First, because nothing speaks to the advent of our Lord’s coming better than Hello Kitty:
Just one month today until the jolly fat man (not John Hagee) comes to visit.
- Kent Dobson, Rob Bell’s successor at Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, MI is stepping down. See the announcement here.
- Even though I write a weekly news feed, I miss some things, like the death in late September of John Kohlenberger, who has influenced every edition of the NIV Bible you have ever read. I will flesh this out later, but John had a huge influence on me, and others as well, including Randy Alcorn.
- Essay of the Week: Do pastors ever become jealous of the success of others? You bet they do. If you haven’t already, check out On Being Matt Chandler’s Roommate.
- Not three, or five, or even ten; but 20 discussion points on healing prayer from a two-decade-long charismatic.
- Jezehellsbells: First the website Jezebel attempts an exposé of sorts of Doug Wilson. Then at Blog and Mablog, Wilson responds.
- Lutherans at the Catholic communion table? Pope Francis says it is simply a matter of conscience…
- …But one former Protestant turned Catholic says Francis has “muddled things up and confused the faithful.”
- Instead of the usual weekend sermon, Wade Burleson tracked the 230-year old history of Sunday School. (Thanks, Deb!)
- In just a few days, the Roman Catholic Church will kick off the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, a year-long observance running December 8th to November 20th, 2016.
- Provocative Title of the Week: Author Jennie Allen’s One Lie That Will Shut You Down. (The problem I would call numerolatry.)
- The Gospel according to Peanuts was far more than a simple monologue from Linus.
- For the hurting: A September blog post from someone knows well what it’s like, for those of you dealing with sadness, who are alone, or just plain hurting.
- For the first time since 1970, the Hour of Power (or at least the 30-minute sermon portion) will be seen on an entire network, ABC Family.
- A 60-second commercial promoting a new Church of England website has been nixed by the country’s largest theater chain even though they had previously agreed it would be seen before screenings of the new Star Wars film.
- Greg Boyd Department: 5 different ways that the Bible can be seen to support Open Theism.
- Preaching Place: It’s hard to break old habits but this writer thinks sermons can improve if pastors avoid five over-used words (and you won’t believe the 5th one!)
- Leadership Lessons (1): Pastor, are you a rancher or a shepherd? Smaller churches want shepherds, but Carey Nieuwhof says that limits the church’s potential.
- Leadership Lessons (2): Spousal survival when the other’s ministry role necessitates travel away from family…
- …Also at the blog A Life Overseas, a frank discussion about how much missionaries should ask for money.
- Ten marks of a healthy worship team, with application to other teams at your church also. (More great praise team articles at Worship Links.)
- Women readers, don’t miss this: Jamie Ivey’s almost endless list (and podcast with Jen Hatmaker) of world-changing organizations where you can do your holiday shopping. (Great ideas for the guys here, too.) (Even if she does spell holidays with an apostrophe.)
- Kim Phuc, also known as “the girl in the picture” running from a Napalm bombing of her Vietnam village is currently undergoing laser treatments to remove scar tissue.
- Zondervan’s ‘spiritual’ versions of The Berenstain Bears have hit the 5 million mark in sales.
- Proceeds from the song, Your Word by Marcus Witt being translated into 10 languages are going to support global Bible translation efforts by the United Bible Societies. (Listen to 75-seconds of the song.)
- How to sabotage a church board meeting (or annual general meeting for that matter): Take a lesson from the CIA.
- Finally, how could I not click on a CT story titled, A History of Faith and Flatulence?
Our closing graphic is dedicated to whoever does PowerPoint at your place of worship:
Of course, there are probably things more important than coffee cups we should be concerned about…
…Time to kick off another edition of the news roundup where other news roundups get their news roundups, unless they get it from another news roundup or don’t borrow from another news roundup…
…But first, we’re pleased to note another great match on Tinder:
- For the first time in seven years, local media in Charlotte snags an interview with Steven Furtick. The eleven outtakes from the story may be the more interesting content.
- Leadership lessons: When male pastors shepherd and disciple women, boundaries need to exist. This 35-minute podcast with Krsitie Anyabwile and Thabiti Anyabwile is part of a series on this topic. “If there isn’t a window in your office, put it on the budget; ask a carpenter to come by and put a hole in the wall.”
- Following the death of his brother, Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau attended an Alpha Course.
- The Indianapolis murder of Amanda Blackburn was the death of both a Pastor’s wife and a Pastor’s daughter. Davey Blackburn issued this statement. 2,000 people attended her memorial service.
- KidMin: A major media look at changes in Christian Education. The Wall Street Journal notes: “[T]he children and families director at Riverside Church leads a jazzed-up version of Sunday school, without a Bible in sight.”
- The missionary conundrum: How far to go in asking for financial assistance.
- Twenty years after the author’s death, in 2016 Convergent Books, a division of Penguin Random House will release new collections of the works of Henri Nouwen.
- “Part of the appeal of [Oswald] Chambers’ teachings and his famous devotional [My Utmost for His Highest] is his ability to capture deep, profound biblical truths in ways that are easy to comprehend, but force you to wrestle through them to truly understand.” Relevant Magazine highlights 12 Chambers quotations.
- A shot of good news; the type you don’t hear so much online.
- “As [Justin] Bieber gears up to release his upcoming album Purpose on November 13, he has adamantly been bringing mainstream media on his faith journey with him during his promotional tours. In his recent interview with Billboard magazine, Bieber capped off the night at a church service…” More at Christian Post.
- Blog Post of the Week: Seems Jesus didn’t take Joel Osteen’s advice.
- Christian author and professor Randall Balmer is quoted in a CNN article on Ben Carson: “His whole campaign is based upon his narrative, because he has no political experience and no record of public service…” Another Christian academic, Michael Duduit, notes: “”His selling point is that he is a man of integrity… [I]t’s OK to tell a story. Jesus told stories… Just don’t add details that didn’t happen.”
- An authoritative blogger is threatened with legal action by Gospel for Asia.
- Spotting the difference between worshipers of God and worshipers of worship services.
- Essay of the Week: “41,000 different Christian denominations exist worldwide. Causes for division are perhaps as numerous as the divisions themselves, and almost all show up during a church’s weekly services.”
- A look at the Biblical basis for the Gender Equality position.
- This link is more of mainstream media item, but it’s the actual Facebook post of a 22-year old woman caught in the concert massacre in Paris on Friday…
- …Also, a look at the song Imagine by John Lennon in light of last Friday.
- Tony Jones remembers René Girard, who advanced the Scapegoat interpretation of Christ’s death.
- For your consideration: Reasons the author believes contribute to an absence of Islamic terrorism in Japan.
- Quotation of the Week: “I want believers to see that they can lead a big, God-glorifying life in the suburbs, the country, and the urban core. They can drive an SUV; they can buy Venti two-shot light-foam Caramel Macchiatos at Starbucks; they don’t have to quit their job, but can keep working at their vocation, whether that means barista in Brooklyn, stay-at-home mom in Des Moines, financial planner in Chicago, pastor in Bangor, Maine, or most anything in between.” Okay, maybe you need some context.
- Certain vendors won’t stock this children’s book about their bodies because it uses the p-word and the v-word.
- Tech Talk: The best WordPress blog and website themes for churches.
- Ever wished you could easily go back to those great lines from books you’ve read? Here are some tips on capturing quotations for all types of media.
- Video of the Week: Stephen Colbert’s attempt to convert Bill Maher.
- While you’re planning that late fall barbecue, remember that your Orthodox friends are observing the 40-day Nativity Fast.
- Finally, because we can, Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BatMoses.
Actual photo of one Christian bookstore’s recommended shoebox items: Operation Christmas Child, saving the world one piece of cheap, useless, breakable junk at a time.
Time to close in prayer:
Rick is a poet, so the above is to be expected. But unexpected was the revelation at Snopes.com that Ben Carson actually owns this picture: And now on to the links…
- Rick Warren and Francis Chan have announced a new concerted effort to reach 3,000 unreached people groups.
- Weekly church attendance is becoming a thing of the past anyway; so why not Once a Month Church?
- Though the author considers it an “apocryphal story,” John 8 provides a backdrop for making space for alternative sexualities within the church.
- Though raised Pentecostal, theologically, Iyanla Vanzant is hard to pigeon hole.
- Illustrations depicting The Prophet? This California school district has banned drawings of any religious figure.
- Short article, big topic: The realities of church life for single women over 50.
- In a parent-teacher conference, Benjamin Corey’s daughter is asked what her daddy does.
- Under new rules, the children of same-sex couples cannot be baptized until they (a) turn 18, (b) leave home, and (c) renounce the gay lifestyle.
- And then there’s this link, which dares to suggest that Freud was a Biological Calvinist. (Okay, admit it; you’re curious…)
- Political Theology: The implications of Hannah’s prayer for God to “open her womb” and the larger issues of the context of her infertility.
- Two pastors suffer severe electric shocks trimming trees too close to power lines.
- Bible translation is now being accomplished in record time, but some feel the results suffer.
- Nearly two-thirds of American lead pastors are chosen by a congregational vote.
- The one thing that stood out for Randy Alcorn’s daughter about his parenting.
- Prospective speakers for Christian conferences should ask organizers about the racial diversity of the guest list.
- After coining the phrase, Evangelical Industrial Complex (EIC), Skye Jethani looks at the Celebrity Pastor Factory.
- Finding real estate for your church in Vancouver, Canada is fairly impossible; but if you do find a spot, you probably can’t afford it.
- “Many pop love songs amount to ‘I want to love you all night long.’ The morning? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Russell D. Moore on Jerusalem and Johnny Cash.
- Creepy Corner: The Scottish government is teaching kids propaganda songs to introduce a new program to improve outcomes for kids, that are considered controversial.
- Reading Scripture Sideways: A festival of Richard Rohr vid-clips.
- In our community, this was a week of heart attack reports, so I really didn’t need to hear about this 59-year old pastor who finished his sermon and then died.
- The War on Christmas leads to The War on Starbucks…
- …However, nobody is talking about The Starbucks Advent Calendar, because that ruins the offendedness. (Yes, spellcheck: offendedness.)
- One Night Only: Except they had to add a second night, Tuesday, November 17th, for Laughing in the Dark with Christian comedian and author Chonda Pierce. (Click on “Watch the trailer.)
- From the Archives: I love the example Michael Patton used with his kids to teach them how to be certain about uncertainty.
- Toy-fil-a: The owner of a large chain of toy stores in the UK chooses Christian principles over profits.
- One time Joy Electrician Ronnie Martin joins Ted Kluck and Barnabas Piper as the newest member of the team at The Happy Rant Podcast.
- Video of the Week: Explaining to your airplane seatmate what it is exactly you do (when you’re a pastor).
- Finally, at first I thought Challies was kidding, but this Reformed gift-giving guide wasn’t a spoof post at all, but rather a sponsored article.
On a serious note, today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada. The freedoms we enjoy in places like North America, western Europe, Australia, etc., are here because someone paid the price so you wouldn’t have to. I’m guessing there’s also a sermon illustration in there, don’t ya think?
Welcome to a new, slightly slimmed-down link list. The bottom line is that blog engagement is not what it once was, and Thinking Out Loud is no exception. Providing 35-40 links is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work; work for which we don’t get paid, as the blog is not monetized. So it’s actually the number of hours spent on this week’s link that were cut. If you send in suggestions then the quantity might go up slightly in those weeks.
Top links last week were (1) Reformed/Anabaptist; (2) Worship industry killing worship; and (3) Gospel Centered ministry.
The Wednesday List Lynx; one of many, actually that have been featured here.
Also, if you only show up here once a week, 6 days ago there was a Thursday Link List you missed.
- Essay of the Week: A honest hard look at what we pay “the guest speaker” and how it’s usually on the lower side of fair.
- A ghostwriter of a chance: Who really wrote Billy Graham’s most recent work?
- People like a church “where everybody knows your name; and they’re always glad you came…” but even in Cheers, only the main characters knew Norm.
- The 613 is not a book about Ottawa, Canada’s area code. Rather it’s a one pound, 640-page art book with each of the 613 Torah commandments from the Mitzvot illustrated in surrealistic colors.
- The whole point of a small group is to have a small, tight community, right? Well, in performing an autopsy on his failed small group, this writer realized they had been too internally focused.
- Above My Pay Grade Department (which I was also tempted to call ‘I Dream of Genealogy’): A look at the discrepancies between the family trees in Matthew and Luke.
- Scot McKnight reviews Partners in Christ by John Stackhouse which he finds just might be “the most honest book ever written in the complementarian-egalitarian debate; it is without doubt the fairest book on the topic I’ve seen.” The subtitle is A Conservative Case for Egalitarianism.
- Devotional for the media/tech team: “Every tech person is pursuing great sound and video, but are we pursuing the face of God? Even if you aren’t on stage your prayers can do great things.”
- Belief in God is “still remarkably high by comparison with other advanced industrial countries;” but overall Pew Research is reporting a decline in religion in America.
- For several years now, The Gideons in Canada have been charting their own course. That ministry now moves to next steps with the launch of Shareword Global.
- Listicle of the Week: A look at the top ten all-time most popular works of Christian fiction.
- Years ago some of us knew her as Anne Jackson. Now, Anne Marie Miller is six months away from a new title with Baker Books: Five Things Every Parent Needs to Know About their Kids and Sex.
- This time around the butler didn’t do it: “The Vatican on Monday (Nov. 2) announced the arrest of two people in connection with the alleged theft of confidential documents, the first such case since the “Vatileaks” scandal saw the papal butler jailed for leaking Holy See secrets.”
- Barna Research’s David Kinnaman guests on The Phil Vischer podcast discussing religious freedom (once you get past the banter, which makes it kinda like a What’s in the Bible episode.) (Did I say that out loud?)
- Media from the other side: A Humanist take on Operation Christmas Child.
- Not entirely new, but if you’re looking for a really unique small group experience for Christmas (or Easter) here’s an eight session Lifeguide Bible study based on different pieces from Handel’s Messiah.
- Have you heard of those medical insurance alternatives where Christians cover each other’s expenses? Here’s one satisfied customer.
- The Royal Mail in the UK unveils this year’s nativity-themed Christmas stamps.
- At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, SEO stands for Spiritual Enquiry Optimization. (Okay, I thought it was clever, but my spellcheck had never seen the other spelling of inquiry before.)
- Not every meme you see about Icelandic atheists and crime is 100% true.
- Church pickup lines and equally cheesy Christian breakup lines.
- What not to wear to a funeral, plus 19 other pictures of weird liturgical vestments.
For our closing graphic, Mad Magazine gets rather serious:
Only the 8th time we’ve ever done this. Why?
- Because the book review I was going to post still wasn’t ready
- Because I find I can now do this in my sleep
- Because I’ve already done lots of Halloween and All Saints Day related pieces before
Here we go:
- 25 Proven ideas for your church this Christmas, with something for every size and shape of church.
- After her 17 year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot dead in 2012 at a Jacksonville, Florida, Lucia McBath was on a mission which resulted in the new movie The Armor of Light which opens Friday in 20 cities.
- Essay of the Month: Three strong alternatives to a sinners prayer approach with your children.
- …It’s based on another article where a mom explains why she won’t be using the sinner’s prayer.
- She had a story to share, but wasn’t so great at hearing the stories of the people she interacted with. Her conversion to a posture that was more listening than talking she describes as the time “I Kissed Evangelism Goodbye.”
- I tried to read this one too quickly and missed the point. Slow down with me and check out I Am An Atheist Chaplain.
- Operation Mobilization (OM) has lost its license to sponsor visas in Britain and now 66 missionaries must leave.
- A seventh grader in a Texas school says she was forced to say “God isn’t real.”
- Take the Christ Quiz: This 30-question test on Tim Challies’ blog isn’t always worded as clearly as it could be, so take your time and see where you rank in terms of your understanding of the doctrine of Christ.
- The church of the future may involve peanut butter and spicy sauce. A summary of an event at Group Publishing.
- In his penultimate blog post, Matt Appling wonders what some would think it would like if Christians “take back America.”
- There’s a Friday the 13th next month. And there’s a black cat down the street. It’s amazing how, even among Christians, people believe in superstitions.
Speaking of evangelism, here’s a t-shirt that gets it all done quickly:
P.S. I’m prepared to do daily link lists if someone wants to pay me the big bucks!
Praying to Barbie? No, you can’t buy them, but as this story at Religion News Service reports, you can see them at an Argentine art installation. “Barbie is depicted as Joan of Arc, Virgin of Guadalupe — Mexico’s patron saint — and Mary Magdalene, with a low-cut dress that shows her chest. Ken is shown as Buddha and Moses…” Click the image to read the full story.
Only in America: These evangelistic Halloween treats are, “a tri-color candy–yellow, orange, and white, the colors of God–in the shape of a pointed seed and sweetened with honey.” Click the image to read the full story at Religion News Service.
I didn’t get around to putting the top five clicks from last week on Twitter, so here they are: (1) 8 Reasons the Worship Industry is Killing Worship, (2) creative church error-404 pages, (3) Lynne Hybels; 40th Anniversary of Willow Creek, (5) John Hendrix church doodles; and (5) Larry Tomczak. (Let me know if you prefer them here, or on Twitter.) Now on to this week’s…
- Question of the Week: Are Female Bloggers Violating Scripture by Teaching Men? The author collected a wide variety of responses on this, but you don’t have to look too deeply see this wasn’t exactly a balanced sample of women bloggers.
- St. Louis, Missouri: Seven churches targeted within ten days.
- Essay of the Week: How the worship industry is killing worship.
- A brief overview of the term “belief” in light of the current Oprah TV series of the same name.
- Before their elimination last week, The Toronto Blue Jays were the latest target of Westboro Baptist’s picket parade, at least as they played in Kansas City, since the group is not allowed in Canada. Here’s a couple of Canadian stories along with my personal memo to Westboro that the team is part of the American League, most players are American and are paid in U.S. dollars.
- You can’t sing “Going to the Chapel and we’re gonna get married” and assume that’s how it works in 2015. “Since 2008, the New York City clerks office reports that they have seen a nearly fifty percent increase in the number of weddings held in the ever-romantic Manhattan marriage bureau office.” Increasingly weddings aren’t taking place in religious venues.
- Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt and others spent some time last week kicking around that sometimes oxymoron-sounding title, Progressive Evangelical.
- Ben Carson’s Presidential aspirations have put the focus on his SDA denomination (Seventh Day Adventist) though the group believes that Evangelicals are “future allies of Satan.”
- Devotional of the Week: If there was an Acts 19-style bonfire in the year 2015, what might you toss in? Dr. David Murray thinks it would not be Harry Potter books.
- A California pastor says that many churches are harmful environments for LGBT individuals, especially when they want to serve.
- Leadership Lessons: I loved this quotation, “We’re now addicted to meetings that insulate us from the work we ought to be doing.” From a recent 6-minute Unseminary podcast; meetings may be killing mission.
- Media from the other side: At the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a report that a copy of Salman’s “Head of Christ” picture has been removed from a Kansas Middle School; and a Washington High School is being urged to stop a football coach from praying.
- After a year in talks about a church merger, this is not the way the worship leader should be told he’s no longer needed.
- Coming in November: This book contains the never-before published message A. W. Tozer intended as the follow-up to The Knowledge of the Holy, titled Delighting in God.
- When it comes to salvation, he’s Reformed. When it comes to church he’s Anabaptist.
- Sobering thoughts: Miscarriage from the Dad’s perspective.
- Huffington Post profiles Roman Catholic writer Joan Chittister.
- KidMin: First there were talking vegetables, now we have allegory by owls. Watch the Owelgories trailer or read the story. This product is available at Christian bookstores.
- Alongside archeologists sifting through The Temple Mount, a 10-year old boy from Russia finds a 3,000 year old document seal, which dates to the time of King David.
- Calvinist Conundrum of the Week: Did Jesus have a gospel-centered ministry? Or to put the question differently, Did Jesus have a “gospel-centered”TM ministry?
- Pope Francis Item of the Week: Catholic youth are encouraged to read the Bible, their “most precious treasure.”
- In England, over half of all police time is dealing with alcohol-related crime.
- No doubt squeezed for space, newspapers cut religion coverage.
- Not new, but appropriate to this week is Bruxy Cavey’s article on putting Halloween in perspective.
- Article title that got us most curious: Did Yogi Berra Read the Bible? (Turns out to be a devotional for our Jewish friends.)
- In addition to the inclusiveness represented by LGBTQIP, you may also be “asexual, aromantic, graysexual, demisexual, demiromantic, lithromantic, pansexual, polysexual, skoliosexual, queerplatonic relationships, and zucchini.” But wait, there’s more.
- Video Oddity of the Week: A 9-minute performance piece based on a quotation from A. W. Tozer about Christian unity.
- Long-form Video: Got 40-50 minutes? Brian Houston from Hillsong was a recent Convocation guest at Liberty University, as was Jefferson Bethke and Louie Giglio.
Finally, it turns out while we weren’t paying attention last month, the comic strip Mutts by Patrick McDonnell ran a series of panels with quotes from Pope Francis. Here’s two of my favorites:
Back to the Winter: Don’t forget that here in North America, this is the weekend we all get to go back in time; from Daylight Saving to Nightdark Losing.
12 More Links! Tomorrow we feature a Thursday Link List for only the 8th time ever. Don’t miss it.
So…any guesses who these people are? Or why they chose to share the photo with a bear whose last moments don’t look particularly happy? Answer below.
- Didn’t see this one coming: On Monday, Westboro Baptist picketed Kim Davis in what one writer called, “the strangest homophobe-on-homophobe attack imaginable.”
- Wanna guess before you click? Should men’s ministry meetings include singing? Maybe that was too easy.
- Essay of the Week: 8 Reasons the Worship Music Industry is Killing Worship.
- Our photo challenge answer: On the occasion of Willow Creek’s 40th Anniversary, Lynne Hybels thanks Bill Hybels for four decades, and in the process, shares some of the Willow story.
- A society within a society: Women are suffering under Sharia law councils …in the UK.
- 100 Huntley Street is Canada’s longest running TV show and the sixth longest running in the world. Last week the Christian talk show — of which this writer was part of Episode #1 — marked it’s 10,000th edition.
- We often steal pastoral resource link ideas from Daryl Dash’s Saturday links. Today we say thanks with two short articles by the man himself. First, what’s your level of contact with seniors? …
- … Second, a summary of questions you can ask your sermon text, to allow it to speak to you.
- Judging a Book by its Cover Department: How much attention does your church pay to the outside of your facility? A ten-point church exterior evaluation checklist. …
- … Speaking of church buildings, a look at going green and building eco-friendly gathering places. …
- … Also at the blog Holy Spirit Activism, Swedish host and charismactivist Micael Grehnolm challenges us to return to the Acts model of holding goods in common.
- If you haven’t found it already, Q Ideas is a faith-focused version of TED Talks. Like this one where a Catholic college professor takes us inside the mentality of hook-up culture.
- Got 40 minutes? From two weeks ago, Eric Metaxas talks to Sally Lloyd-Jones about the adult version of the bestselling The Jesus Storybook Bible. …
- … And more recently, Eric talks to Phil Vischer about the newest incarnation of What’s In The Bible titled Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector Nine (say it out loud and then add lots of echo on the word nine.)
- Playboy Magazine’s discontinuation of nudity isn’t the great victory some think it is.
- On a regular basis, Stephen Colbert brings the subject of religion to late night talk television.
- This worship leader thought the job would offer a chance to bask in God’s presence 24/7. But then things got busy. And then his wife asked, “[W]hat investment are you making in your own heart? You know you can’t give water from a well that’s dry.” Another case of Martha Syndrome.
- The gang at Church Marketing Sucks takes a look at creative Error 404 pages on church websites. (My favorite is below…)
- Detroit storefront church: The victim confronted the pastor — they were longtime friends — because he believed that the pastor and his wife were having an affair, and that the pastor had got her pregnant. He walked into the pastor’s office carrying a brick and that’s when, allgedly the pastor shot him. The man was taken to hospital where he died.
- Apparently adding “In God We Trust” to the county patrol cars isn’t a “church and state” problem in Lonoke County, Arkansas.
- Video of the Week: Love what this church did for a pizza delivery person. (File under: Deliverance ministry.)
- Sermon Review: If you wanna get right with God you gotta start tithing a full 10% right now.
- Larry Tomczak lists nine sins that indicate America is deserving of a serious wake-up call.
- This author thinks the bookstore won’t go the way of the record store…
- …Which reminded us to link to the 2015 Dove Award winners.
- We had a pastor once who encouraged the kids in the church to listen to the sermon and draw what they heard. Do that when you’re older and it might look like this.
- At first I thought this article was about lawsuits, but it’s actually about a different class of suits, what you could call clergy vestments for the charismatic and televangelist crowd.
- Don’t you hate it when you’re in your bomb shelter and you can’t get your food bucket open? Jim Bakker has the solution.
I know some of you come here looking for the weird stuff, so let’s waste no time. This week, we only had to go to the website of Creflo Dollar:
You can read more about that at this link. (If you didn’t grow up in the church and feel you so far missed hearing about financial prosperity during the Good Friday and Easter services, you didn’t miss what isn’t there.) This later resulted in this cartoon.
Now on to the regular stuff:
- Christian leaders in England say the British government’s plan for “Extreme Disruption Orders” creates a situation which “casts the net so wide that almost anyone could fall into it.”
- Profile-of-the-Week: Pope Francis stopped the car when he saw the boy in the wheelchair, but that boy almost didn’t get there to experience his 15 seconds of fame.
- When your Christmas service guests don’t come back.
- Is ‘We Believe in the Bible…’ the number one item on your church’s statement of faith. One writer notes, “I love the Bible. It’s an important book. But it’s not a member of the Trinity. It deserves to be respected, but it shouldn’t be elevated above God…The Bible is important, but we are not Biblians. We are Christians, called to come to Jesus.That’s why you should run from ‘Bible believing churches.’ Churches aren’t meant to believe in the Bible. They are meant to believe in the God revealed through Jesus.”
- When nobody knows why the pastor is leaving.
- Not-the-Essay-of-the-Week: While not subscribing to physical discipline, the writer makes a case for husbands showing their wives who is boss. Sample: “If your wife is unsubmissive in the sexual arena and chronically denies your sexual advances (without legitimate medical or psychological reasons for doing so) then perhaps that upcoming trip you were going to take her on gets canceled.” (Note: The inclusion of this link does not imply endorsement.)
- In light of the number of people who are born intersex, Preston Sprinkle looks at new book which, through the lens of Christian theology intends to “challenge the simplistic binary model of human sexuality that most Christians assume to be true.”
- An epic-length adam4d panel celebrating the life and influence of William Tyndale.
- Homeschooled hermits? In a well-written piece, this author provides an excellent rebuttal to the idea that kids schooled at home emerge not properly socialized.
- Would the people in your church want to serve the people of another faith group? Skye Jethani: “Naaman—along with Joseph, Daniel, and a handful of other biblical characters—show us that faith can survive and even thrive through engagement with a post-Christian culture, and that the Lord recognizes the difference between serving our non-Christian neighbors and affirming their values.”
- Last week I intended to run links to more than one item by Michael Belote who blogs at Reboot Christianity. Now the list has grown. First: “Being a sex offender is the modern “scarlet letter”–it follows you the rest of your life so that no matter what happens, no matter how many changes go on in your life, you are still publicly shamed and ridiculed because of what you did. You can’t go near schools. You can’t move somewhere and start over.” …
- …”most churches are responding to last generation’s changes in culture and missing the next generation’s culture. We are in a constant state of playing catch-up.” Belote notes that we’re witnessing the birth of “The Third Moral Culture” and a generation raised on social media…
- …The powerful God in this modern-day parable is named Ares. (There’s more good stuff at Reboot Christianity; bookmark or subscribe!)
- The watchdog bloggers always have Beth Moore in their sights, so things are revving up as Moore’s new book Audacious releases soon.
- Beer and Bible. Suds and Scripture. Theology on Tap. Lots of these types of events are popping up, but it always raises eyebrows when the sponsoring church is Baptist.
- Six problems with modern worship lead to this songwriting rant. Sample: “[T]he vast majority of modern songs are functionally binitarian or unitarian, and only use generic forms of address (you, God, Lord) as opposed to specific ones (Father, Christ, Jesus, Spirit, etc).”
- Should worship be an emotional exercise? This article looks at this in detail. Sample: “Music has the power to evoke emotion; lyrics have the potential to direct them.”
- If this is available in your area, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did a profile on former U.S President Jimmy Carter, the Sunday School teacher.
- Church History:Is the Golden Age of the Church Pot Luck over?
- “What do you do when a lone protester shows up outside your house of worship preaching hatred and bigotry?” At an Islamic Cultural Center, the woman got a hug.
- A gut-wrenching story of a man giving his life to save his daughter.
- Leadership Corner: Dealing with those well-intentioned dragons who confront you at the door about your sermon.
- The crisis of young American males: “A growing number of young men—even teens—are snapping. What is causing this? The debate rages today about gun control—and certainly a case can be made that these men should never have had access to handguns or rifles. But this dilemma can’t be solved simply by stricter background checks.”
- It was 50 years ago that the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) commissioned the creation of a new Bible translation that we know as the NIV…
- …Read the complete history (with a very complicated-looking chart).
- Video-of-the-Week: Highlights from the Atlanta Catalyst conference.
- Serious Medical Conditions: Know the early warning signs of Adult Onset Calvinism (written, curiously enough, by an insider.)
- Want your ashes scattered when you’re gone? Religions vary greatly on the practice of cremation.
- Former The 700 Club co-host Sheila Walsh returns “back home” to talk about Five Minutes With Jesus a new devotional for women. (7-min interview)
- Book Biz: Big changes last week for InterVarsity Press (IVP) in England.
- If you suffer from Dyslexia, you probably aren’t reading this, but if you are, now there is a Bible just for you.
- In North America, church clean-up days are never like this.
- It’s the first underwater church. Yeah, I know, I didn’t think of it either.
If you find a link that is blocked by a pay-wall, let us know so we can remove it. Please try to have your link suggestions in by 6:00 PM EST via email or Twitter.
- For those of you really into links, note that the blog aggregator Alltop has been reformatted. You can read the intro or a summary (depending on the source) to each article now by simply waving your mouse over the links at their site. Check out Alltop Church and Alltop Christianity. (So grateful to be in such great company at this site!)
- If you missed it, this past Saturday there was a shorter Weekend Link List.
- The #IamAChristian graphic below is sized-ready for your Facebook profile pic and ties in with the UCC shooting last week, a rather sobering thought as you post it.
Now, on to this week’s catch…
- Martin Pistorius, aka the Ghost Boy, was featured recently at TED Talks.
- Thinking about Artificial Intelligence: “While strong AI will certainly be able to perceive more ethical nuances to any given problem, we should also consider that they will likewise be able to process information exponentially more quickly as well. This means that the process of spiritual formation for AI will potentially be exponentially faster than that of a human being.”
- If I could live my late teens and early 20s over again, I would definitely have gone to an Urbana conference.
- Horror Story: Nine years ago her son shot and killed ten Amish schoolgirls.
- Essay of the Week: Or in this case we could call this “essay of the weak” since Christian apologist Paul Copan looks at the ‘Christianity is just a crutch’ charge, and also looks at the role of absent fathers in atheism.
- They are restricted by the number of available titles, but there are Christian bookstores in China. Yes, China. And there are actually about 250 of them.
- Profile of the Week: A look at Willie Morris, founder of Faithbox.
- Unplanned Parallel: Before we get to smug about the idea of de-funding Planned Parenthood, there are similarities in that story to the emerging concerns about tax exemptions for churches.
- A worship leader is not just a purveyor of playlists, or as this author puts it, You are not an iPod.
- What do Hell, Jerry Lee Lewis and declining church attendance in Scotland have in common?
- Uniquely U.S. Problems Department: Tyler Braun looks at the question of race as it relates to the education of children, and how that relates to parental decision-making.
- Years ago there was a reality show where people would get voted off with the words, “…You are the weakest link.” For some reason I thought of that when I saw this article on the Biblical phrase, ‘the weaker vessel.’
- Biblical Time Travel: Abraham and David apply to have a marriage license issued by Kim Davis.
- Virtual Reality in the Church: A 17-podcast on how churches can leverage the technology.
- Church Metrics: Barna Research looks at life in the U.S. in a post-Christian era.
- Crowdfunding Project of the Week: This Canadian Baptist pastor is 3/4ths of the way to funding for the book Art of the Christian Ninja. You can also follow author Allan Descheneau at the blog of the same name.
- Two-for-One Special with Pastor Austin Fischer: First a fresh look at the Reformed doctrine called Mongerism…
- …Worship as a Concert: “It seems to me that worship doesn’t need to be less like a concert so much as it needs to be less like a bad concert and more like a good one… At a great concert you get immersed, you lose yourself, you feel connected to the people around you, you feel alive.”
- If US President Obama could give America an alternate ending to the gun control issue, it would probably look a lot like Australia.
- Some former staff members of Gospel for Asia speak out after the organization was de-listed by EFCA, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
- Snapshot of an Historic Moment: The text of the sermon through which Charles Spurgeon was converted.
- Hate interruptions? A parenting moment where Dietrich Bonhoeffer meets Dr. Suess…
- …Possibly related marriage checkup: Just ’cause she’s home (or he’s home) does that mean she (or he) has to do all the housework, or should those chores be divided more equitably?
- Here’s another interview with Alan Chambers, on his book My Exodus.
- Looking for a Hero: Sarah Bessy deconstructs Dr. Who. Quoting the Executive Producer, “And they didn’t give him a superpower or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. They gave him two hearts. And that’s an extraordinary thing…”
- ‘He who lives by the blog post…’ First Doug Wilson wrote this (with a provocative title like ‘Why Christian Chicks are Hot;’ then a day later, this response.
- The title of this article may be offensive to some readers. (Let’s call it, “Who would Jesus tick off.”
- Early adopters of the .tv TLD who named their ministry after their website; and early pioneers of the multi-site church concept; LifeChurch.TV is now branded Life.church.
- My wife Ruth has been off work (without pay) for six weeks due to a sprained ankle. Rather than focus on convalescence, she’s been recording some of her songs, including this treatment of Psalm 121, called Lift Your Eyes. (If you appreciate what we do here at Thinking Out Loud, for just a buck you can send us some encouragement.)
- Dave Aubrey is the winner of the Praise Charts Summer 2015 Song Quest contest.
- Coming to a screen very near you: Two Karen Kingsbury novels are adapted for television.
- If you renege on a RSVP promise to attend a wedding, should you be billed for your meal?
We end with a personal favorite from the new Christmas Worship Volume Two by Paul Baloche. In this song Rita Baloche combines beautiful lyrics with a classic tune:
Bruxy Cavey, pastor of Canada’s fastest growing church movement, The Meeting House family of churches, got a tattoo over the summer. Click the image to see the verse reference.
…And now, I hereby declare these links officially open.
UPDATE: 8 AM, Wednesday: Of all the various things I could link to this morning concerning the execution earlier today of Kelly Gissendaner, the one I bring you is simply the brief Twitter thoughts of one of the three media people called to witness the lethal injection, Jeff Hullinger of WXIA-TV.
- The “How’s Your Faith?” question is being played out in many arenas, including Joe Biden’s guest spot with Stephen Colbert.
- Intrigue Department: Are the Sovereign Grace people and the Southern Baptists getting really cozy? As usual, Spiritual Sounding Board does the research.
- Rethinking Pascal’s Wager: “I propose to reformulate Pascal’s wager as urging those who doubt God’s existence to embrace a doubt of desire rather than a doubt of indifference.” Read more at the New York Times Philosophy Department.
- Dredging up the past is never easy, but necessary when you’re promoting a book which dredges up the past.
- The Christian Century looks at the background of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. “Before Go Set a Watchman was published, one of Miss Nelle’s longtime friends, a Baptist preacher and scholar named Wayne Flynt, offered a prediction based on its title, which comes from Isaiah 21: ‘For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.’ Flynt was sure that it would honor her father. “It’s clear she thinks her father was a watchman for the town.”
- The religious press loves Nadia, but so do I. She makes this non-sacramental Evangelical think. Like, “…we need to hear the gospel and receive the Eucharist at least once a week. At least. Because we have so many competing messages entering our eyes…”
- Apparently a popular religious figure visited the United States last week. CNN debriefs the week religion topped the news.
- After a four-week run in four test markets, the television show T. D. Jakes Today is being prepared for national launch in Fall 2016.
- Enjoy the link list each week? For just a buck you can encourage us by buying a download of my wife’s latest song.
- Essay-of-the-Week: How that fantasy romantic relationship in your head can be hurting your heart. Leadership Lessons:
- Ten reasons for pastors and churches to make a congregational connection with a weekly email.
- With Christian bookstores closing everywhere, it’s always good to hear about stores expanding, even if it means crossing over to the dark side.
- During the Sunday morning announcements a Florida woman learned that her husband of 21 years had married someone else in the church.
- Don’t you hate it when someone is like, “As it says in Isaiah…” and the quotation is actually from Malachi? Well some unbelievers like to jump all over this apparent Bible contradiction.
- According to Robert Morris, blogs like ours are gossip and pastors and leaders held to accountability by bloggers are on Satan’s hit list.
- The September Young Influencers list is out.
- Porn has reached the 80% saturation point. “Some have said that Internet porn may well be replacing sex-ed for children in this digital age.” More at Focus on the Family’s media blog, Plugged In.
- I Know What You Did Last Sunday: This website lets you tune in to worship sets from contributing churches.
- Learning from our friends in the UK: Do church planters and missional workers target high-rise or townhouse complexes on this side of the pond? Check out the National Estate Churches Network (NECN).
- Thinking Out Loud is never monetized, but if you like what we do here, for just $7 you can buy a download of Ruth’s homemade Christmas album. Listen carefully and you might even hear yours truly.
- The Apple Stores: Are they sacred spaces? “Apple Release Day—the Feast of St. Jobs.”
- Ann Spangler names names in a teaser summary of her new book, Wicked Women of the Bible.
- Testimony-of-the-Week: A former Muslim talks to CBN News about the contrasts between the Koran and the Bible.
- Switcheroo: I love stories where, instead of a church meeting in a community center, the church is building the community center. In this case, in Anchorage, Alaska.
- All the cool adults are doing it: The latest publishing trend is adult coloring books and for many there’s a spiritual dimension to the current fad.
- At 59, Gospel music icon Sandy Patti is retiring.
- In the UK, a Christian bookstore chain and an online Christian store merge their warehouse operations.
- Listening to as I prepare this week’s links: Someone kindly posted the full album of Home by Josh Garrels.
- Writers can be protective of their stuff, but cartoonists even more so. I’m thinking of that in context that in the early days we often would begin or end these link lists with the Baptist Press artists, and wish there was still a way to share their material.
Got a link suggestion? Try to get it to us by 7:00 PM EST Tuesday.