Around the web this week…
+ There was quite a stir when American Idol used the Christian worship song “Shout to the Lord” two nights in a row. Some wondered about the appropriateness or the motive. Others celebrated like Paul, “some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will…what then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” (Phil. 1:15, 18) As always, Bob Kauflin of Worship Matters (who arranged the hymn “Like a River Glorious” that we sang last Sunday), has a thoughtful response.
+ When I was first in youth ministry, one of the icebreaker games we would, play (in the dark ages before video games and DVD”s) was “Mad Libs”. These were stories with blanks for verbs, nouns and adjectives. The object was to come up with the wildest words possible, with no idea of the storyline or context. The resulting stories are strange-and hilarious. This week marked the 50th anniversary of Mad Libs. You can find more here (for children) and here.
+ David Wells, theology professor at Gordon-Conwell Seminary consistently offers some of the most thoughtful and Biblical analysis of American evangelicalism available anywhere. You may not agree with all his conclusions or preferences, but he will make you clarify your own. His quartet of books (No Place for Truth, God in the Wasteland, Losing Our Virtue and Above All Earthly Pow’rs) is an astounding achievement, developed over 12 years– and worth working through. His latest book is The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth Lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World. Here is an interesting interview with Wells, part 1 and part 2.
+ The new movie Expelled opened last weekend. It shows how the idea of intelligent design, which posits that the complexity of creation must point to a singular and cohesive intelligence behind it all, is brutally fought by many proponents of the theory of evolution in academia. Now, this is not a movie that defends creationism. But it may be a movie that would provide an interesting bridge to a conversation with those outside the faith. There are reviews and commentary here, here, here and much less positively, here. You can see Expelled in Lexington at Regal Hamburg, AmStar at Brannon Crossing and Movies 8 at Lexington Green.
+ There may be no more glorious piece of classical music (or any music for that matter) than Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Rich Copley has an interesting appreciation here, including excerpts of performances.
+ I know I’m about a year late, but I just saw End of the Spear, the movie about the martyrdom of 5 missionaries in Ecuador in 1956 and the resulting ministry of grace and reconciliation expressed to the same tribe by their widows and children. It’s a truly remarkable story of the power of Jesus’ mercy to change the most hardened hearts.