Thinking Out Loud

November 15, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Honest, we tried to get secondary corroboration of this story, but the link in the original story was a bit sketchy and there was nothing else online. All we know is it took place at Enhance Church. Click the image for more.

It’s that time of the week!

  • A Canadian journalist is among the many invited to a VIP preview of Washington, DC’s Museum of the Bible, opening Friday.
  • Unqualified: Perry Noble — whose pending divorce was announced on November 1st — goes phrase-by-phrase through I Timothy 3 to show why he completely misses the mark on each and every qualification for ‘an overseer,’ but then in the final paragraphs appeals to the idea of being given a second chance. The further details and confessions fall into the ‘too much information’ category however, and would seem to undermine his point.
  • This was the local news coverage of the first service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, one week after 26 lives were lost
  • …Meanwhile, the pews have been taken out, the carpeting has been removed, and the inside of the building has been painted white from floor to ceiling as a memorial to those who died that day. CNN sent a reporter into the church building
  • …but the consensus is that the church will eventually be torn down.
  • What Americans can learn from the Trinity Western University Law School case, which goes before the Canadian Supreme Court on November 30th
  • Essay of the Week: “Ken Ham and his followers may think they’re defending Christianity and ensuring that our faith will be passed along to future generations, but the reality is they’re putting our children and grandchildren at risk of rejecting the faith entirely.” The risks of forcing one Genesis interpretation on the next generation.
  • Here’s a story that needs rewriting on several fronts. It’s about GracePointe church in Nashville and the header uses the term “megachurch” but paragraphs later recants that saying peak attendance was 700-800. But just when we’ve got that sorted out, another paragraph says the church had a 2,200 membership. Since many attendees are adherents and not members, that casts more confusion. The point of the piece is that because of their LGBT support, attendance dipped to 240 and the church was forced to sell their building and property
  • Something completely different: Samoan firefighters march down a mountain singing a hymn.
  • Former Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale pastor Bob Coy — who the article says today helps manage Boca Raton’s Funky Biscuit club — is now accused of molesting a 4-year-old. Futhermore, “Coy certainly paid a heavy price for his infidelity: His family has broken to pieces, and his chapels packed with thousands of adoring fans have been replaced with a half-full nightclub in Boca. [Blogger Michael] Newnham says the pastor still has more to answer for — especially because his sources say Coy has been trying to mobilize investors to start a new church.” An overview of the Coy and the Church in Miami New Times.
  • Is God “di-polar?” Was there ever a time of Logos asarkos where God was but the second person of the trinity was not? That and other deep questions about the immutability of God versus the idea that our history has become part of God’s history. The key question is, “Does God Change?”
  • When the staff at the Catholic hospital pray for patients, there’s a difference. “His mother, he said, had taught him to pray this prayer to Mary… He was certain that the prayer would be answered because as any good son would do, Jesus listens to his mother. He used Mary’s words at the Wedding of Cana as proof that Jesus will even reluctantly obey his mother.”   
  • Bible and Science:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer had reconciled Genesis and his Christian faith decades before our current debates. You may or may not agree with his conclusions.
  • Legal Matters: “Last week, in American Humanist Association v. Maryland, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling of the federal district court of Maryland and held that a cross on state-owned land violated the Constitution.”
  • Tempis Fugit: “In Biblical studies it is generally understood that a generation is 40 years. In modern times it is 20 years or so.” …
  • …This article on Children’s ministry suggests the change is every 15 years, and that at any given time, KidMin volunteers may be speaking to two different generations of kids
  • The world of Christian publishing: Greg Boyd has signed a deal with Fortress Press for academic books to be released in 2021 and 2022, while Zondervan has secured a biography of Dolly Parton for 2018.
  • At last! Calvinism, Arminianism and everything in between summed up in a 2 minute video. The muddy walled pit analogy.
  • Looking for a new church you can really plug into? Here are seven signs you’re on the right track.  
  • Worship songwriter Keith Getty (In Christ Alone) was the guest on this week’s Phil Vischer Podcast, so of course, the first question was about sexual harassment. (And then they kept him on the line for another five minutes discussing women elevator operators and women’s public restroom habits.) 
  • Finally: What to expect when you’re expecting? How about your Christian friends suggesting some great Biblical baby names?

You can show support and encouragement to us by downloading my wife’s Christmas album for only $7 or for just a buck ($1) download the title song.


Because sometimes you just have to rant:

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November 8, 2017

Wednesday Link List

We couldn’t think of a better image today than this one, issued yesterday by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on the occasion of Rev. Graham’s 99th birthday. Click the image to read their article.

Unlike other similar round-up lists or link lists, we try to vary the source of material here considerably each week. However, there are some websites and blogs which consistently turn out superior material and break new stories. We chose not to keep coming back to the same sources weekly only because I believe the cream rises to the top, and you’re already being made aware of those articles and news stories on social media and through subscriptions.

November 2, 2017

Same Kind of Different as Me: An Illustration of the Hands and Feet of Christ

Filed under: Christianity, Faith, marriage — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:50 am

Based on the book of the same name which is based on a true story, Same Kind of Different as Me is the unlikely story of the intersection of two worlds between an international dealer in expensive fine art and a homeless man who spent much of his life working overtime as a slave. Ron Hall is living the good life that involves interacting with high society when his wife Deborah drags him to reluctantly serve at the Union Gospel Mission. The 2007 book from Thomas Nelson later gave way to a small group curriculum as it raises many issues.

I had only minimal familiarity with the book — I knew it had sold well in some areas, which can be hard for a biographical work even if it reads better than some fiction — when invited to see the movie which, as you read this, is at the end of its second week in North America.

My wife and I were quite impressed. She even paid it the ultimate compliment (for her) by saying something as we left the theater, “It wasn’t a Christian movie;” by which she meant there wasn’t an overt gospel message leading toward key characters getting saved at the end. Indeed, this is actually the ideal Christian movie, where things are shown instead of told, and where Christian values are being lived out, rather than simply taught. Truly this is the Christian film you view with that unchurched neighbor, coworker or relative.

But it takes more than just a great screenplay to make a great picture. The additional points would go for some very plausible casting — I felt like I already know Ron and Deborah — and some rather breathtaking scenery, not to mention the visual image of the place in the woods where the homeless of that community spend the night.

The movie raises the possibility of much discussion about the type of activity which truly helps the homeless and gives them dignity and how, at the end of the day, we’re not all that different.


Thanks to Tim at Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. for the tix.

 

November 1, 2017

Wednesday Link List

What happens when countries are lax about immigration policy

So…yesterday afternoon we went to see the movie Same Kind of Different as Me. I’ll have more on that tomorrow on the blog. But it meant that the link list was again a little shorter.

Our closing pictures are all about hats:

Rowan and Rowena - The Bishop Bears


We Have Bacon


From Wikipedia, this woman is wearing “The Order of the Swan.”


October 25, 2017

Wednesday Link List

While speaking in South Korea, Skye Jethani couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this Canadian restaurant in Seoul and Tweeting it to Drew Dyck who hails from the frozen north. For that tweet, click the image.

Welcome back to another list of news stories and opinion pieces the other blogs and sites aren’t carrying. (With the possible exceptions of the ones we stole from them.) We didn’t even start this one until about 6:30 Tuesday night. Keep those weekly suggestions coming and watch for updates on my Twitter page.

Note: The third through sixth articles are in some respects related.

Our closing graphic today is from the popular Coffee With Jesus; click the image to visit the website:

October 18, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Pictured is the Himmerod Abbey in Rhineland, Germany which is set to close after a millennium, a necessity given that the huge facility currently houses only six resident monks. The closure is seen as symptomatic of the decline of religion in Europe. Click image to link to full story.

Not a major news week, but that left us room to probe deeper online for some unique material for your perusal.

Christian Book Distributors is a lean, mean, book-shipping machine, but when things go wrong in their search engine, they go really wrong. Entering their Audio Book listings you’re told there are nearly a quarter of a million, but when you refine by media type, you’re told there’s only 120 CDs.

October 11, 2017

Wednesday Link List

It’s not a spoof movie poster, it’s a book, a real one, releasing in January from Harvest House Publishers.

Well, you knew this was just a matter of time, right? Christian Fidget Spinners — or as they prefer, Faith Spinners — from Swanson.

Because nothing better introduces the kids to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation better than a 3-inch plastic mini Martin.

The original introduction here was an apology for a shorter list this week, but that soon changed. Remember, every time you click a link an angel gets its wings. For an even better deal on today’s links, use Promo Code WLL#379.

  • If the Resurrection were a lie, how long would it take for the disciples to crack? Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson knows better than most: “Do you know how long it took for each of us to break? Under threat of prison, we started pointing fingers at each other in less than a week. Are you going to try to convince me that a bunch of untrained fishermen maintained their story, unbroken, to the end, as each was tortured and executed? Not a chance.” J.D. Greear quotes Colson writing about how Christianity got started.
  • Essay of the Week: Artificial Intelligence (AI) “machines could become objects of worship in and of themselves… The machines could…develop their own sects or entirely new religions… [S]ome branches of Christianity will try to convert machines with strong artificial intelligence to follow their God. ” 
  • Provocative Headline of the Week: Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics. It begins: “Evangelical writer Eric Metaxas remarked on BreakPoint last week that if Americans took a theology exam, their only hope of passing would be if God graded on a curve. He’s right. In knowing both the content of the Bible and the doctrinal foundations of Christianity, we Americans aren’t just at the bottom of our class. We are…a nation of heretics.”
  • Happy Ending: After 92 days in captivity in Egypt, a 16-year old Christian girl is released back to her family. A former kidnapper says she is just one of many
  • Churches in Santa Rose, California are stepping up to help victims of a tragic fire that has destroyed 1,500 structures and left an entire community homeless.
  • Breaking Religious News: CBS tracks down the guy who designed the Papyrus font.
  • Joining the list of one-man Bible translation project writers is David Bentley Hart. Scot McKnight writes “Hart has a desire to make the reader as uncomfortable as he can and that is because he thinks the NT itself — those early Christians and their view of wealth — were extremists, which aligns rather well with Hart’s extremist approach to translation. On this Hart is himself just lopsided, delightfully so at times, but lopsided nonetheless.” Read all about The New Testament: A Translation.
  • Driscoll and Plagiarism: Maybe he just can’t not do it
  • Wider World: In a country [Kenya] where 83 percent is Christian with Evangelicals in a majority, this coming re-election matters.
  • ♫ Possibly the best thing you’ll hear and this week: Some of Christian music’s best get together to honor a song; The Joy of Jesus featuring the late Rich Mullins
  • ♫ …The female vocalist on the above song has just released one of her own. Ellie Holcomb sings He Will.
  • ♫ The worship team at Willow Creek South Barrington has released a collection of new songs. This one will make you smile, especially if you grew up singing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy” in Sunday School. This one is a little different. (Song begins after introduction, link contains full worship set.)
  • Princeton’s Evangelical Christian student fellowship is dropping the word Evangelical from its name. Are other organizations likely to follow?
  • Devotional Moment: Popular women’s author Karen Ehman wrote this as “Go Find Your Old Self” but in a way it’s just a fresh take on “Return to your first love.”
  • Pastor Place: Sermon sharpening and sermon shortening. (But not the type of shortening you add to Christmas baking.)
  • Someone else is working on a Bible edition without verse numbers, starting with the gospels. 
  • Best Headline: How Did Luther Become a Lutheran? “In the months after posting his Theses, he was lecturing on the Letter to the Hebrews. He came to see the nature and significance of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.”
  • “He causes his sun to rise…and sends rain.”
    “Look at the birds of the air.”
    “See how the flowers of the field grow.”
    “Every good tree bears good fruit.”
    The words of Jesus frequently contained allusions to nature.
  • Technology Time: “We may be the last generation that can remember life before;” says the engineer who developed the ‘Like’ button.
  • Resource Room: A interview with the creators of various resources available free at Harmony.Bible
  • Worship Workshop: Sure, it’s advertising, but the ten reasons for switching to Church Presentation Software are compelling.
  • Missions Moment: We’ve linked before to articles like this about “Third Culture Kids” (formerly Missionary Kids) but it’s something on which we need to be reminded. “When you first meet Third Culture Kids, be aware that answering ‘Where are you from?’ can be difficult because ‘home’ is a relative word for us.” 
  • Another One: This time it’s the pastor of a satellite church who also happens to be the son of the pastor of a prominent Alabama megachurch, though the nature of the transgression is unknown.
  • Canada Corner: Answers in Genesis is setting up shop in Canada; not just a Canadian web-store, but they’re presumably incorporating a Canadian charity here and have hired a General Manager.
  • Catholic Corner: On Saturday (14th) “In 21,570 public places from coast to coast, lay Catholics associated with America Needs Fatima will hold Public Square Rosary Rallies.” 
  • ♫ New Music: Deliverer by Audrey Assad, as she gets ready to release her first original album in 4 years.
  • Thoughts and Prayers, the video game: “Visitors to the game’s microsite are greeted with what appears to be 1980s-style arcade game, which begins with the somewhat sarcastic message: ‘America faces an epidemic of mass shootings. It’s up to you to stop them… with the power of your thoughts and prayers.'”  An article at Christian Today goes on to say, “The point of Thoughts & Prayers is that this is a game that nobody wins – not even the satirists.”
  • Bono Boo-Boo? “Under Canon Law, non-Catholics are forbidden from receiving communion except in exceptional circumstances as the ritual is considered a sacred statement of faith. U2’s frontman caught by the camera in Bogata, Columbia.
  • Bee of the Week: Many a truth is spoken in jest. How many churches do you drive by each weekend to get to yours?

After 24 hours in Cornwall, Ontario we realized upon leaving that we could have chosen to stay at the Elect Inn. Total depravity on our part, I guess.

 

October 4, 2017

Wednesday Link List


 

“Church” in various languages. If anyone knows the source for this I’ll add it.

Wednesday List Lynx

Several of this week’s feature stories have multiple links. When compiling the list for Twitter, we’ll simply list the story and combine your click total.


*This is the quotation from Tullian’s blog noted above:

September 27, 2017

Wednesday Link List

From the website of The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art ) in New York, “Jonah and the Whale”, Folio from a Jami al-Tavarikh (Compendium of Chronicles) dated around 1400. Click image to link.

So this had to happen: Regular readers here know we usually end with a few quirky or humorous or satirical links, many of which are to the Christian parody news site The Babylon Bee. Well, the Beekeepers signed a book deal with Multnomah but even though it’s not releasing until May 1st next year, they know it’s going to be 208 pages; not 207 or 209. And it’s all original material. $19.99 hardcover; ouch! That bee just stung me. Which reminds me: How many bees could a beekeeper keep if a beekeeper could keep bees?

 

Evangelists prepare their ‘gospel caravan’ for a meeting in Chesham. Early 20th century. From a collection of “Gospel Vehicles” images at Brethren Archive. Click picture to see them all.

September 20, 2017

Wednesday Link List

This picture of Czemna Chapel in Poland is featured in an article at a Gothic website titled “Bone Churches of the World” where we’re instructed that “Pelvic bones become a chandelier.”

This is theme to Wednesday’s list, the opening theme to Wednesday’s list. Paul called me up and asked me, ‘Would you write a theme song?’ This is the theme to Wednesday’s list. (I think we’re past the part now that shows up as a preview on Twitter…Did anyone get the reference?)

  • She was a victim once, and then the Christian college where she was a student made her a victim again, several times over. “To me it feels like a David and Goliath situation, only this time Goliath wins. I just want to forget all this and go back to…when I was happy and safe and optimistic.” Furthermore, she had been studying to be a rape counselor.
  • Podcast of the Week (1): You’ll never hear scripture quoted more frequently or as helpfully on a difficult issue than in this podcast, “The Bible and Intersex Believers”  with Megan DeFranza, researcher and lecturer. (49 minutes)
  • Podcast of the Week (2): John Mark Comer sits down with Gerry Breshears to look at situations involving self defense, home invasion, Christians as police officers, and even pepper spray from an Anabaptist mindset of non-violence. (43 minutes)
  • Hazing happens at Christian colleges, too. Chicago Tribune: “Five Wheaton College football players face felony charges after being accused of a 2016 hazing incident in which a freshman teammate was restrained with duct tape, beaten and left half-naked with two torn shoulders on a baseball field.DuPage County Judge Joseph Bugos signed arrest warrants and set $50,000 bonds against the players…They are expected to turn themselves in to authorities this week.” 
  • More tributes and articles remembering Nabeel Qureshi:
    • Sadness – Nick Peters: “There is a picture going around Facebook of Nabeel after his baptism. He has his arms raised in his air in victory. In the past, it brought joy, but today it brings me sadness. I know it should bring me joy, but it doesn’t because I want to see the happy and healthy Nabeel again, and I don’t.”
    • Apologetics Associate – Justin Brierley: “Firstly with his friend David Wood, and then latterly as a speaker with RZIM he went on to speak to thousands of Christians, Muslims and skeptics and saw many come to faith as a result. His books, which married his intellectual pursuit with his own testimony, were widely read. In person he was robust in his exchanges but gracious in his demeanor. He was endlessly patient with his critics, who were vociferous especially within parts of the Muslim community.
    • The Question – Frank Turek: “Nevertheless, while it seems insensitive to ask this while we grieve, people are wondering why didn’t God heal Nabeel. After all, he was a brilliant and charismatic young man taken away from his wife Michelle and daughter Ayah, and the rest of us, far too early. Nabeel had so much more to give to his family and the Kingdom of God that his death seems senseless. So why didn’t God heal Nabeel?
  • Attending a Christian University & College Fair can be the first step for many students when searching for the right college or university. There are over 120 fairs throughout the U.S. and Canada each year…
  • …Related: A critical (at first) and then positive (the larger balance) look at the value of Christian higher education
  • I’ll let Ann Brock explain this one: “Christianity still exerts a powerful force in many black communities, but some young women are turning their back on the faith and returning to the older, traditional religions of their ancestors. The use of social media is letting the younger generations learn of our history and how the religion of our oppressor was more a tool to control and oppress than benevolent religion.” Check out Jesus Hasn’t Saved Us at the website Broadly.
  • Times of Transition: “We’ve all heard the stories of churches losing members, losing funding, losing their ministries in the wake of a pastor leaving…Perhaps the greatest reason for so much hardship during the point of pastoral transitions is because most pastors fail to plan for their departure. Unless you kill the church, you won’t be their last pastor. You’re just a temporary leader. There’s a guy coming up behind you…” This and four other causes for the pastoral leadership void.
  • Horrific Headline Department: Christian Refugee Children Denied Food Unless They Recite Islamic Prayers in Sudan.
  • Religious Journalism: Is rooting around a spiritual community’s founder’s past relevant? An analysis of a New York Times profile of Zarephath Christian Church in New Jersey‘s rural Somerset County.
  • “‘Praise God, I have NEVER changed my beliefs. I am seventy years old and I still have the exact same beliefs I had at age twenty — fifty years ago.'” That’s a common sentiment, but “In most spheres of life, learning new things and discarding old beliefs, practices, and ideas is desired and expected. Not in Evangelicalism. Evangelicals cherish certainty.”  (Be sure to read the full article, past the video.)
  • 🎬 Video of the Week (1): In a 4½ minute confessional, Crosspoint Church (Nashville) pastor Kevin Queen shares the discovery that his random act of kindness could have been a whole lot kinder.
  • 🎬 Video of the Week (2): This 2½ minute commercial aired in Canada during the last SuperbOwl game and celebrates the value of a shared meal.
  • 🎬 Video of the Week (3): David Platt says inviting people to “accept Jesus into your heart” is dangerous, damning, unbiblical and superstitious. (Just not sure why Charisma News has this as “news” since the clip was first posted in 2012.)
  • Buried in the Last Paragraph: It’s a short article by a pastor who empathizes with survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but he notes that PTSD may set in months down the road.
  • I don’t have a link for this but North Point Community Church has kicked the bucket; the offering bucket that is. With so many people automating their giving online, they announced this week that they have decided to end taking up the collection at weekend services… 
  • …On the other extreme is the church that decided to recognize it’s Top Three Tithers. [insert fanfare music here] Before you say, ‘Well that was in Nigeria,’ not every Nigerian thinks this is a good idea, including the guy who dumped his church over this action.
  • Quotation of the Week: “For most of humanity’s past the Bible was not a book. For most of humanity’s future the Bible will probably not be a book. Many of our fears about the future of the Bible are based on careless thought about its history. We assume that since we first encountered the Bible as a book, this is how it has always been and how it must always be. Now, as the printed book begins to fade, many are worried that the Bible will fade with it. But it won’t because the Bible is not essentially a book. It is essentially God’s recorded words to humanity, and those words transcend any single medium.”
  • John Stackhouse isn’t sure he can trust an auto mechanic who drinks Pepsi. A look at the present culture of unfriending.
  • Coming this Saturday, September 23rd to a Planet Earth near you:  “‘Researcher’ David Meade says a hidden planet called Nibiru will crash into Earth that day.” End-times date-setting hinders the cause of Christ.
  • ♫ Music: This song has a weird title if you don’t listen. Mandisa with guests TobyMac and Kirk Franklin on Bleed the Same
  • ♫ Music: New artist Heather Schnoor’s just released video for All In.
  • Not enough links for ya? Check out Links to Go at Timothy Archer’s Kitchen of Half-Baked Thoughts. (There’s been several installments lately!)
  • Penultimate Finally, A liturgical dancer has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.
  • Finally, during 2017 I’ve often ended these lists with something from Matthew Pierce simply because you all read The Babylon Bee anyway, right? So this time around M.P. has something he calls Worship Leader Power Rankings, where I learned that, “According to LifeWay research, by the year 2031, all of the old people will be dead and we won’t have to keep shoehorning that one hymn into the worship set list because we’re afraid they’re going to get mad and stop tithing.”

We missed Parenting Place, Missions Moment, Leadership Lessons and Canada Corner two weeks in a row. There’s always next week. OR…you could email your suggestions. [Hint!]

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