Thinking Out Loud

February 14, 2018

Wednesday Link List

I knew Redeemer University College in Canada was a smaller school than some, but didn’t expect to see it reflected in the way job functions like this one are integrated. Dutch frugality?

 

It’s a Valentine’s Day edition of the Wednesday Link List and even though we have absolutely nothing Valentine-related, we hope you will love this week’s list.


Is there a shot you can get to prevent this?


The Canadian in me loved this one.


Euphemisms for death based on obituaries by state, sourced by Mental Floss in 2016 based on 2015 obits. (Click image to link.) Of interest to us here was Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Arkansas. (Boy, talk about being led down the internet rabbit trail…)

Advertisements

February 7, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Stryper guitarist Michael Sweet said, “I can tell you this: if you kind of take the best of a handful of STRYPER albums and you kind of roll it up into a big, old fat burrito, that’s what you’re gonna get with this album.” God Damn Evil releases April 20th. More details at this link.

Here we are once again with Link List #396. Thanks to those of you who sent suggestions, and those of you who produce your own roundups from which we steal only the best… Many of these are double links, so if the topic is of interest, be sure to click both parts.

Mismatched billboard ads? Nope. It’s intentional, promoting a new sermon series at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia. Click here for details.

“Bring your children to Church. If you don’t hear crying, the church is dying.” Read more at this extended Facebook caption.

While other articles at Thinking Out Loud may be used on your blog, please respect the unique character of the Wednesday Link List; it is the exclusive property of paulwilkinson.wordpress.com

January 31, 2018

Wednesday Link List

“What’s great about the official Dave Ramsey card is that it always gets declined,” Ramsey said on his radio program. “Try to buy a new fishing reel? Declined. Try to book a family vacation you can’t afford? Declined. Replace a shredded tire you failed to budget for? Yup, you guessed it—declined.” Details at Babylon Bee.

The Wednesday List Lynx is now doing endorsements.

Welcome to our State of the Christian Union address #395. Still fighting whatever it is that hit me last week, so a shorter list this week. 2018 is one month down, eleven more to go!

Preoccupied with Optics: This ad from a church in Phoenix appeared on Craigslist. Full story at The Old Black Church blog.


You remember Hahhah in the Old Testament? That woman always makes me laugh! CBD is taking advance orders on a book about her from Jill Eileen Smith.

January 24, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Not usually accused of lying down on the job, Steven Furtick makes a point in a recent sermon at Elevation titled, ‘The Pillow and the Promise.’ Source: 3-minute YouTube highlights reel.

Canadian megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey illustrates four different models of salvation as wife Nina looks on. Is preaching lying down the next big trend? Source: 10-minute video on YouTube, Understanding Salvation.

Lloyd the Llink Llist Llama crashes the party for the third time. And it’s always January.

Midweek already! Welcome to link list #394. This was the list which simply wouldn’t stop growing. It could have easily been double the size it is. There is some excellent content here, and until you eat everything on your plate, there’s no dessert.


The website Church Pop thinks the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has the best 404 page, given that St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things. Read more at churchpop.com


Bonus video! Just for those of you who continued this far!

January 17, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Panama Clerical Shirt: What pastors wear on vacation.

These lists are different each week, and this time around, the first few offer some brain-stretching opportunities to think about doctrine and theology. Plus as an extra exercise in equal time, many of these are from Reformed/Calvinists sources. See…we can play nice, sometimes.

Comics: Mary Worth, 2016 (upper), Bizarro, 2018 (lower)

Digging a Little Deeper

From the creator of Thinking Out Loud, check out Christianity 201. Guaranteed distraction-free faith blogging with fresh posts every day. www.Christianity201.wordpress.com

January 10, 2018

Wednesday Link List

Not exactly Willow Tree, is it? A poster at Reddit described these three as his Grandma’s badass angel statues. (Left to right: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.)

This week’s list begins below, but we wanted to take a minute to provide you with some particular links — out of many that we looked at — for what was undoubtedly the Christian newsmaker of the week, Andy Savage.

The Iberian Lynx filling in for the semi-regular Wednesday List Lynx.

Now on to the balance of this week’s stories and opinion pieces.

That’s it for this week. Keep those cards and letters coming in folks; preferably by 6:00 PM on Monday. Speaking of the first day of the work week, the closing graphic is from Happy Monday at Clark Bunch’s blog.

 

January 3, 2018

Wednesday Link List

English to English translation of KJV text proves too difficult for current computer technology.

This is list #391. Nine more to go!

Wittenburg Door classic

December 27, 2017

Wednesday Link List

This is the original; we actually ran the second one a few years back. From InterVarsity’s media production ministry, TwentyOneHundred Productions.

Warning: We have a lot of material this week from some really different sources concerning a variety of topics. Remember that being included in the link list does not in any way imply endorsement of the authors, their perspective or the website.

  • Essay of the Week: “We have replaced rich, robust theology in the church with emotional music and constant reminders that “God is love and loves you and He’s your personal Savior and loves your soul…” These words are great at bringing outsiders through the doors (because they’re true by and large) but poor at growing believers into mature witnesses with rich understanding of the deep things of God.” The Dumbing Down of Christianity.
  • “Find the Perfect Gift.” So it’s hard to believe this, but the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) deemed this gentle and minimalist communiqué to be ‘issue-oriented advertising,’ forbidden under a 2015 WMATA policy directive. So did U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who on December 9 rejected the archdiocese’s claim that WMATA’s refusal to post the ad violated its First Amendment right of free speech. WMATA had defined ‘issue-oriented’ to include ads that ‘promote or oppose religion.'” (Nice way of rewriting the U.S. Constitution, don’t you think?) 
  • Catholic Corner: This story was everywhere yesterday. “A Catholic Bishop and Cardinal are protecting a Catholic Governor in New York that is enabling countless sexual predators and pedophiles to escape prosecution.” Why Pope Francis needs to intervene.  
  • After the Pastor Dies: Not knowing the significance the day would have, the writer of this piece had long planned a visit to St. Andrews Chapel in Orlando. It would be the church’s first Sunday without their Copastor, R. C. Sproul
  • Is this the Right Solution? After a gunman killed 26 worshippers during a Sunday service last month, licensed handgun owners in Texas can now legally carry firearms into some churches.  
  • Bible and Science: Here’s the bumper someone posted on Reddit to introduce this article. “Both science and religion seek wisdom and clarity. We need religious interpretations of the facts modern science produces, so that our belief system can once again be adapted to our time.” Some interesting thoughts on three videos.  (Again, please read the warning in the introduction above.)
  • ♫ Praise Charts has released their annual list. You might want to guess before you click. The one I chose for #1 was actually #2, so at least I was close. This list covers all material available, not just titles new this year. Check out the Top 100 Worship Songs for 2017.
  • Quotation of the Week: He thought he’d switch things up by reading the Matthew account on Christmas Eve instead of Luke. Then he got to the part where Herod starts the killing.

    I recall one family member making the lighthearted interjection, “I’d forgotten about this part.” Another questioned innocently, “Do we really need to hear this tonight?”
    …I even remember thinking in that moment about how many nativity scenes I have witnessed over the years that portray the visitation of the Magi in Matthew 2:10. The serene images of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by the wise men humbly kneeling, offering gifts, and worshiping. There is no hint of what is about to happen. Certainly sin and death are not to be celebrated at Christmas, but Matthew reminds us that they are not to be brushed aside either. The truth is that the account of Herod’s acts convey the very reason Christ came in the first place. He became incarnate to overcome sin and death.

  • Provocative Podcast Title of the Week: Will There Be Sex in Heaven? (Greg Boyd; 4½ minutes) 
  • Provocative Article Title of the Week: The Church Father Who Cut Off His Junk. (Professional theologian; do not attempt at home.) (Some of you may already know the Origen of this story.)
  • Parenting Place: As part of its broader sex education mandate, the British government is inviting submissions concerning its plan to launch what it calls Relationships Education.
  • 📖 I wish I was on the review list for IVP, because I would definitely, after viewing the trailer, want to review a new apologetics title, God is Stranger by Krish Kandiah
  • …or even though it’s nearly a year old, also from IVP, Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal by Gordon T. Smith. (IVP titles are usually fairly time transcendent!)
  • Here’s an article from outside our usual link list sphere. The author pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He is now a humanist and an atheist. His grandfather was a sexual predator who molested his mother and three generations of women. At his funeral in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, mourners were told, “God saved Bob and he is, thanks to Jesus, in Heaven today.” The author is not so convinced
  • …Related: Following the popularity of the #MeToo hashtag, those abused in or by churches are Tweeting on #ChurchToo.
  • Salt and Light: Indy Star and Creators Syndiate artist Gary Varvel explains his Christmas cartoon.
  • 🎬 Boundless, a Focus-on-the-Family website says 2017 was a good year for Christian films.
  • Politically one-sided: “…in recent debates in Congress over the public funding for Planned Parenthood, many pro-choice politicians and media outlets touted Planned Parenthood as a women’s health organization with abortion comprising only three percent of its business. It wasn’t surprising then that people were shocked when they heard Live Action refer to Planned Parenthood as the biggest abortion chain in America.” The role Twitter plays in hiding such truths
  • 🇨🇦 Canada Corner: Canadian churches that relied on a government grant to create student summer jobs may find that impossible in 2018.
  • Leadership Lessons: Pastors need to stop trying to be pleasers; stop trying to be popular.
  • Word of the Year: At Oxford Dictionaries the 2017 word was youthquake.  At dictionary.com, not exactly a new word, complicit. At Collins Dictionary, the choice was fake news. At Miriam-Webster, again a not-so-new word, feminism. (We liked their #5, dotard.)  Now use all four winning words in a single sentence.
  • 🇬🇧 The Queen again mentions Jesus in her annual — in this case 60th — Christmas message:

    We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.  

  • ♫ New Music: Remedy Drive is back with a new album, The North Star releasing on 1/18. The song is “Polaris.”   (Bonus: Watch the story behind the album.)
  • ♫ Old Music: The music group Lamb was part of the Messianic Jewish movement back in the ’70s. Joel Chernoff has been busy posting some of those songs to a YouTube channel, check out “I Will Talk to My Brothers” and “In the Morning.”
  • “If Jesus had a gun, he’d still be alive today.” Russell Moore comments on a bumper sticker
  • Finally, They were the nuns before there was the nones. I’m off to the store to see if I can score a copy of the Guns N’ Rosaries album. (The comments make it all the more interesting.)

December 23, 2017

A Retail Celebration of the Birth of our Lord

Filed under: Christianity, Christmas — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:16 am

Reading the Retail comic helps keep me sane at this time of year.

This is the 23rd year that our celebration of the birth of Christ has been directly tied to the operation of a retail store. While this is somewhat of a full-time occupation, I am only present in the physical location for 14-16 hours weekly, which means that while we are immersed in the running of it, I can also observe it with a degree of detachment.

My blog also offers me a much wider perspective, or at least an escape.

In those 23 Christmases there have been good years and bad years. This is one of the bad ones. We are far from meeting our sales target for December — everything started unwinding in the 3rd week of November — although we are are current with all but one supplier. That we offer faith-focused, Bible-based, potentially life changing products might justify all the effort somehow — make it seem like a higher, nobler purpose than regular retail — we are still caught up in the notion that the recognition of the incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity is marked by the exchanging of fashion, appliances and electronics.

Obviously, we want people to consider the eternal value of the products we represent.

I am able to set this little business aside at the end of the day, enjoy a beautifully cooked supper my wife prepares, watch a little television and then head off to bed for some end-of-day reading and sleep. But like the proverbial albatross, the store is ever-present. Like the dependent child, it requires constant care and feeding.

I would love to simply ignore Christmas altogether. Not the incarnation part, the rest of it.

The last 23 years have robbed me a little of the joy of Christmas music. In the past few weeks where I’ve been needed at the shop, I played Wow Hymns. It sounds Christmasy and besides, many people ignore the in-store music. Yesterday, it was a 6-month old bootlegged copy of the 20 The Countdown Magazine radio show.

I do enjoy giving.

I’m looking forward to seeing some pleasantly surprised look on my wife’s face when she opens my gifts. Ditto the kids. Giving is part of the Advent/Christmas narrative. Giving is a good practice; I would argue it should be among the list of spiritual practices and disciplines.

Part of me however, would like to dial it all back a notch.

I don’t want to be part of one of those sects where Christmas is simply ignored. That swings the pendulum too far the other way. I like the tasteful decorations that adorn the sanctuary in one of the two churches where I worship. I do want to sing some carols tomorrow. I hope, in all the modern worship, we still do that.

But I don’t want an extravaganza.

That’s hard to write, considering I spent my formative spiritual years in Canada’s first megachurch, and was part of the annual Living Christmas Tree production; complete with all the lights and volume. While it wasn’t the Disney fireworks — I’ve experienced those twice — it was for woman I spoke with after the ‘show’ a case of sensory overload. She knew she needed to make her way back to parking lot and get in her car and leave, but she was somewhat overcome by the energy of the production. Why do we feel we need to do that? (See, for example this video posted this morning at Internet Monk.)

Again, the retail side of Christmas leaves me scrambling next week to pick up the pieces.

We need to decide where we’re going. What to offer on sale. What to pack up in boxes. What to plan for the two remaining Christmas seasons on our present lease…if we last that long. Most of all, we need to interpret the unexpected drop in sales over the last five weeks, and what it says about our local Christian community and the nature of our ever-declining industry.

Then we need to get ready for Easter.

 

 

December 20, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Our pre-Christmas list is less seasonal than you might imagine. Some great things here worth investigating, many of which came together in the hour just before midnight last night.   UPDATE 8:50 EST — Since the list was published everyone on Twitter has been busy recommending Tim Keller’s article in the New Yorker on Evangelicalism so we’re adding it here.

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.