Thinking Out Loud

May 18, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Too Much ApologeticsBefore we begin, a reminder that Saturday we did a Weekend Link List. A big one. With links… The graphic at right was sourced in a 2013 blog post at Barenuckle Bible.

It’s been a long time since we caught up with our friends at Mainline Memorial Church in the comic For Heaven’s Sake by Mike Morgan, so we’re going for doubles:

For Heaven's Sake - Thorn in the Flesh - 4 25 2016


For Heaven's Sake - Spoke in Tongues - 5 14 2016

May 14, 2016

Weekend Link List

Don't Be Captivated
Sometimes in our quest for a weekly cartoon, we forget that David Hayward aka The Naked Pastor, has been faithfully producing them longer than some of you have owned computers. The ones that make you think are provided at no extra charge…

List Lynx: "Every once in awhile I have to work a Saturday."

List Lynx: “Every once in awhile I have to work a Saturday.”

…Meanwhile, a mix of the sacred, the serious and the silly; this time in no particular order.

Public Notice: “Will link for food.” If anyone out there with a major Christian website and a budget is interested in leasing the Wednesday Link List as Christianity Today & Leadership Journal did, contact me via Twitter. 

Also, I have a birthday coming up. If anyone asks, I want large checks.

Large checks

May 11, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Jake Wilkerson, a disillusioned young pastor who is an expert at hiding his fears, takes on a new assignment in a small, rural church in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It’s a far piece from anywhere and full of curiously odd and eccentric people, including Sally Grainger, a single woman and veterinarian who dismisses all Christians as “those people,” and Tassy, a young runaway with a secret. His first day on the job, however, Jake is adopted by Petey, a cat of unknown origins and breed, but of great perception. Petey believes that he is on a mission from God to redeem Jake and bring him and his quirky friends back to the truth.

Jake Wilkerson, a disillusioned young pastor who is an expert at hiding his fears, takes on a new assignment in a small, rural church in Coudersport, Pennsylvania.  His first day on the job,  Jake is adopted by Petey, a cat of unknown origins and breed, but of great perception. Petey believes that he is on a mission from God to redeem Jake and bring him and his quirky friends back to the truth.

For those of you who only show up here on Wednesdays, don’t miss an article which ran here Monday on a strange conference which got more publicity by being cancelled than it had in advance. While organizers denied it was about child marriage or arranged marriage, it did have a lot in common with speed dating. Check out the bizarre world of the organization known as Let Them Marry.

Now on to today’s link list:

Early Phil Vischer Podcast

Hidden away on Christian Taylor’s website is this early pic of an audio-only episode of the Phil Vischer Podcast.

 

May 4, 2016

Wednesday Link List

From Shorpy.com: The Church of the Wild Wood, First Wesley Methodist Episcopal is seen in 1912 before the first coat of stucco is applied.

From Shorpy.com: The Church of the Wild Wood, First Wesley Methodist Episcopal is seen in 1912 before the first coat of stucco is applied.

It’s May already! While we like the news items and the weird stories, if you know someone who is consistently doing good writing online, send me a link so we can feature them here.  Meanwhile, sit back, enjoy the list, and try to forget last night’s primary results.

Jesus - Obituary

April 27, 2016

Wednesday Link List

We kick off with another insight from InterVarsity’s TwentyOneHundred Productions Facebook page. Click the image to see more.

Jesus Myers Briggs

If you know Mussorgsky, or if your tastes run more to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, you'll get the reference in this title.

If you know Mussorgsky, or if your tastes run more to Emerson, Lake & Palmer, you’ll get the reference in this title.

And now on to this week’s features. Remember, if it’s not on the link list, it didn’t happen!

religion_vs_spirituality


Digging a Little Deeper

From the creator of Thinking Out Loud, check out Christianity 201. Guaranteed distraction-free faith blogging with fresh posts every day. www.Christianity201.wordpress.com

April 20, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Perkatory

This week WordPress messed around with their ‘classic’ editor in a way that made inserting the links a longer, two-step process. We try to link here so that stories open in a new tab so you can keep the list open at the same time. It’s hard to believe that they are now creating a system that defaults to move people away from the WordPress source blogs, but with some extra work we overrode this.

It’s hard to find any links this week that top Pope Francis bringing 12 refugees to The Vatican. (Pope to dining room manager: “You need to set some extra places for lunch.”) It was just another example of how this Pope is shaking things up. It was also a very Christ-like thing to do. If you missed it, I’ll let you find this one on your own.

 

Jesus Parabolas


Special thanks this week to those of you who sent link suggestions! I think we used them all.

April 15, 2016

Believe in Free Will? T4G Says You Can’t Worship

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:45 am

Together for the Gospel - ConstituenciesI screamed so loud when this came up in the Together for the Gospel (T4G) feed yesterday, that I’m surprised if you didn’t hear it where you live.

The comment was that if you believe in free will (the term used was Semi-Pelagianism) then you can’t really worship because “you’re giving the credit to yourself.”

Yes. Someone actually said that.

The Wikipedia article linked above says,

The Roman Catholic Church condemns Semipelagianism but affirms that the beginning of faith involves an act of free will. It teaches that the initiative comes from God, but requires free synergy (collaboration) on the part of man: “God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration”

Of course many consider Semi-P. to be a heretical doctrine, including Christian Research & Apologetics Ministry, but while the term is pejorative, the doctrine underlying it — dealing with the tension between who is working in the salvation process, or whether we are, as Bruxy Cavey calls it, “chosen and choosing” — is common to many including Free Will Baptists, Arminians, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Holiness Denominations, Catholics, etc., just to name a few.

Calvinists call this free will view Synergism, as opposed to their belief of Monergism, the idea that is somewhat of an anti-free-will view; the idea that election is unconditional and irresistible; the implication that ‘God is going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.’ (Okay, that’s a bit of mis-characterization, but it was… irresistible.) While Monergism might be seen as a tidy fit with sola gratia, that doctrine is more of an extension of sola fide, and has more to do with the contrast between works-based and grace-based salvation than about the idea of how we come to Christ or how the Holy Spirit might draw a person toward Christ. You can read more about the five sola doctrines at this link. (I apologize for using Wikipedia, but it was late last night, and the articles are reasonably good.)

…So back to our topic. The T4G people are making the rather absurd statement that, for example, Pentecostals cannot fully be worshiping God. That when they’re singing, “How Great is our God,” they are somehow extolling themselves; that their worship is not Christ-centered because they dared to choose to follow Jesus, and messed up all of His predestinating. (I just made that word up, but I really like it.) 

Equally baffling is the concept that when we worship, we only worship God for saving us (which is really praise, not worship) and not for his majesty, power, love and holiness…

…Worse however, is that they can’t simply sit back and have their conference without taking a shot at those outside their walls.

This is simply unconscionable


Of course, this may not have been the worst thing that happened yesterday at T4G. Also echoed here.


I’m away most of the daytime today, but will eventually post any comments received. I realize some may disagree, and that it is their duty to do so.

 

 

April 13, 2016

Wednesday Link List

It is more blessed to give than to retrieve

Once again this week we tried to balance the weird and wacky links with those having redeeming ministry and leadership value. Your clicks will tell us if we succeeded.

Fear of Heights card at Zazzle dot com

April 6, 2016

Wednesday Link List

Sound Doctrine

We’re back with another week of stories and opinion pieces to distract you from doing your income tax return.  Want to send this link list to someone by email? Copy this link to them:  http://wp.me/pfdhA-7PG

Raccoon WorshipRaccoon Worship Service

April 1, 2016

A Radio Music Programmer Responds to Modern Worship

After my wife opened up a worship music can of worms yesterday, our good friend, veteran Canadian Christian broadcaster, and satellite music channel programmer Lorne Anderson wrote to weigh in with an article previously composed for MoreRadio, a radio trade journal. You can read more of his writing each and every day at Random Thoughts from Lorne.

Lorne Anderson headshotMORE OR LESS WORSHIP MUSIC?

The first Christian song I played on the radio, in 1979, was a worship tune. I didn’t think of it as a worship song, it just laid out what I wanted to do with this new radio show. The performer was Steve Camp, the song a cover version of Larry Norman’s “If I Were A Singer.”

The last song I announced when I left CHRI-FM in 2006 was also a worship song – Steve Taylor, “I Just Wanna Know.”

By strict definition both those songs could be classified as worship, in that they are prayers directed towards God. However they aren’t suited for congregational singing. They are worship, but from a personal perspective.

When MoreRadio Magazine asked Canadian radio programmers if we were still in the worship music trend, I got to thinking about worship music and radio. I had just finished leading an 18 week seminar on worship at my church, so the topic has been somewhat on my mind lately. I asked the publisher if there was room for more than the usual couple of lines, and he suggested I share these thoughts.

I am a fan of worship music. It can life up the spirits when you’re feeling down, it draws you closer to God and to his people when you group together to sing His praises.

But I’m not a big fan of worship music on the radio, even though I play a lot of it myself. These days we all do. It has been the trend in recent years. Take a look at a recent radio chart, whether it is CCRC, Billboard or whatever, worship artists and worship songs are a much larger percentage than even five years ago – up to 50% depending on the week. Some of it is very good. Some is quite mediocre (though we don’t like to admit that). But does any of it belong on the radio?

What is the purpose of Christian radio, especially in Canada? Back in the 1970s there were no Christian radio stations here (history lesson another time maybe). The very few contemporary Christian music programs were in hard fought for slots (usually Sunday mornings) on secular stations, which is how I started. The CRTC [our equivalent of the FCC] held hearings into religious broadcasting in 1982 and kept the status quo. It was another decade before they changed their policy, and it took longer for stations to appear.

Worship music on Christian radioThose of us who were around before the policy change were excited about Christian musicians who were expressing their faith in an accessible, contemporary form. As a radio disc jockey, my all-time favourite listener call came from someone looking for some Led Zeppelin to spice up his Sunday morning. I explained I couldn’t play them because they didn’t fit the format, I was only playing Christian music. The response (edited for obvious reasons): “Holy bleep, you mean this bleeping bleep is bleeping Jesus music? It’s bleeping fantastic.” You don’t get phone calls like that when you’re playing worship music. You just don’t reach that audience.

Christian music programming in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, and when Christian stations first began being licensed, was aimed at much at non-believers as believers. When Bob Du Broy started CHRI-FM in Ottawa in 1997 he wanted at least one song an hour to be something recognizable, accessible to the non-Christian that would draw them in. (That was a nice idea in theory, in practice it meant a lot of bad cover songs and the practice was discontinued.)

The shift in musical emphasis to programming worship music says to me that we have abandoned our early desire to reach our communities with the gospel in musical form and instead are opting to feed the sheep. Admittedly the sheep do need to be fed, but are they the ones with the greatest need? What happened to our original calling?

And I won’t even go into the quality issue. In an interview with me more than 35 years ago, Bruce Cockburn, talking about what he liked and disliked about Christian music, said “most Christian music is crap, and crap for Christ’s sake is still crap.” Sadly little has changed.

To the non-Christian who accidentally finds a Christian radio station, worship music is a stumbling block. It’s not something they can relate to, not yet anyway. It’s a reason to change the channel, it just sounds too different. When radio programmers play a lot of worship music we’re narrowcasting. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what we’ve decided to do. But I don’t think we made a conscious decision to narrow our focus, it happened slowly, almost imperceptibly and many of us haven’t realized that we have abandoned our original vision to take Christ into our communities through radio.

So who do we want to reach, and how do we best reach them? What is the purpose and the vision for Christian radio in Canada (and the USA)? Is it worship music for the Church, or accessible artistic expressions of Christian faith and life?


Lorne Anderson is a veteran broadcaster and musicologist who programs “The Light” for Stingray Music. The channel is heard on cable television systems and satellite broadcast in Canada and the US.

 

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