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…)

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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

February 4, 2018

Worship: Do You Prefer Printed Map Books, or Phone Apps?

Filed under: Christianity, Church, worship — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:39 am

We found this yesterday at the blog of Emily Howarth (tag line: Because writing a novel is too long) who writes from London, England. Click the title below to read at source.

The A to Z of Worship

I passed a contented fellow stroller of the pavements the other day. She looked in her 70s, other than that fairly non-desript. She was poring over a London A-Z, flicking through page after page of detailed map.

I am a recent migrant to the big smoke, so an A-Z book is the stuff of fables. A world before mobile maps exists online as a memory. In fact, it’s such a legend that the online people I imagine relying on them are hipsters. But here she was, poring over the pages and working out her route. I admired her choice all the way back to the office.

Her A-Z would not run out of battery. Once she bought it, she would not have to pay a monthly data allowance to keep using it. She would not be reliant upon mobile signal to guarantee it would load.

However, her map doesn’t also come with a telephone, diary, internet access, access to infinite other books and films, camera and even a calculator. It doesn’t fit in your pocket if you wear modern female clothing (that’s a discussion for another time though). And it doesn’t come with free upgrades every time Transport for London change their route or a new road is built or the access is changed in any way.

Each is reliant on a prior knowledge of how to use it. Each has it benefits. Neither is flawlessly perfect.

But each will get you to the same destination: God’s presence here on Earth.

This was the point where my mind got a bit … deep. I got to thinking of similar comparisons. With many things, we use a different route or route-finder to get to the same place. It got me to thinking about expressions of faith. Now before we go any further I want to take a moment to explain this is not a pitch for universalism. That’s a blog for another time. But I mean, when you think of church, what do you see?

How about incense and carvings?

Do you think of hymn books and candles?

Do you think of a lean-to and fans?

Do you think of guitars and ripped jeans?

Do you think of a living room?

Each achieves the same thing. Each is creating a place where a community feels comfortable to worship. A place where they can pray together, sing together, share communion-Euacharist-bread-and-wine together. Each comes with its benefits and each comes with its flaws. But each will get you to the same destination: God’s presence here on Earth.

 

 

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 12, 2018

Theological Comparisons: What Type of Church Do You Attend?

I’ve been amazed recently at people who attend a church which has a denominational affiliation, but they don’t know what it is. Visiting? Maybe. You’re just passing through. Attending frequently? I would have thought it was a basic question. When it comes to actual doctrines, overarching theology, spiritual values, church culture and core beliefs1 I would think people would want to know where their church fits in across various spectra2 but apparently if the worship is good, the children’s ministry is high quality, and the sermons are engaging, people are happy not knowing whose name is on the door.

A few days ago we asked the question, “What is a Charismatic.” It seems to me that a diligent blogger could start a series on this, “What is a Baptist?” and “What is an Episcopalian?”3 being next in line. Unfortunately I am not that writer. However…

We started the work week on Monday with Michael Patton, so it seemed like a good place to end the work week. First of all, for those of you who are subscribers, I need to clarify something that we updated a few hours after the piece appeared, and that is that Michael’s blog Parchment and Pen migrated to CreedoHouse.org. The specific article, What Does it Mean to Be Charismatic which we quoted, is available in full at this link.

In the interest of getting it right this time, while I couldn’t find the image below at the new site, a full explanation of it appears at this link.

My motivation in all this is often very perfunctory. As regular readers know, I spend at least two days per week serving customers in a Christian retail store. So when the above chart first appeared, I introduced it as follows:

Sometimes, I have to admit, I need to be able to put people into a box.

It’s not that they will necessarily fit into the box comfortably, but frankly it saves time; it lets me know what set of terminology to use; it indicates to me what schools of doctrinal thought are off limits; it helps me find common ground with authors or worship styles or even Bible translation preferences.

This is not good.

However, sometimes it does cut to the chase. Give me some indicators and let me make assumptions. Is that the ESV Study Bible you’re holding? Here’s a new book from John Piper you might enjoy. You attend the Revival Center? You might enjoy the new Jesus Culture album.

Stereotyping, as we once called it; today it’s called profiling.

The same day as that ran, I also ran another chart, this one from Matt Stone. His blog has also migrated, but at the risk of making the same mistake twice, I did more research this time, and the chart can now be located at this link. The new website is called Curious Christian (and he’s still very much into visuals.)


I hope this helps somehow! I realize the title of today’s piece asks a question and only gives you a minimalist framework to formulate an answer, but such as the two graphic images are, they help us get back the superficial (see cartoon above) and think about things in more important terms.


1 This phrase is all about the cadence and rhythm of the sentence. Some of the words themselves are redundant. Speaking of words, it’s interesting that the modern dichotomy of Calvinism and Arminianism is nowhere to be seen in the two graphics.
2 Spectra, as in plural of spectrum. Usually churches can be measured in terms of where they land on the spectrum for three or four major discriminators. Instead of a double-axis graph, picture something that looks more like an asterisk.
3 Or, if you prefer Anglican; but although based in Canada, I’m writing for a dominantly U.S. audience, so Episcopal it is! Some would argue that only those within a particular movement can accurately describe it or write about it. What do you think?

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 8, 2018

What is a Charismatic? Two Sets of Characteristics

A few years ago, I ran a post at Christianity 201 where the author Michael Patton gave seven reasons why he believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have not ceased to operate. This is known as the continualist position or continuism. The opposite is the cessationist position or cessationism.

Patton had blogged just the day before at Parchment and Pen about six characteristics he believes identifies Charismatic Christians. (He used a lower case ‘c’ but I have chosen to capitalize this where it refers to an admittedly diverse denomination, in the same way some are now arguing that Evangelical needs to be capitalized.) Update (12:30 PM EST): That article is now available at this link.

1. Unusual attention given to the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer

2. The tendency to seek and expect miraculous healings

3. The tendency to seek and expect God’s direct communication (dreams, visions, experiences, personal encounters, etc.)

4. Unusual attention given to the presence of demonic activity in the world

5. Very expressive worship

6. Belief in the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

He spells out each of these, and then describes the entire spectrum of belief as to the gifts of the Spirit, ending up with this chart. (I do appreciate his calling both extremes as unorthodox; you can tell me that the tongues and interpretation aren’t for today, but don’t try to tell me they never happened!)

Belief Spectrum - Gifts of the Holy Spirit

At this point I would link, but unfortunately the website is no longer in service.

I think his analysis is good, though his terminology is a bit intense. Perhaps the charismatics I know are more conservative, or possibly he is envisioning charismatic believers in Africa or South America. I would rephrase his six points this way:

1. A distinct emphasis on the limitless power and work of the Holy Spirit in the world today

2. Expectant, faith-consumed prayer even in the face of great odds and obstacles

3. A belief that God speaks into the hearts and minds of his people through dreams, visions, circumstances and a ‘still small voice’

4. An acknowledgement that the Christian is always embroiled in spiritual warfare

5. Passionate worship

6. Belief in the continuation of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit

The problem with any doctrinal emphasis is that it always takes place at the expense of something else. So if you speak of an “unusual emphasis” on the Holy Spirit, or on demonic activity, are you doing so at the cost of not emphasizing the work of redemption on the cross, or the call to love our neighbors, or the priority of world missions? (Points 1 and 4) The Charismatics — albeit with a few exceptions — that I know haven’t thrown the baby out with the bath water.

And if you believe that God is still in the business of impressing things on his people (Point 3) that doesn’t mean it is at the expense of not prioritizing the role of scripture. Most of the Charismatics I know have a good working knowledge of scripture.

I did leave one (Point 6) intact. Update: The original article with about 90 insightful comments is available at this link.

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

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