Thinking Out Loud

August 24, 2011

Wednesday Link List

I like a church that covers all the basics for living

Years from now, when anthropologists discover this blog, they will say, “Truly, this was the Wednesday Link List for August 24th, 2011.”

  • Randy Alcorn quotes a Chuck Colson report that we shouldn’t be talked into thinking there’s been a lessening of persecution of Christians in China.
  • The author and publishers of The Shack — a bestselling Christian novel — found themselves on opposite sides of a lawsuit which was finally settled out of court.
  • Just what WOULD the Beatles have come up with, creatively speaking, had they been followers of Jesus all those years ago? A good friend of ours has finally given us the green light to release the link for a take-off to The Beatles “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  So enjoy “Matthew Six Three-Four.”  (The link will open your computer’s media player.) Stay tuned for more from Martin Barret on a soon to be released project featuring this song and others.
  • Schullergate Item of the Week:  The Crystal Cathedral succeeded in getting a dissenting website, Crystal Cathedral Music, taken down this week. The site featured commentary from former members of the CC choir and orchestra and friends of the Cathedral’s former music style.
  • Darryl Dash warns pastors and others that when it comes to email and online correspondence, nothing is confidential.
  • Christianity Today profiles Dave Ramsey, noting the new Momentum curriculum, designed to bring the same advice to cash-strapped churches as is given individuals.
  • Alex Mejias at the blog High Street Hymns gives you Five Reasons to Use Liturgical Music in Your Contemporary Worship Service.  (And no, “Liturgical songs are free of copyright worries” wasn’t in the list.)  [HT: Zac Hicks.]
  • This one’s a repeat from April, but I read it again and laughed again.  What if churches used their signs to suggest “purpose statements” that were actually achievable?
  • DotSub — the online service which adds subtitles in any language to your videos — picks up a June, 2010 TED Talk by Larry Lessig which deals with copyright and fair use, but begins with an observation about Republicans: They go to church.
  • Ronnie McBrayer adds his voice to The Underground, a Christian website like no other, and notes that a lot of people do strange things because they thought they heard God’s voice.
  • In an in-depth article, CNN ponders whether Christians can win the war against pornography. (Over 3,000 comments as of Monday.)
  • Julie Clawson considers the theological implications of the Veggie Tales song, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.”  Okay, that’s not exactly what this post is all about.
  • Just discovering the music of Phil Wickham.  Gave Mrs. W. the Cannons album last week for being good!  This older song, You’re Beautiful, is closing in on 2,000,000 YouTube views.  For the already-converted (!) here’s a clip from Phil’s October-releasing album, Response.
  • Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like delivers a fundy take on I Cor. 13; though in all honesty, I gotta say this one is high in contention for being tomorrow’s post here.
  • You’re not really going to the bathroom at Bible study group are you?  Bryan Lopez reblogged Tech-Crunch’s Technology is the New Smoking.
  • Somewhat related: Chrystal at Life After Church introduces a new blog series by describing a very non-Baptist way to engage with scripture.
  • Thomas Prosser at the UK Guardian newspaper thinks that Christian youth camps are manipulative, but before you read, you need to know that what they term as camps, we refer to as festivals.
  • If you’re a link-o-phile, you’ll also find a daily rundown at Take Your Vitamin Z (Zach Nielsen), Kingdom People (Trevin Wax) and Tim Challies.  These bloggers include things from the broader blogosphere including lots of tech news, but when it comes to theological discussion the links are all from a single doctrinal family of bloggers.  (Note the vast number of links that turn up on all three over the course of a month.)  The mix here is quite different, but feel free to check out the three mentioned above as well as the large, diverse number of other bloggers in the margin at right.  These links are constantly checked for (a) a spiritual focus, (b) frequent and recent posting, and (c) taken as a group, doctrinal mix and balance.

The Wednesday List Lynx arrives late to the party

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October 4, 2010

The Misunderstood God Revisited

I sometimes repeat posts here, and I sometimes do book reviews, but the two never mix.   I’ve never repeated a book review.   But every once in awhile there’s a book that gets lost in the shuffle, and while reviewers love to write about books that aren’t even released yet, there’s nothing wrong with mining the shelves for things others may have missed…

So partly because The Shack publishers are weighed down in a legal quagmire and not doing anything new, and partly because I think it raises other issues, let’s take a look at this title reviewed one year ago…

God Is Not Self-Seeking

God did not send his only son to die because God was so offended by sin that he needed to whack somebody in order to feel better. A “sin offering” is not made to God. A sin offering is an offering made to sin. Sin is a beast that wants to devour us. Imagine you are camping in the wilderness alone and you come upon a grizzly. The moment that bear sees you and begins running toward you, I promise you this: you had better come bearing gifts! If you have nothing to offer that beast he will devour you. The sacrifice on the cross was essentially Christ throwing himself in front of the beast on your behalf and allowing it to consume Him while you escaped. Jesus did not die on the cross to satisfy God’s moral rage at your sin. He died to save you from the beast of sin. The death he died to sin once for all.

~Darin Hufford, The Misunderstood God (Windblown Media, November 2009) pp 97-98

In a world where we often speak of “brands” in Christian publishing, it’s unusual to see a publishing imprint where many different voices seem to speaking to one central mission or sharing one common voice. Windblown Media has managed to do just that, pushing a giant “pause” button on some of our nearest and dearest views on both the Godhead; and our views on the church — us — the way we interact together as the body, as well as within our families or mariages.

As with He Loves Me, The Shack, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Bo’s Café, and now The Misunderstood God by Darin Hufford, readers are treated to a fresh perspective, one that is sure to bring about some agitation by those who would have us follow a God that is not a kindler, gentler deity.

The Misunderstood GodWhen I first flipped through the pages of The Misunderstood God, I was expecting something similar to the first half of Your God Is Too Small by J. B. Phillips. I came to that book about a dozen years ago for the first time, and was astounded by how much my own God perspective was informed more by comparisons to other authority figures than informed by scripture itself.

While some people might see books like this as a giant piece of chalk (or marker) about to write on the giant blackboard (or whiteboard) everything one needs to know in terms of their doctrine of God, I prefer to see this kind of book as a giant eraser, cleaning off all those false doctrines and wrong views we’ve collected over the years. Sometimes, such an eraser has to scrub a little bit harder to get some of those off the board so we can start fresh.

In fact, the first half of Your God Is Too Small by Phillips does just that type of deconstruction — in only about 60 pages of this rather small book — before reconstructing in the second half; but it’s the first half of the book that really packs the greatest punch.

darin huffordBut a few chapters into The Misunderstood God I finally figured out that the deconstruction and reconstruction takes place here on a chapter-by-chapter basis, using as its motif, I Corinthians 13. I’ve heard people speak before on how the “Love is patient, love is kind…” passage can, if it’s true that ‘God is love,’ be read as, “God is patient, God is kind…” I had just never seen it before as the key to healing misunderstandings we have about the nature of God.

The problem compounds for those who — in either J. B. Phillips’ generation or Darin Hufford’s generation — can’t embrace the idea of a kinder, gentler God because it would mean unsubscribing from all the lifelong beliefs they have held. Many people are predisposed to being angry because their God is angry. Actually, I heard that years ago at a music festival where a speaker suggested — in jest — the following worship lyrics:

He is Lord!
He is Lord!
He has risen from the dead
And blown his stack!

I remember everyone laughing at the absurdity of those lyrics, but really, that’s the God-picture that’s more dominant in our minds. Which is why the Windblown books, particular He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen and The Misunderstood God are so badly needed.

I do think there are some rough edges in the writing. A few sentences left me wide-eyed wondering, “Did he really mean to say that?” I thought of marking pages as I was reading, but then I figured the critics will find these soon enough.

What matters most here is that books like this are refreshing to the soul. Maybe the chalk (or the marker) is needed, but the eraser first has to get rid of everything previously written. Books like this are rare, which makes them a breath of fresh air.

God loves you. God is love. He is a loving God. Yes, he is a God of justice and yes, he has shown his judgment of sin in the past and will do so again. But the latter has been inscribed on our minds much more than the former, which needs to be said again and again, if only to be given equal time.

God loves you. God is love. He is a loving God. Just say that out loud a few times.

God loves me. God is love. He is my loving God.

For He Loves Me, here’s my review from December 16, 2008, a remix review from May 3rd.

For So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, here’s my review from April 19, 2008.

For Bo’s Café, here’s my recent review from September 14, 2009.

he loves methe shackSo You Don't Want To GoBo's CaféThe Misunderstood God

Pictured: book cover, Darin Hufford, Windblown Media family of titles.

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 9, 2010

Currently Reading and Listening

Currently Reading

  • The Last Christian by David Gregory.   Knowing this writer only for his two apologetic Socratic dialog books, Dinner With A Perfect Stranger and A Day With A Perfect Stranger — and their related movies — I decided to jump into this title to see what else he could do.   It’s a fairly thick book; 416 pages, as opposed to the other two which you can read in an hour.   Set approximately 75 years into the future, it deals with things such as artificial intelligence, jungle survival, and missions.   I’ve just started out and the plot moves fairly quickly among what is, at the point I’m at, a number of disjointed scenes.     You can find out more from people who reached the finish line here and here.
  • The Shack by William Paul Young.   I’m reading it again because it caused so much trouble after I read it that I decided to go through it again with a pen and mark pages that I felt were controversial.   However, I’m a few pages from the end and I have yet to underline a single line.   It’s not that the book didn’t raise a lot of debate and even anger, it’s just that the book in and of itself just isn’t as radical as the critics are making it.    I’m simply enjoying a second look at a simple story that somehow captivated readers of all stripes.   Is it a book for Christians or those seeking theological reading?  I answered that question here.

Currently Listening To

  • A Beautiful Exchange by Hillsong.   The Hillsong music formula and sound is fairly well established at this point, and you could say the album offers nothing particularly new.   It’s getting increasingly more difficult to separate the group Hillsong from its youth-ministry counterpart Hillsong United.   Many songs on this album are more like the latter than the former; to the point where I think some older Hillsong listeners may not appreciate this as much.   On the other hand, it’s nice to see such a variety of worship leaders on each of the various songs.
  • Declare Your Name by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.   This is a different kind of CD for us, but my wife got into mass choir music awhile back, so I picked this mostly for her.   With 14 songs, this is good value.   There are some of the expected solos, including some by guests Israel Houghton and Paul Baloche,  but it’s the pieces with the full choir sound that I enjoy the most.    This is worship music meets urban contemporary with results that should appeal to the audience of both genres.

October 28, 2009

Your God Is Too Misunderstood

In a world where we often speak of “brands” in Christian publishing, it’s unusual to see a publishing imprint where many different voices seem to speaking to one central mission or sharing one common voice.   Windblown Media has managed to do just that, pushing a giant “pause” button on some of our nearest and dearest views on both the Godhead;  and our views on the church — us — the way we interact together as the body, as well as within our families or mariages.

As with He Loves Me, The Shack, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, Bo’s Café, and now The Misunderstood God by Darin Hufford, readers are treated to a fresh perspective, one that is sure to bring about some agitation by those who would have us follow a God that is not a kindler, gentler deity.

The Misunderstood GodWhen I first flipped through the pages of The Misunderstood God, I was expecting something similar to the first half of Your God Is Too Small by J. B. Phillips.   I came to that book about a dozen years ago for the first time, and was astounded by how much my own God perspective was informed more by comparisons to other authority figures than informed by scripture itself.

While some people might see books like this as a giant piece of chalk (or marker) about to write on the giant blackboard (or whiteboard) everything one needs to know in terms of their doctrine of God, I prefer to see this kind of book as a giant eraser, cleaning off all those false doctrines and wrong views we’ve collected over the years.   Sometimes, such an eraser has to scrub a little bit harder to get some of those off the board so we can start fresh.

In fact, the first half of Your God Is Too Small by Phillips does just that type of deconstruction — in only about 60 pages of this rather small book — before reconstructing in the second half; but it’s the first half of the book that really packs the greatest punch.

darin huffordBut a few chapters into The Misunderstood God I finally figured out that the deconstruction and reconstruction takes place here on a chapter-by-chapter basis, using as its motif, I Corinthians 13.   I’ve heard people speak before on how the “Love is patient, love is kind…” passage can, if it’s true that ‘God is love,’ be read as, “God is patient, God is kind…”   I had just never seen it before as the key to healing misunderstandings we have about the nature of God.

The problem compounds for those who — in either J. B. Phillips’ generation or Darin Hufford’s generation — can’t embrace the idea of a kinder, gentler God because it would mean unsubscribing from all the lifelong beliefs they have held.   Many people are predisposed to being angry because their God is angry.   Actually, I heard that years ago at a music festival where a speaker suggested — in jest — the following worship lyrics:

He is Lord!
He is Lord!
He has risen from the dead
And blown his  stack!

I remember everyone laughing at the absurdity of those lyrics, but really, that’s the God-picture that’s more dominant in our minds.   Which is why the Windblown books, particular He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobsen and The Misunderstood God are so badly needed.

I do think there are some rough edges in the writing.   A few sentences left me wide-eyed wondering, “Did he really mean to say that?”  I thought of marking pages as I was reading, but then I figured the critics will find these soon enough.

What matters most here is that books like this are refreshing to the soul.    Maybe the chalk (or the marker) is needed, but the eraser first has to get rid of everything previously written.  Books like this are rare, which makes them a breath of fresh air.

God loves you.   God is love.   He is a loving God.    Yes, he is a God of justice and yes, he has shown his judgment of sin in the past and will do so again.   But the latter has been inscribed on our minds much more than the former, which needs to be said again and again, if only to be given equal time.

God loves you.  God is love.   He is a loving God.   Just say that out loud a few times.

God loves me.  God is love.   He is my loving God.

For a quotation from the book, link back to this post here a few days ago.

For He Loves Me, here’s my review from December 16, 2008, a remix review from May 3rd.

For So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore, here’s my review from April 19, 2008.

For Bo’s Café, here’s my recent review from September 14, 2009.

he loves methe shackSo You Don't Want To GoBo's CaféThe Misunderstood God

Pictured:  book cover, Darin Hufford, Windblown Media family of titles.

October 18, 2009

The Misunderstood God: Preview of Darin Hufford Book

In case you think I’ve forgotten, I decided to save my review of The Misunderstood God by Darin Hufford (Windblown Media) until a day closer to the November 2nd release date, when — in terms of people who still purchase from actual stores — it can do the most good.

But I wanted to give y’all a chapter fragment to chew on and tell me what ya think:


God Is Not Self-Seeking

The Misunderstood GodGod did not send his only son to die because God was so offended by sin that he needed to whack somebody in order to feel better.  A “sin offering” is not made to God.  A sin offering is an offering made to sin.  Sin is a beast that wants to devour us.  Imagine you are camping in the wilderness alone and you come upon a grizzly.  The moment that bear sees you and begins running toward you, I promise you this: you had better come bearing gifts! If you have nothing to offer that beast he will devour you.  The sacrifice on the cross was essentially Christ throwing himself in front of the beast on your behalf and allowing it to consume Him while you escaped.  Jesus did not die on the cross to satisfy God’s moral rage at your sin.  He died to save you from the beast of sin.  The death he died to sin once for all.

~Darin Hufford, The Misunderstood God (Windblown Media, November 2009) pp 97-98

September 24, 2009

Currently Reading: The Misunderstood God

Filed under: books — Tags: , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:55 pm

Just three chapters in, The Misunderstood God by Darin Hufford reminds me a lot of Your God Is Too Small by J. B. Phillips.   Only this time, with I Cor. 13 as a frame of reference.    This is yet another new project from the publishers of The Shack, this one releasing mid November.

I’ll have a full review in about a week.  In the meantime, as we often do at Thinking Out Loud, here’s what the publishers have to say about their own book:

The Misunderstood GodHave you ever listened to a preacher talk about God and thought, “That doesn’t sound like God.” Millions have become repulsed by the God some churches present. From birth, many Christians have been bombarded with so many contradictory teachings and doctrines that their understanding of God resembles a tightly tangled ball of Christmas tree lights. The Misunderstood God throws out that twisted mess and replaces it with the soft, warm light of truth.

With so many confusing teachings about God and countless contradictions, misunderstandings, outright scams, and simplistic, fear-based teachings, how can we really know who God is for ourselves? The Misunderstood God analyzes some of the most common claims about God’s heart and personality, and measures them against what God has called Himself: perfect love.

Currently listening toFearless by Phillips, Craig & Dean.
Currently watching on YouTube:  Clips from the cast of Big Bang Theory at Comic Con.
Current variation of Solitaire from Pretty Good Solitaire: Antares (but Penguin, Tuxedo and Fifteen Puzzle are still my favorites).  If you feel you need 725 variations of solitaire, click here.  (Note to Baptists:  Images of playing cards may appear on screen.)

September 14, 2009

The Shack Publisher Releases Third Fiction Title

Divorce Lawyer

You come home from work and your spouse says something — something possibly containing a minuscule, trace amount of irritation — and you react to it.   Then he/she reacts to your reaction.   Then it gets loud.   Then it crosses the line to where you’re saying things you instinctively know as you are saying them that you are going to have to apologize later. Or worse.

I sometimes have anger issues.   I admit that.  I think a lot of people do, and I think that we live in times that leave us vulnerable to stress factors that manifest themselves in different ways in different people.   Fortunately for me — and my wife — it’s nothing like Steven Kerner, however.   He’s the lead character in the book Bo’s Café, and he is given to what may only be described as serial rage.   Every discussion with his wife escalates into something it shouldn’t.   He can’t help but keep messing up, and then there’s no turning back.

Bo's CaféBo’s Café is the third fiction work from Windblown Media, publishers of The Shack and only the fourth book the upstart company has released.   (A second non-fiction book is due out in November.)   This time around there are three authors, Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch, and the setting is an area quite familiar to me, the environs of Los Angeles, California.

And yes, there is a Bo and there is a café but there’s also a bar and Steven’s life is greatly impacted by a guy who smokes, so the Shack-bashers who are now predisposed to despise anything from Windblown will have something to work with.  (see: Sarcasm)  The theme this time around however is marriage, family and our need as humans — including Christians — to come to terms with who we are and build in controls against the knee-jerk reactions we have when someone — especially a spouse — pushes our buttons.

Therefore, don’t look for a fictional treatment on the nature of God this time around.  Bo’s is so much about marriage, I suspect it will land on a lot of bookstore shelves next to Fireproof. In a way, the two form a perfect set.

Like Shack, this title uses what might be termed Socratic dialog (Br.: dialogue) named after the didactic writing in The Republic of Plato. Conversation that teaches.    Words that cut to the heart of issues; our issues.   There was one part, early on in reading, that I wondered if they had pushed that agenda too much to the forefront; if the book was too preachy.   But the moment passed, and I settled in to find out what was in store both for the quirkly characters and for Steven, who I truly believe represents you and I.

The book has another similarity to Shack inasmuch as I think it will attract more male readers than one normally expects with Christian fiction.   Steve is helped greatly by Andy, a guy who just turns up in his life, which will also remind readers of Dinner With A Perfect Stranger by David Gregory, The Noticer by Andy Andrews, and Windblown’s other fiction title, So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore by Jake Colsen (the pseudonym of Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman).   Those books all scored high with male readers as well.

The book has several messages, and I’m sure other reviewers will have a different take on this; but my personal revelation in reading was that personal change takes place over time, not overnight.   Like Shack, this book is expected to score some sales in the general market, as well as the Christian market, and very appropriately Steven Kerner’s faith and belief in God is like a soundtrack running softly in the background, not something that’s in your face awkwardly on occasions the writers feel the need to ‘say something religious.’

This is a book that will save lives.   Marriages in particular.   This is a book that couples should read.   (We both finished within days of each other.)   Days later, I found myself on a website where the blogger was lamenting the lack of someone to talk with.   The book inspired me to suggest that a listening ear is not too far away.  You just have to be looking, to be open, or even to ask, “Do you know someone who is known to be a really good listener?”

This book shows the power of a good listening ear. We all need someone like that.

Comments:  This book review has been tagged ‘The Shack,’ but it’s not the forum for Shack-bashing and such comments will be deleted.   On the other hand if there’s something in this post you want to discuss, feel free.


September 6, 2009

Currently Reading: Bo’s Café

Filed under: books, marriage — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:41 pm

Bo's CaféAs the TV announcer might say, “NEW! From the people who brought you The Shack…”   Well, it’s from the same publisher at least.  That factor alone may be significant in the success of this book.    I’m currently a hundred pages in; similarities between this and the aforementioned Wm. Paul Young novel are many — I’ll do a full review when I’ve completely finished — and once again, I think we’re looking at a piece of Christian fiction that men, as well as women, will read.    I’ll save further remarks for the full review, but make sure this book is on your radar this month.

Bo’s Cafe – A Novel by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, John Lynch (Windblown Media)

August 21, 2009

Scene and Herd: Life Around the Blogosphere

linksHere are some random things that caught my attention this week.   If you have a must-see post you want to contribute, feel free to add a comment with the appropriate link.

  • The visual blog Churchy Design has moved to its new home at Tumblr.   It’s not entirely about church architecture, but more related to just about anything concerned with  “…how designers within the big-C Church are using their aesthetic sensibilities to communicate, illustrate, critique, expose, and explore matters of their faith.”

  • Want to settle all that worship music tension at the place you call church?  Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger suggest six guiding principles in a Christianity Today article, Here We Are To Worship“The best array of worship forms will illustrate that the church is both embedded in culture, speaking through its constantly changing forms, and also a countercultural community, one that represents transcendent values and truths that confront culture’s fallenness.”
  • In one of his best posts ever, earlier this week Jon Acuff  at Stuff Christians Like looked at the Evangelical cultural oddity we know as The Husband and Wife Ministry Team.   “My wife isn’t a big bun fan, but from what I can remember, the two hairstyle options for the wife in the Husband & Wife Ministry Team are either buns or a beehive with the thickness and girth of a car radiator.”
  • It’s been two years now since the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minnesota, but a  post of John Piper explaining it to his daughter is still hanging in the air, especially the air around blogger Bill Kinnon.   Piper: ”  God did not do anything wrong. God always does what is wise. And you and I know that God could have held up that bridge with one hand…with his pinky. Which means that God had a purpose for not holding up that bridge, knowing all that would happen, and he is infinitely wise in all that he wills.” What role does God play when things like that happen.   Darryl Dash keeps the discussion going this week at Dashhouse.com.
  • From our totally-outside-the-box department, comes a link to, of all things, The New Humanist blog with their predictable poke at all major religions in the form of a card game called God Trumps.   You’ll want to click on the individual cards to read them in detail.   You’ll find set one here and set two hereThe weapon of choice for JWs is listed as “foot in door”, while for Anglicans it’s “tutting loudly”. For the Catholics – “the Pope mobile”, Born Again Christians have “televangelists” and “threats of hell fire” …. gulp – did someone say hell fire? [HT: Mark Randall at Pragmatic-Eclectic from whence the quotation comes.]
  • Bo's CaféKeep your eyes posted on Windblown Media — the people who brought us The Shack — for a new novel, Bo’s Café, authored by Bruce McNicol, Bill Thrall and John Lynch.   Advance publicity describes it as “… a model for all who struggle with unresolved problems and a performance-based life. Those who desire a fuller, more authentic way of living will find this journey of healing a restorative exploration of God’s unbridled grace.” Street date: September 1st.
  • Finally, if you can handle another John Piper disaster-related story, it seems the the ECLA, a Lutheran denomination, is joining many Anglicans  in a softened stance towards homosexuality.   But as they met in Minneapolis, a tornado roared through.   Piper — and he was probably not alone — suggested that God may be trying to tell them something.  He blogged, “the tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin.” But another pastor in the same town, Greg Boyd, just doesn’t see God working that way. “I have an alternative interpretation of tornado behavior to offer. They have nothing to do with how pro-gay or how sinful people are and everything to do with where people happen to live.” and “…there are over 400 distinct passages encompassing over 3,000 verses in the Bible that address issues related to poverty…  In light of this, wouldn’t you assume that if God was going to send warnings and/or inflict punishment with tornados he’d strike some of the many American churches and denominations that condone, if not Christianize, greed and apathy toward the poor?”
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