Thinking Out Loud

January 5, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Here’s a new list to kick off a new year…

  • While some “Christian” pastors — one anyway — want to burn the Qu’ran, Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee has “a more welcoming approach.” ” Steve Stone and his congregants put out a sign welcoming incoming neighbors at the Memphis Islamic Center. The church then allowed these Muslim neighbors to use their sanctuary as a makeshift mosque throughout Ramadan while the Islamic Center was under construction.”  Read more at Christianity Today.
  • As strange as that story may be, it’s also the basis for a Canadian situation comedy now in its 5th season.  The new season of Little Mosque on the Prairie kicked off on Monday night with an episode that makes the Imam look a lot more appealing — i.e. “nicer” — than the Anglican minister who is renting the Islamic congregation its space.   Watch past episodes at CBC-TV.
  • The girl who recorded “Wait for Me” in 2000 is done waiting.  News yesterday that Christian singer Rebecca St. James is engaged to marry Jacob Fink who has a background in missions, television production and music. Proposal: Christmas Day. Wedding date: TBA.
  • The number of abusive priest lawsuits in a Milwaukee diocese has forced it to declare bankruptcy.  But a victims’ lawyer says it’s only being done to protect identities, and will merely delay the process.
  • This item was the runner up on Perry Noble’s top 2010 posts:  Ten Questions That Unchurched People Are Not Asking (Sample: #8 – “Does your pastor teach exegetically through the Scriptures?” Hey, it’s a dealbreaker, right?)
  • Tucked away in a little corner of James MacDonald’s (Walk in the Word) website is this tidbit of news:  “And this is amazing…We received a donation of a 20-million-dollar television production facility. The studio and the technology it provides will enable Walk in the Word to produce greater resources to reach more people.”  Not the first time something like this (i.e. Harvest Bible Chapel’s land in Elgin, Illinois) has dropped into their laps!
  • Does God withhold blessings from me because of my sins (even sins that have been forgiven)?  That’s the question Dana asked at Upwrite.  “…it is about the possibility of freedom from beating myself up over the things I might have missed out on because of my sins.”  Anyone care to leave her an answer?
  • And then, this testimony: “My backstory isn’t a pretty one. In fact, I didn’t even begin life as an sweet little planned bundle of joy. My mom was raped and I was the result. I was adopted by two wonderful parents who loved me and raised me as their own. But from the age of 3 until about the age of 12 my concept of love became skewed and shattered as I was repeatedly molested and raped by two different people in my family.I was pregnant at 17.”  That’s Stephanie Shott’s story.  Read the rest at her guest post at Jenni Catron’s blog.
  • This week I checked out the website affiliated with a book that released in November:  Besides The Bible – 100 Books that Have, Should, or Will Create Christian Culture.  The publisher blurb promises, “Covering a wide array of subjects and authors, from Christian bookstore best sellers to classics of Christian history and more, you’ll find yourself agreeing with some titles, shaking your head at others, and even shocked by a few.”  Here’s the WordPress blog for Besides the Bible.
  • 265 Journal pages containing 214 entries later,  John Piper is back from his leave of absence, and condenses his report in a much, much shorter summary at Desiring God.
  • Bored during church or that expensive ministry conference?  Jim Lehmer is back with an entirely updated version of Christian Buzzwords Bingo.   Each refresh of the page gets you a new bingo card!
  • Want to send a shout out to long-time friend Al Clarkson for keeping me posted on things I might have missed.   (Like this and the next two entries.)  Here’s Alpha Course founder Nicky Gumbel speaking at the Lausanne Conference.
  • Canada’s popular Christian musician, Steve Bell — who we linked to last week — scored some major press here this week in the prestigious business insert to a national newspaper.  You can catch both items at once at this bookstore industry blog.
  • And at the same blog, at age 102, George Beverley Shea is to receive a Lifetime Achieve Award in conjunction with The Grammy Awards.
  • Last week we linked to Derek Webb’s piece at Huffington Post, and this week you can read Frank Turk’s very firm response, and the 250 comments it generated.
  • And at the blog, On The Fence (tagline: A Skeptical Screenwriter and a Christian Pastor Talk About Faith) Travis comments on reading Greg Boyd’s Myth of a Christian Nation over the holidays. Not sure if Frank Turk would approve of Boyd.
  • Our photo below is a flashback to a 2009 post at the now defunct blog, Cool Things in Random Places. It’s a picture of The Door to Hell. Really. The link gets you many more pictures and videos.

The Door to Hell, is situated near the small town of Darvaz in Turkmenistan.  Thirty-five years ago, geologists were drilling for gas when then encountered a very large cavern underground filled with a poisonous gas.  They ignited the gas expecting it to burn off in a few hours.  The gas is still burning to this day. Its 60 meters in diameter and 20 meters depth have not been caused by volcanic activity or a meteorite impact.This crater was created sometime in the 50’s when the Soviets were prospecting for natural gas in this area and it’s been burning since then.

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September 13, 2010

Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: More Widespread

A CNN story on the weekend documents the situation in Belguim, revealing a situation worse than might be imagined with this paragraph:

“We can say that not a single congregation escaped sexual abuse of minors by one or more of its members,” said the Commission on Church-Related Sexual Abuse Complaints, which was led by Dr. Peter Ariaenssens, who is both a church investigator and psychiatrist.

You can continue reading that story here.

We should never assume that such abuse is limited to the Roman Catholic denomination however.    Stories of abuse are bound to surface in any situation where an adult has power over a younger, more naive, more innocent person.

There is perhaps someone reading this who also been the victim of sexual abuse and you’re not Catholic.

What is even worse is when you don’t truly understand that you’ve been abused; you don’t do the math or check the scorecard and realize that the situation amounted to an abuse of the perceived authority that someone had in your life.

That’s the premise of Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely (Thomas Nelson, paperback $16.99).   Anne’s experience growing up in a church wasn’t a happy one and in this book and her previous title with Zondervan, Mad Church Disease, she is documenting two very different aspects of her childhood and early twenties.

I haven’t read enough of Permission to write a full review, but knowing Anne, I want to give it my full endorsement.    You can also read seven sample articles from the book through a series of links on seven different blogs, starting with a chapter at Donald Miller.  (You’ll be directed at the end of each where to go next.)

Today’s question is:  Do you think the Catholic church gets too much of the publicity on this subject; in other words, do you think the story is the same in Orthodox, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Reformed or Pentecostal/Charismatic churches?

September 16, 2009

The Links and Depth of the Situation

Deep links.   Links with depth of writing and feeling.   Prepare to be challenged and changed this time around.  Don’t miss these.

  • We start with Jim Upchurch and a story from his past titled I Am Third“This is the motto of the servant. This is the motto of one who places others before himself. This is the motto of those who follow Jesus Christ.”
  • Philip Yancey writes about spending a week visiting his brother in hospital.   “Sadly, some patients had no visitors. Different rules govern wealth and status in a hospital: the currency is not cash, but visitors and love.” The post is entitled Intensive Care Week.
  • Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church tells of visiting his father in hospital.  “…this experience reminds me of the fact that life and the world we live in aren’t what they’re supposed to be. This isn’t the perfect world God created before we filled it with sin…” He quotes a hymn lyric which was new to me but is known to many others, It Is Not Death To Die.
  • Kaybee writes: “The winds of pressure rise and I’m tossed this way and that, until it seems my very being will break under the strain.  The downpour strikes at my heart with icy spears of apprehension and dismay.” What about you?  Dealing with heavy circumstances.  A frequent commenter on this blog, she writes about going through The Storm.
  • Maybe your storms are part of your past, but the thunder still echoes in your mind.  “…one in four young girls and one in six young boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18!… If those numbers of kids got cancer or some other disease that ate away at the body the way sexual abuse eats away at the soul, there would be public outcry like you would not believe.” Read more at Rick Apperson’s Just a Thought Blog as he continues his “Five Questions” series with NFL fullback Heath Evans.
  • Life circumstances can fill us with fear.  A few days ago I reviewed the book Fearless by Max Lucado.  “Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?” This is a 60-second commercial the publisher produced and posted on YouTube.
  • Imagine fear replaced by hope.  Hope is the subject of a new book forthcoming from Rick Warren.   Normally that wouldn’t excite people outside the book industry, however, “Published in 2002, Purpose Driven Life became the No. 1 all-time best-selling hardcover nonfiction book in publishing history.” Warren himself adds, “My motivation as an author has always been the message, not the market, and I have been waiting for the right time, until I had something to say that would speak to the personal and societal problems we all face…” Read more here.
  • Maybe we should end with something lighter.   After all,  those are some fairly heavy blog posts.   Brant Hansen is back blogging at Letters to Kamp Krusty.   He tells of being asked to speak at a church in July. “I spoke about some powerful things.  I spoke about some things that really hit home.  I made people laugh, and then cry, laugh again, and then suddenly — quite suddenly — stop and consider their lives.” Read the whole story here.

Feel free to send me URLs for blogs you think have content that may be worth linking to in the future.

February 12, 2009

Sexual Abuse Hits Home

Filed under: Christianity, internet, parenting, pornography — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:18 pm

I make no effort to change or modify the story which follows:

The woman came into our store today seeking resources.    Her 14-year old son has sexually abused her 6-year old daughter.    End of story.   Where do you start with that one?

I wasn’t at the store, but fortunately both of the sales associates on shift today have training in counseling.   The one who served her, I’m sure, would do as good or better than I would have done in her position, and she also consulted with the other at one point.

I was called by telephone to suggest resources.    There are tons of books of sexual abuse available to Christian bookstores.   Almost all of them are written to adults.   She wanted a book for the 6-year old.   I could find only one My Body Is Special: A Family Book About Sexual Abuse part of the Elf-Help-For-Kids series from Abbey Press.

But then, the big request; she wanted a book for the 14-year old.

He did a very bad thing.   I’m not sure that book has been published yet.   I’m not sure he would read it.

Tonight I wrote back to my staff member who served the woman this morning.   I reiterated what I said by phone earlier, namely that the 14-year old, without any doubt, has been affected by online pornography; and unless that is dealt with, he will, without any doubt, act out again on what he is seeing online.

If you haven’t read my online book on this subject, in one chapter I mention that there are people producing pornographic websites aimed directly at teens which have a particular agenda:  breaking the incest taboo.   Making what we have, for generations, considered wrong to be acceptable and desirable.   That’s been in the book since it was first written and first posted online, but I’ve never said it here.

Now I have.

But I will accept book suggestions for either child if you have any.    Both of my staff members encouraged the woman that what was needed right now was live, in-person counseling, not merely books.

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