Thinking Out Loud

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

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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 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

December 27, 2017

Wednesday Link List

This is the original; we actually ran the second one a few years back. From InterVarsity’s media production ministry, TwentyOneHundred Productions.

Warning: We have a lot of material this week from some really different sources concerning a variety of topics. Remember that being included in the link list does not in any way imply endorsement of the authors, their perspective or the website.

  • Essay of the Week: “We have replaced rich, robust theology in the church with emotional music and constant reminders that “God is love and loves you and He’s your personal Savior and loves your soul…” These words are great at bringing outsiders through the doors (because they’re true by and large) but poor at growing believers into mature witnesses with rich understanding of the deep things of God.” The Dumbing Down of Christianity.
  • “Find the Perfect Gift.” So it’s hard to believe this, but the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) deemed this gentle and minimalist communiqué to be ‘issue-oriented advertising,’ forbidden under a 2015 WMATA policy directive. So did U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who on December 9 rejected the archdiocese’s claim that WMATA’s refusal to post the ad violated its First Amendment right of free speech. WMATA had defined ‘issue-oriented’ to include ads that ‘promote or oppose religion.'” (Nice way of rewriting the U.S. Constitution, don’t you think?) 
  • Catholic Corner: This story was everywhere yesterday. “A Catholic Bishop and Cardinal are protecting a Catholic Governor in New York that is enabling countless sexual predators and pedophiles to escape prosecution.” Why Pope Francis needs to intervene.  
  • After the Pastor Dies: Not knowing the significance the day would have, the writer of this piece had long planned a visit to St. Andrews Chapel in Orlando. It would be the church’s first Sunday without their Copastor, R. C. Sproul
  • Is this the Right Solution? After a gunman killed 26 worshippers during a Sunday service last month, licensed handgun owners in Texas can now legally carry firearms into some churches.  
  • Bible and Science: Here’s the bumper someone posted on Reddit to introduce this article. “Both science and religion seek wisdom and clarity. We need religious interpretations of the facts modern science produces, so that our belief system can once again be adapted to our time.” Some interesting thoughts on three videos.  (Again, please read the warning in the introduction above.)
  • ♫ Praise Charts has released their annual list. You might want to guess before you click. The one I chose for #1 was actually #2, so at least I was close. This list covers all material available, not just titles new this year. Check out the Top 100 Worship Songs for 2017.
  • Quotation of the Week: He thought he’d switch things up by reading the Matthew account on Christmas Eve instead of Luke. Then he got to the part where Herod starts the killing.

    I recall one family member making the lighthearted interjection, “I’d forgotten about this part.” Another questioned innocently, “Do we really need to hear this tonight?”
    …I even remember thinking in that moment about how many nativity scenes I have witnessed over the years that portray the visitation of the Magi in Matthew 2:10. The serene images of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by the wise men humbly kneeling, offering gifts, and worshiping. There is no hint of what is about to happen. Certainly sin and death are not to be celebrated at Christmas, but Matthew reminds us that they are not to be brushed aside either. The truth is that the account of Herod’s acts convey the very reason Christ came in the first place. He became incarnate to overcome sin and death.

  • Provocative Podcast Title of the Week: Will There Be Sex in Heaven? (Greg Boyd; 4½ minutes) 
  • Provocative Article Title of the Week: The Church Father Who Cut Off His Junk. (Professional theologian; do not attempt at home.) (Some of you may already know the Origen of this story.)
  • Parenting Place: As part of its broader sex education mandate, the British government is inviting submissions concerning its plan to launch what it calls Relationships Education.
  • 📖 I wish I was on the review list for IVP, because I would definitely, after viewing the trailer, want to review a new apologetics title, God is Stranger by Krish Kandiah
  • …or even though it’s nearly a year old, also from IVP, Evangelical, Sacramental, and Pentecostal by Gordon T. Smith. (IVP titles are usually fairly time transcendent!)
  • Here’s an article from outside our usual link list sphere. The author pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He is now a humanist and an atheist. His grandfather was a sexual predator who molested his mother and three generations of women. At his funeral in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, mourners were told, “God saved Bob and he is, thanks to Jesus, in Heaven today.” The author is not so convinced
  • …Related: Following the popularity of the #MeToo hashtag, those abused in or by churches are Tweeting on #ChurchToo.
  • Salt and Light: Indy Star and Creators Syndiate artist Gary Varvel explains his Christmas cartoon.
  • 🎬 Boundless, a Focus-on-the-Family website says 2017 was a good year for Christian films.
  • Politically one-sided: “…in recent debates in Congress over the public funding for Planned Parenthood, many pro-choice politicians and media outlets touted Planned Parenthood as a women’s health organization with abortion comprising only three percent of its business. It wasn’t surprising then that people were shocked when they heard Live Action refer to Planned Parenthood as the biggest abortion chain in America.” The role Twitter plays in hiding such truths
  • 🇨🇦 Canada Corner: Canadian churches that relied on a government grant to create student summer jobs may find that impossible in 2018.
  • Leadership Lessons: Pastors need to stop trying to be pleasers; stop trying to be popular.
  • Word of the Year: At Oxford Dictionaries the 2017 word was youthquake.  At dictionary.com, not exactly a new word, complicit. At Collins Dictionary, the choice was fake news. At Miriam-Webster, again a not-so-new word, feminism. (We liked their #5, dotard.)  Now use all four winning words in a single sentence.
  • 🇬🇧 The Queen again mentions Jesus in her annual — in this case 60th — Christmas message:

    We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.  

  • ♫ New Music: Remedy Drive is back with a new album, The North Star releasing on 1/18. The song is “Polaris.”   (Bonus: Watch the story behind the album.)
  • ♫ Old Music: The music group Lamb was part of the Messianic Jewish movement back in the ’70s. Joel Chernoff has been busy posting some of those songs to a YouTube channel, check out “I Will Talk to My Brothers” and “In the Morning.”
  • “If Jesus had a gun, he’d still be alive today.” Russell Moore comments on a bumper sticker
  • Finally, They were the nuns before there was the nones. I’m off to the store to see if I can score a copy of the Guns N’ Rosaries album. (The comments make it all the more interesting.)

December 20, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Our pre-Christmas list is less seasonal than you might imagine. Some great things here worth investigating, many of which came together in the hour just before midnight last night.   UPDATE 8:50 EST — Since the list was published everyone on Twitter has been busy recommending Tim Keller’s article in the New Yorker on Evangelicalism so we’re adding it here.

December 15, 2017

Making Christian Television Great Again

test pattern

If your background is Anglican or Roman Catholic, you might think that the world of Christian television is dominated by Evangelical voices, but you’d only be partly right. In fact, Christian TV is dominated by a certain type of Evangelical, most of whom, if not Pentecostal or Charismatic, are definitely is leaning in that direction.

And that’s unfortunate because there is a wide swath of Evangelicals that simply aren’t represented in the broadcast medium:

Cerebral Christians – I’ve always wondered what a Christian television program would look like if it was created by InterVarsity. I know I’d watch. N. T. Wright is often a guest on various shows; if he were a host, I wonder who would he invite? This would be to present Christian television what PBS is to ABC.

America’s Best Sermons – There’s a ton of sermon media out there. Why should just internet-connected people get to enjoy it all? A show of best sermons would scan the internet for great material from churches that would never dream of purchasing broadcast airtime.

Christian Talk/Variety in a Live Context – In 2008, I wrote about His Place on Cornerstone Television which was set in a coffee shop but contained characters discussing pertinent issues and challenges, along with guest interviews and musicians. Truly a superior concept. You can read what I wrote at this link.

Socratic Dialog – Think about what people liked about The Shack, or Ian Morgan Cron’s Chasing Francis or the David Gregory Dinner With a Perfect Stranger series or a large number of Andy Andrews titles, and you get where I’m going with this. It would make for great television.

Bible Project – In May of last year we introduced you to two guys from the west coast with a very unique gift for explaining the Bible. Frankly, I think their work is too good to just be on YouTube. It deserves the cachet that goes with broadcast TV. You may read my description at this link.

Progressives – For all the Millennials out there, TV must seem a very old-school medium. Still, what would it take to capture the energy of those edgy podcasts and turn it loose in a more populist medium? 

Apologetics – The “extreme sport” of Christian theology and witness rarely makes it onto TV in its pure form.

Calvinists – I know this one flies in the face of some of my other writing about the dominance of Reformed theology on the internet and in Christian publishing, but the five-point crowd isn’t known for using the visual media. Anyone know a reason for that? 

Drama – Again, another question: Why should all the best examples modelling Christians in their neighborhoods, workplaces and extended families only be seen in movie theaters? Can’t Sherwood Pictures or PureFlix throw some shorter scripts together for broadcast?

Polar Opposites – Television is a great showcase for the dramatic. What if the TULIPs and the DAISYs had it out on a weekly basis? Or pit the egalitarians debating the complementarians. Or the Young Earth Creationists arguing with the Old Earth Creationists. Or the KJV-Only crowd throwing things at the NIV and NLT advocates. Or the watchdog bloggers against just about anyone. I know I’d tune in.

What Christian television that doesn’t exist would you like to see?

December 13, 2017

Wednesday Link List

This Christmas, Pray for World Peas.

Wednesday List Lynx decked out for Christmas.

Yes, it’s true. In Colorado and some other states this is known as the Weednesday Link List.

We have a great list this week. I might just run it again next week. Seriously, these are all great links. No fillers this Wednesday.

You can see that one plus 9 other hideous Christmas sweaters by clicking the image above.

And then, for those of you who prefer something less seasonal, there’s OppoSuits, below. I’m just waiting for someone to bring out the Christian version of this…


…perhaps spreading Christian love…

 

December 6, 2017

Wednesday Link List

If your Christmas cards need to be truly different, then these boxes of 12 cards (3 each of 4 images) from David Hayward aka Naked Pastor might be for you. Click image for info.

This turned out not badly, considering I didn’t get started until 5:00 PM Tuesday. Article suggestions are always welcomed.

 

November 29, 2017

Wednesday Link List

“Mary Did Uno” as posted at Church Curmudgeon.


Personally, I think our friends at the Family Christian Bookstore in Burlington, Ontario, Canada have way too much time on their hands! (Not related to the U.S. chain of the same name.)


Seeing past the labels: Shocking x-rays reveal that under the skin, groups seen as poles apart are basically the same. From the blog Done With Religion.


As a matter of general principle, I wouldn’t recommend reading a book by a guy who takes his accordion on a book tour. But I’ve read Blessed Are The Misfits by @branthansen and I enjoyed it and think you will also. If you missed my review, click here.

Lots of book-related stuff this week; it just worked out that way. Sit back and start clicking!


 

 

 

November 22, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Facebook banned these British Christmas cards from being sold “due to their shameful, sexual nature.” Click image for USAToday story.

For me, compiling this list weekly is a window into the larger Christian community as a collective and the things Christian people struggle with as individuals. Even if no one else benefits I am the clear winner, though it takes a lot of work.

Welcome to list #384. In theory, the goal is to get to #400. After that I’m not sure. If you find anything not working, please let me know. It was late Sunday when we caught two rather serious missing links, one of which was missing several lines of copy. (The publisher signings which included the duo of Greg Boyd and Dolly Parton.)

…at this point we had our staff party last night and it ran about four hours and nothing else got done that night…

 

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