Thinking Out Loud

April 16, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Pet Blessing Service

I’m writing this assuming everyone survived the prophetic implications of the blood moon, but maybe the April 15 income tax deadline is a form of judgment. 

As we do each Wednesday, clicking anything below will take you to PARSE where the links are live.

Paul Wilkinson writes the rest of the week at Thinking Out Loud, and edits the daily devotional Christianity 201 page.

Lettuce Pray from _ChristianHumor Twitter

December 13, 2012

The Wonderful World of CT

A couple of interesting goings-on at Christianity Today (CT) this week.

First, there was the piece, Should Churches Discourage Belief in Santa Claus? This is one of those pieces where they simply ask a handful of experts and then arrange their answers on a spectrum, which one expects in this case would run from ‘no’ to ‘yes.’  I had actually seen this when it appeared online and given it the requisite 10-seconds I needed to digest it.

But the I listened Tuesday night to The Phil Vischer Podcast #29, and Phil mentioned that he had been quoted:

“The notion of getting back to a ‘pure Christmas’ is misfounded; the holiday was a hodgepodge from the beginning. We should take those fun Santa traditions and link them back to St. Nicholas rather than getting rid of the fun part of Christmas and stick with the somber part.”
~ Phil Vischer, creator, VeggieTales and What’s in the Bible?

And so had Wheaton College associate professor Mary ‘Scottie’ May who teaches Christian Education and Family Ministry:

“The key word is belief. Emulating Saint Nick is awesome, but I have problems with parents duping their children into believing that Santa exists. A church could acknowledge in a family context the historical person of St. Nicholas. But the figure the culture has created does not belong in church.”
~ Scottie May, professor, Wheaton College

And then he dropped this: Scottie is Phil’s mom.

And the reporter didn’t know.

And neither interviewee knew the other had been interviewed.

And — yes there’s another and — they were quoted at opposite ends of the five-answer continuum even though their answers were very similar if not identical. (Podcast subject begins around 11:30 to about 13:30)

…Meanwhile, over at her.meneutics, the Christianity Today women’s blog, profiles OMG Tees, a product line described as “spiritual and sexy.”

I thought of including the picture that they did, but that would just be gratuitous. We would never do that here.

OMG Tees 1

Okay, too late. But not to worry; some people don’t scroll down this far.  Writer Michelle Van Loon notes:

OMG has created a line of casual tanks and tees designed for Saturday night parties and Sunday morning worship. Founded in 2010, the California company’s website features teen models giving the camera their best PG-13 “come hither” looks, often wearing little more than tees and tanks splashed with slogans like “A Date With J.C.”, “God Knows My Secrets,” and “Worship Crew.” Who knows? Perhaps the “come hither” is intended to be a non-verbal evangelistic tool.

There have been at least two generations of the Christian T-Shirt–the derivative-yet-earnest variety and the darkly ironic–but OMG has created a brand-new category: Sexy ‘n Spiritual. Christians have a long, ignoble history of trading in all manner of religious tchotchkes, but OMG, with its Second Commandment-bending name, takes this bad habit of ours in a new direction, with its products’ odd syncretism between pop religion and hyper-sexualized pop culture.

She then uses this as a springboard to discuss what she calls ‘fan behavior’ recalling the premise of Kyle Idleman’s popular Christian book, Not a Fan which we reviewed here in May.

She concludes:

I doubt that the Christians who are suiting up for this year’s round of court battles on behalf of their local town hall’s manger scene see themselves as kindred spirits with companies like OMG. I think they have one thing in common: They both appeal to the fans of Team Jesus. It might just be time to quit the team, and follow the captain instead.

…Because we’re considered a more progressive blog by some, I thought I’d toss in an extra gratuitous picture; however please keep in mind that (a) this is for educational purposes only, and (b) honestly, this is the only other picture at the site I considered remotely safe; the others being a sequence of pics that begin on a church platform and end with the same three girls lying on a bed together. And no, I am not making that up; the rest of the stuff is mildly pornographic, and the “Princess of Peace” product line is equally blasphemous.

OMG Tees 2

…All of this begs the question as to whether or not we need CT to bring us these articles or if we would be better served by them simply taking an online pass if it’s a slow evangelical news day.

January 9, 2011

Are They Spoiled? Did You Overdo Christmas Gifts?

“This Christmas we’re going to cut back.”

Ever heard someone make that statement?  Ever made that statement yourself?  But then you find yourself in the mall and oh my, wouldn’t your daughter just love that outfit! Or you’ve got four things for the oldest to open and only three things for the youngest. You need one more gift.

And now it’s January.

Rita Arens blogs at Blog Her, which you can bet is on my list of daily reading. But seriously, it was the title of the post, Did I Spoil My Daughter By Giving Her a Nook?, that made me click. A Nook, for those who don’t know, is a Kindle Nook e-reader. Not a cheap gift. Rita sums it up:

As a friend said recently, “If you give them everything, what do they have left to give themselves?”

She compares it to parents promising to give their son or daughter a car on their sixteenth birthday.  I’ve heard a few of those stories, and they always end badly.

In the end, Rita commented herself that the comments had gone off in a different direction; but there were some good thoughts including this one, which serves as a transition to the rest of my own blog post here:

This is a post where I’m reminded how my husband and I had to deliberately decide what to do. Gifts are different, then they were when we were young. Gifts have become expensive and technological. That said, the jobs our children will have will involve technology. We both feel they need to be exposed and feel confident around these gadgets.

But after you read what Rita’s readers have to say, check out Pete Wilson.  Pete’s post title is the question, How Do You Help Your Kids Become More Grateful? He posts a seemingly lengthy video clip of a kid simply overcome by gratitude for the high ticket-price gifts he’s just received. If it seems too long, stay with it, because the final minute reveals a bit of the parents’ motivation.

One reader responds:

This is an area where Adam and I have failed. Miserably. Just today, after we had spent a fortune on the kids for Christmas (because they missed out last year, because they trashed all their gifts inside of 6 weeks the year previous) our 7 year old daughter was told repeatedly to clean her room. She did not, and actually had the audacity to ask Adam if she could please throw out some of the toys because “there were too many”.

Not impressed. And no idea how to teach them.

Another writes:

We try so hard, so so so so so hard to instill gratitude into our boys hearts and minds and it is hard. What we don’t do is over-give to them. We are extremely modest about birthdays and Christmas regarding gifts, and all year long for that matter. You just have to constantly talk to kids about the realities of what is going on in the world to help them see through a broader lens.

And while I think Pete’s readers always leave great comments, I’ll just reprint one more here:

At my husband’s work Christmas party, my son received a gift that he wasn’t too thrilled about and started complaining and pouting. At first we reacted with anger and disappointment that he would be so ungrateful but it did open our eyes to see that we needed to start setting a better example. We talked a lot this season about gratitude. When we opened gifts from friends and relatives we talked about how blessed we were to have that person in our life, and how much we loved them. That helped take the focus off of the gift itself and reminded the kids that the gift represented the fact that someone loved them and thought about them enough to pick out something that they thought would make them happy.

So how about you?  Did you overdo the whole gift thing? Would anyone be able to make the charge “spoiled” stick to your kids?

Any other Christmas regrets you’d want to confess here?

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