Thinking Out Loud

December 9, 2009

Links Links Links

Once again, we bring you the finest in links that you won’t see on any other blogs, except for the ones we got from other blogs.

  • To begin with, a five-minute advent meditation at YouTube with music by Jeff Johnson, titled The Coming of the Lord.
  • David Fitch at the blog, Reclaiming the Mission suggests that a staple of evangelism, getting people to admit that they are sinners, doesn’t work with postmoderns.
  • Speaking of evangelism, this is my favorite of the links this week:  Kevin Rogers at the blog, The Orphan Age, introduces his son Levi (15) who shares a dialog that took place in a Grade Nine class discussion.   Ever get asked why God would make us imperfect and given to doing evil things?   Check out his response.
  • With nine locations, The Meeting House is Canada’s largest multi-site church.   Pastor Bruxy Cavey, author of The End of Religion is currently doing a series about Facebook culture where he suggests to his parishioners: “Get over yourselves.”  Read about the church in this December 8th article at Christian Week.   [Two hours later: Having already heard the first message in this series, I just listened to the second — The Culture of “i” — and totally enjoyed the blend of technological and Biblical insights.  To listen, click here.]
  • Andrew Faris at the blog, Christians in Context, rethinks the Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know,” and suggests some additional verses.
  • Speaking of Christmas, for you ‘crafty’ people out there, Ann Welch at the blog, Resolved to Worship suggests some Christmas tree ornaments you can make with no budget on a rainy day.
  • Kathy aka Kaybee at the blog, The Well, suggests that when it comes to our intimacy with God,  “We can’t dash into His presence and choke down spiritual inwardness before we hurry to our one o’clock appointment.”Read the post, No Hurry here.
  • When the minister says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife;” the couples kiss next, right?   Not necessarily.  Check out this short YouTube, At My Wedding.
  • At the blog, The Online Discernmentalist Mafia, a new gadget offers protection from Liberal, Emergent, Catholic-related, Shack-inspired influences that might creep into your mind undetected.
  • Last, an internal link.  I’d really like to have gotten more discussion going on so called “contemporary” churches whose basic order of worship is part of the church bylaws and constitution.   How “fresh” and “alive” is the worship sequence where you worship on Sunday mornings?
Got Prayer Requests?

Use the Comments Section in this post

As a family, we get together at 9:00 PM EST and often include items gathered throughout the day from my work (confidentiality permitting.) Today, I thought, “Why not open this up to our blog community as well?” Feel free to list anything on your heart, but if it’s not for yourself, don’t use names.  … I think it’s good for us to pray for things outside our family circle. Sometimes our prayer life can be very insular, which isn’t good in a world of global need. If you miss today’s connection time-wise, there’s always tomorrow.

December 2, 2009

Best of this Week’s Links

Before we get into this week’s lynx links, I want to refer back to something on this blog a few days ago.

When I wrote a post a few days ago questioning some aspects of the Samaritans Purse Christmas shoebox project, I was simply giving voice to some things that were rumbling in the back of my mind.   I was hesitant to formulate much more than a few random thoughts because I really thought I was alone in criticizing a program that is so widely subscribed to by local churches.

I was wrong.   When Sarah’s comment came, I realized I had only begun to scratch the surface of issues raised by the program.   Here’s a reprint of her comment, but I want to strongly recommend you visit the link, which documents why in one Canadian province, a large denomination isn’t encouraging support of the program.   It takes you to a 16-page (.pdf file) report of which pages 4 to 11 are most important and will only take you a couple of minutes.

Thanks for this article–I think all your questions and concerns are excellent. If you’re interested in more, with a powerful eyewitness story about shoebox problems, see http://ucskco.sasktelwebhosting.com/TheGiftMattersSchoolkit.pdf

It shouldn’t be about followup for the giver at all; that’s a form of strings-attached giving.

Additional questions:

Does this encourage children to value Western cultures more than their own?

Do “shoebox” gifts become better than something simpler made lovingly by a family member?

Are they introducing commercial gift-giving into a culture that doesn’t celebrate Christmas in that way?

Do they respect people of other faiths who don’t celebrate Christmas at all?

Do they portray one race/culture as being better or more successful than others?

Most importantly, how do they work to bring about real change, in places where the needs are for justice, peace, and access to the necessities of life?

~ Comment by Sarah Shepherd

Your responses to this can go here or in the comment section of the original post.    If anyone has seen other good pieces online where the program has been critiqued, feel free to put the link in a comment as well.

Other links this week:

  • Bill Kinnon looks at youth culture ministry and points out that, “What we win them with, is what we win them to. Win them with entertainment, and you’ve created customers – who expect to be continually entertained.”
  • Here’s a book that’s got me curious.   Trevin Wax reviews Chris Armstrong’s book Patron Saints for Postmoderns. “Chris focuses on ten ‘saints’ from Christian history and offers insights from their lives that can be learned and applied today.”
  • Some of the Christian cartoons I use here are a lot of fun.  This one digs a little deeper, and could only be written by someone with an intimate understanding of life in the Charismatic or Pentecostal environment.  So some of you are going to really, really connect with this, and others maybe not so much.   But if you’ve been in those circles, you won’t want to miss this.   Check out World of Dod’s blog.
  • Speaking of all things Charismatic, over a week ago Christianity Today did a really good article on that community’s voice of reason, Charisma magazine editor J. Lee Grady.   I also recommend subscribing to Lee’s weekly e-mail, although it’s bundled with other things from Strang Communications, so it’s an all or nothing subscription.
  • Our iKettle still needs the support of our Canadian readers.   Money given to the Salvation Army stays in the donor’s community.   Click here.
  • Jessica at the general-interest blog, Indexed accurately sums up why people feel the way they do about their wealth.    It’s all relative.    Ain’t that the truth!
  • Paul Stoecklein, author of the general market humor book You Had Me At Idiot, has a very irreverent post about surviving the Thanksgiving holiday in a ‘religious’ family.  Sample:  “Protestants are different. With them, saying grace is like really bad performance art. I swear, I think these people believe that saying grace should have been one of the categories on Star Search… Read — if you dare — the whole piece here. [HT: Shallow Frozen Water blog]

  • Christian apologist Josh McDowell and coauthor David Sterrett discuss why they wrote a book, titled ‘O’ God, about Oprah Winfrey and why they don’t think Christians are equipped to respond to Oprah’s ‘teaching.’  This link takes you a four minute video on YouTube.
  • Speaking of Christian Apologists, New York Magazine profiles Timothy Keller and his Redeemer Presbyterian Church in the Big Apple.  “Although relatively few secular New Yorkers know about it—Keller prefers to keep Redeemer mostly under the media radar… —an Evangelical Christian megachurch is growing in the heart of Manhattan.”
  • Carlos Whitaker invites readers at his blog, Ragamuffin Soul, to leave their favorite quotation.   So far, over 80 responses, but plenty of room for you to add yours.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.