Thinking Out Loud

January 29, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Bible is like a software license
A lot of people are critical of short-term missions, but right now, a plane ticket to somewhere warm would look really appealing. In the meantime, here are some links to keep you warm, clicking anything that follows will take you to PARSE at Christianity Today and then you can click through from there.

We leave you today with “the thrill that’ll gitcha when ya get your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone.”  In this case, Pope Francis in the current issue; click the image to read the story.

Pope Francis Rolling Stone Cover

Paul Wilkinson is based in Canada — “You liked the first Polar Vortex so much we’re sending you another one” — and blogs at Thinking Out Loud and Christian Book Shop Talk

September 24, 2013

Oakland California Church Youth Pastor Killed

Filed under: current events — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:49 pm

Sad story emerging from Saturday night when Jose Durante, youth pastor at New Hope Covenant Church was struck by another vehicle while helping a stranded motorist move his car.

That the driver who struck him was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs makes this all the more tragic. Someone has said that if alcohol were a new substance that was ‘discovered’ today it would be placed in the same category as heroin.  Yet another has said that if alcohol were being introduced today it would never be approved for purchase.

I say that only because it seems like every story I’ve heard in the past 48 hours involving some kind of accident or injury involved some use of alcohol.  Why do people think once they’ve had a few drinks they are fit to drive.


Memorial Fund

September 16, 2010

Efrem Smith on Making Your Faith Jump

In a largely autobiographical story, Efrem Smith encourages his readers to stretch their faith and, in the words of the cover title, Jump Into A Life of Further and Higher.

Smith is a pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, and is an African American.   While I’d never heard of the denomination, I also realized while reading this how little I’ve read by non-white authors.   Most of the authors in that demographic I am aware of tend to be either very conservative or very Charismatic/Pentecostal.

So while I wasn’t sure that Smith’s faith message was particularly unique — there are, after all, hundreds of Christian living titles published annually — I was rather impressed by his perspective on the often-segregated Evangelical Church in the U.S.A., and by his use of quotations from the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, he states, often spoke using the term “beloved.”  Smith sees our goal as a series of multiple ‘jumps’ which will lead us into (a) beloved self, (b) beloved church, and (c) beloved world.

An interesting observation about King’s crusade is made in a quotation from King himself:

From the beginning a basic philosophy guided the movement.  This guiding principle has since been referred to as non-violent resistance, noncooperation or passive resistance.  But in the early days of the protest none of these expressions were mentioned, the phrase most often heard was “Christian love.”   …It was Jesus of Nazareth that stirred the Negroes to protest with the creative weapon of love.

– from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Smith knows what it’s like to attend an all-black church (and school) and what it’s like to be a distinct minority in a church (or school).   In a chapter that should be considered by people in youth ministry, he explores hip-hop culture as it has been approached both in worship services in his church and in outreach.

My only regret is that the book seemed rather short.   Perhaps some of this some of this shortage is made up for by a sample of the introduction and first chapter of You Are God’s Plan A by Dwight Robertson.

I wish Efrem Smith had written more.   Right now his own life is in transition, moving from a pastorate in the midwest to the Pacific district office of his denomination.   On the basis of Jump, I would certainly look forward to reading his next book.

Watch a one-minute book trailer for this book.  (Unless you’re bothered by a fear of heights.  Then skip this one.)

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