satire: First he wrote this post about 10 Shocking Bible Verses. But apparently, some people took it seriously.
- At Huffington, a story about different types of gatherings meeting in unusual locations. “The church steeple in the American town square hasn’t gone, but it’s got some company.”
- Big sins, little sins: A former Evangelical turned Catholic, with part one of a look at the RC distinction between mortal sins and venial sins.
- Quotation of the Week: “The big secret in the LGBT community is that there are a significant number of gays and lesbians who oppose same-sex marriage“.
- Biomedical ethics: In China, research on editing DNA. “Advances in technology have given us an elegant new way of carrying out genome editing, but the strong arguments against engaging in this activity remain,” [Francis] Collins said. “These include the serious and unquantifiable safety issues, ethical issues presented by altering the germline in a way that affects the next generation without their consent and a current lack of compelling medical applications.”
- Church Real Estate: In the face of declining attendance and giving, it turns out that Baptists are just as attached to their church buildings as Anglicans and Catholics.
- Lost news story: Not all the reports of African American young men dying while in police custody are deemed important enough for the network news. This one, from over a month ago, is about a young man who was pulled over for a minor traffic violation while dealing with a personal medical emergency. He was denied access to an inhaler and died. He was the son of a pastor.
- Put away the flutter-boards: You can dispense with the mental image of the tablets having McDonald’s-type arches, because the original Ten Commandments were probably rectangular.
- Church membership trap: You’ve done something wrong and find yourself in an authoritarian congregation under church discipline which you think is unjust. Well, it’s a church; you can always just walk away, right? Well not if you signed a “clause, contract, covenant or membership agreement that limits your right to leave a church while you are under discipline;” or “mandates mediation instead of seeking legal protection by the courts.”
- Christian clichés: Okay, it worked out well, and maybe it was “a God thing,” but perhaps it’s also a God thing when things go wrong.
- Demographics: Even ABC World News Tonight mentioned the latest Pew Research survey about the downturn in Christian identification in the U.S.
- Human Resources: Maybe there are several population segments that Wal-Mart simply shouldn’t assign to manning the checkouts.
- Studying Satan: A lot of what we think we know about Lucifer is from passages in Ezekiel and Isaiah, but this author contends there are other ways to read those sections.
- You read a news story, but you probably don’t critique it. The website Get Religion looks behind the written words and notes what’s missing, as in this story about sports chapels in the NBA.
- Leadership results can take years: “Yet if leaders give in to supporters’ or critics’ short-term thinking, we end up focusing our evaluation on the day-to-day work. We end up spending more time counting how many events we’ve held or meals we’ve served. We end up being micromanaged, with supporters and critics telling us how to do the work, without a clear picture whether anything we’ve done is transformative.”
- Update from Saeed: A family member who visited the imprisoned American pastor in Iran forwarded a letter. “The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and the couple’s two children…has been campaigning for the release of Abedini and three other American citizens imprisoned in Iran, but has criticized President Barack Obama’s administration for abandoning the Americans in the nuclear deal agreement with Iran.” President Obama has previously promised to do all that he can to see Abedini released.
- Essay of the Week: A reprint of a 1999 article that ran several months after Columbine.
- Our once-a-decade link to a symphony orchestra video: The Czech Television Studio Orchestra performs Tim Hughes’ “Here I Am To Worship” conducted by Keith Getty in Prague.
- Muslim egalitarianism: A proposed ‘women-only’ mosque in England. “The plan seeks to provide women with a platform where they can play a larger role in the religious life of their community, a role that would include women leading prayers on Fridays and the introduction of female imams.”
- Rachel’s dirty laundry: Peter Enns excerpts and praises the new book by Rachel Held Evans…
- …While another look at RHE’s book by Tony Jones raises questions for the Mainline church to which Rachel was attracted.
- Name change: A fixture in Canada since 1922, Prairie Bible Institute now becomes simply Prairie College. But far from taking the Bible out, the institution is actually increasing core Bible curriculum in its various programs.
- It’s not cheating if you get divine help: Ben Carson claims he aced a college chemistry exam because God gave him the answers in a dream.
- Another faith-interest movie releasing this month, Brother’s Keeper is about wrongful imprisonment…
- …While on the small screen, ABC-TV is making a movie about King Saul.
- We didn’t have time to come up with a closing image so we figured we’d just run a picture of homeschool idol Jordan Taylor from Blimeycow but then, as it turned out, there was something newsy here, as Jordan has a new YouTube channel, which actually doesn’t have much on it right now.