Thinking Out Loud

April 15, 2015

Wednesday Link List

Hear See Post

Featured Stories

Churches Without Buildings – “Church attendance and construction boomed in North America during a time when having your own building was expected. For churches, businesses and families. In my parents’ era, owning real estate was a sign of success, status and stability. So churches that wanted to be seen as reliable and successful bought buildings. Often before there was a congregation to fill them. When someone started their own business, they would leave their house to sit in a building behind a desk all day long – even if every aspect of that business could have been done from their house. The brick-and-mortar building meant reliability and permanence… Brick-and-mortar may not be dead, but it is on life-support… The church should be leading the way in this idea… We already lose more churches every year from inability to pay the mortgage than from any other factor.”  Speaking of buildings…

The Ecology of Worship Gatherings – Every so often I find an article that is a few months old that should not have been missed. Such is the case here on the physical space we use for worship: “The very spatial mediums we use to communicate those messages shape and architect us in powerful ways. In fact, as a medium, the literal physical spaces we use may actually subvert the very messages we are preaching. What if the arrangement of spaces are actually speaking louder than what we are saying in our sermons? Ecology is the branch of biology that looks at how organisms relate to one another, and to their physical surroundings. If we apply this field of study to our worship gatherings… The premise of an Ecology of Gathering is that the non-living components dynamically interact and stimulate the living components (biotic), creating a living spiritual climate. This climate communicates a message, and over time, this climate controlled message trains us into a certain way of thinking and behaving.”

Pew Research on Religious Growth to 2050 – “In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050, and Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion. Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion…” As to the world as a whole, “by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30% of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31%), possibly for the first time in history.” The Nones continue to grow also: “At the same time, however, the unaffiliated are expected to continue to increase as a share of the population in much of Europe and North America. In the United States, for example, the unaffiliated are projected to grow from an estimated 16% of the total population (including children) in 2010 to 26% in 2050.” There is much more to the report, presented in text, graphs and tables.

Getting Your Hands Dirty – “I was speaking, learning, teaching, and advocating for mentoring without actually doing it. In anthropology, there are two types of field research: Etic and EmicEtic researchers make their observations from outside the culture. Emic researchers get up-close to local customs, traditions, and beliefs. Our temptation is to stay on the outside. To be Etic but not Emic. To attend endless conferences, read endless books, buy endless t-shirts. To dump cold water on our heads, take a selfie and hashtag it. To be about the latest ideas, like those on Mars Hill, to be waiting to see something new, like the newest post or picture online. Ideas, when used this way, can be very self-indulgent. All the while, we remain outside the issue, and quite possibly, outside of our own story. But the great ideas – love, justice, intimacy, reconciliation – require something of us.”

CBS Profile of Crossmaker Runs 22 Years Later – On Easter Sunday, CBS ran a profile of a man that was scheduled to appear in 1993. If you’ve driven the interstate highway system, you’ve seen Bernard Coffindaffer’s work: Crosses erected within sight of the freeway. “Coffindaffer has spent his own money on this project — close to $3 million … to buy the wooden poles, to hire road crews, to perform routine cross maintenance.” But the video never aired when he died of a sudden heart attack. Years later, his legacy continues: “There are 48,000 miles of interstate highway in America,” Sara Abraham of Crosses Across America said. “We will have crosses every 25 miles all across America.”

Editorial / Devotional on Christian Maturity– “Jason and I have often wondered what a foreigner or alien would think the church believed if they simply judged us on the books we buy and sell. As I walked through the aisles, I started to worry that they would perceive a church that is weak and powerless, so consumed with our own needs and self-esteem that we constantly battle the same issues, and never become effective agents of God’s mission in the world… Sadly, may of us in America are “grown up,” in that we’ve been serving Christ a long time, but we have not yet reached maturity. Like it says in Hebrews, we should be teachers, but we need someone to teach us the basics over and over again.”

Church History Lesson: The Non-Jurors – “[T]he new order was demanding that all clergy and office holders take oaths to the new king. Many clergy, including some of the church’s greatest spiritual and intellectual beacons, found that they simply could not accept. They refused to swear those oaths, and by dint of that, became non-swearers, “Non-Jurors.” They began a domestic schism from the established church, and ordained their own succession of bishops…They agonized over issues of ecclesiology, and at the same time sought new ways of leading a pure Christian life… you have very likely encountered portions of their writings or hymns. It was for instance Thomas Ken who wrote the famous Doxology.”

When Sharing Your Faith is Costly – The woman in the story works for the government-run National Health Service (NHS) in the UK: “Miss Wasteney had discussions about Christianity and Islam with a junior colleague, Enya Nawaz, and offered to pray with her when she became upset about health problems. She also invited her to church and gave her a book called I Dared to Call Him Father, about a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity. However, Miss Nawaz accused her of trying to convert her to Christianity and made a formal complaint. Miss Wasteney was suspended for nine months while the East London NHS Foundation Trust investigated.” In a story update, the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled against her.

On My Own Blog – A look at what I call Spiritual Recidivism and a review of Did God Kill Jesus by Tony Jones.

Finally… – How younger leaders can gain credibility, from Brad Lomenick who tracks up-and-coming Christian leaders, 11 suggestions. Sample: “Become an expert NOW, even before you need to be. Set a standard of excellence way before you’re the leader in charge who is expected to. That way when it’s your turn to come off the bench you are ready.”

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February 23, 2011

Wednesday Link List

In addition to usual type of links this week, there are some general links to the whole of some blogs you know and some that will be new to you.

  • Here’s a C201 post dealing with the subject of balanced worship that also contains a couple of classic CCM songs. Check out Worship with Both Hands.
  • Sadly, the hostage drama off the coast of Somalia did not end well. Our prayers are with the families of the two couples who perished in the rescue attempt.
  • Trevin Wax raises the issue of Evangelical churches baptizing children by immersion at very, very young ages. Here’s the link, and we’ll also return to this discussion on the weekend.
  • Got 66 minutes?  Elevation Church (Steve Furtick) has put together a video on their church’s story on the occasion of their fifth anniversary.
  • Speaking of videos, here’s the latest from Hillsong at GodTube.
  • Speaking of the number 66, here’s an idea: A series of word images (or clouds) processed in the style of Wordle of the text from each book of the Bible sold as 11 x 17 posters at 66 Clouds.  See sample at right.
  • Once again, another biting commentary at Shaun Groves’ blog. “According to some college chaplains… long term exposure to Christian music may have unsavory side-effects. They feel like they’re fighting bad theology and unbiblical perceptions created by the music business. Their students grew up listening to K-LOVE in the minivan on the way to school with mom. They grew up in “event-driven” churches singing songs from “stars” who also came to town to play concerts.Did the industry change the church/students or did the church/students change the industry? ” Read the full article.
  • Bluefish TV inexplicably decides to make a total mockery of purity rings. They’ve finally produced a video that isn’t appropriate to show at church or at youth group. So guys, why bother?
  • Philip Yancey returns to Christianity Today with this question, Is America Going the Way of Europe in Turning Its Back on Christianity? Using the example of the Netherlands, he shows that dramatic change can occur within just two generations.
  • Follow Pete Wilson’s ten day trip to Kolkata, India — he’s back now — by linking to his blog and scrolling back to February 9th and reading forward.
  • Random link: I really enjoy Stuff Fundies Like.  This site has a lot more edge than that other Stuff…Like blog, and is, in reality, more like a Fundamentalist version of Growing Up Catholic. (Or if you grew up in the Evangelical world, you might call this, “Killing Me Softly With His Blog.”) If it’s not part of your online routine, check it out, and go right back to the beginning and read every single post!
  • More serious random link: I don’t know any blogger who has faithfully kept the pro-life agenda on the front burner like La Shawn Barber.  Blogging since November, 2003, her blog is a history of events in that movement, and textbook must-reading for anyone who wants to understand this issue.
  • Here’s how Drew Marshall described Chad and Sarah Markley: “They grew up in the church, got married, fought everyday, then began to get wasted and party on the weekends just to escape and cope, even while Chad was leading worship in their church. Eventually porn crept into the marriage. Eventually Chad became a workaholic. Eventually Sarah had an affair with Chad’s friend. Eventually one of Sarah’s friends told their pastors. Eventually…” This couple survived her three-year affair and discussed it openly on last week’s show — online audio available Friday — and continues to discuss it at her blog.
  • Here’s another general link, not to a specific post, but I think this blog deserves an award for its most unusual name.  Check out Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary.  (Loved her Feb 3 post for her son’s 13th birthday.)(And the rest of her honesty and transparency.)
  • Warning to all concerned: Never show up at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky on Date Night with a same sex date. (Typical date night pictured at right.) And tickets are non-refundable. But step back for just a moment: Why do they even have a date night?  (“Hey Lisa, we’re going to the Creation Museum tonight.” “Oh Mark, you pick the most coolest places.”)
  • If you gave up sports a long time ago, but you’ve still got a thing for statistics, here’s more analysis on the differences between the old NIV and the new NIV.
  • Let me see if I’ve got this one right: Your kids go door to door selling “magabooks” (half magazine, half book) which answer the musical question, “Will My Pet Go to Heaven?”  All for just $14.95 U.S.
  • One last general link here, from which yesterday’s post here at Thinking Out Loud was stolen borrowed; reiterated here because this grandfather of all blogs has been around since January of 2000. Yikes! It’s in its twelfth year! Check out GraceWorks.ca
  • Tomorrow begins the fourth year of this blog! How will we celebrate? Stay tuned. (Actually, I have no idea at this point…)
  • Our closing picture this week — I know you would have preferred another shot of Adam and Eve at the Creation Museum — is from Cathy at the USAToday blog, Faith and Reason.  Just so ya know, the church is Catholic and the retail is $39.99 U.S.

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