- For those of you really into links, note that the blog aggregator Alltop has been reformatted. You can read the intro or a summary (depending on the source) to each article now by simply waving your mouse over the links at their site. Check out Alltop Church and Alltop Christianity. (So grateful to be in such great company at this site!)
- If you missed it, this past Saturday there was a shorter Weekend Link List.
- The #IamAChristian graphic below is sized-ready for your Facebook profile pic and ties in with the UCC shooting last week, a rather sobering thought as you post it.
Now, on to this week’s catch…
- Martin Pistorius, aka the Ghost Boy, was featured recently at TED Talks.
- Thinking about Artificial Intelligence: “While strong AI will certainly be able to perceive more ethical nuances to any given problem, we should also consider that they will likewise be able to process information exponentially more quickly as well. This means that the process of spiritual formation for AI will potentially be exponentially faster than that of a human being.”
- If I could live my late teens and early 20s over again, I would definitely have gone to an Urbana conference.
- Horror Story: Nine years ago her son shot and killed ten Amish schoolgirls.
- Essay of the Week: Or in this case we could call this “essay of the weak” since Christian apologist Paul Copan looks at the ‘Christianity is just a crutch’ charge, and also looks at the role of absent fathers in atheism.
- They are restricted by the number of available titles, but there are Christian bookstores in China. Yes, China. And there are actually about 250 of them.
- Profile of the Week: A look at Willie Morris, founder of Faithbox.
- Unplanned Parallel: Before we get to smug about the idea of de-funding Planned Parenthood, there are similarities in that story to the emerging concerns about tax exemptions for churches.
- A worship leader is not just a purveyor of playlists, or as this author puts it, You are not an iPod.
- What do Hell, Jerry Lee Lewis and declining church attendance in Scotland have in common?
- Uniquely U.S. Problems Department: Tyler Braun looks at the question of race as it relates to the education of children, and how that relates to parental decision-making.
- Years ago there was a reality show where people would get voted off with the words, “…You are the weakest link.” For some reason I thought of that when I saw this article on the Biblical phrase, ‘the weaker vessel.’
- Biblical Time Travel: Abraham and David apply to have a marriage license issued by Kim Davis.
- Virtual Reality in the Church: A 17-podcast on how churches can leverage the technology.
- Church Metrics: Barna Research looks at life in the U.S. in a post-Christian era.
- Crowdfunding Project of the Week: This Canadian Baptist pastor is 3/4ths of the way to funding for the book Art of the Christian Ninja. You can also follow author Allan Descheneau at the blog of the same name.
- Two-for-One Special with Pastor Austin Fischer: First a fresh look at the Reformed doctrine called Mongerism…
- …Worship as a Concert: “It seems to me that worship doesn’t need to be less like a concert so much as it needs to be less like a bad concert and more like a good one… At a great concert you get immersed, you lose yourself, you feel connected to the people around you, you feel alive.”
- If US President Obama could give America an alternate ending to the gun control issue, it would probably look a lot like Australia.
- Some former staff members of Gospel for Asia speak out after the organization was de-listed by EFCA, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
- Snapshot of an Historic Moment: The text of the sermon through which Charles Spurgeon was converted.
- Hate interruptions? A parenting moment where Dietrich Bonhoeffer meets Dr. Suess…
- …Possibly related marriage checkup: Just ’cause she’s home (or he’s home) does that mean she (or he) has to do all the housework, or should those chores be divided more equitably?
- Here’s another interview with Alan Chambers, on his book My Exodus.
- Looking for a Hero: Sarah Bessy deconstructs Dr. Who. Quoting the Executive Producer, “And they didn’t give him a superpower or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. They gave him two hearts. And that’s an extraordinary thing…”
- ‘He who lives by the blog post…’ First Doug Wilson wrote this (with a provocative title like ‘Why Christian Chicks are Hot;’ then a day later, this response.
- The title of this article may be offensive to some readers. (Let’s call it, “Who would Jesus tick off.”
- Early adopters of the .tv TLD who named their ministry after their website; and early pioneers of the multi-site church concept; LifeChurch.TV is now branded Life.church.
- My wife Ruth has been off work (without pay) for six weeks due to a sprained ankle. Rather than focus on convalescence, she’s been recording some of her songs, including this treatment of Psalm 121, called Lift Your Eyes. (If you appreciate what we do here at Thinking Out Loud, for just a buck you can send us some encouragement.)
- Dave Aubrey is the winner of the Praise Charts Summer 2015 Song Quest contest.
- Coming to a screen very near you: Two Karen Kingsbury novels are adapted for television.
- If you renege on a RSVP promise to attend a wedding, should you be billed for your meal?
We end with a personal favorite from the new Christmas Worship Volume Two by Paul Baloche. In this song Rita Baloche combines beautiful lyrics with a classic tune:
Bruxy Cavey, pastor of Canada’s fastest growing church movement, The Meeting House family of churches, got a tattoo over the summer. Click the image to see the verse reference.
…And now, I hereby declare these links officially open.
UPDATE: 8 AM, Wednesday: Of all the various things I could link to this morning concerning the execution earlier today of Kelly Gissendaner, the one I bring you is simply the brief Twitter thoughts of one of the three media people called to witness the lethal injection, Jeff Hullinger of WXIA-TV.
- The “How’s Your Faith?” question is being played out in many arenas, including Joe Biden’s guest spot with Stephen Colbert.
- Intrigue Department: Are the Sovereign Grace people and the Southern Baptists getting really cozy? As usual, Spiritual Sounding Board does the research.
- Rethinking Pascal’s Wager: “I propose to reformulate Pascal’s wager as urging those who doubt God’s existence to embrace a doubt of desire rather than a doubt of indifference.” Read more at the New York Times Philosophy Department.
- Dredging up the past is never easy, but necessary when you’re promoting a book which dredges up the past.
- The Christian Century looks at the background of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. “Before Go Set a Watchman was published, one of Miss Nelle’s longtime friends, a Baptist preacher and scholar named Wayne Flynt, offered a prediction based on its title, which comes from Isaiah 21: ‘For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.’ Flynt was sure that it would honor her father. “It’s clear she thinks her father was a watchman for the town.”
- The religious press loves Nadia, but so do I. She makes this non-sacramental Evangelical think. Like, “…we need to hear the gospel and receive the Eucharist at least once a week. At least. Because we have so many competing messages entering our eyes…”
- Apparently a popular religious figure visited the United States last week. CNN debriefs the week religion topped the news.
- After a four-week run in four test markets, the television show T. D. Jakes Today is being prepared for national launch in Fall 2016.
- Enjoy the link list each week? For just a buck you can encourage us by buying a download of my wife’s latest song.
- Essay-of-the-Week: How that fantasy romantic relationship in your head can be hurting your heart. Leadership Lessons:
- Ten reasons for pastors and churches to make a congregational connection with a weekly email.
- With Christian bookstores closing everywhere, it’s always good to hear about stores expanding, even if it means crossing over to the dark side.
- During the Sunday morning announcements a Florida woman learned that her husband of 21 years had married someone else in the church.
- Don’t you hate it when someone is like, “As it says in Isaiah…” and the quotation is actually from Malachi? Well some unbelievers like to jump all over this apparent Bible contradiction.
- According to Robert Morris, blogs like ours are gossip and pastors and leaders held to accountability by bloggers are on Satan’s hit list.
- The September Young Influencers list is out.
- Porn has reached the 80% saturation point. “Some have said that Internet porn may well be replacing sex-ed for children in this digital age.” More at Focus on the Family’s media blog, Plugged In.
- I Know What You Did Last Sunday: This website lets you tune in to worship sets from contributing churches.
- Learning from our friends in the UK: Do church planters and missional workers target high-rise or townhouse complexes on this side of the pond? Check out the National Estate Churches Network (NECN).
- Thinking Out Loud is never monetized, but if you like what we do here, for just $7 you can buy a download of Ruth’s homemade Christmas album. Listen carefully and you might even hear yours truly.
- The Apple Stores: Are they sacred spaces? “Apple Release Day—the Feast of St. Jobs.”
- Ann Spangler names names in a teaser summary of her new book, Wicked Women of the Bible.
- Testimony-of-the-Week: A former Muslim talks to CBN News about the contrasts between the Koran and the Bible.
- Switcheroo: I love stories where, instead of a church meeting in a community center, the church is building the community center. In this case, in Anchorage, Alaska.
- All the cool adults are doing it: The latest publishing trend is adult coloring books and for many there’s a spiritual dimension to the current fad.
- At 59, Gospel music icon Sandy Patti is retiring.
- In the UK, a Christian bookstore chain and an online Christian store merge their warehouse operations.
- Listening to as I prepare this week’s links: Someone kindly posted the full album of Home by Josh Garrels.
- Writers can be protective of their stuff, but cartoonists even more so. I’m thinking of that in context that in the early days we often would begin or end these link lists with the Baptist Press artists, and wish there was still a way to share their material.
Got a link suggestion? Try to get it to us by 7:00 PM EST Tuesday.
If the thought of planning another church Christmas pageant leaves you nauseous, you might want to pick up a copy of the above book. Details at the aptly named Church Marketing Sucks.
Anyway, last week on Twitter when we did that week’s “most clicked” list, I noted that we seem to have kept many readers from the PARSE days, based on the links you find most interesting, so this week we have an extra dose of church leadership articles.
- From the very outset, when Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope on March 13, 2013, the name he chose sent a very clear signal…
- …And here’s the reason the Pope is in the U.S.A. right now…
- …Meanwhile, author Steve Wohlberg responds to the Pope’s visit.
- Essay of the Week: Does your house give off a Jesus vibe? If not, more plaques, and crosses and bumper stickers might do the trick. “These days, when I see an Evangelical whose life is a walking billboard for the Christian Ghetto, I immediately doubt they are what they say they are. They are trying too hard to be viewed as a Christian.” Warning: This article has a high snark quotient.
- Church Demographics (1): The back-and-forth transfer growth (which isn’t net growth at all) that happens in the modern, consumeristic church is compared to The Crusades as a tragic, black mark on church history. “Everything looks and feels great among these entertainment-driven churches. There’s some really good stuff that would work well in the business and marketing world. But something is also lacking, gravely lacking. The back door is just as wide as the front. Depth and sincerity are abandoned. Nothing is taking root in good soil. We’re not truly transforming lives and neighborhoods.”
- Church Demographics (2): “Just nine months prior, we had brought them onto our staff with only one assignment—to plan for their church launch and take as many of our members with them as they could. These four had done what we asked: they were taking 200 of our active members…Their lists included personal friends, favorite musicians, key volunteers, and leaders. People I did not want to lose. Leaders whose absence would leave significant gaps. This was going to be much harder than I had thought.”
- Church Demographics (3): 10 Predictions about the future, and no, Carey Neiuwhouf doesn’t think it’s going to be all about online church.
- Church Demographics (4): The last Catholic priest in residence departs Antarctica. (64-sec. video)
- How to crash your computer’s Bible concordance: Donald Trump has a favorite Bible verse, the one that says “Never bend to envy.”
- Pastoral Transitions: A pastor who names his own successor is usually breaking an unwritten rule, but one writer defends that process. “The solution isn’t to build a better search committee, but for pastors to understand that their leadership is vitally important at that vulnerable point in the life of a church.”
- Plagiarism watchdog Janet Mefferd is back on the air. The new one-hour format launched last week, and initial guests included Ken Ham, Tony Perkins and Max Lucado. Give it a listen.
- Someone sent me earlier to a New York Times article about “boy play,” and while skimming the article, I noticed a serious omission. “Since Afghanistan is governed by sharia law, which forbids sodomy and sex before marriage, how do news organizations explain this Muslim culture’s long history of men forcing boys into sexual slavery?” That quotation is from Terry Mattingly at Get Religion, to whom the omission was also glaring.
- Anne Graham Lotz reflects on the loss of her husband Danny as an example of the hurricanes life can throw at us.
- No, as a matter of fact I don’t plan to stop raising awareness of imprisoned U.S. pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran. In this update a family member was recently allowed a visit.
- Blog Item of the Week: This writer sees the methodology used by the American megachurch akin to an athlete using performance-enhancing drugs.
- Equal Time: Timothy Keller responds to three popular objections to the doctrine of divine election. (No, Mr. Trump; not that type of election.)
- Church Planter Dilemma: It’s a church plant. Everybody is new. So how do you come up with an elder’s board? “Just because a person was an elder in another church, is older, or used to be a pastor, does not mean he should be an elder in your church.”
- Agree or Disagree? 5 Reasons why kids should be in the main (adult) service on a regular basis. Sample: “Imagine the culture shock of a child who has been in church all of his life but has never been in the main service.”
- You don’t hear the term too often, but the ‘pastor-scholar’ should not exist in one writer’s view, because they are two different callings.
- An update on the statue of Billy Graham planned for the U.S. capital.
- When you think “Christian media” you might not think of the organization that Wikipedia describes as “The largest Christian media organization in the world, it uses medium-wave or high-powered AM and shortwave transmitters, local FM radio stations, cable, satellite, Internet, and mobile device technologies. Currently, their programs can be heard in 160 countries in more than 230 languages and dialects.” Revisit Trans World Radio.
- Video Venues: Robert Morris has decided the people who attend the 4:00 PM service will no longer be seeing him preach live.
- I don’t know journalist Mary Katharine Ham from Fox News, but was so sad to read of her husband’s passing.
- Brian C. Stiller, the Global Ambassador of the World Evangelical Alliance, reports on his trip to Albania.
- Parental Advisory: The new Muppet Show debuting on ABC is for adults, not kids.
- First Persona Account: A reporter is sent to Nazareth to profile a controversial teacher named Jesus.
- New Music Artist of the Week (1): The band Stars Go Dim and the song You Are Loved, which appears on the new Wow The Hits 2016 releasing Friday. (Couldn’t find an official video for this; will update if anyone locates it.)
- New Music Artist of the Week (2): Known simply as NF, the song I’ll Keep On is also one of the bonus tracks on Wow The Hits 2016 releasing Friday in North America. (Powerful, powerful lyrics.)
- Humble + Hungry + Hustle = H3. For a few more days enjoy some extras when ordering Brad Lomenick’s new leadership book in quantity.
- Not the Official Video Department: We were looking for this particular worship song for C201 last week, and found what is the strangest juxtaposition of audio track and video images. (No animals were injured in the making of this worship song.)
- This pastor spent most of last week inside a space capsule.
- Too bad the disciples didn’t have camera phones; that leaves it up to artists to provide us with images of Jesus, and these 9 are kinda creepy.
…We’re going to assume by this that North Point Community Church topped the Outreach Magazine list again this year. (Yes, they did.)
We apologize. A link appeared here earlier in the day from a blogger who has specifically asked us not to use his material.
Would you like to know how one regular Wednesday Link List reader, just by submitting news and opinion link ideas could win $500? So would a lot of people. We don’t have that contest. But we do love those of you who submit suggestions.
- Interview of the Week — Sam Smith: “Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, had just written his book. I was a megapastor in North Carolina and I invited Gary to come and speak. He came and spoke, and my oldest son, Blake, was 10 years old. He heard him speak, and then I went home … before the 2:30 deacon meeting. We were going to announce a multimillion-dollar plan… I said, ‘Blake, do you have any idea what your love language is? You heard Dr. Chapman.’ I was trying to do the Christian father thing. He said, ‘Dad, I do know my love language. My love language is time. You never give me any.'” Before leaders can care for others, they need to care for themselves, but confession is a Catch-22.
- The new guy on the late night television block is seen here in a 90-second teaser for an interview on faith matters with Salt and Life Television with Stephen Colbert.
- The Amplified Bible has been completely revamped. A brief explanation of the new formatting is found in one article which then links you to a passage comparison of Genesis 1.
- Question of the Week: Why is a large church in Anaheim, California planting a church in Park Rapids, Minnesota? A 150-second video has the answer.
- Emerging Adulthood: “The 21st century has also seen a radical shift in values. Many of our grandparents, having lived through the World Wars and Great Depression, were eager to say ‘I do,’ sign up for a mortgage, and start a large family. Our generation is not so sure.”
- Can a Southern Baptist embrace Calvinism and at the same time still be committed to the denom’s statement of faith in Baptist Faith and Mission?
- The former moderator of Sunday’s Meet the Press, David Gregory talks to CBS about his Jewish faith, his Protestant wife, and his departure from NBC.
- We often don’t think of people with developmental challenges or intellectual disabilities as a neglected mission field.
- With all the faith-interest movies playing right now, I hate to add one more to your list, but some of you might consider He Named Me Malala based on the book I Am Malala. Tony Jones attended a preview screening of the documentary opening October 2nd.
- Social Media Trend – The Divorce Selfie: “Despite the best of intentions of those happily posting… and the smiling faces they display after splitting up, it’s fundamentally a rejection of one’s partner. If that partner is the mother or father of your children, that person shares half of your child’s DNA. To celebrate the dissolution of the partnership that brought the child into being is deeply insulting to the core of a child’s identity—a child often not old enough or emotionally mature enough to explain this to you.”
- May cause your head to spin: The most convoluted aspect of televangelism you never knew existed. (Story requires multiple readings to make sense.)
- Did organizers for the Pope’s U.S. visit consider that he’s arriving on what is to Jews, the holiest night of the year?
- Got a blog of your own? Veteran Christian blogger Andrew Jones (Tall Skinny Kiwi) defines blogging as a high calling. (His ten points act as both a challenge and a checklist to those of us who do this.)
- Follow Up: The pastor of the church which hired Tullian Tchividjian explains the job’s responsibilities in light of the denomination’s restrictions on persons deposed of the responsibility of teaching elder.
- A Christian billionaire wants to buy the Syrian refugees their own island.
- 90 Minutes at the Theatre: Scot McKnight on the NDE (Near Death Experience) genre in books and movies.
- A Catholic response to Left Behind styled rapture theology.
- With a new book, Accidental Saints, The Atlantic profiles Nadia Bolz-Weber…
- …and Hillsong’s Brian Houston’s new book, Live Love Loud has released.
- At Christianity Today: Reports from the frontlines of the mission field ain’t what they used to be.
- It’s been awhile since I’ve linked to Brad Lomenick’s monthly Young Influencers List of next-generation people to watch, so here’s the link to July’s and the link to August’s.
- The Canadian Christian television journal Context talks to T. D. Jakes.
- Parenting Place: You’re not raising children, you’re raising adults.
- If there is a single player in the National Hockey League who lets his faith guide every aspect of his career, it’s Pittsburgh Penguins right-winger Eric Fehr. He’s just co-authored a book about child bullying.
- She stayed a virgin until marrying at age 37, but he had a past. “Because Diane had prayed for years that her spouse would share her sexual purity, Roger’s past became a significant issue for them to overcome.”
- Check out Jordan’s song, a beautiful music video dedicated to all those who have lost a child.
- A University of Texas professor tells his students, in writing, not to say ‘God bless you’ in his class.
- For fans of Phil Vischer’s What’s in the Bible, the video trailer for Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is now available.
- Remembering John Howard.
- Check out your odds of being declared a saint. (To start with, I would suspect being Roman Catholic helps.)
- Canadian Corner: When it comes to physician assisted suicide, doctors should be able to say, “I want nothing to do with this.”
- Last entered at the Dictionary of Christianese: Defining the 7-11 song.
- Worship Leaders: If you don’t want to 7-11 songs, check out worship sets from other churches at Worship Set Ideas.
- Jeremy Rosado, a finalist on American Idol series 11, released his full length inspirational album Heartbeat, August 28th. On weekends, he leads worship in Tampa.
- Video Oddity of the Week: I used this yesterday at C201, but if you missed it, here’s a rather different choice for background images for a worship song. (Andy Park’s “The River is Here.”)
- If you’re a Christian bookstore nerd like I am, the UK website for Eden books has pop-ups every 30 seconds or so, showing purchases in real time for whatever category of merchandise you’re viewing at that moment. Played right (or wrong) you could get a hint of that birthday CD you’re getting.
- Oral Roberts University is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
- Finally… “A billboard near the Rowan County clerk’s office where she works reads, “‘Dear Kim Davis, the fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.’ The sign is in reference to the Bible verse Exodus 21:7, which states, ‘If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.’ The scripture does not mention farm animals of any variety, but it refers to the fact that a male Jew sold into service to pay a debt was released after seven years, but a master could marry his female slave, meaning she stayed for life.” (See below.) Full story at Christian Science Monitor.
Which then led us to this one:
Here’s what some people wrote about since we last linked:
- The picture of the little boy on the Turkish beach joins an elite collection of photographs that changed the world.
- A Christian university in Edmonton, Canada is reaching out to one of the most infamous prisoners of the last decade.
- The questions was simple: “Do you truly and honestly feel that you are the head over your wife?” The answer was not: “I couldn’t believe that my own friends were objecting to me becoming an elder because they didn’t think I dominated over my wife.” …
- … From the same author, a tough question for Calvinists.
- The challenge for pastors who are asked to do weddings and funerals, but want it to be a non-religious service.
- This month marks 3 years of wrongful imprisonment for American Pastor Saeed. 3 years of torment. 3 years of pain. 3 years of suffering for his faith. He’s been abandoned by President Obama’s deal with Iran and targeted by prison raids. Sign the petition.
- An August funeral for a 19-year old ended with 47 people being baptized.
- Julia Dunn at Get Religion called this Orange County Register coverage of the 26th Greg Laurie crusade, “an evangelism story without the snark.”
- What if you retold the story of Adam and Eve, “but you didn’t know … which was Adam and which was the snake?” That’s the elevator pitch for the movie Z is for Zachariah.
- Being a little black girl starting school: “In Minneapolis alone, where my daughter is enrolled in school, 400 students from kindergarten and first grade were suspended in the last school year up from 246 in the previous year.” A mom’s fears placing her child “under the instruction of a white teacher within a white institution” and not being there for her.
- Leadership Lessons: Being authoritative without being authoritarian, or to put it differently, how to lead without being a jerk.
- Essay of the Week: On Christian films — “Evangelicalism is a word religion. I’m a big fan of words, but even talking pictures aren’t fundamentally about words. It’s no accident that the hall of fame for directors has a large share of Catholics (Fellini, Hitchcock, Scorsese), Orthodox (Tarkovsky, Eisenstein), and sacramental Protestants (Bergman, Malick). I suspect a more sacramentally oriented Evangelicalism, an Evangelicalism more attuned to types and symbols in Scripture, would make better films.”
- 7 Reasons to keep the term “church member.”
- “Drinking was once an affront in evangelical circles. The sight of a drinking Christian could have even unbelievers crying, ‘Hypocrite!’ Those days are behind us. Now, it is often those who refuse to imbibe who are in danger of being a stumbling block.”
- Last night Stephen Colbert took over The Late Show on CBS-TV. Here are six times he got very specific about matters of faith.
- Gotta Serve Somebody: “Brooklyn-born Messianic Jew Al Kasha, 75, the double Oscar winning songwriter who in 1978 prayed with Bob Dylan at a Bible study in his Beverly Hills home to receive Christ, believes that Dylan never lost his faith despite many rumors to the contrary.” …
- …which brings us to…Video Flashback: The world hasn’t gotten any better in the 7 years since Avril Lavigne covered Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
- She married young, and no, she wasn’t pregnant.
- Catholic Corner: “An unfortunate occurrence in our era is the isolation of age groups, the idealization of youth, and the neglect of both the elderly and the very young. By isolating the age groups, gratitude and sacrificial love fall out of practice. But when generations live together, life falls into proper perspective…”
- …and apparently they’ve known for 3 years that he’s coming, so this NYC church has spent $175M (US) in cleaning up for the Pope’s visit.
- Releasing in theaters in just 9 days, the movie Captive tells of a hostage situation ten years ago involving a murderer and a copy of The Purpose Driven Life.
- For single Mormon women in Utah, the demographics simply aren’t in their favor…
- …And according to one writer, these Mormon hymns need to be eliminated from the revised hymnbook…
- …On the other hand your downloads and social shares could help one of these songs win this season’s Praise Charts Song Quest…
- …This in spite of this writer’s 3 reasons why modern worship is declining.
- Stats Corner: The 20 countries where Christianity is growing the fastest.
- When the scripture reading isn’t a reading: The case for memorized text in the liturgy.
- Devotional of the Week: The analogy between reading God’s word and making hot tea.
You might be a redneck er, make that you might be Amish if you…
- Apologetics Video of the Week: Liberty University talks to Ben Witherington…
- …But this writer thinks that some of the arguments used in Christian apologetics simply don’t work…
- …While this article deals with parents’ nervousness about evidentiary apologetics.
- When the movie War Room made it to top box office spot last weekend, was that an answer to prayer or just what happens in a slow week?
- Okay, well, I had to ask…
- Delivery at the Osteen house.
- One half of Pomplamoose, Nataly Dawn admits to growing up dancing to Amy Grant.
- Finally, The Vatican in Lego (because some people have the time and patience.)
Last week’s link list was really, really long. I promise that won’t happen again. [Sits at computer and starts writing not knowing if he can fulfill the promise.]
- Just another Sunday service at Grace Community Church when a man jumped onto the platform and confronted John MacArthur claiming to be a prophet, a gift that doesn’t fit John MacA’s cessationist theology.
- Who are Catholics praying to? This study was conducted scientifically and may surprise you.
- Post-Ashley: What an affair really looks like. If you honestly don’t have time for the whole article, at least read the bullet point section at the end for a close-up on what it’s like to be the innocent victim.
- Breaking: Tullian Tchividjian has joined the staff of Willow Creek — but it’s not that Willow Creek. (Wait? He’s on staff at a church already?) Update Wed. 5:00 PM; Warren Throckmorton interviews the pastor of the church concerning the reaction.
- Bible Behind the Scenes: There have been some minor updates done on the New Living Translation (NLT) for 2015, and you get to see all the edits.
- “To get a good degree in theology, you need to give three years to the biblical languages etc. The skills that I use to sustain what we’re doing are all skills that I did not learn in theological college or a ministerial training college.”
- People to Watch: Chelsen Vicari serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. This is an interview about her work and her motivation.
- “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart…” I’ve heard those words over and over, but never thought about the doctrinal implications of Judicial Hardening.
- Essay of the Week: Stop Dressing Tacky for Church. “When [Rev. John] DeBonville looks across the scruffy fashion landscape of America, he sees only one profession that’s holding the line against tacky dress. It’s not the preachers or priests, though. These people belong to another profession whose members aren’t exactly known for respect and honoring God.’The last ones wearing shirt and ties are the politicians,'” DeBonville says.
- Agree or Disagree? A popular Christian blogger advances the thesis that Christians should not own or wear crucifixes, with some help from J. I. Packer. Would Packer’s words convince modern Evangelicals?
- What others think about your spouse begins with how you speak about them. “…When we talk negatively about our spouse… We don’t realize the full damage our words are doing.”
- Her means of opposing gay marriage actually puts her in the position of also opposing the Book of Romans. (No, not that chapter…)
- “If the Christian worldview is true, evil must be assessed through the lens of eternity, not through the limited perspective of our mortal lives. And eternity changes everything.” An excerpt from J. Warner Wallace’s book, God’s Crime Scene.
- Seen on Twitter: They call them Chiasms. A part of the Biblical narrative which mirrors another, such as this outline showing Exodus as a reversal of Genesis.
- With all the attention Planned Parenthood is getting, it might be a good time to remind you of this 2011 documentary, Unplanned from Tyndale and Focus on the Family, still available on DVD.
- With the family gathered to meet the doctor in the Intensive Care Unit, an audio study of 249 discussions revealed religion or spirituality is rarely part of the conversation.
- Can a resuscitated Family Christian Books survive over the long haul? Some are optimistic.
- Is heaven just one long church service? Randy Alcorn on worship in the hereafter.
- Leadership Lessons: Why are key not intentional about building better memories of time spent together?
- The difference between me and this guy is that he can tell you he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ with a straight face.
- John Oliver’s Aug. 16 episode of Last Week Tonight, titled “Televangelists,” has been viewed more than 6 million times since it was posted on YouTube. On behalf of Southern Baptists, Russell Moore responds to “predatory” prosperity teaching.
- Short Takes: To avoid the dangers of pride, redirect the spotlight.
- Sadly, a North Carolina pastor died last week while cleaning his gun.
- My new favorite song, Hands Toward Heaven by Chris Cauley from North Point InsideOut.
- Random Acts of Blogness: Love how the graphic image worked with this one.
- For teens and twenty-somethings: 10 Personal Disciplines for your consideration.
- Refuting bumper-sticker theology.
- A message from the U.S. flag: Please remove me from your house of worship.
- People in three U.S. cities had a virtual audience with Pope Francis this week. ABC News will air highlights Friday night on 20/20.
- Jesus, the 7-year old: A 2016 movie announced earlier as Christ The Lord has been renamed The Young Messiah. Described as, “a realistic portrait of Jesus as a child both grounded in faith and consistent with the adult Jesus revealed in the Bible.”
- Maybe you can relate to this, as fall study groups begin for a new season: Fear that the study will be a flop or fear that only five people will show up, including you.
- Finally, I don’t really have a “finally” item today. It’s very late as I wrap this up on Tuesday, and Wednesday the list lynx is growling for its dinner. What did you like this week?
As we often are, today we’re indebted again to the multimedia team at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, aka Twenty-One-Hundred Productions for a list of recommended “life verses” depending on your Myers-Briggs personality type. Click the image to source.
Portions of today’s link list were pre-recorded for later broadcast.
- An article at Mission Network Online claims that ISIS has set a date for “open warfare” on the world’s non-Muslim population.
- Maybe Family Christian Stores should have gone this route: Australian Christian bookstore chain Koorong has been sold to that country’s national Bible society. Reaction from Koorong and Bible Society Australia.
- XXXChurch founder Craig Gross has teamed up with author Shaunti Feldhahn to produce a new book and ten-session video workshop. Check out Men are Visual…
- …and from the same ministry organization: If you want tabloid-style shocking headlines, these days, it would be the couples celebrating their 50th anniversary.
- Kathie Lee Gifford shared her testimony on NBC’s Today show following the death of her husband, sports commentator Frank Gifford.
- Dealing with The Dones: Scott McKnight reviews Chasing Refugees: “They wanted community…and got judgment. They wanted to affect the life of the church…and got bureaucracy. They wanted conversation…and got doctrine. They wanted meaningful engagement with the world… and got moral prescription.”
- A Missouri congregation leaving the Presbyterian Church in the US (PCUSA) is taking unusual steps to protect its land and buildings.
- Eight points for your consideration from Sam Storms: Do babies who die in infancy go to heaven?
- As happened in Colorado two years ago, now wildfires in California are impacting Christian camp. When the main lodge burns down, you lose both a facility and memories.
- This one is long, but John Piper is still very influential (in some circles) and his pronouncements never fail to be provocative, like the idea that women should not be police officers. Or go to the gym.
- Call it satire or comedy or whatever you want, but John Oliver’s piece on Last Week Tonight raises serious questions about what constitutes a ‘church’ in the United States…
- …and while we’re defining things, Can a Baptist pastor perform an infant baptism and still be a Baptist?
- The elder Graham and the younger Graham don’t seem to share the same leadership DNA. A comparison between Billy and Franklin.
- James Emery White: “Too many churches look at things from the inside. They think about what is easiest for them, best for them or makes sense for them. They don’t think about someone coming in from the outside; what is easiest, best and makes sense for others.”
- Author Bob Goff quits something every Thursday. Here are 30 things you can quit.
- Connecting with the Community: This writer offers eight principles and goals to keep in mind.
- Sandra Stanley: “Amazing grace, sufficient grace—exactly what we need, when we need it.“
- For younger leaders: Eight ways to be sure you will be taken seriously. (#4 – Get Results.)
- Feeling your way in the dark: A look at a different type of theme examined in a new book by Nancy Ortberg.
- Not the type of church potluck you want to attend: After food poisoning from a potato salad, 21 people were hospitalized and one died. (Next Lee Strobel book: “The Case for Catering.”)
- Including women in next year’s golf tournament, and nine other ways men can fight sexism in your church.
- Worship Corner: It’s not too early to start checking out Christmas worship songs. (Christmas is four months yesterday!)
- Francis Fix: If you need a Francis Chan fix, this message was recorded in the fresh air a few weeks ago.
- For LGBTQ students at Christian colleges, the choice is often between staying in the closet or being expelled.
- Leaning on the Everlasting Paws.
- Beer and Bible Department: This devotional was inspired by an Old Milwaukee commercial.
- Lessons Learned: A homeschool parent has 9 takeaways from her first year as home teacher. (Has anyone else noticed that Aaron Armstrong’s blog and Tim Challies’ blog are eerily similar?)
- Lost and Found: The only memories they have of their child’s brief time on earth turns up in a Bible for sale at Ollies.
- Doing Life: Happy Rant podcaster Steve Altrogge has picked up the translating Christianese mantle.
- The Steve Brown minus Steve Brown podcast welcomes Canadian “Naked Pastor” David Hayward.
- What it feels like back on the farm, when the megachurch moves into the city. (Login required to read. Unfortunate, because it’s a great article.)
- Skye Jethani’s subscription devotional, With God, is now a year old.
- After an already rough week, this couple’s life is now complicated by the revelation he had an Ashley-Madison account.
- For future reference: Catholic Priests should not grope women on airlplanes.
- They change the hip-hop song lyrics so they have religious content, but unlike Christian bands like Apologetix, the music of Deen Squad is contemporary Muslim music.
- Video Curiosity of the Week: On an Adventist website, one year ago, the question, should the church youth group hand out condoms?
- Finally, perhaps distinguished Oral Roberts University alumnus Ned Flanders can explain the noose hanging from the ORU Prayer Tower.
Sorry, our run of 50,000 of these is all sold out!
Don’t forget to check Paul’s Twitter on Thursday or Friday to see which stories got the most clicks.
- Kicking someone off your church property in the middle of a post-service lunch is always counter-intuitive, but sometimes it’s necessary.
- Sarah Bessey on how the charismatic faith she was raised in went from ultra-fringe to a position of influence.
- If nothing else, take note of the graphic in this story, contrasting the “natural amenities” of parts of the U.S. with church attendance. “But the story isn’t as simple as nature versus religion, some experts say. Try simply ‘nature religion.'”
- When one spouse has an affair, it’s like a relationship renovation has to take place, requiring trust and faith in a God who heals. If it misses the mark, it’s sin. Here are 9 Sins the Church is Comfortable With.
- Every time she plays in a tennis tournament, Serena Williams is breaking a Jehovah’s Witness edict against competitive sports.
- Essay of the Week: When good advice backfires. (That would never happen, would it?)
- Challenge of the Week: What church people need to know about people who once sat in those seats and sang those songs.>
- Don’t you hate it when the anti-drug people you invite to your surfing competition turn out to be Scientologists?
- Zach Hunt coins a new term: Scamgelists™. In 2015, people still fall for the pitch.
- The 2014 film Calvary is now out on video, though this review has some spoilers.
- A quick sketch of five men who started out as atheists and then changed sides.
- Got some VBS resources left over from the summer? Take the program to a local seniors home.
- With a variety of possible applications, your church address database can be visualized through free Geo-targeted maps from Google.
- Rob Bell on the megachurch: “Institutions arc towards self-preservation…innovations happen in garages.” A recent interview that covered many topics and includes this quote: “I’m as orthodox as they come!”
- And speaking of megachurches, an alliterative report from Chasing News about a mega lawsuit being filed by a pastor against his former church.
- Still making great music: Bryan Duncan.
- Literal Translation Department: “Bible believers must defend the truth that the moon emanates its own light.” The Bible says it, that settles it.
- If you missed the whole summer festival thing, you could always plan for September at the 2-day Uprise Fest in PA, or the smaller one-day PointFest in OH.
- Hashtag of the Week: #ThingsJesusNeverSaid.
- Liner Notes: Gungor talks about One Wild Life and the philosophical underpinnings of his next three albums.
- The whole Mormon underwear thing returns to the forefront after it’s revealed (literally) as a plot point in a fall series on ABC.
- Finally, from Happy Monday at Master’s Table:
A realistic look at Psalm 139 from Greg at the blog, Loose Him and Let Him Go:
Here are this week’s links:
- Lead Item: The Sandra Bland story is probably repeated more times than anyone realizes. This time it was an Episcopal priest. (Something is seriously wrong in the U.S. right now.)
- Family Christian Stores will continue to exist, for now, but even as they are breathed back into live, Gospel Light Publishing, a casualty of the restructuring, files for Chapter 11. Here’s a report at Thinking Out Loud’s Christian publishing sister blog…
- …Meanwhile, time has run out for Canada’s largest Christian bookstore.
- Red letter Bibles? That’s so 1899. Today, printing technology combines with marketing zeal to offer various types of Bible color coding combinations.
- Leadership Lessons: This one gets harsh, but pastors, here’s why your sermon is being ignored…
- …Also for pastors, even though a minister’s life consists of constant interruptions, you don’t have to attend every committee meeting or accept every guest speaker invitation. A pastor shares his greatest regret.
- Relevant Magazine’s top 10 book recommendations for twenty-somethings, and one writer’s observation as to what the list was missing.
- Persecution Potential: “[P]roposed amendments to Nepal’s new constitution, likely to come into effect on Monday (10 August) after seven years of parliamentary discussions, could eventually render all Christian activity illegal.”
- Pope Francis has signaled a softer stance on divorce, that impacts other Catholic doctrines such as the annulment of the previous marriage, and who can take communion.
- Essay of the Week: The Bridegroom Loves to Hear His Bride Sing.
- Book Review of the Week: A look at Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace; a scripture-centered approach by Timothy Lane.
- Worship Resource of the Week: What great musicianship looks like; four characteristics. (Via Worship Links as usual!)
- Women’s Feature of the Week: Holley Gerth on helping someone in the middle of a situation with which you have no experience.
- Two authors you know join forces on a new book to help women understand their role in helping men battle porn…
- …Also at On Faith: How to be monastic without becoming a monk.
- Separation of Church and State-funding: New rules for U.S. federal faith-based partnerships.
- VBS with a Difference: This one in Michigan ran over four nights and taught the kids apologetics…
- …Also at Ratio Christi: Who needs apologetics?
- Proof of the Proof: Verification for the Mathematical proof of the existence of God.
- Pictures like the ones in this short blog post arrest me in my tracks. White Anglo Protestants have convinced themselves that Jesus looked a lot like they do.
- If you missed it earlier, here’s the video trailer for the movie War Room, releasing in the U.S. August 28th. (Quarter million views so far.)
- Who says churches are tax exempt? A 5-minute podcast on the taxes churches actually pay. (Poor audio, but good content.)
- You don’t hear a lot of Amish conversion stories but it does happen. Of the 200,000 American Amish, perhaps 200 are converts like Christina Cortez.
Last week we attended an outdoor Sunday service in which the focus was honoring and respecting God’s creation. Toward the end, I was reminded of a poem I thought we had posted here, only to learn I had done so on a different website. On Friday’s post at Internet Monk, there was a statement that “American readers will refuse to read poetry.” Reading the poem there, I was reminded again of the one below. I know nothing of the author of this poem, which I had memorized when I was much younger; in fact I had always thought it was written by Tennyson. Some conservative Christians will bristle at the phrase “Mother Earth,” but I love the premise of the first verse and last verse especially.
IN THE WOODS
Scott, Frederick George
THIS is God's house--the blue sky is the
This wood the soft green carpet for His
Those hills His stairs, down which the brooks
With baby laughter, making earth more
And here His friends come, clouds, and soft
And little birds whose throats pour forth
And spring and summer, and the white snow
Pencilled with shadows of bare boughs
And here come sunbeams through the green
And shadows from the storm-clouds over-
And warm, hushed nights, when Mother
Earth is praying
So late that her moon-candle burns ill
Sweet house of God, sweet earth, so full of
I enter at thy gates in storm or calm;
And every sunbeam is a joy or pleasure,
And every cloud a solace and a balm.