Thinking Out Loud

November 15, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Honest, we tried to get secondary corroboration of this story, but the link in the original story was a bit sketchy and there was nothing else online. All we know is it took place at Enhance Church. Click the image for more.

It’s that time of the week!

  • A Canadian journalist is among the many invited to a VIP preview of Washington, DC’s Museum of the Bible, opening Friday.
  • Unqualified: Perry Noble — whose pending divorce was announced on November 1st — goes phrase-by-phrase through I Timothy 3 to show why he completely misses the mark on each and every qualification for ‘an overseer,’ but then in the final paragraphs appeals to the idea of being given a second chance. The further details and confessions fall into the ‘too much information’ category however, and would seem to undermine his point.
  • This was the local news coverage of the first service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX, one week after 26 lives were lost
  • …Meanwhile, the pews have been taken out, the carpeting has been removed, and the inside of the building has been painted white from floor to ceiling as a memorial to those who died that day. CNN sent a reporter into the church building
  • …but the consensus is that the church will eventually be torn down.
  • What Americans can learn from the Trinity Western University Law School case, which goes before the Canadian Supreme Court on November 30th
  • Essay of the Week: “Ken Ham and his followers may think they’re defending Christianity and ensuring that our faith will be passed along to future generations, but the reality is they’re putting our children and grandchildren at risk of rejecting the faith entirely.” The risks of forcing one Genesis interpretation on the next generation.
  • Here’s a story that needs rewriting on several fronts. It’s about GracePointe church in Nashville and the header uses the term “megachurch” but paragraphs later recants that saying peak attendance was 700-800. But just when we’ve got that sorted out, another paragraph says the church had a 2,200 membership. Since many attendees are adherents and not members, that casts more confusion. The point of the piece is that because of their LGBT support, attendance dipped to 240 and the church was forced to sell their building and property
  • Something completely different: Samoan firefighters march down a mountain singing a hymn.
  • Former Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale pastor Bob Coy — who the article says today helps manage Boca Raton’s Funky Biscuit club — is now accused of molesting a 4-year-old. Futhermore, “Coy certainly paid a heavy price for his infidelity: His family has broken to pieces, and his chapels packed with thousands of adoring fans have been replaced with a half-full nightclub in Boca. [Blogger Michael] Newnham says the pastor still has more to answer for — especially because his sources say Coy has been trying to mobilize investors to start a new church.” An overview of the Coy and the Church in Miami New Times.
  • Is God “di-polar?” Was there ever a time of Logos asarkos where God was but the second person of the trinity was not? That and other deep questions about the immutability of God versus the idea that our history has become part of God’s history. The key question is, “Does God Change?”
  • When the staff at the Catholic hospital pray for patients, there’s a difference. “His mother, he said, had taught him to pray this prayer to Mary… He was certain that the prayer would be answered because as any good son would do, Jesus listens to his mother. He used Mary’s words at the Wedding of Cana as proof that Jesus will even reluctantly obey his mother.”   
  • Bible and Science:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer had reconciled Genesis and his Christian faith decades before our current debates. You may or may not agree with his conclusions.
  • Legal Matters: “Last week, in American Humanist Association v. Maryland, the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling of the federal district court of Maryland and held that a cross on state-owned land violated the Constitution.”
  • Tempis Fugit: “In Biblical studies it is generally understood that a generation is 40 years. In modern times it is 20 years or so.” …
  • …This article on Children’s ministry suggests the change is every 15 years, and that at any given time, KidMin volunteers may be speaking to two different generations of kids
  • The world of Christian publishing: Greg Boyd has signed a deal with Fortress Press for academic books to be released in 2021 and 2022.
  • At last! Calvinism, Arminianism and everything in between summed up in a 2 minute video. The muddy walled pit analogy.
  • Looking for a new church you can really plug into? Here are seven signs you’re on the right track.  
  • Worship songwriter Keith Getty (In Christ Alone) was the guest on this week’s Phil Vischer Podcast, so of course, the first question was about sexual harassment. (And then they kept him on the line for another five minutes discussing women elevator operators and women’s public restroom habits.) 
  • Finally: What to expect when you’re expecting? How about your Christian friends suggesting some great Biblical baby names?

You can show support and encouragement to us by downloading my wife’s Christmas album for only $7 or for just a buck ($1) download the title song.


Because sometimes you just have to rant:

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November 8, 2017

Wednesday Link List

We couldn’t think of a better image today than this one, issued yesterday by The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on the occasion of Rev. Graham’s 99th birthday. Click the image to read their article.

Unlike other similar round-up lists or link lists, we try to vary the source of material here considerably each week. However, there are some websites and blogs which consistently turn out superior material and break new stories. We chose not to keep coming back to the same sources weekly only because I believe the cream rises to the top, and you’re already being made aware of those articles and news stories on social media and through subscriptions.

November 1, 2017

Wednesday Link List

What happens when countries are lax about immigration policy

So…yesterday afternoon we went to see the movie Same Kind of Different as Me. I’ll have more on that tomorrow on the blog. But it meant that the link list was again a little shorter.

Our closing pictures are all about hats:

Rowan and Rowena - The Bishop Bears


We Have Bacon


From Wikipedia, this woman is wearing “The Order of the Swan.”


October 25, 2017

Wednesday Link List

While speaking in South Korea, Skye Jethani couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this Canadian restaurant in Seoul and Tweeting it to Drew Dyck who hails from the frozen north. For that tweet, click the image.

Welcome back to another list of news stories and opinion pieces the other blogs and sites aren’t carrying. (With the possible exceptions of the ones we stole from them.) We didn’t even start this one until about 6:30 Tuesday night. Keep those weekly suggestions coming and watch for updates on my Twitter page.

Note: The third through sixth articles are in some respects related.

Our closing graphic today is from the popular Coffee With Jesus; click the image to visit the website:

October 18, 2017

Wednesday Link List

Pictured is the Himmerod Abbey in Rhineland, Germany which is set to close after a millennium, a necessity given that the huge facility currently houses only six resident monks. The closure is seen as symptomatic of the decline of religion in Europe. Click image to link to full story.

Not a major news week, but that left us room to probe deeper online for some unique material for your perusal.

Christian Book Distributors is a lean, mean, book-shipping machine, but when things go wrong in their search engine, they go really wrong. Entering their Audio Book listings you’re told there are nearly a quarter of a million, but when you refine by media type, you’re told there’s only 120 CDs.

October 11, 2017

Wednesday Link List

It’s not a spoof movie poster, it’s a book, a real one, releasing in January from Harvest House Publishers.

Well, you knew this was just a matter of time, right? Christian Fidget Spinners — or as they prefer, Faith Spinners — from Swanson.

Because nothing better introduces the kids to the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation better than a 3-inch plastic mini Martin.

The original introduction here was an apology for a shorter list this week, but that soon changed. Remember, every time you click a link an angel gets its wings. For an even better deal on today’s links, use Promo Code WLL#379.

  • If the Resurrection were a lie, how long would it take for the disciples to crack? Watergate conspirator Chuck Colson knows better than most: “Do you know how long it took for each of us to break? Under threat of prison, we started pointing fingers at each other in less than a week. Are you going to try to convince me that a bunch of untrained fishermen maintained their story, unbroken, to the end, as each was tortured and executed? Not a chance.” J.D. Greear quotes Colson writing about how Christianity got started.
  • Essay of the Week: Artificial Intelligence (AI) “machines could become objects of worship in and of themselves… The machines could…develop their own sects or entirely new religions… [S]ome branches of Christianity will try to convert machines with strong artificial intelligence to follow their God. ” 
  • Provocative Headline of the Week: Survey Finds Most American Christians Are Actually Heretics. It begins: “Evangelical writer Eric Metaxas remarked on BreakPoint last week that if Americans took a theology exam, their only hope of passing would be if God graded on a curve. He’s right. In knowing both the content of the Bible and the doctrinal foundations of Christianity, we Americans aren’t just at the bottom of our class. We are…a nation of heretics.”
  • Happy Ending: After 92 days in captivity in Egypt, a 16-year old Christian girl is released back to her family. A former kidnapper says she is just one of many
  • Churches in Santa Rose, California are stepping up to help victims of a tragic fire that has destroyed 1,500 structures and left an entire community homeless.
  • Breaking Religious News: CBS tracks down the guy who designed the Papyrus font.
  • Joining the list of one-man Bible translation project writers is David Bentley Hart. Scot McKnight writes “Hart has a desire to make the reader as uncomfortable as he can and that is because he thinks the NT itself — those early Christians and their view of wealth — were extremists, which aligns rather well with Hart’s extremist approach to translation. On this Hart is himself just lopsided, delightfully so at times, but lopsided nonetheless.” Read all about The New Testament: A Translation.
  • Driscoll and Plagiarism: Maybe he just can’t not do it
  • Wider World: In a country [Kenya] where 83 percent is Christian with Evangelicals in a majority, this coming re-election matters.
  • ♫ Possibly the best thing you’ll hear and this week: Some of Christian music’s best get together to honor a song; The Joy of Jesus featuring the late Rich Mullins
  • ♫ …The female vocalist on the above song has just released one of her own. Ellie Holcomb sings He Will.
  • ♫ The worship team at Willow Creek South Barrington has released a collection of new songs. This one will make you smile, especially if you grew up singing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy” in Sunday School. This one is a little different. (Song begins after introduction, link contains full worship set.)
  • Princeton’s Evangelical Christian student fellowship is dropping the word Evangelical from its name. Are other organizations likely to follow?
  • Devotional Moment: Popular women’s author Karen Ehman wrote this as “Go Find Your Old Self” but in a way it’s just a fresh take on “Return to your first love.”
  • Pastor Place: Sermon sharpening and sermon shortening. (But not the type of shortening you add to Christmas baking.)
  • Someone else is working on a Bible edition without verse numbers, starting with the gospels. 
  • Best Headline: How Did Luther Become a Lutheran? “In the months after posting his Theses, he was lecturing on the Letter to the Hebrews. He came to see the nature and significance of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice on the cross.”
  • “He causes his sun to rise…and sends rain.”
    “Look at the birds of the air.”
    “See how the flowers of the field grow.”
    “Every good tree bears good fruit.”
    The words of Jesus frequently contained allusions to nature.
  • Technology Time: “We may be the last generation that can remember life before;” says the engineer who developed the ‘Like’ button.
  • Resource Room: A interview with the creators of various resources available free at Harmony.Bible
  • Worship Workshop: Sure, it’s advertising, but the ten reasons for switching to Church Presentation Software are compelling.
  • Missions Moment: We’ve linked before to articles like this about “Third Culture Kids” (formerly Missionary Kids) but it’s something on which we need to be reminded. “When you first meet Third Culture Kids, be aware that answering ‘Where are you from?’ can be difficult because ‘home’ is a relative word for us.” 
  • Another One: This time it’s the pastor of a satellite church who also happens to be the son of the pastor of a prominent Alabama megachurch, though the nature of the transgression is unknown.
  • Canada Corner: Answers in Genesis is setting up shop in Canada; not just a Canadian web-store, but they’re presumably incorporating a Canadian charity here and have hired a General Manager.
  • Catholic Corner: On Saturday (14th) “In 21,570 public places from coast to coast, lay Catholics associated with America Needs Fatima will hold Public Square Rosary Rallies.” 
  • ♫ New Music: Deliverer by Audrey Assad, as she gets ready to release her first original album in 4 years.
  • Thoughts and Prayers, the video game: “Visitors to the game’s microsite are greeted with what appears to be 1980s-style arcade game, which begins with the somewhat sarcastic message: ‘America faces an epidemic of mass shootings. It’s up to you to stop them… with the power of your thoughts and prayers.'”  An article at Christian Today goes on to say, “The point of Thoughts & Prayers is that this is a game that nobody wins – not even the satirists.”
  • Bono Boo-Boo? “Under Canon Law, non-Catholics are forbidden from receiving communion except in exceptional circumstances as the ritual is considered a sacred statement of faith. U2’s frontman caught by the camera in Bogata, Columbia.
  • Bee of the Week: Many a truth is spoken in jest. How many churches do you drive by each weekend to get to yours?

After 24 hours in Cornwall, Ontario we realized upon leaving that we could have chosen to stay at the Elect Inn. Total depravity on our part, I guess.

 

October 6, 2017

Teenage Rebellion is not Mandatory

It didn’t happen to our kids — now 23 and 26 — and it need not happen to yours, but many parents take the perspective that teen rebellion is simply to be expected. It also didn’t happen to Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach, author of the book Why I Dind’t Rebel: A Twenty-Two-Year-Old Explains Why She Stayed on the Straight and Narrow and How Your Kids Can Too (Nelson Books) which released in paperback just a few days ago.

First, the story of how the book came to be. You need to know that Rebecca is the daughter of Sheila Wray Gregoire, a Canadian author whose work includes 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and To Love Honor and Vacuum; the last title also being the name of her popular blog.

In the winter of 2014, Sheila asked daughter Rebecca to write a blog post for her on why she didn’t rebel. At first Rebecca said no — yes, I supppose you could call that small scale rebellion — but later changed her mind. Rebecca dashed it off in 20 minutes, and within the week it had been seen a quarter of a million times on the blog and over a million times on Facebook. You can read that article at this link.  Her mom then suggested she turn it into a book proposal.

Next, I need to explain why I wanted to read this book. Although we’ve never met, Sheila is a neighbor, inasmuch as last time I checked, we live in the same part of South Central Ontario. Or maybe we’re Eastern Ontario. It’s a big place and I’m never sure. I haven’t heard her speak but I’ve been aware of her traveling with Girls Night Out, a relief-and-development awareness program for women which tours Canadian cities. So there was a local-interest factor here, but honestly, I figured I’d read a chapter or two and then leave it there. As often happens, I ended up reading the entire book.

Like your first year Psychology textbook, this book relies highly on anecdotes from two dozen Millennials reflecting on their childhood years, with a very generous helping of Rebecca’s own family memories. Today she’s married and is considered a “self help blogger” at her website, LifeAsADare.com. So while everyone contributing to the book has the perspective of a few year’s distance from adolescent events, the voices in the book are all young.

This brings me to where I’ll probably depart from other reviews and publisher marketing on this title. For example this one: “Why I Didn’t Rebel provides an eye-opening way of raising kids who follow God rather than the world.  It should not be expected that teens are going to rebel, especially if you start to teach them the right way young.  The big key is to teach them right from wrong and consequences from a young age.”

I agree wholeheartedly, but I think there’s more potential here. I think that other Millennials might want to read this, and dare I say it, I think some teens could benefit from this; especially those whose home situation is not exactly perfect. I believe some — not all — adolescents might benefit from seeing some ideal family dynamics, and might also identify with the stories of those who persevered and survived amid family chaos.

Was Rebecca’s home situation the exception to the rule? She’s quick to point out that it wasn’t perfect, but it obviously provided her the security or stability which ruled out going through teen rebellion. In ten chapters she deals with the contributing factors and because of her age provides a refreshing perspective against a backdrop of more mature ‘experts’ writing parenting books.

I’m glad I chose to read all the way through; it’s a book I would recommend.


Read a sample chapter at proud Mom Sheila’s blog.

 

October 4, 2017

Wednesday Link List


 

“Church” in various languages. If anyone knows the source for this I’ll add it.

Wednesday List Lynx

Several of this week’s feature stories have multiple links. When compiling the list for Twitter, we’ll simply list the story and combine your click total.


*This is the quotation from Tullian’s blog noted above:

October 2, 2017

My Sunday School Memoir, Part One

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:07 am

The church in which I spent my teenage years ultimately left me with a stronger memory of testimony than teaching. The various guest speakers who came through always had a story to tell and while I can now name-drop so many North American pastors and musicians to whom I was exposed, I think I experienced that at the expense of some Bible learning I would need to catch up on later.

In our Junior High, Sr. High and College and Career Sunday School classrooms, Christian businessmen from the congregation would drop in to share something with us; either a testimony of how they came to Christ, or how they are able to honor Christ in their workplace.

One in particular was a frequent guest. He worked in an industry that was known for its propensity to corruption. I was too young to appreciate the nuances of the term “money laundering,” but if that was that your goal, his vocation would be the career of choice.

So as a Christian, he always told us about the various ethical temptations which confronted him on a daily basis and how he always had to choose to do the right thing. “I am a Christian;” he would tell his customers, “So I can’t write up an invoice for a different amount than what you’re paying.” I think we teens and twenty-somethings were suitably impressed that he was an excellent Christian.

On reflection, many of the aspects of owning a business were lost on us kids. This weekend, his various appearances in our Sunday School rooms came to mind, and for the first time I considered the possibility he was speaking to the other teachers and not to us at all. He might have been saying, “I know what you think of people who do what I do, and I just want to tell you that I don’t compromise my Christian principles even though I’m in a usually shady line of work.”

Was he really all he said? I have no reason to believe, or even suspect otherwise. I think as Christians we have to take these things at face value. “Love,” said Paul to the Corinthians, “Believes the best.”

I just wonder why we we were exposed to this every couple of years. Did he approach the people in charge of the Sunday School and say, “I’d like to come and speak to the High School kids;” or did he simply do a great job the first time that led to other invitations? “We’ll get _______ to come; he’s really good in front of the students.”

I wonder where was the man or woman who could have come to us and said, “I was just reading something in Luke’s Gospel this week that really struck me as appropriate to the things you face at school every day, and so I asked if could come for 2-3 minutes and share it with you.” Who instead of radiating the joy of maintaining great moral standards in the face of a slimy business environment could have radiated the joy of discovering something in scripture he or she had never seen before. Who could have given us an overview of how the books of the Bible were arranged and how to interpret different genres. Who could have explained what made our church different than the ten or twelve churches we had to drive past to get there.

It was always testimony over teaching, but without a strong foundation, the problem becomes, ‘a testimony of what exactly?’

More on this in Part Two.

 

September 27, 2017

Wednesday Link List

From the website of The Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art ) in New York, “Jonah and the Whale”, Folio from a Jami al-Tavarikh (Compendium of Chronicles) dated around 1400. Click image to link.

So this had to happen: Regular readers here know we usually end with a few quirky or humorous or satirical links, many of which are to the Christian parody news site The Babylon Bee. Well, the Beekeepers signed a book deal with Multnomah but even though it’s not releasing until May 1st next year, they know it’s going to be 208 pages; not 207 or 209. And it’s all original material. $19.99 hardcover; ouch! That bee just stung me. Which reminds me: How many bees could a beekeeper keep if a beekeeper could keep bees?

 

Evangelists prepare their ‘gospel caravan’ for a meeting in Chesham. Early 20th century. From a collection of “Gospel Vehicles” images at Brethren Archive. Click picture to see them all.

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