Thinking Out Loud

February 27, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Bart Simpson - Love Wins

Link and the world links with you…  The cartoon? See item 4 below:

For Heaven's Sake - Feb 4 2013

February 2, 2011

Wednesday Link List

We read blogs so you don’t have to!  Or something.

  • Brent Mosley is president of Bluefish TV, the company that makes — among other things — those little two-minute video clips that start your weekly worship service.  He blogs, too.  Check out Is The Church Telling The Complete Story?
  • Speaking of video, it’s been three years since it was filmed and two years since it was released on DVD, but now you can watch Joe Manafo’s detailed 42-minute documentary study of alternative churches in Canada in its entirety at the website for One Size Fits All.
  • A list with ten things is actually easier to produce than when you decide to narrow it down to five.  And these five are well-chosen.  Trevin Wax posts Five Trends to Watch for in Evangelical Christianity.
  • And speaking of Trevin, here’s a video of a church promotion that he (and Zach at Vitamin Z) think is one of the best church advertisements ever.  “Before we tell you who we are, we want to tell you who we were.”
  • Contemporary Christian book author Skye Jethani tells why he doesn’t read many books by contemporary Christian book authors, in a piece at Out of Ur provocatively titled, I Read Dead People.
  • Dan Horwedel whisks you on a link-list journey of his own in a fascinating examination of the Christian worship song, God of This City.  Both the major-key version and the minor-key version.
  • I don’t read — let alone link — to Ann Welch’s blog very often because it’s more of a women’s blog and a parenting blog, but she’s been in the link-list here since day one because she is a blogger who has my utmost respect. Here’s a shorter piece even the guys can take a minute to read at her blog Resolved 2 Worship, titled Dart Throwing.  (Turn your speakers up, too; she’s got a great blog playlist.)
  • Chuck Colson believes that while most Christian children’s books contain a Bible narrative followed by “the moral of the story,” we need to teach kids to recognize the worldview being promoted in everything they read.  And he’s introducing a product that will help them do just that.
  • Pete Wilson raises the oft-discussed issue of swearing, or things that some people consider swearing.   200 comments so far about words like darn, dang, heck, geez, and shoot.  (And then, Daniel Jepson raises the same topic, too.)
  • A woman in a senior’s home invites John Shore into her room, and then dies holding on to John’s hand.  Yikes!  Obviously, readers are wondering why the story is just surfacing now.
  • Albert Mohler thinks that Piers Morgan’s interview with Joel Osteen identifies one topic where we either stand for Biblical truth or we try to dance around its politically incorrect implications.  Mohler says that sooner or later we’ll have to deal with our own Osteen Moment.
  • A Tennessee pastor refused to baptize a couple’s baby because the couple wasn’t married. He wants to make a statement about teen pregnancy.
  • Time for a quick hymn sing.  Here’s a couple of versions of a classic hymn that is well-known in England but not at all in North America.  One version is more modern, the other is most formal, but both of them work.  Check out Tell Out My Soul.
  • This week we should pay Trevin a commission.  If you’ve read the bestselling book Radical by David Platt (Waterbrook), you know all about “Secret Church.”  Well, this year, the event is available as a simulcast for any church that wants in. (Posted even though the event is a Lifeway thing. Look guys; no hard feelings!)
  • Here’s a return of a Link List favorite; Mike Morgan’s weekly comic, For Heaven’s Sake.

September 1, 2010

Wednesday Link List

The August Bank Holiday brought U.K. Christians to Cheltenham for the annual Greenbelt Festival

Welcome to September!   Here’s where the three w’s took us this week:

  • CNN has an interesting piece about Kenda Creasy Dean, author of Almost Christian, a book about ‘professing’ teen Christians whose faith the author views as “mutant Christianity.”   Read more.
  • David Fitch looks at the “ritualized” activity we call “going to church;” and thinks the “going” should be more connected to everyday life.   More at Reclaiming the Mission.
  • Talbot Davis doesn’t spend a lot of time in courtrooms, but couldn’t help but notice that the place seemed eerily familiar.
  • Zach N. at Vitamin Z has a video embed of Joshua Harris taking 15 minutes with Francis Chan discussing where The Chanster sees his post-Cornerstone future heading.
  • Challies spotted this insightful analysis by Russell. D. Moore on the weekend’s unscheduled revival meeting — attracting anywhere from 87,000 to 287,000 depending on who you ask — in Washington featuring Fox News’ Glenn Beck.
  • A speaker at England’s annual Greenbelt Festival suggested on the weekend that despite his previous sympathies, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams is sidelining the LGBT agenda in favor of the issue of church unity.
  • What do you do when an old flame pops up on Facebook and wants you to “friend” him or her?   Janell Williams Paris thinks this through for your consideration.
  • If your musical taste runs to classical stylings, here’s a video discovery of  Camilla Kerslake and a string section performing “Abide With Me.”
  • Justin Wise asks himself the question, “Who is my pastor?”  Check out his multiple answers.  Can you relate?
  • Legal battles notwithstanding, The Shack author Wm. Paul Young continues to look forward to the day that a movie version of the book becomes reality.
  • A February, 2009 post at this blog continues to attract readers and the occasional comment, as those with allergies continue to deal with people wearing perfume at church.
  • Some inane antics at The Thinklings where it’s time for your favorite TV show, America’s Next Top Pastor.
  • Our cartoonist this week is Dennis Fletcher with the appropriately named Fletch cartoon at Baptist Press.  (Click image for more.)

March 7, 2010

Chorusology 101

As someone who has an affection for both modern worship and classical hymns, I’m a sucker for any piece on any blog — or any sermon on any podcast — that addresses the issue.   Sometime in the last week I heard or read something that I felt really charted some new territory for me.

Critics of modern worship tend to suggest that the choruses are simplistic and repetitive and dismiss them on that basis.   For them, the hymns are better because they are — and this is the phrase that always gets pulled out — “rich in theology.”

Now I do think they have a point.   If some choruses are simple it’s because by comparison some hymns are complex.   And if some choruses are repetitive it’s because some hymns, particularly ones that have no chorus of their own, add new and different lyrical phrasing with each new verse.

But what does that all mean at the end of the day?

The thing I heard this week that nailed it for me was the idea that many of the older hymns don’t just express a theme, but are developing a theme. (I seem to remember the example was the hymn, “There is a Fountain;” a lyrical analysis proves the fresh direction of each verse.)   Those hymns begin with a premise and then exploit that premise, and then move on to some kind of consequence or application of that premise?

Sound familiar?

It should because it’s not unlike the classic three-point or four-point sermons that were preached in the same time periods as those hymns were written.   Today, despite being able to absorb more complexity through visual imagery as the sermon is being spoken, we’ve tended to move toward one-point sermons.

Don’t get me wrong; I think people like Andy Stanley has moved the whole preaching genre forward by reintroducing the idea of having one idea or one thing that you really want to get across.  In a world of distraction, you want people to have one take-away that stays with them the following morning.   But I think that the same people who criticize modern worship are probably quite willing to jump all over modern preaching with the same charge:  Simplistic and repetitive.

Personally, I’d rather have one point that I can still remember the next day than a much more ornate oratory that goes in the one ear and out the other.

But I also think the idea of developing a theme is one we must not lose.   It will also improve our writing on the days we only want to make a single point, because it will teach us focus and concision, and also because trying to be a Christ follower in a modern world is equal parts doctrine, narrative illustration or expression of the doctrine, and application.

If you have an old hymnbook in the house, check out the flow from verse to verse.   Some hymns are quite different as you progress from verse to verse; even the popular “Joy to the World” only has a single verse that really speaks to the Christmas story.  But remember there are modern hymns, too.  Check out the lyrics of “In Christ Alone.”

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