Thinking Out Loud

April 24, 2010

Christian Pickup Lines Reprise

This one first appeared here two years ago.    Rowena from Australia still blogs at  Small Steps to Glory and reported at the time that there’s a group on Facebook for the appreciation of Christian Pick-up lines. Here’s some samples she chose:

“I didn’t believe in predestination until tonight.”

“I believe one of my ribs belongs to you.”

“Hey.. i would work 7 years for your sister.. but I would work 7 more years for you.”

“Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead”

“You put the ‘cute’ back in persecution…”

“Feel free to meet me at the threshing floor.”

“You’re totally depraved but I’d still like to go out with you…”

“I’m interested in full time ministry, and not only that… I also play the guitar.”

“Look, you’re nearly 22.  Most Christians are 3 years into marriage by now… just settle for me.”

“Have you died before?   Because that looks like a resurrection body to me..”

“I would have asked you out to dinner, but I just put all my money in the offering basket.”

“Hi, I’m Calvin. You were meant to choose me.”

“All I’m looking for is a Godly woman.  I don’t care that you’re not attractive.” (That will go down well for sure)

“Can I buy you a non-alcoholic beverage?”

“My favorite species of vegetation is the church plant.”

“I have many sponsor children. one in each developing nation.”

“Who’s your favorite apostle?”

“The word says ‘Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry’; how about dinner?”

“I have familiarized myself with all 5 love languages, in fact, I invented 4 of them.”

[check the person’s shirt tag] “Just as i thought… made in heaven.”

“For you I would slay two Goliaths”

March 18, 2010

The Story Is Getting Lost – Guest Post

My wife and I have known Rick Webster for about five years now.   For many years he blogged at Today at the Mission, where you can still read archived posts.   More recently, he’s been pastoring at The Third Space, a kind of alternative church in downtown Peterborough, Ontario; but only this week did I learn there was a Third Space blog.   When I read this post, I knew I had to share it with you, and rather than include it in yesterday’s links, I got Rick’s permission to reprint the entire blog post.

by Rick Webster

It’s a problem that I’ve been seeing more and more of lately. It’s everywhere. I first encountered it when reading the book, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.   The authors divide the bible into the various genres of writing – historical, poetic, apocalyptic, prophetic and so on. Each genre has to be interpreted according to its own unique quality – we can’t read the psalms in the same way we read the book of Acts. Okay, fair enough. But I soon discovered that this way of reading the bible divorced the Psalms from Acts and the connections between the two were lost. If there’s a narrative arc to the bible – if what Paul says in Romans is connected to what Adam did in Eden, and it is, then dividing the book into genres serves to break that arc and, in so doing, the story God is telling is lost. Instead we get, as the authors suggest, a book of rules and regulations, a book that is to “be read, understood and obeyed.” (their phrase).

Dividing the bible into an Old and New Testament, or even chapters and verses might do exactly the same thing. But we also have this incredibly common – some would say essential – part of our church life called a ’sermon’. In a sermon the preacher studies a passage of scripture and then makes a speech, from which the rest of us download information.  In this process, however, we isolate a text and, as a result, draw conclusions that often simply aren’t supported by the larger context.

I used to read the story of the three servants and their talents as a call to evangelism – we must not hide our faith, we must enlarge the Master’s Kingdom. The parable of the 10 virgins was an eschatological admonition to be ready for the return of Jesus. The story of the servants who worked in the vineyard for a day getting paid the same as those who worked for an hour was about all of us sharing in our heavenly reward equally.

But in reading through Matthew this year I’ve come to recognize that these stories are connected to the sheep and the goats judgment of Matthew 25. When seen as a whole, and when connected to the sheep and goats Judgment it becomes immediately apparent that these stories are about economic justice. Why did the virgins not share their oil? Why couldn’t they share one or two lamps and make sure there was enough oil to last the night? Instead, they sent the others, selfishly, away. Why did the two wise, confident servants not help the frightened one with his investments? Why did they not pool their resources? Clearly, this is a case of the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer. And in the story of the vineyard workers it appears that in the Kingdom of God the community is larger than the self, that we understand economic justice as what benefits us while God desires to distribute prosperity equally throughout the community. When we start connecting to the sheep and goats judgment the Sermon on the Mount becomes a document new and alien to our world; the house on the rock and the house on the sand take on a whole new meaning as well.

Every devotional, every bible study, every commentary I’ve ever read does exactly the same thing – subdivides the bible and thus, necessarily, fails us. But here’s the thing: every sermon we’ve ever heard, and every sermon I’ve ever preached, has done exactly the same thing. The limitations of the form require it. And there’s an awful, terrible, frightening truth in that. We’ve been going at this all wrong and some of us have dedicated our entire lives to this pursuit.

We need a new way to teach the bible. A way that allows for a long, long time to be spent dwelling in the text. Years, decades. A way that allows for long discussions and digressions.  A way that places it within the hands of the community instead of a priestly caste of pastors and theologians so that the Holy Spirit may speak among us, and through us, without the filter that is one person at the front of the room. And my fear is that none of this can be done within the frame of church as we know it. In fact, this single belief – that the scripture must dwell within the community, and the community within the scripture – challenges everything we know and understand about the role of a pastor, the nature and organization of church, our way of being the body of Christ together. The fear this engenders is enormous. And this new way has not yet come to be in our evangelical tradition. It may never come to be. But I think somewhere, somehow, someone should at least try, someone should begin.

February 27, 2010

David, Goliath: Follow Them on Twitter

Filed under: Humor — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:25 pm

We ran this a year ago, but it’s one of my favorite pieces from the blog The Christian Ranter. Don’t forget that in Twitter, as in blogging, to catch the sequence of what follows you want to start reading from the bottom up.   (RSS subscribers please visit the blog for this one.)


January 10, 2010

When God Breaks In

Filed under: Jesus — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 2:33 pm

When Rick Apperson at Just a Thought did a blog switch with me before Christmas, I noticed that he later used his post on his own blog, and I decided it might be good to do the same some weekend.    I’ve changed some of the verb tenses on this so that makes more sense in mid-January…

While other Christ-followers were fretting over the substitution of the word “holiday” for “Christmas,” I kept busy trying to substitute “incarnation” for “Christmas” in my correspondence and everyday conversation; although, as in the phrase, ‘Have yourself a very merry incarnation;’ it doesn’t always fit.   It’s not that I was trying to sound more theologically sophisticated around other believers, but I was hoping that it would simply become a habit as I engage people who are on the margins of faith, so that I could then explain what it means for God to enter into the human condition and be both 100% man and 100% divine at the same time.

But really, God has been “breaking in” for quite some time now:

  • Evening walkabouts with Adam and Eve at Eden.   There’s something in their pre-fallen state — and something about that location — that helps facilitate these visits, which so sadly, last only a short time.
  • The original “summit meeting” with Moses.   Hey, I guess that’s where we get that term.   Contact with God’s “brightness” leaves Moses severely tanned.
  • The Old Testament “Christophanies.”   Not everyone agrees on this, but many believe that when the Bible says, “An angel of the Lord appeared…” that it was actually the pre-incarnate Christ who showed up.
  • Relaying messages through the prophets.   Think of the prophets as forwarding e-mails from God.   “This just in…”
  • Then the incarnation.  God the Son enters into the human state of his creation; going “the whole nine yards,” so to speak, from conception to birth to childhood, to working a trade, to temptation, to a wedding celebration, to hunger, to paying taxes, to weeping for a friend, to betrayal, to false accusation, to death.
  • The filling.  No, not a pie filling.   Just as Jesus was 100% human yet was 100% divine, he leaves his followers with a teeny, tiny taste of what that might have been like by placing his Spirit in each of us.   Enough of Himself to empower and strengthen us in difficult challenges, and give us the right words to say in all kinds of situations.   But not, of course, the 100% that Christ experienced;  such that sometimes I forget that His power is there waiting to be recognized, waiting to be called on; forgetting that “He lives within my heart.”
  • One more thing; a short, quick, special intervention with a guy named Saul.  He finds out why Moses got so tanned.   Moses was on God’s side.  Saul — at the time — was fighting against God with all he had.   Moral of the story for people like that:  Don’t look directly at the light.   Not right away.   Or something like that.  Fortunately for most of us, the song Amazing Grace doesn’t go, “Could see, but now I’m blind.”

Hebrews 1:1 tells us that God has been going through a long succession of ways and means and people trying to get our attention.   (That’s a very loose paraphrase, but you can look it up.)   The most recent e-mail forwards from the prophets indicate that this is how it’s to remain until the next stage, which will kind of wrap up the present age of opportunity (my new theological term) and bring his children, his followers, back to the way things were at Eden; and then some.

That being the case, I’m looking forward to those evening walkabouts.

December 3, 2009

Self Deprecating Worship Music

Filed under: music, worship — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:50 pm

So the other night we’re reading Psalm 106.  You know that one.  The one where the Israelites are reminded of all the times they screwed up as a nation.   The times they forgot their God.    Then it suddenly occurs to me.    This is a PSALM.   They SANG THIS.   This was one of their WORSHIP SONGS.   As in, “Take your hymnbook and turn to number 106.”  How do you SING stuff that is so self deprecating?  Definitely a minor key.

6 We have sinned, even as our fathers did;
we have done wrong and acted wickedly.

7 When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel.

14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wasteland they put God to the test.

15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease upon them.

16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD.

17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
it buried the company of Abiram.

18 Fire blazed among their followers;
a flame consumed the wicked.

19 At Horeb they made a calf
and worshiped an idol cast from metal.

20 They exchanged their Glory
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.

21 They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,

22 miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.

23 So he said he would destroy them—
had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
to keep his wrath from destroying them.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.

25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.

26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand
that he would make them fall in the desert,

27 make their descendants fall among the nations
and scatter them throughout the lands.

28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;

29 they provoked the LORD to anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.

30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was checked.

31 This was credited to him as righteousness
for endless generations to come.

32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD,
and trouble came to Moses because of them;

33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
and rash words came from Moses’ lips. [c]

34 They did not destroy the peoples
as the LORD had commanded them,

35 but they mingled with the nations
and adopted their customs.

36 They worshiped their idols,
which became a snare to them.

37 They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.

38 They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
and the land was desecrated by their blood.

39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people
and abhorred his inheritance.

41 He handed them over to the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.

42 Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.

43 Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.

Okay, I left out a few of the good verses.  But even so…

What if Western Christians had a song that was the modern equivalent to this?

May 8, 2009

Truth In Advertising

Filed under: Christianity, economics — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:44 pm

Found this at the blog, Digging The Word.

calf4gold from diggingtheword dot blogspot



…Okay, so it’s originally from Sacred Sandwich.

March 27, 2009

David vs. Goliath on Twitter

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, Faith — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:57 pm

I came across this blog today.   I’m not seeing any information as to who Christian Ranter is or where this originates.  He posts infrequently, but it’s quality not quantity that counts here.  This piece is too funny.   Don’t forget that in Twitter, as in blogging, to catch the sequence of what follows you want to start reading from the bottom up.    (Note:  If you decide to link to this blog, be warned that this is a “must read every post” kind of blog.   I’m blogrolling this one for sure.)


November 29, 2008

Bible Stories a la Rocky Horror Picture Show

Filed under: bible, Christianity — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:06 pm
terror_texts01DES MOINES (AP) — Don’t expect to hear these Bible stories at church.

Cannibalism, rape, a bear that mauls children — this is the Bible?

They’re among six stories from the Old Testament acted out in “Terror Texts,” a musical at Northwestern College in Orange City.

Adding to the shocking nature of the stories are the theatrics, with actors decked out in Goth attire, a rock band and a mosh pit.

…Read the rest of the “horror story” on the USAToday Religion Page

Pictures from the production’s My Space page as displayed on Fox News.

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