Thinking Out Loud

March 26, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Football Cross at MontanaWestUSA(dot)com

We’re back with another mid-week link meeting! Here’s what your brothers and sisters from random parts of the big ‘C’ church were up to this week. Clicking any of the links below will take you to PARSE, the list’s benevolent patron.

Stay in touch with Paul Wilkinson during the week on Twitter.

Our closing cartoon is rather interesting, don’t you think? The artist is Jess MacCallum and you can click the image to see more.

Evolution Cartoon at JessMacCallum(dot)com

October 13, 2011

Excellence is in the Details

Filed under: Church — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:49 am

I don’t drink coffee.

Maybe a few rare occasions.  A few sips out of my wife’s cup now and then.  It’s not a Mormon thing, I just have enough trouble sleeping and enough history of digestive issues that I can skip java.

But I respect the fact that some of you find worship services impossible without the fruit of the bean, in fact, The Meeting House in Toronto has cup holders in every seat, and they ain’t communion cup holders.

Still, I’m told some church coffee is fairly mediocre. I know that for sure because of the people who smuggle outside coffee into the auditorium, which up here in Canada means Tim Horton’s coffee cups are the evidence of dissatisfaction with the church’s own product.

So I gotta say I’m impressed with a church that claims theirs is the best coffee in town. Like Kingston’s Café Church which features their own “Trinity” blend of three different coffees. 

Not having been, I don’t know how they rate on worship and teaching, but while they may not have the hottest worship band in town or a celeb preacher, I’ll bet that seeking excellence runs through all that they do.

So…how’s the coffee at your church?

August 21, 2011

Changing Churches for all the Right Superficial Reasons

I don’t plan it out this way, but some of the best items here dealing with church issues end up getting posted on Sunday.  This piece at Vic The Vicar’s blog really got me thinking.

…We go to a church because we like the way they play music and yet in doing so ignore the quality of the teaching, the theological truths and the essential tenets. We swing from Anglican to Baptist because they have better coffee and by so doing move from paedobaptism to anabaptism. We move from Pentecostal to Anglican because of the teaching and suddenly we’re into proper liturgy (should start a fight ;) )!

We make our consumer choices without realising the theological and spiritual statements we make.

We make decisions about what our churches should be – we decide that pews restrict the use and then struggle to move or do anything because of the stacked chairs (we always forget to have a room to store stuff!). We speak of open, fluid spaces, which allow us to do so much and then put the chairs out in the same way the pews were…

It’s true, and since I read this a few days ago, I encountered two people who said they changed churches because of the music, and in both cases the change represented a dramatic shift in doctrine, one of which was so extreme that I can’t actually print it here as I have local readers who might immediately recognize the story.

Anyway, I posted this comment at Vic’s:

…I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of someone changing churches because as they were studying a particular scripture they became convinced as to a particular doctrine. It is, as you say, often coffee or music or…

On the other hand, I’d like to see churches offer both decaf and regular coffee, but alas I digress.

Vic the Vicar also has an excellent piece about churches which are given historical site designations which end up hampering their ability to do anything with their building.

  • …One of the members of the offending society visited the building and explained that we were effectively ‘guests’ in a building that was a monument to William Morris…
  • … I did ask whether the society would like to take on the running and maintenance costs of the building as they held it so dear but apparently it wasn’t that dear!!!

Although North America doesn’t have the wonderful old buildings that they have in his native England, this problem is increasingly showing up in Canada and the U.S.

January 27, 2010

The Links Lynx is Back

The Wednesday Link List.    A Thinking Out Loud tradition for at least a few months now…

  • Say what you will about Rob Bell — and I know many of you would jump at the chance — but you’ve never experienced a better transition of a pastor from one church to another than when the people of Trinity Mennonite “gift” Shane Hipps to the people at Mars Hill Grand Rapids.   This link is valid for about ten more weeks, click on the sermon for 01.17.10 and listen to the first ten minutes.
  • Gary Molander also has an excellent post on the above item at the blog It’s Complicated, under the title Pastor Poaching.
  • I was going to include this last week, but hesitated.   First, it’s a six page article and secondly the first page is extremely graphic.   But I think this should be on your must-read list.   It compares a medical condition gynecologists call meno-metrorrhagia, with the condition of the hemorrhaging woman in Mark 5: 25-34, bringing modern science and historical background together to help us understand the passage more fully and also to focus on current conditions in Africa.   Check out “Jesus and the Unclean Woman” by L. Lewis Wall at Christianity Today.
  • This was actually posted to YouTube back in August, but it’s a great moment at the LoveSong reunion when pastor Chuck Smith introduces the song which, in many respects, marked the absolute beginning of today’s Contemporary Christian music.   If you’re into Christian music, this nine minute video shows you how it all began.
  • Jeff McQuilkin considers what it was like putting together a ‘worship show’ each week, from the perspective of someone who is no longer doing so.   Check out “The Show Must Go On” at The Communitas Collective.  (Read Jeff regularly at Losing My Religion.)
  • Jon Acuff is in classic form giving you a chance to rate the bumper sticker(s) on your vehicle(s), not to mention seven great new ones (and one cheesy one) of his own.   Check out Stuff Christians Like #694.  (It took 694 posts to get to bumper stickers?)
  • “If your kids are awake, they’re online.”   Albert Mohler discusses The Online Life of Kids.    Mohler writes well, but it’s not a true blog if you can’t leave comments.
  • The best books of 2009 you’ve never read:  It’s the Christianity Today Book Awards.   The more esoteric and eclectic, the better, right?   How about, as George Costanza might say, ‘book awards for the rest of us?’
  • Check out the various free image files available to your church — see sample at right — from CreativeMYK.com
  • Congratulations to blogger Carlos Whittaker (Ragamuffin Soul) on a deal with Integrity Music.   Check out a few of the songs here.
  • Don’t feel you learn enough reading blogs?   This week’s lynx is actually an Iberian lynx.   Wikipedia says, “It is the most endangered cat species in the world.  According to the conservation group SOS Lynx, if this species died out, it would be the first feline extinction since the Smilodon 10,000 years ago.”   Use that in a conversation in the next 24 hours.
  • I guess it had to happen. Is there anything we do in church life that doesn’t have its own seminar? An upcoming conference offers three workshops for people who staff the church coffee bar.   At least they’ll be well-trained.
  • Here’s a repeat link from six months ago: New Direction in Canada has put together a 4-week DVD curriculum,  Bridging the Gap: Conversations on Befriending Our Gay Neighbors. It includes 3-hours of video content and a 40-page leader guide with reproducible worksheets.   Material on this subject is badly needed.  Guests include Brian McLaren, Bruxy Cavey, Tony Campolo and eight more.   Read more about it, here.
  • He’s a 19 year old college student.   He seems like a good Christian kid.  He wants a tattoo.   Wants to put “Bought With A Price” on it.   Parents say no.   Time for Russell D. Moore at the blog Moore to the Point to sort it out.
  • If you’ve recently joined us, and you’re a woman who has a husband, father, son, brother or boyfriend who is hooked on pornography, check out a resource I wrote a couple of years ago, The Pornography Effect.  It’s a modified blog page where the chapters appear in order; clicking “previous posts” actually yields the next chapters, 7-15.  Takes about 50 minutes to read.
  • Today’s cartoon is from JAW Toons by Jay Allen:

HT for CreativeMYK = Kent Shaffer

No animals were harmed in the making of this week’s link list.  The idea of LoveSong as the true root of contemporary Christian music is open to debate if you consider the Catholic folk masses of the late 1960s, or the influence of Larry Norman.

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