Thinking Out Loud

May 25, 2012

Rachel Held Evans’ Monkey Town

I know it’s generally uncool for a blogger to review a book that’s two years old, but then again, I actually paid for my copy, so technically this isn’t a review review; whatever that means. I was more overcome with curiosity, having become a regular reader of Rachel’s blog.

Sometimes a great blogger does not a great book author make, but in this case — sorry, Rachel if this seems uncomplimentary — the book was far better than what I’m accustomed to reading each day in blogland. The thing that struck me was that the book was so readable; the first hundred pages flew by in a single sitting.

Rachel Held Evans’ title refers to growing up in the town that was the venue for the Scopes Monkey Trial, the trail concerning the teaching of evolution and creation in public schools that some Christians see as having been as pivotal as Roe v Wade. I’d love to say that it ends there, that Rachel isn’t personally a proponent of some kind of theistic evolution, but in fact, this is one of the issues she deals with.

And Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All The Answers Learned to Ask the Questions (Zondervan, paperback, June 2010) is definitely about raising the tough questions and allowing doubts to nurture somewhat without ending with a total abandonment of either God or some of the primary fundamentals of the conservative faith in which she was raised.  To that end, this is a book that will appeal to readers of authors like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren.

It’s also a ‘growing up Christian’ type of memoir, and as Rachel herself admits, to do something of that nature while still in one’s twenties, is a bit of daunting task. This book will certainly resonate with anyone in Rachel’s demographic, or who identifies with postmodern culture.

While the book is edgy, it didn’t stir up the hornets’ nest that her next book — A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master — is bound to when it releases in late October. (See an article on this subject here at TOL.)

In the meantime, you’ve got Rachel’s blog to enjoy if you’re looking for more.

August 3, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Wednesday list lynx

All the news that’s fit to link.

  • A U.S. judge has ordered the ban on circumcision to be removed from the fall ballot in San Francisco.
  • Nicholas Kristof remembers both John Stott and the idea that not all Evangelicals are blowhards in this New York Times article.
  • We’re getting weary following the Schullergate story, but the latest has Robert H. back on the board
  • Can’t post enough of these type of links:  Jim Martin on Six Ways to Avoid Having an Affair.
  • Or Jon Acuff on three perfectly easy ways to wreck your marriage with social media.
  • Randy Alcorn looks at the two books written in response to Rob Bell‘s Love Wins and finds great material with surprisingly little overlap in the books by Francis Chan and Mark Galli.
  • You can’t call it televangelism any more because they no longer use television.  So how about intervangelism.
  • This link is actually from 2009, but it’s good every once in awhile to get inside the anatomy of a witness/evangelism experience.    (Note: Go Buses are a provincial transportation system serving the Toronto hinterland.)
  • The amazing thing about this online book about Biblical Relationships is not the solid Biblical content or the clarity of the online formatting, but the fact that the author, Regis Wengel is only 19.
  • Nothing intensely spiritual about it, but here’s an interesting one minute video about What Matters Most.
  • ‘That was a great talk, can I have your notes and PowerPoint slides?’  John Stackhouse explains why the answer to that will always be ‘no.’
  • Tony Campolo on ‘Baby smiles’ and having a joyful countenance.  After you read this, copy and paste it and create your own brand of email forward.
  • Speaking of babies, Jason Boyett now has a parenting blog; check out Dadequate: Ordinary Adventures of a Write-Brained Dad.
  • This fall, Canada honors its own Christian musicians with the cross country Maple Noise Tour featuring Thousand Foot Krutch, Greg Sczebel, Manafest, Johnny Diaz, To Tell, Jon Bauer, Jodi King, Manic Drive…  oh yeah, and some group called The Newsboys.
  • Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk reports — with tongue firmly in cheek — on a group that finds the book of Genesis too explicit and is fighting to get it banned.
  • Our closing cartoon this week is a somewhat random sample of what’s going on at Mighty Mag.  Richard Gunther is a New Zealand artist whose work can also be seen on Ray Comfort’s webpage.  In addition to various types of illustrations, a “daily nibble” provides a brief devotional thought.  This one illustrates I Tim 1: 3-4

April 3, 2009

A New Solution to Transitional Times in Local Churches

A few months ago I shared my feelings about the transitional times that Evangelical churches experience when they are between pastors.    After writing that another handful of other churches in our province joined the list of churches presently seeking a new pastor.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been on the telephone and e-mail with various groups and found myself saying, more than once, “You’ve got a projector and you’ve got a DVD player.   Cue up a video.”

It’s true.   Pastoral vacancy periods need not be “down time.”  While I ultimately support the idea of “lay people” in the church stepping up, during such times, there’s no ignoring that some of the best communicators in the English-speaking world are available on quality DVD.

Now, Craig Groschel and Bobby Gruenewald and the people at Lifechurch.tv have decided to make it official.   They’ve contracted a number of top teachers — most, but not all American — who have agreed to make their material available online for free to churches looking for a dynamic challenge on an upcoming Sunday morning.

videoteaching-dotcomThe service is called VideoTeaching.com and while the website promised that you’d be downloading during the first quarter of 2009 — which technically ended a few days ago — they’ve released the initial teaching lineup and are collecting contact info for an update mailing list.

While the list is somewhat homogeneous at first blush — all are male, pastors of large (if not mega) churches, all in a similar age range — the list is not as homogeneous in terms of doctrine.   There’s some variety here for churches of all stripes.

In some ways, the site is a concession to what everybody knows smaller churches, cell churches, network churches and home study groups have been doing for years.    So why didn’t somebody start this sooner?

.

Hopefully Andy Stanley will toss in a sermon or two.   Ditto John Ortberg.   And Anne Graham Lotz.   And a few older guys.   And a few younger, up-and-coming guys.   And a few more women.   But not Beth Moore.

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