Thinking Out Loud

May 2, 2012

Wednesday Link List

Maybe the guy who took this picture has a dirty mind, but I suspect he wasn't the only one who wasn't getting the message the Baptist church hoped for. Overall, I think these changeable letter signs do more harm than good.

Wednesday is here again.

  • Forget the 2012 Olympics; here’s the lineup for the UK’s Greenbelt 2012.
  • Also across the pond: An Anglican vicar quit the Church of England and took half his congregation with him… to St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, about 500 yards up the street.  Which brings us to…
  • Canada’s national newspaper columnist and talk-show host Michael Coren has a follow-up to Why Catholics Are Right, the new book’s title is Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity. Which leads naturally to…
  • Elizabeth Esther is raising her kids with a denominational salad bar of church experiences.  “…by exposing our children to all forms of Christianity, we were giving them a better appreciation for the bigness of God’s love and God’s family.”
  • Just weeks before he was about to graduate, founder of “Do Right BJU,” Christopher Peterman was expelled from Bob Jones University, after the university made a public statement that no students would be expelled for the protest.
  • Here’s the first of two links to blogger friend Jon Rising: This deals with saxophonist and former President Bill Clinton’s affection for praise and worship music, a curiosity Jon’s been tracking for years.
  • The second link to Word and Spirit is also political: With an election dawning in the land of the free and the home of the brave, people are busy re-circulating those Is Barack Obama a Christian? emails. Jon points you toward sources for answers.
  • “You wouldn’t update the language in Shakespeare, so why would you want to change the language in the Bible?” Eddie Arthur spots the obvious flaw in that logic.
  • Also at Kouya Chronicle, a link to this summary of the “Translators’ Preface” to the 1611 KJV. Sample: “It is an embarrassment (or should be) to King James-only advocates because it contains statements from the translators that are in direct opposition to the KJV-only position. It is most unfortunate that this pref­ace is no longer included in modern copies of the KJV.”  More on this here and here.
  • If you want to review a men’s ministry title, ask the former chaplain to the Toronto Blue Jays. David Fisher reviews Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, An Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship. Summary: “This book journals a new style of discipleship, not your typical ’12 Steps to Mentoring a Man for Christ’ format, but one where two guys decide to get down and dirty and restore an old Triumph Spitfire.”
  • A member of the Schuller family turns up on the platform of the Crystal Cathedral on Sunday; the choir is back to 60 members, and Kay Warren was the guest speaker. It’s deja vu all over again.
  • Street Evangelist Leon Brown deals with the three most common objections to the gospel. [Via Zach, who saw it on Thabiti … it’s like a Tumblr reblogging!]
  • The project we’re doing this month on YouTube involves posting obscure music that is of historical interest to the history of contemporary Christian music.  We found this one already there, but badly in need of more visits: From the era of Andraé Crouch, here’s Bili Thedford’s classic song Miracles.
  • And speaking of YouTube, you can’t do any better for some quick quotations from top speakers — including Francis Chan and Michael Frost — than this collection from The Verge Network‘s recent conference. Of course, they’re teasers to encourage sales of the conference DVDs.
  • From the Saturday links at iMonk: Need prayer, but just don’t have the time to park your car, walk into the church, kneel down and seek the Lord? No problem. This Florida church has the solution for you — Drive-thru prayer.
  • Also from Jeff’s Saturday Ramblings:  A Brazilian actor paid the ultimate price while playing the role of Judas during the Passion Play.
  • Remember the connection between Colton Burpo in the book Heaven is for Real and a young girl’s paintings of Jesus? Here’s a four-minute updated profile of artist Akiane Kramarik.

This one is better than the one at the top of today's post, but who exactly is it directed toward? If you're already a member, you already know this, that's probably where most of the parking spaces lie. But if you're visiting, should you walk around to the front?

February 12, 2010

“You Must Be So Excited!”

Filed under: Faith — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:09 pm

As a daytime driving road trip, I’m safe in estimating that from where I live to Canada’s west coast is about a four to five day proposition.  While my feet have technically touched the soil of British Columbia, I have never been to Vancouver; and I know far more about the west coast of Southern California than I do about the west coast of my home and native land.

So when people get excited for us that the place where we live is — in just a few hours after I’m writing this — going to be the center of world attention as host of the 2010 Olympic Games, I can smile and say, “Yes we are;” all I want, but in fact, this country is so vast that it’s like it’s taking place a world away.   I’m sure the television coverage is going to look very distant, and very detached from the place I’ll be watching it from.

National pride and religious pride are birds of a feather.   With religious pride, people can tell you how excited they are for all “your church” is accomplishing and all that “you” (plural) have done, but most of the things taking place in the church at large, as well as at my local congregation, are things I would be a fool to try to take credit for.   Unless I am a contributing, active, functioning member of the team, I’m just spectating like everyone else, and what is happening is also, to repeat the phrase above, “a world away.”

Christianity is a personal faith.   But it’s also a collective thing.   Rob Bell once wondered how the early Church fathers would receive the “Footprints” poem.   He understood its intention, but suggested they would question the time when there was “one set of footprints,” because, as he put it, they would ask, “What on earth were you doin’ out on the beach by yourself.”

They saw commitment to follow Christ and make Him Lord as a personal, individual thing to be sure, but they also saw it as a collective thing.  We even have a couple of examples of “household salvation;”  Lydia’s family in Acts 16, and Crispus’ family in Acts 18.   (I always thought Crispus would be a great name for someone who starts a chain of fried chicken takeouts.)   Entire families jumping in with both feet!

I know this guy who always refers to Christians in the third person.   He always talks about what “they” are doing, and never about what “we” are doing.   I’ve often wondered if this identification is humility on his part, or if it betrays having never truly entered into fully committed faith.  (And yes, I’ve challenged him about this.)   He always speaks as though from a distance.

The people putting together the Winter Olympics, the people broadcasting the games, the athletes competing in various events; much of this is the effort of my compatriots, so I could indeed use the word “we.”   But it’s really a “they” because I’ve had nothing — beyond paying taxes — to do with this effort.

So here’s my question:  When people speak of Christ-followers, Christians, the Church in general terms; do you consider yourself part this “we” or do you tend to want to distance yourself from it with “they?”  Are the events taking place in the church at large “a world away?”

My standing before God is a personal thing, but I also want to be a functioning, active, contributing member of  “the team.”

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