Thinking Out Loud

August 16, 2017

Wednesday Link List

The return of Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim to Canada from imprisonment in North Korea is a story worth hearing. We devoted our first four links to it today.

Each week’s list begins with a template looking something like this

This week we have several audio (and video) options for you. We won’t be so podcast happy next week, but we thought we’d give you something different. The listening/viewing time is shown in parenthesis after each.

From the image archives:

August 9, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Australian Wednesday List Lynx

This is list #370 and is truly one of the best. Tell Gertrude in the outer office to hold all your calls. The reference related to the above graphic, in case you’re wondering, is Ecclesiastes 9:4. And if you missed it, we had a Sunday Link List this week. (Don’t miss the lead item on potential changes to how religious content is handled at YouTube.)

Inclusion in the list below does not imply endorsement

  • Keith Green died 35 years ago. Johann Sebastian Bach died on the same day in 1750, July 28th. “When we think of the heroes of our faith, we list missionaries, theologians, and pastors, but often overlook musicians. Christian history is deeply indebted to both men and will forever be enriched by their transcendent legacies.”
  • New Religions Department: “His followers proclaimed him to be the prophet to succeed Muhammad, sparking a new religious movement based on his teachings, which was eventually called Millah Abraham. The new faith was adopted mainly by disenchanted Muslims. It spread quickly across Indonesia and Malaysia to more than 50,000 followers…And like many other new religious movements, Millah Abraham is dreaming big, with hopes to supersede Christianity and Islam as the dominant Abrahamic faith.” The Atlantic looks at why we haven’t seen new major religions.
  • A Ministry of Litigation: A look at “the Christian legal movement, a collection of advocacy groups working in the legal, public policy and public relations arenas to advance and protect conservative Christian moral values.” We’ll see them in court. The National Catholic Reporter called this overview, “Serving God by Suing Others.”   
  • Here’s a shock: Perry Noble has registered the name of a new church in South Carolina. Read about Second Chance Church
  • Trending in the Pacific Northwest: Yoga Mats Over Church Pews. A Yoga instructor who is also a Christian discusses the growth of the former while attendance declines at the latter.
  • Syncretism – Grace vs. Destiny: North America and Western Europe aren’t the only places where culture or tradition is imposed on doctrine. It happens in Ghana as well. (Note: There is also a Part Two.) 
  • For those who find 1,492 pages a bit daunting, the executive summary of Greg Boyd’s 2-volume Crucifixion of the Warrior God is now available in the 292-page Cross Vision (Subtitle: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence.)
  • Herm-and-Eutics Department: At least conservative Christians and atheists are misreading scripture the same way
  • Becoming Extinct: The Missions Pastor. Three reasons why.
  • Tragedy: Started compiling this week’s list and was met by this headline, “Kansas Couple Who Met During Missionary Work in South Africa Killed in Crash One Day After Marriage.”
  • Biomedical Ethics: At the public’s expense, 800 kids in the Britain are on “puberty blockers.” A report notes that “more than 600 young people are receiving the drugs from the Gender Identity Development Service at University College Hospital in London, with a further 200 receiving them from a clinic in Leeds…The controversial drugs pause the development of sexual organs, making it easier for doctors to carry out a ‘sex change’ operation later in life…” An expert in Psychiatry said the drugs “have been rapidly accepted by the medical community ‘without scientific scrutiny’“.
  • I think what this author is saying is that if we make a high priority of simply being in church each week, there are ways in which regular church attendance can thwart mission.
  • ♫ I Know What You Did Last Sunday: Worship leaders post their set lists weekly using the Sunday Setlist hashtag
  • Catholic Corner: A letter sent to a same-sex couple from Pope Francis on the occasion of the baptism of their children, should not be seen as an endorsement of their family situation. Rather, it was a translation of a standard form letter, with no direct references.
  • Has the UK’s Greenbelt Festival, always considered a Christian music and arts event, gone multi-faith? “The Greenbelt website reveals it has ‘received funding from Amal’ – a project aimed at promoting a diversity of Islamic cultures and arts – ‘to produce a brand new venue and programme at Greenbelt this summer, showcasing Muslim art, culture, thought and spirituality’.” Greenbelt Creative Director Paul Northup says, “‘Amal at Greenbelt is just another step in our long journey to model inclusivity and engagement.” One seminar offers instruction in Islamic worship chants
  • …Meanwhile, UK readers looking for other festival options have a few on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
  • What About Bob? Randy Alcorn writes, “You will be you in Heaven. Who else would you be? If Bob, a man on Earth, is no longer Bob when he gets to Heaven, then, in fact, Bob did not go to Heaven.” A look at maintaining our personal history and identity in eternity.
  • Parenting Place: The note left in the pair of jeans made no sense; “How could my daughter be writing those things to another girl?
  • Charismatic author and Pastor Rick Joyner on Donald Trump: “God will defeat anyone who tries to take Trump down…It’s because he has a divine purpose…God put him there and only God is going to be able to take him out. You watch what happens to everyone else who tries.”
  • Sports Department: Why is a private school in Las Vegas, operated by Calvary Chapel keeping silent about a coach they hired, even to the point of escorting a writer off the church property where his family has worshiped?
  • Interview of the Week: RNS talks to Jen Hatmaker, even as her new book, Of Mess and Moxie is banned from LifeWay.
  • Church History Department: A look at the time when “a Bohemian reformer called Petr Chelčický (1390-1460) stepped up and preached the message of the Sermon on the Mount: nonviolence, enemy love and good deeds. Instead of just reforming the church to a slightly better state, he wanted to restore the Biblical, apostolic church completely. He believed in the free will of the individual believer, criticized the marriage between church and state, and promoted economic redistribution and communalism…” An excerpt from the forthcoming book, Charismactivism.
  • Canada Corner: A Lutheran pastor from British Columbia shares highlights from the latest Canadian census results.
  • Student Ministry: Responding when youth express doubt. First and foremost, tell them it’s okay to express their feelings. “Young people need to know that we—and God—are going to hear and hold their questions without pushing away.”
  • Provocative Headline of the Week: Hillary Wants to Preach. “Scattered bits of reporting suggest that ministry has always been a secret dream of the two-time presidential candidate.”
  • Worship Workshop: J. D. Greear with 14 things pastors want worship leaders to know
  • ♫ New Music: The group is called Bonray; the song is Turn My Eyes.
  • ♫ Older Music: Tim Challies has occasionally been posting an order of service from his church with commentary as to what was included. A few weeks ago, they opened with this song, Hail to the Lord’s Anointed by Indelible Grace, video posted in 2013.
  • I caught last week’s Phil Vischer Podcast too late to add it to the list here, but parents might want to check out the interview with Rob Rienow on establishing a family worship time. (Fast forward to 34:42 for the interview.) …
  • …Which was followed this week by James Gilmore, author of The Experience Economy, a business book which has no application to the church. Except that in many ways it does.
  • 🎬 Christian Movie Trailer of the Week: Based on the book, Same Kind of Different As Me releases in October from PureFlix…
  • …Somewhat Related: ChristianCinema.com is transferring to digital-only; discontinuing Christian DVD sales.
  • Another leader in youth ministry violates the trust given. (Let’s face it, there’s probably at least one of these per week, but awareness promotes vigilance.)
  • Dumbest Logic Ever: A 1-minute video explaining why Lady Gaga is being sold at major drug stores.
  • Finally, when church planting in Sicily, it’s important to adapt to the local culture.

Don’t forget to check out the link list from Sunday.

For our lower graphic, Zondervan author Nish Weiseth went to see The Book of Mormon in Salt Lake City and found this advert in the program. Were they seizing the home turf advantage? Either way, she says, “Well played, LDS Church.”

August 2, 2017

Wednesday Link List

On an upscale Men’s clothing store in Prague, opposite our hotel

Something seriously messed up in our lynx picture file this week

If you missed it, there was also a Weekend Link List on Saturday. Remember, we try to avoid sending you to links with pop-ups or paywalls. If you see otherwise, let us know.

“God is Good … All the Time” – A screenshot from The Robloxian Christians, an online church we first covered here last year.

1Pierce is no stranger to writing this type of fiction. Type the following search criteria into Google for links to all 8 parts of The Exegeticals — ” matthewepierce.com: Exegeticals “

July 26, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Ostein

Wednesday List Lynx – The lynx is considered a national animal in Macedonia where it is featured on the five denar coin

Thanks to a serious distraction involving Penn & Teller on Netflix, completion of this week’s link list almost didn’t happen. (R. & E., you know who you are!)

 



Don’t wait for Wednesdays; follow me on Twitter for brilliant insights like this one:

July 19, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Meow

We’re back after a week away from link-listing. One of the big winners here each week is me! I get to prepare this thing and see such a wide swath of what Christians are thinking and doing. There are some topics here for your consideration. Take some time, and tell your friends to visit.

  • Essay of the Week: Shane Claiborne chronicles the history of Christian civil disobedience. “You can go to jail for doing something wrong. And you can also go to jail for doing something right. We went to jail for doing something right.” 
  • Listicle of the Week: 5 Sure Signs You’ve Been Hoodwinked by the “Prosperity Gospel.
  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in church? “It’s not supposed to draw out the voice of a congregation. It’s supposed to make people want to move and leave their rational selves behind. And buy music. And stay in the club longer and spend more on drinks. It doesn’t facilitate the liturgy, it hijacks the liturgy, making it something else entirely. ” (Some of the points here apply to more than just EDM at church.)
  • Making your church introvert-friendly: “Our church cultures are unintentionally designed to identify, groom, and celebrate a specific personality type which leaves most introverts unseen, undeveloped, and left with a stigma of guilt and shame. Our ministry and discipleship opportunities implicitly communicate what a ‘disciple’ looks like, what ‘ministry’ looks like, or what ‘leadership’ looks like. And most of those narratives are very, very narrow.”
  • Quotation of the Week: “Sadly, it seems like John Piper has trouble dealing with the fact that women have bosoms even though he is free from sexual feelings towards other women.” Documenting John Piper’s ongoing obsession with this particular topic, including mothers allowing their 2-year-old daughters to show their knees. (Trigger alert: This discusses the private parts of men and women.)
  • Colorado’s gay wedding cake case: “There is an impulse to frame every issue as a clash between the tolerant and the closed-minded. But the Masterpiece case doesn’t challenge, undermine or re-litigate the issue of same-sex marriage in America. Gay marriage wasn’t even legal in Colorado when this incident occurred.” 
  • Moving: After 25 years at Wheaton College in Chicago, New Testament prof. Gary Burge is joining the faculty of Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
  • Farewell, SBC: “Today I am officially renouncing my ordination in the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant body, with about 15 million members, and the world’s largest Baptist denomination. My reasoning is simple: As a black scholar of race and a minister who is committed to social justice, I can no longer be part of an organization that is complicit in the disturbing rise of the so-called alt-right, whose members support the abhorrent policies of Donald Trump and whose troubling racial history and current actions reveal a deep commitment to white supremacy.” Lawrence Ware writes at the New York Times.
  • Apologetics Alley: Did Jesus speak Greek? When the subject of whether or not our Bibles contain the exact words of Jesus, we default to:
    1. Jesus primarily spoke in Aramaic.
    2. The Gospels were written in Greek.
    If Jesus ever used Greek to speak, then the Gospels may contain his exact words. Three reasons why Jesus probably spoke Greek at least some of the time
  • …Meanwhile, a different view at Zondervan Academic: “Jesus probably knew enough Greek to understand it. But he wouldn’t have spoken it as his first language. He also wouldn’t have used it in his daily conversation or taught the crowds in Greek.” …
  • …Also at the same blog, a look at both sides of the authorship of Hebrews issue.
  • Sermon Stats: “In these days of Ted Talks and 20 minutes messages, we were surprised that the most watched and beloved preachers in America preach almost twice that long!” Check out the average sermon length for ten popular pastors.
  • Dialing for Doctrine: Who exactly did Jesus die for?  The debate on “particular redemption,” which most of us refer to us “limited atonement.” (If nothing else, be sure to check out the 6-minute video.)
  • This is a developing story which may have changed by the time you read it, but the TGC website deals with the basics of the Charlie Gard case.
  • Sermon of the Week: Full disclosure, the one I chose was from June 23rd. The pastor is Levi Lusko a name that was new to me. He pastors Fresh Life Church in 8 locations around Kalispell, Montana. He was one of the ten pastors on the sermon stats piece above, and is the author of Swipe Right: The Life-and-Death Power of Sex and Romance from Zondervan. Enjoy all 39 minutes of The Things That Make for Peace.
  • The Christian Patriarchy Movement: “My father told me so often that God works through men to reveal his will for women. ‘You can’t know God’s will without a father or husband.” Of 30 of her friends who were subject to this mindset, she knows of only three who are currently following Christ.
  • Jesus and Yoga: For me this sentence sums up the entire article,  “I was once a super devout Christian, and I have a lot more ideas about my creator now from practicing yoga. It’s turned into another type of worship of me.” Or how about the woman who, “was actually a Pentecostal minister before she found yoga. When she became interested in the practice, she decided to eschew U.S. studios and traveled to India to study the yoga there. The choice forced her to reconcile her Pentecostalism with her new passion. “My yoga made it difficult to maintain my religious relationships, so much of that ended when I announced I was going to India.” An insight into the practice of what is called trap yoga.
  • In the four years 2012-2015, Trinity Broadcasting Network spent over $20M (US) in legal fees, and that number doesn’t include amounts paid out in settlements. “Besides examining a preacher’s theology, donors should determine if giving to them is good stewardship.” 
  • Marriage Matters: “What do I do when my spouse doesn’t have the same sense of calling to the poor, or mission, or ministry, that I do?” 4 Guidelines when facing a mismatched sense of calling.
  • Translation Troubles: We’ve all experienced it. Something like, “I don’t really like what the ESV does with verse 21, I think it should be more like…” Three reasons pastors should avoid a public put-down of particular translations.
  • Today’s Trivia Question: A classic preacher and author is quoted as, ““I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to listen to myself preaching.” Know who he is?
  • Breaking another glass ceiling, “Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was elected …to serve as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. She is the first African-American to hold this post and the second woman to lead the denomination.” (Or lead any mainline Protestant denomination…)
  • …Also, increasingly more black families in the US are choosing to homeschool.
  • Church on Wheels: His sanctuary is a 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis. His Uber passengers are his congregation.
  • ♫ New Music: Some recommendations from New Release Today:
  • Canada Corner: Booksellers on the prairie are always surprised when people keep returning to buy Paul Young’s The Shack.
  • Pot Calling the Kettle? Young Earth Creationists accuse Flat Earth devotees of taking the Bible too literally.
  • Catching up with the Phil Vischer podcast while I was away; a great interview two weeks ago with Kevin Palau who is the son of…well, you guys are smart…
  • …A week later, somewhere after the 30:00 mark, Phil suggests to Skye that a future badge of honor on consumer products might be “Made By Humans” in a world where robots and automation have replaced workers
  • Finally: “Probably a good idea would be to pick an age (maybe 73 or something) and agree to never get upset by something a Christian says once they’ve crossed that line. We could call it the King David Line, or the King David Rule.”
  • Finally, finally: One good Matthew Pierce link deserves another, and after debating it, I decided to actually conclude with this one about how to be an introvert in the modern church. ” PRO TIP: You can’t really get in trouble for anything if you’re not an official member. Then the pastors will come to you and be like “if you’re not a member, you can’t be a leader or vote on things” and even though that sounds really good, they mean it as a bad thing.”

Below, the Goliath Wall fresco in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany. Not sure why I took this picture as there are exactly 2.43967 zillion of them online and they all look the same. Modern renderings in children’s Bible story books tend to put more distance between the two combatants. Could this be more accurate?

 

July 5, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Our lead graphic this week comes from This is Indexed, a blog I’ve been following for many, many years.

I think the fundamental thing about compiling this each week is to look at an array of stories, many of which turn up on other roundup lists like this, and say, ‘Is this the type of story that fits our Wednesday list?’ Hopefully we’ve evolved a style where you might know what to expect. 

The link list won’t be here next week. We’ll see you in two weeks.

The media and graphic arts division of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) is the gift that keeps on giving! At their Twenty One Hundred Productions Facebook page you find things both of interest to IVCF staff members and also broader topics for the rest of us.  Like this one from 2014:

(Here’s another one of my favorites from them that we’ve used before.)

June 28, 2017

Wednesday Link List

So who’s this happy youth group? These are the interns working at Craig Groeschel’s Life.Church this summer. As we pointed out at this time last year, their roster of interns is larger than many American churches.

Welcome to WLL #365. We continue to try to direct you to sites not containing pop-up ads or paywalls, but the internet is not the same place as it was 365 link lists ago.

As we prepared this, the trial of Shane Claiborne and 17 others arrested in Washington for protesting the death penalty was scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM today (Wednesday). Pray, as this is a watershed moment for this particular social justice issue.


Today’s ephemera:

Not sure how we missed this 2014 title, from no less than Zondervan.


An 11-year old Chris Tomlin. This baseball-card-sized object may have been a cassette insert.


Why I always say my wife is actually the better writer in the family.


That’s, “Doctor Karen Kingsbury” to you. The leading Christian fiction author picked up an honorary Doctor of Letters this Spring at Liberty U.


This isn’t a parody. The author Robert W. Schambach (1926 – 2012) was an American televangelist, pastor, faith healer and author.


Published in 2001, N. D. Wilson’s book features “tweaked versions of all the original characters … in an absurd tangle of Evangelical goofiness struggling to make sense of the pathetically gnostic vision of the original story. You won’t want to miss all body parts, cats, and youth pastors left behind…”


Don’t say you don’t see the similarity. Should Benny run in 2020?


I don’t claim to have all the answers, but surely they could have come up with a better name for the place.

June 21, 2017

Wednesday Link List

I keep thinking the title of this game implies that it focuses more on the edgy, racier stuff in the Bible.

As of 12:24 this morning, it’s officially summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Welcome to WLL #364. I guess you know what that means? Right. Next week is WLL #365.

See y’all next week!

 


*Referenced in the links this week: Australia’s Hot 25 Countdown. An Aussie equivalent to 20 The Countdown Magazine.

 

June 14, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Because prosperity gospel churches can always use an offering liturgy.

This was the link list that almost didn’t happen as my version of Firefox crashed on Tuesday night. My wife theorizes that the problem originated with my anti-virus program (Avast) just as did on her computer (AVG). She thinks the incompatibilities with Windows 10 are intentional to make people switch to Windows Defender, the program now running on both of our computers. Still, we did have some time to get some of the links ready for market; hope you enjoy them.

June 7, 2017

Wednesday Link List

First of all, this was a Weekend Link List weekend. About 15 really, really good links. So pause for a moment and go to Saturday to catch up.  As to this list: Recommended processing time is 18 minutes.

But wait, there’s more!  Again, this was a Weekend Link List weekend. If you’re done here, go to Saturday for the good stuff!.

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