Thinking Out Loud

December 13, 2015

A Holiday Travel Alert

Filed under: writing — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:30 am

Many years ago blogger David Fisher introduced me to the poetry of Greg Asimakoupoulos whose work is posted at The Partial Observer. I felt that this poem, posted about ten days ago, would be a welcome addition to the mix here, especially with its provocative title! Send Greg some link love by clicking the title below to read this (and other works) at source.

A Holiday Travel Alert

Lessons from Mary and Joseph’s Flight to Egypt

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
December 4, 2015

The warning system set in place
suggested grave concern.
A terrorist in Israel hatched a plan.
Those leaving home this time of year
would do so at great risk.
The danger posed called for a travel ban.

A dad and mom and infant son
packed for their westbound trek.
They knew they had to make their midnight flight.
Determined to avoid the threat,
they cautiously escaped
advancing in the shadows of moonlight.

That terror cell in Bethlehem
achieved its ruthless plot
exterminating children under two.
With ISIS-like precision,
Herod killed the innocent
while unaware his hoped-for target flew.

And now-as-then the travel risk
this time of year is great.
Young families have good reason for their fear.
The tyranny of terror robs their joy
and steals their peace
because they can’t be sure when death is near.

So as You guided Joseph
on his flight to Egypt land
with Mary and young Jesus in his care,
won’t You dear loving Father
please protect the ones we love
as they travel in a car, by rail or air?

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October 9, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Christ the Redeemer Statue

 

A big shout out this week to the people who track me down and submit link suggestions. Weekly deadline is 6:00 PM Eastern on Mondays.  To view clickable links for all that follows, read the Wednesday Link List at Out of Ur.

  • Although this movie trailer was posted in May, it was new to me: Coming in January, 2014 a movie about singer/songwriter Rich Mullins, aptly titled Ragamuffin…
  • …and a more recently posted trailer for a documentary exploring “the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality,” with interviews with “a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers.” The 7-part DVD series is titled Painting The Stars.
  • It’s not just a Catholic problem; a group is actively protesting to push for the ordination of Mormon women.
  • Just weeks before his formal installation, the President of the American Bible Society announces that the Board of Trustees has “brought [his] service to a close.”
  • “Christians in the Middle East are hostages in the hands of Islamic forces.” “Many of Israel’s Christians feel that their history, culture and heritage have been hijacked by Muslim Arabs in the region.” Read more at this report from a recent conference.
  • Sometimes in the quest to free ourselves from the constraints of religion, we discover we’ve simply immersed ourselves in a different form of religion.
  • Thanks to Canadian blogger Michael Bell, I was finally able to track down data on megachurches in Canada, a much shorter list than its U.S. counterpart.
  • 1-Source, a collaboration of four Christian publishing companies will offer titles by established authors like Bill Myers and Brandilyn Collins, as well as self-publishing.
  • David and Goliath becomes the theme of a TED Talk, but this explanation of the story is a little different from the one we know.
  • Essay of the Week: From right here at Christianity Today, Andy Crouch on the power we confer to those in church leadership and why it matters.
  • Find of the Week: Christian cartoonist Wes Molebash whose adventures with JP and Miles at the fictional Paper City Church make up the comic Insert Image.
  • Retort of the Week: Russell D. Moore responds to Pope Francis’ recent interview with an Italian journalist and the danger severing the love of God from the holiness of God…
  • …while Shane Claiborne remembers the original Francis.
  • There is so much to read at the blog of Samantha Field that it’s hard to just link to one post, but here’s 15 things you shouldn’t say to a recovering Fundamentalist.
  • Apologetics in part involves responding to Christianity’s critics, and these are some interesting responses.
  • One year ago at this time, I was crusading to get a classic book on the history of teaching about the Holy Spirit put back in print.
  • Typology: “So [Mommy/Daddy], [was/is] [name of prominent figure] a good guy or a bad guy?” Sometimes the answer is a bit of both. (Tangent: Check out the blogroll on this one.)
  • Not only does a portrait of Jesus have to be removed, but an Ohio school district has to pay the ACLU’s $80,000 in legal costs.
  • Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas is producing a number of quality videos to go along with a dramatic reading of chapters in Genesis.
  • I think this was more common in a previous generation, but why not today? Praying for your children’s future spouses.
  • In some conservative Christian circles, the phrase “Guard your heart,” has an entirely different spin with consequences the writer of Proverbs never intended.
  • Jamie The Very Worst Goodwill Ambassador articulates her ambivalence after a tour with World Vision.
  • In the spirit of what’s termed Paul-Timothy relationships, Donald Miller suggests you should take your cues from people notably older than yourself, not your peers.
  • She “is a girl, just like you and me, who made a mistake. She knows when you are talking about her. She knows when you are looking at her and judging her.” An insider look at birth-mothers.
  • Don’t roll your eyes, but it’s one more Arminianism vs. Calvinism comparison.
  • For Italians, the name Simone Saltarelli denotes both a well known motorcyclist and a figure in Catholic church history.
  • The 2013 Catalyst Conference, as covered by the hometown newspaper, or more relevant details at Christianity Today.
  • Lost Song of the Week: Standin’ in the Need of Prayer by Deitrick Haddon and the Voices of Unity; a flashback to 2004.
  • Christianity Meets Culture: A blog featuring “reviews and news on the board gaming industry from a ministry point of view.” Not surprisingly, it’s called Theology of Games.
  • And then there’s this graphic which I’m sure you have use for, but I wasn’t sure how to introduce it. (What’s an .svg file anyway?)
  • Back on the comic front, nearly seven years and more than 1,100 panels later, the UK’s Jon Birch is still cartooning at ASBO Jesus.
  • Finally, a story for which I’ll quote the entire first paragraph, so you know I’m not making this up: “The Robertson clan from A&E’s reality show Duck Dynasty, will release a Christmas album called “Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” on October 29, featuring several top country stars.”

Link curator Paul Wilkinson blogs daily here and Tweets as inspiration strikes at @PaulW1lk1nson (or is “at @” a redundancy?)

Peace - Rob Bell

April 29, 2013

What if What Happened in Boston Was a Weekly Occurance?

Filed under: current events, media — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:07 am

Noah Beck writes at The Christian Post:

I genuinely empathize with the victims of the Boston bombing. They were killed, maimed, injured, and/or forever traumatized only because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. As they gathered to compete in or watch the marathon underway, they were – like all terrorism victims – the epitome of innocent.

But imagine if this happened again next week, at a pizzeria, killing 15 diners. And again, a week later, on a bus, killing 19 passengers. Then, at a discotheque, killing 21 teens. Then, at a church, killing 11 worshipers. And so on, with a new bombing terrorizing us almost every week.

Israelis don’t have to imagine. They just have to remember. Between 1995 and 2005, each year saw an average of 14 suicide bombings, murdering 66 victims. 2002 was the worst year, with 47 bombings that slaughtered 238 people. That’s almost one Boston bombing every week. Adjusted for population differences, Israel’s victims in 2002 amounted to the equivalent of three 9/11s in one year. And these bombing statistics don’t include all of the shootings, stabbings, and other violent attacks by Palestinian extremists during those years.

Most Americans (and Europeans), who enjoy lives of far greater security, can barely recall such attacks because they usually received only scant and perfunctory media coverage, if they were mentioned at all. A few particularly gruesome attacks (like the Netanya Passover bombing that killed 30 and injured 140) were prominently reported but most attacks were barely and inconspicuously noted, and many smaller but horrific attacks went entirely unreported…

Continue reading here

The article concludes:

With so many constant threats, it’s a miracle that Israelis can maintain any semblance of everyday sanity, much less win Nobel prizes and get more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any country after the USA and China. How do they do it? If you talk to Israelis, their approach seems to be a proud and stubborn refusal to let terrorism change their lives…

October 28, 2010

Shane Claiborne: Speaking of Love in a Time of War

Since the first day, I’ve been hooked on CNN’s Belief Blog; a mixture of news reports and guest columns related to various aspects of religion.   A number of Evangelical authors do guest columns, including Shane Claiborne, who was featured today.

Speaking of the middle east situation in general and his travels in particular.  Here are some random notes and quotes:

  • We met with Jewish folks committed to stopping the home demolitions of Palestinians, and we met with Israeli soldiers who refused orders they deemed unjust.
  • …[T]he central message of the cross is grace, love, and reconciliation. It is about God’s love being so big he died, even for his enemies, and now we are to join this revolution that is big enough to set both the oppressed and the oppressors free of hatred and discrimination.
  • …[T]hese are urgent times when we need the Church to be the Church – and to remember that we are people of reconciliation and peace in a world infected with violence and prejudice.
  • …[I]f Jesus had tried to make his walk from Bethany to Jerusalem today, he wouldn’t be able to make it through the checkpoints.
  • One of the promises of Jesus in the Gospels is that the gates of hell will not prevail. I don’t think he was saying there is no hell but I do believe he was saying that there are hells today that hold people hostage. We should be storming the gates to rescue them.

Looking for more?  Check out the whole article here.

Shane Claiborne is an author and activist and one of the architects of a community in Philadelphia called The Simple Way. Shane worked in India alongside Mother Teresa and spent time in Iraq with the Christian Peacemaker Team during the recent war. His books include Jesus for President, Follow Me to Freedom, and the best-selling Irresistible Revolution. Check out more at: www.thesimpleway.org.

Here are some previous appearances on this blog by Shane:  from earlier this month, one on U.S. gun violence;  from the summer one one education;  and going much further back, a Spring 2008 review of Jesus for President.

September 8, 2010

Wednesday Link List

The long hot summer is just about over, and the kids are back in school.    Time for a look at the pages that grabbed my attention this week, with a little help from our friend (at right) the links lynx.

  • First of all, there’s a live event online tomorrow (Thursday September 9th) night:  A Night of Worship, streaming live from North Point Community Church at 7:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 PM Central.   To watch at home you need enough bandwidth to capture the live feed, and this website.
  • When Chad Holtz isn’t busy pastoring a rural Methodist church, he’s busy confronting evil at the local Islamic Center.  Sort of.
  • Greg at the blog, Lost in the Clouds posts an edgy response to the Christianity Today cover story Hipster Christianity by Brent McCracken based on his book of the same name.   Greg says “I’m sorry, but all of this is adding up to a sorry picture of our tour guide through the world of Hipster Christianity…”   I think he struck a nerve.
  • Students at Belmont University are being handed cash to make a difference.    Donald Miller explains the $20 giveaway; but I wonder what they’d do if — after the manner of Matthew 25 — one of the students simply handed back $40?
  • Carlos Whitaker doesn’t want attendees at the Catalyst Conference to be singing the songs he chooses, so he asks his readers to report the song titles they are connecting with at their churches.   So far, over 125 replies.
  • Frank Turk, who probably doesn’t write a lot of music reviews, joins a number of bloggers who are noticing what can only be termed a “modern hymnwriter,” Matthew Smith.
  • Andrew Jones lists five major game changers that revolutionized who he is today.  People in ministry, don’t miss this one.
  • Thom Turner knows that baptism can be a divisive subject, but suggests there’s room for diversity even within denominations and possibly within local churches as well.
  • If you missed the blog tour — actually it was more like a progressive dinner — for Anne Jackson’s Permission to Speak Freely (Thomas Nelson), you can still catch all seven excerpts by following the links, starting here.  Anne’s honesty will resonate with anyone dealing with various types of pain.
  • Brian, a regular reader of this blog, invites you to join him and others in a week of prayer for Beja people — nomadic camel herders — of Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea.   Read more here.
  • Our video link this week is a worship song you may not know by Willow Creek’s Aaron Niequist, simply titled Changed.
  • U.S. Fundamentalist nutcase Terry Jones is determined to burn copies of the Quran on September 11th — I doubt even the U.S. President could stop this guy — so as of Tuesday night officials announced plans to quell access to his property through an identification checkpoint, so fewer people can see him do it.
  • John Stackhouse has no problem with street preaching, but that’s usually in commercial areas, right?  What happens when the preachers invade a residential street?  That, he says, is going too far.
  • Anglicans in Nova Scotia, not content with the annual “blessing of the pets” service, are having a “blessing of the techs” service for laptops, cellphones and mobile devices.
  • This may be your church, or at least your church sign:  Grace Methodist Episcopal in New York, circa 1922; from Shorpy.com; a classic photograph site.  Middle picture is from the Gospel Mission in Georgetown, circa 1920; final picture is a storefront church from the “Black Belt” of Chicago in 1941 and where deciding where you’re going to eat after church isn’t an issue with the lunch wagon next door.   Click through any of the pictures to see the images in super-giant size.


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