Thinking Out Loud

June 28, 2014

Solving Homelessness

Homeless Solution

Somebody got paid to come up with this way of meeting a “problem” that existed outside this commercial building and was no doubt convinced in their own mind that they had created a “solution.” This picture was on social media and deserves to be shared.

If anyone knows more about the origins of this picture please share in the comment section.

December 7, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Hark how the links, sweet silver links, all seem to say, “Throw cares away!”

  • Gonna do something I’ve done here before and make the first link one from this very blog.  I’m getting a ton of hits for a piece I wrote here last year dealing with the burning question, Should Audiences Still Stand for the Hallelujah Chorus?  But with only eleven comments, there’s still room for yours, and it will get viewed many times over the next few days.
  • Just when think you’ve seen all the weird churches in the world, you discover this one, which has major parking problems, not to mention severe access issues.  Check out this mini photo essay from our old friend Abraham Piper at 22 Words.
  • It’s rare in the Christian blogosphere that you see someone give a Christian book a really bad review. Perhaps that’s what makes this review at the blog Supermoms Are Fake, in some ways, so refreshing.
  • Some of you remember Hermant Mehta at the blog, The Friendly Atheist, from his book I Sold My Soul on E-Bay.  Sometimes I check back to see how he’s doing, whereupon I found this one: Why Are This Many Atheist Scientists Taking Their Children To Church?
  • Leaders are readers. So begins a concise, 7-point piece by Dave Kraft at Leadership from the Heart, I Would Love to Read More, But…
  • Music video department: Enjoy a free taste of fourteen updated hymns at Indelible Grace III – For All The Saints.
  • …which got me poking around YouTube where I ended up listening to this updated version of Jesus I Come (which I know as Out of My Bondage) by the Shelly Moore Band.
  • Christianity Today music guy Mark Moring talks to Chris Tomlin aka the “worship song machine.” Tomlin just doesn’t see himself writing any other kind of music. Which I suppose suits us just fine.
  • Philanthropy meets good business sense as a Toronto group puts together winter survival kits for the homeless.
  • Canadian Charismatic Evangelist Todd Bentley is in the UK, but a Member of Parliament is telling Brits to beware the tattoo preacher.   The Sunday Express reports. (HT: Rick and Bene.)
  • The newest blog at Alltop Christian is called Slow Running Honey, another blog which seems to exist for the purpose of promoting a book. That’s fine, I guess, but the Christian blogosphere didn’t start out that way. (Though it got there quickly.)
  • Newest blog at Alltop Church is Nate Fietzer‘s which is a KidMin blog, meaning children’s ministry and leadership.  It’s him we also thank for the Life graphic below. Did you design that, Nate?

  • I think Justin and Tricia attend Pete Wilson’s church; I know Justin filled in for Pete once during the summer. Here’s an article that could revolutionize your marriage, and the concept is so simple, it revolves around one little three-letter word.
  • After a few days in Sick Bay, Rev. Billy Graham is now back home.
  • Okay, so you go to a church where women don’t teach, but they do scripture readings. But isn’t the public reading of scripture a type of teaching ministry? Or is it? What about soloists? Jesse Johnson wades into a thorny topic.
  • Sounds of the season: Drummer Sean Quigley is the latest to offer a fresh take on a classic, in this case The Little Drummer Boy.
  • Lots of videos this week, but you don’t want to miss this one: Bethlehemian Rhapsody, which was actually posted in 2009, but is still being discovered. (The sheep steal their scenes each time!)
  • Like all good link lists, we have another t-shirt for you. This is from Amanda at Faith in The Journey a tumblr blog packed with great graphic ideas. The shirt is from

June 16, 2010

The Mercy Ministry Learning Curve

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:59 am

Across North America and around the world, Evangelicals, many for the first time, are learning what it means to be in service to those gripped by poverty.   Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, thrift shops, etc., were once the purview of mainline Protestant churches; but all that has changed when Evangelical churches started to put the needs of the poor on their radar.

I’ve already addressed the question, “Should we say grace before each meal?”   That’s been a rather thorny issue for the team my wife started four years ago, for reasons too complex to iterate here.   The people her group serves have already ‘served time’ when it comes to being in situations where you have to take the sermon before you get the soup.  The issue isn’t black-and-white, trust me.  If you missed that one, feel free to add a comment.

Today’s question is, “Should the team ration how much food people take when going through the line the first time?”

The problem is, on the one hand, there are times like this week where some people simply pig out, and the people at the end of the line are left with very little.  Not a happy situation.   One week a guest team from a local church came to serve the meal and they actually stood and served people and rationed out portions.

However, on the other hand, my wife views this meal as a type of community.   Her core team is convinced that there isn’t an “us and them” dichotomy and that we are all sharing a meal together as a family.   The team actually blends in; and everyone eats together with team members sitting at various tables getting to know fellow diners intimately.  It’s the classic Eastern “sharing a meal” thing.

“But wait a minute;” I argue; “Even in families there are teachable moments where you learn to share; where you learn to look out for the interests of others.”

I am always out-voted on this.   For the foreseeable future, nobody is going to be told what they can’t have, including the guy who brings his own 16-inch china dinner plate.

But the people at the back of the line are acutely aware of what they can’t have.

How do you continue the family atmosphere without authoritarian formalities and at the same time make sure everybody gets fed?

June 5, 2010

Blessed Are The Broken: Our Hope for the Future

I want to say that this picture was contrived.   I really do.  But even it is, is it that far from the truth?

I also want to believe that the various meetings advertised here are outreach events the church itself is presenting, but in all likelihood they are simply room rentals.  Does it matter, if the need is real?

I want to believe that the sermon advertised for Sunday morning will address this dichotomy, but  in all likelihood, it will consist of “heads in the clouds” platitudes.  Did anyone at the church see the contrast?

I want to wish for things to be different, but deep down, I know that the people who attend Monday to Saturday are often the same people who are seated in the pews on Sunday morning.   Or their proxies.  These are the people for whom Christ died.

Jesus can do more with broken people than he can with people who have it all together.   The addicted, the abused, the abusers, the impoverished, the homeless, the users, the people with no self image, the people dealing with temptation, the people on the brink of despair; these are all the people who can be America’s hope for the future.

The future never looked as bright as when you know you’ve reached bottom and there’s nowhere lower down you can go.    I hope it was a great sermon!

Picture is from Friends of Irony, a Cheezburger Network website.

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