Thinking Out Loud

March 31, 2010

“Out Like a Lamb” Link Day

Except that I don’t think March rolled “in like a lion;” at least it didn’t here.   And why does this phrase borrow the Biblical “lamb and lion” imagery anyway?

There’s something unsettling in the contrast of having April Fool’s Day directly adjacent to Good Friday.   Perhaps with that in mind, I thought we’d lead off with this picture:

She looks real, doesn’t she.   This “cybernetic human” can act surprised, or angry, or any other emotion you want to program her to express.   Unveiled in Japan on March 16th, you can see more robotics at’s Big Picture site.

And then there’s this picture, source unknown, of the “Love Chapter” from I Corinthians expressed as a tattoo:

Not sure which translation this is, but then again, that raises the question:  Are there King James Only tattoo parlors?   If not, someone’s overlooking a major market.

Which brings us to this T-shirt:

But I’m getting distracted; we really should move on to the links:

  • John Piper’s unexpected seven-month leave of absence — starting May 1st — was probably the story of the week in the Christian blogosphere.   How will the multitude of his followers get by without their weekly dose of J.P.’s encyclicals?    Read the official announcement at Desiring God.
  • Speaking of the Pipester, here’s his rant on the whole Emergent church movement, which he figures is due to implode in about six seconds from now, with some additional commentary at Tall Skinny Kiwi.
  • Theological finger-pointing at the Emergents continued over at Harvest Bible Chapel in NW Chicago on a recent Friday night Q&A session with a Moody Professor speaking for the anti-Emergent side while to balance things out they had… nobody.   JR looks at this rather one-sided presentation in this report.
  • Blogger Michael Krahn becomes a guest columnist at Canada’s Christian Week website; suggesting that all that technology has convinced us that we can’t sing.   I wish this article was a bit longer, because there are implications for church worship that might have been considered in a longer piece.    Check it out.
  • And speaking of things from my home and native land, I want to totally show off Canada’s national Christian magazine, FaithToday.   They’ve just started doing digital issues and if your internet connection is up for it, here’s a look at the March/April edition.
  • One of my favorite authors, British humorist Adrian Plass joins with Jeff Lucas — who pastors on both sides of the Atlantic — are joining together for a new book, Seriously Funny. “Made up a letters between the two, ‘Seriously funny’ is an honest look at life, love, book-signings, Christian ‘celebrity’, church…”   Check out the announcement at Christian Today.
  • Here’s a follow-up to yesterday’s piece here on foot washing.   Only this one, from last year, was a drive thru foot washing.    Seriously.
  • With all the interest in the Twilight books and movies, the Christian Post decided it was good time to interview former vampire-genre writer Anne Rice.   Actually, they were promoting the I Am Second testimony website.
  • Mark Sayers — whose DVD The Trouble With Paris was reviewed here — is up something big with this mystery project, Bordertown. You’ll have to sign up for the e-mail announcement.
  • I usually lose patience waiting for their web server to keep up to speed, but for what it’s worth, GodTube is back.   Apparently, like New Coke, the brand switch to Tangle didn’t take.  John Scaddington reports.
  • Described as “a little free-will humor;” the image below is from the blog Mockingbird.

  • Our cartoon this week is from For Heaven’s Sake; reproduced here not because it’s anything you haven’t seen before, but so that you can copy and paste it to that person in your e-mail list who needs a not-so-subtle prod.   Be tactful.   Okay, maybe there’s no way to be tactful and send this out at the same time…

  • Finally, the I Can Has Cheezburger (aka Lolcats) people have a new site, My Food Looks Funny. Maybe if the western world only ate as much as the person did who carved this, there would be enough food for everybody!

March 10, 2010

Wednesday Lynx Links

This is the link list you want to tell your friends about.   Or you can tell them about this one.   Or even this one.  This week is extremely random.  And the lynx is back, too!

  • Linda McKinnish, professor of ministry at Wake Forest Divinity School suggests that Celtic Christianity is a separate religion, in this article.
  • Randy Morgan recalls a riveting story from Mark Buchanan’s visit to Thailand from his book Things Unseen at Randy’s blog, Your Best Life Later.
  • Talbot Davis at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Charlotte, NC has some sure-fire ways to make sure you have a bad church experience.
  • An old friend of ours has scored a finalist position in Session 2 of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.   Go to this page, select the 5th category (gospel/inspirational) and click on the song “On That Day.”   (You can also buy the song at iTunes.)
  • Canadian Dave Carrol, with help from Pete Wilson and others, addresses the loner/rebel mindset among pastors .
  • I know a lot of churches want to identify as gay-friendly, but Texas Baptists?
  • Jonathan Brink catches Francis Chan asking the question, ‘What is our primary motivation for following Christ?’ with this video.
  • Chris Hyde reviews The Vertical Self by Mark Sayers.  (Sayers is the co-creator of The Trouble With Paris DVD which I reviewed recently.)
  • An article credited to John N. Clayton at the Don Cole Cartoons blog uses funny pictures to address a sobering topic, What is Hell?
  • Kathy aka Kaybee quotes 17th century Puritan author Thomas Brooks on the sufficiency of Christ in this short post at The Well.
  • Speaking of Thomas Brooks, you might want to read this article at Wikipedia about the Conventicle Act of 1644.   So much for house churches.   Or the Act of Uniformity of 1662.
  • Author John Shore says if you’re going to be passionate about Paul said about gays, you’d better be equally passionate about what Jesus said about wealth.
  • Michael Krahn catalogs and categorizes the works of C. S. Lewis at his blog, The Ascent to Truth.
  • Trevin Wax often includes classic prayers in his blog Kingdom People, such as, from the Book of Common Prayer, The Litany of Penance.
  • Andrew Nordine repeats a popular — but worth repeating — series of four questions on the topic, Abortion and Christianity at his blog, Seeking The Face.
  • If you miss those classic Christian films from the mid-1970s, Krista McKinney offers you the story of Edith Easter in this 20-minute short.
  • Blog Name Change:  Charlie Pharas, lead pastor of Stonecrest Baptist in Woodstock, GA, was known as Dear Charlie until yesterday when he became Adventures in Ignorance and Apathy.  (Subtitle: I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care.) (His link day is Sunday night!)
  • Blog Spinoff:  The daily prayers from the Daily Encouragement devotional website (always at the top of sidebar at right) is now a blog of its own at A Daily Prayer.
  • Our cartoons this week are from Baptist Press.   Church of the Covered Dish is from Thom Tapp, while Church People is by Frank Lengel.

March 3, 2010

B(link) and You’ll Miss It

Don’t miss this week’s links or else!

  • The blog Man of Depravity considers why websites like Church Rater are a bad idea;  and then, the next day, considers why they might be a good great idea.
  • Catholic seminarian Mike G. provides our “classic art meets modern convenience” photo images at right, from his blog The Night Is Passing.
  • It was actually a good week for discovering Catholic bloggers.  That’s where I discovered Nick Alexander aka the Catholic Weird Al Yankovic.  This YouTube video explains the traditions of Lent and Ash Wednesday.  (Also recommended for fans of The Police!) [HT: The Ironic Catholic]
  • Blog of the Week:  You think you know a thing or two about Bibles don’t you?   But forget translation for a minute; what about types of leather, binding, gilding, fonts, features, etc?   That’s where you need to know someone like J. Mark Bertrand at the Bible Design Blog. [HT: Christian Book Shop Talk]
  • Pastor Ed Young raps his way through an admonition to pastors to be themselves in a video simply called UBU.  [HT: Wil Mancini]
  • New word of the week: “Acedia.”   If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may be in the company of early church saints, therefore Catholic author Kathleen Norris wants you to know this word.
  • David Housholder explains why you’ve never met any missional Lutherans, or read any Lutheran prophecy books for that matter, at this lengthy but extremely interesting and well-written post at his Journal blog.  Seriously, don’t miss this one.
  • Ruth Wilkinson (who may or may not be related to me) now has a new relationship to crucifixes.
  • Book Review:  Jamie Arpin-Ricci looks at The Naked Anabaptist by Stuart Murray (Herald Press) (forward by Greg Boyd) in this excellent summary.
  • Storytime:  Mark Sayers walks us through The Parable of the Lotus, The Impossiblly Handsome Man and The Church.   A must read for pastors and leaders especially.
  • Here are some pictures of the damage in Chili from the weekend earthquake at Boston.Com’s The Big Picture.
  • Internal Link:  I really thought Friday’s piece on Peter Rollins’ interpretation of The Prodigal Son story would have evoked a comment or two.   When did the younger son actually repent?
  • A USAToday article about sex on television warns that things are scheduled to get worse.  [HT: Brett Hendrix at Changing Lanes]
  • For the third week in a row we return to Baptist Press for our cartoon, this one is Doug Michael at Beyond The Ark.

January 10, 2010

The Trouble With Paris

Last night we binge-watched a four-part DVD curriculum series that was released in Australia in 2007 and picked up by Thomas Nelson in 2008.

The Trouble With Paris features Mark Sayers, described on the packaging as “Australia’s leading young adult specialist” and deals with the media saturation that presents us with a “hyper-reality” that over time leaves us expecting that to be part of our normal experience, when in fact we live life in normal, everyday reality.    Each of the first three parts is really a lead-in to the fourth, which is a big-picture overview of how God’s reality is what we truly need to be seeing and experiencing.

The segments run about 15 minutes each, though I should qualify that by saying that the disc has a number of built-in pauses to consider a small group discussion question.     While the packaging says “four weeks,” this would be an excellent choice for a retreat weekend for young adults or older teens, especially if there was a mix of believers and non-believers.

What’s most impressive however is the audio and video quality.    The curriculum is produced by Room3, a leading-edge video production company in Melbourne whose other work includes promotional videos and commercials with an emphasis on work with non-profits and social justice and community development groups.

At $39.99 US (for a perceived one hour of content)  Thomas Nelson is never going to sell these to individual consumers the way it did the Liquid series or the way Zondervan marketed NOOMA,  but it’s a diamond in the rough your youth pastor or young adults pastor should be aware of.  To watch it on the smallscreen click here but it’s better watched on a giant screen.



Some additional resources by Mark Sayers:

Your Faithclock is Ticking: Why Young Adults leave Church

Why Young Adults Leave Church: Reason 1 Choice Anxiety

Why Young Adults Leave Church: Reason 2 Post-Christian Identity

Why Young Adults Leave the Church: Reason 3 The Pornification of Christian Resources

Why Young Adults Leave Church: Reason 4 Consumerist Spirituality

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