Thinking Out Loud

October 6, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Here are some highlights from my blog travels in the past week:

  • While you’re link hopping  here, you can stream audio from CCM Gold Radio – Christian music from the ’60s thru the ’80s; though it’s a bit like tightrope walking without a net, because they don’t tell you what you’re hearing, and there are many obscure songs.   Great for Christian music trivia, however; I’m just not sure how many songs actually support the claim to include the ’60s.   I have a 3,000-plus library of Christian music on vinyl, and only a small handful are pre 1970.
  • Then again, you’re going to have to switch media for this one:   Many of you know Pete Wilson from his blog and his new book, Plan B.   But how many of you have been to Cross Point to check out a Pete Wilson sermon?   I thoroughly enjoyed this experience on the weekend.  Go to the page for Pete’s new Empty Promises series, and click on week one, the introductory message.   I promise you 30 solid minutes of distraction-free preaching.
  • Tullian Tchividjian has been busy on Twitter compiling short statements expressing various aspects of the gospel.  Blogger Barry Simmons assembles a couple of lists at his blog The Journeyman’s Files both here and here.   Sample sentence: “When we transfer trust from ourselves to Christ, we experience the abundant freedoms that come from not having to measure up.”
  • Trevin Wax plays transcription stenographer to a recent address by Al Mohler as to how he came to his present position on women in pastoral ministry.   Check out some highlights.
  • What life goals are you working on?  Things you’re trying to cultivate in your life?   Ever feel lost or orphaned?   Kathy Escobar has three words for you.
  • Here’s another take on the new CEB (Common English Bible) translation, which the writer calls a “Good News Glut.”   We learn now that five publishers are involved, and many are motivated by providing an alternative for the NRSV crowd.
  • Just When You Thought You’d Heard Everything Department:  Don’t know if this conversion would actually ‘stick,’ but Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says she became a Christian because of her love of Italian food, primarily meatballs.
  • This one’s been in my files for awhile… Author Max Lucado considers things spiritual and things sci-fi and everything in between in a consideration of what the next life might be like.
  • Bene Diction posted this link a few days back to an article by Regent College professor John Stackhouse on the appropriateness of criticizing other Christians in a public forum.   Should we shoot our own?
  • Related?   Here’s a comment from a reader at CT’s article on Rick Warren’s video appearance at the Desiring God conference, and John Piper’s negative attitude toward Warren in particular:  “All of us, including the most intellectual, will be taking a Theology 101 course in heaven…”
  • Author Wayne Jacobsen got an insider’s look at the making of the now-released movie adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s book Like Dandelion Dust.
  • New music artist of the week is two-time ASCAP award winner John DeGrazio.  Check out his 2010 album Stronghold at his webpage.
  • Michael Belote at Reboot Christianity has a great word picture of a typical gathering in the first century church, but to get there, link here first for a quick eight-question quiz.
  • No actual link on this one, but I’m currently reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis … out loud! Working away one chapter a night, and with my youngest (who’s now 16) listening, I figure many of the chapters started out as radio broadcasts anyway, so why not cover the book in its original form.   It also slows me down to catch all the nuances of Lewis’ masterful apologetics.
  • At least one Target store would rather slash women’s clothing to pieces than donate it to an orphanage in southeast Asia.   Why?   They’re afraid someone else might get the product and try to return it for refund.
  • It remains one of my all time favorite cartoons; so I’m thankful to a reader who sent a much better rendering of it than the one I posted… I think you already know the cartoonist’s name, right?

  • And here’s an edgy one appearing September 14th from Tom Pappalardo at The Optimist written in response to the migration of Roman Catholics out of New England, which leaves the northeast with a reputation once exclusively belonging to the northwest:

July 17, 2010

Shack Author and Publisher In Legal Quagmire

The Los Angeles Times calls it a “Cinderella story.”  A man is encouraged by his wife to write a story for his kids that lets them know who he is and what he values.   He writes the piece and trudges off to Kinko’s Copy Shop where the initial printing of The Shack consists of fifteen — count ’em, fifteen — copies.

That was twelve million copies ago, and almost just as many blog posts and published articles; some praising the manuscript and others deriding it for doctrinal and theological error.

In between, the story fell into the hands of Wayne Jacbosen.   If you’ve read He Loves Me or So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, it’s possible to imagine the guiding hand of Wayne all over the manuscript.   The cover — which on the original Kinko copies said, “by MacKenzie Allen Phillips;” and then was published as “by William P. Young;” and then was changed to “by Wm. Paul Young;” — might have equally said “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacbosen;” or even “by Wm. Paul Young with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings.”

Windblown Media, the upstart company Cummings and Jacobsen formed could have done that.   But they didn’t.    While Jacobsen’s editorial involvement has been unquestioned, there has never been a consideration of co-authorship; which the triple-authored Bo’s Café proved the company more than willing to do.

Paul Young

The Times article informs, “On March 11, Jacobsen and Cummings asserted their claim to co-authorship with an amended copyright filing to the Library of Congress. They also accused Young of reneging on a deal to help Jacobsen and Cummings turn “The Shack” into a movie.”

But now we find the entire “Cinderella story” blown apart in lawsuits and counter-suits; with the general-distribution publisher Hachette Book Group being forced to deposit the royalties in a trust account until the courts can sort it all out.

Sad really.

You can read the entire, long story here at the L.A. Times.

Thanks to the blog Bene Diction Blogs On for making us aware of this story.

July 7, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:38 pm

Wayne Jacobsen posted this on his Lifestream blog, back on June 24th.   I was going to just reprint the poem, but I wanted to include Wayne’s introduction also.

Do It Anyway

Someone reminded me of this sign today posted on the way of Shishu Bhavan, a children’s home in Calcutta. I quoted it in the front of Authentic Relationships, a book I wrote with my brother, Clay a few years back.

I really needed to hear these words again today. Maybe the will re-inspire some of you as well. Our actions are not about the outcomes we desire. Someone can completely destroy or repudiate a gift of kindness or an attempt to serve. This poem is about living with love and grace in a world filled with self-interest, that can easily treat our love with contempt. Love anyway!


People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but may attack you if you try to help them.
Help them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

February 3, 2009

Am I Truly Part of “The Church?”

People who know me know that I am always trying to connect people with a local church.    It’s a connection that I know I need to have.   I have no ‘guilt’ if circumstances cause me to miss a week, but I rarely let it happen.   I want to have that time each week spent in corporate worship with a congregation of believers.

As a champion of local churches where I live, several years ago I identified 35 worshiping ‘groups’ of people in the two towns in our area; and have now visited 31 of those 35; several of them twice, but without maintaining a frequent connection to the one that I call my church home.  Having had first-hand contact with the different groups, I can recommend the ones that I think will be a “best fit” for people who need to get back to the Sunday morning — or equivalent — habit.   Some of them know me as their biggest ‘cheerleader.’

so-you-dont-want-to-goSo I wasn’t ready for what hit me this weekend as I finished reading So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore.

Writers Dave Coleman and Wayne Jacobsen, writing under the collective pen name of Jake Colsen belong to that growing number of people who see church as being more than just what takes place on Sundays in buildings set aside for that purpose.   (You can also add writer Frank Viola to that number, whose book Pagan complements this one well.)   Of course, these people have the weight of Biblical theology on their side; the church is the people not the building, and the experience of church does not mandate that you have a set-apart building, a liturgy, clergy or even (gasp!) singing.

Many of those in the Emergent / Emerging / Missional branches of Christianity have also come to this conclusion, as have those embracing the “Ancient/Future” style of worship, as have those who have embraced the House Church movement, as have those who are simply committed to trying to “do church” as close to the way the Early Church experienced it.

I never re-read a book twice within the same 12 months, but re-reading So You Don’t… for the second time I was struck again by the fact that church is really about coming together with others who are journeying together in a growing relationship with the Father.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have no reason to suspect that my spiritual life is stagnating, but I’ve been very much aware lately that despite superficial contacts with literally hundreds of other believers in my community, despite daily dialog with a minimum half-dozen people (usually double that) on issues of faith (and an increasing number online), I simply don’t have an identifiable group of people with whom I am on that journey.

So this means that according to the criteria of the book as to what real “church” consists of, I am not necessarily part of it; even though I am physical present in a church building each week.    Unless you have a group of people — or even one or two — with whom you are journeying together in your getting to know God the Father, all your love of and participation in the Sunday thing, or the building thing, or the program thing, or the service thing; all that is is somewhat less than the fullness of “church.”    And maybe, just maybe, some others of you reading this would have to admit you’re in the same place also.

+ = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + = + =

POSTSCRIPT: This book is the most natural thing to read after experiencing The Shack and is from the same publishing company.   I’ve never quite figured out why more people who’ve read Shack aren’t moving on to So You Don’t...

Read my original review of the book here.

December 16, 2008

He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen – a remix of 05/03/08

Filed under: books, Christianity, Faith, theology — Tags: , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:21 pm

he-loves-meWith all the excitement over The Shack, I’m always amazed at the number of people who don’t know about the other two books from the same publisher.   I actually read the books in a different order; I started with So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman first.  (On some copies these authors names are mashed as Jake Colsen.)  Then I read Wayne Jacobsen’s excellent book He Loves Me. I actually read The Shack last.

One of my memorable ‘takeaways’ from He Loves Me is the section concerning what happened at the cross.

Wayne suggests that we tend to look at the Father and the Son as a kind of “Good cop / bad cop” situation where the Father’s wrath is poured out on the Son.   He suggests instead we look at the solution to our sin problem being resolved “in God.”   This fits well with other teaching in the book that relates Calvary to the events in Eden.

Wayne compares the transgression of Adam and Eve as similar to the story of the prodigal son.  He says the father in that story was not unwilling to grant the son’s request if it meant that he would eventually reach the end of himself, and return.   This is not unlike God’s position in Eden; He is already working out that Adam, Eve and their descendants — us — will get to that point where we reach the end of ourselves and seek reconciliation with the Father.

As I mentioned previously, this book is published by the same group that does phenomenal bestseller The Shack, and Wayne Jacobsen is half of the writing team behind So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore. Unlike the other two books, this one isn’t composed as fiction and appears in the more familiar “Christian living” format.   However, if you enjoyed The Shack…

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