Archive for Uncategorized

How to Save Money on Church Renovations

Check out this Lego Church. I humbly submit Legos as the building material of choice.

Comments (1)

When we sign “We Gather Together” this Thursday…

Interesting background on the Thanksgiving standard:

So how did “We Gather Together” get from a 17th-century Dutch songbook to 20th-century American churches and schoolrooms?

One answer is Dutch settlers, who brought it with them to the New World, perhaps as early as the 1620s. The hymn stayed alive in the Dutch-American community throughout the centuries, says Emily Brink of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship in Grand Rapids, Mich. In 1937, when the Christian Reformed Church in North America–a denomination that began with Dutch immigrants who sang only Psalms–made the then-controversial decision to permit hymns to be sung at church, “We Gather Together” was chosen as the opening hymn in the first hymnal.

So the Methodists don’t have a corner on the market of great hymns, after all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The article goes on to say that the hymn “has has all the elements that make a hymn great,”

  • accessible melody
  • catchy “incipit” or opening phrase
  • a message that unfolds through the stanzas and carries the congregation with it to an uplifting conclusion

I suppose it overlooks what I would consider a fourth necessary tenet: scriptural association and authority, though that’s maybe included in the third one. I wonder what our own hymnwriter-in-residence Greg R. would say.


BBC NEWS | Technology | UN debut for $100 laptop for poor

Interesting story out of the UN. W’ve discovered a $100 laptop for the poor. I want to avoid cynicism, and so I’ll say this: What other things might we be able to produce more cheaply than we do now that will bring even more benefit to the world’s poor than a laptop with all its bells and whistles? Food supplies? Human care? Practical education?

Comments (1)

News sources

Susan B. asked me after worship today if I had a list of news resources that people in the congregation like to use (the subject was inspired by a sermon discussion that we had in the Milligan House about a year ago). I posted a list in this space last year, but I thought I’d revisit it, this time with a focus on print publications.

  • City Journal: A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute.
  • The Economist: Authoritative weekly newspaper focusing on international politics and business
  • news and opinion.
  • BreakPoint WorldView Magazine: applies a Christian worldview to current events, cultural and social phenomena, and other topics discussed across the neighbor’s fence and around the water cooler, to equip believers with sound biblical thinking and apologetics.
  • The New Criterion: a monthly review of the arts and intellectual life. Written with great verve, clarity, and wit, has emerged as America’s foremost voice of critical dissent in the culture wars. A staunch defender of the values of high culture, The New Criterion is also an articulate scourge of artistic mediocrity and intellectual mendacity wherever they are found: in the universities, the art galleries, the media, the concert halls, the theater, and elsewhere. Published monthly from September through June.
  • WORLD Magazine: weekly newsmagazine, published 50 times a year. WORLD includes sharp, full-color photographs and offers complete coverage of national and international news, all written from a Christian perspective.
  • First Things: published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.
  • National Review: one of the United States’ most politically influential publications, a conservative political magazine founded by author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955
  • The Weekly Standard: magazine is published 48 times a year, a “must read” for anyone interested in American politics and American life. Also has insightful international coverage.
  • The Wall Street Journal Weekend Edition: More digestible version of one of the best newspapers in the world.

Comments (1)

Kansas State Board of Educators question Darwin

I don’t understand how allowing “for an honest discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, which … is accepted with blind faith by mainstream scientists.” is a bad thing in the classroom. It takes as much, if not more, faith to believe in evolution than creation or design. The mechanism of that design is not being stressed. They are only calling for a discussion of the reliable and non-reliable teachings of evolution. Unfortunately, many of the evolutionary theories being taught in today’s classrooom have been dismissed by scientists many years ago. What is being taught in evolutionary textbooks is not what scientists today actually believe. It’s time to bring the classroom up to speed with the laboratory. Way to go Kansas Board of Education for putting archaic teaching on the shelf and allowing for progress in science to begin.

Comments (1)

Movie@Milligan House: Spellbound

No, not the 1945 Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Friday, we’ll be watching and discussing the titillating 2002 documentary about the National Spelling Bee. We haven’t seen a documentary for Movie Night, so I thought this would be a good pick.

From the movie’s web site:

Who would have thought the most suspenseful competition on television could revolve around a bunch of 14 year-olds hooked on spelling? SPELLBOUND, the award-winning film, proves why the National Spelling Bee is one of the highest rated specials on ESPN — a nail-biting face-off among hundreds of teens who train as rigorously as any Olympic athlete on their heroic quest for glory.

Here’s a list of reviews from Hope to see you Friday — pizza’s served at 6:30pm, movie to follow after you’ve finished your first piece.


Pastor Ron for your iPod

We’re doing well to get the sermons onto the web site. But this isn’t far away for us at OOC. How many people have iPods at the Orchard, anyway?

From NPR:

All Things Considered, August 1, 2005 ร‚ยท A few pioneering houses of worship are spreading the word from the pulpit to the iPod. Members of the congregation can download Sunday’s service and listen to it anytime during the week.

Comments (1)

Rwanda Followup: Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Mission

I thought those of us who attended last month’s Movie@Milligan House, Hotel Rwanda,would be interested in this article on Rick Warren‘s (he of The Purpose-Driven Life/Church fame) visit to Rwanda, at the request of President Paul Kagame. The writer, Alan Wolfe, raises some concerns about the trip:

Mr. Warren’s message to the Aspen audience was similar to the one he offered Rwandans at Kigali’s Amahoro Stadium in July: Spiritual emptiness allows evil acts to occur. If only evil were so simple.

Well, is evil that simple or isn’t it? I don’t doubt that the situation is indeed complex. However, I am leery of people who try to complicate simple matters, because if a matter is indeed simple, it’s only harmful to obscure the simple facts. So I read on:

Tackling Africa’s problems inevitably means addressing questions of economics and politics. Is there a Christian position on export diversification, energy subsidies, currency convertibility ratios, agricultural overcultivation or civil-service reform? That Rick Warren is serious about overcoming Rwanda’s poverty is unquestioned. That he and his volunteers have any expertise or interest in economics and politics is unlikely.

Now, I don’t know whether Mr Wolfe is a believer, but it seems his comments betray a certain lack of faith in the power of the gospel. It presents a chicken-egg dilemma: Which comes first, economic and political stability that leads to an openness to faith in Jesus, or is it a Christian understanding of man and the world that leads to a new way of approaching social systems? In the United States and some other Western nations, the evidence points toward the latter. Moreoever, we as believers — even those of us who take a wholly practical and pragmatic view of the world’s problems — should, it seems to me, have hope in the power of the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (NIV)
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…


Hurricane-Relief Outrage

In worship Sunday, Ron alluded to the outrage and anger that people have about the hurricane-relief response, and I’ve since talked with a few other Christians who’ve had a similar reaction. But it begs the question: Outrage and anger at whom? Ron didn’t specify, but presumably he was referring to the failure of leadership of New Orleans and Lousiana elected officials, and not to the misplaced blame being heaped on President Bush, like some cheap political opportunists (read: NY Times, CBS, CNN, and the other alphabet networks) have.

Since the confusion over whom is to blame can lead people to drastically different conclusions, and Ron didn’t clarify something to the effect that “Christians in good conscience can honestly disagree with each other on this issue,” one presumes that there is a singular right response on whom to blame. Thus, I would’ve appreciated it if this would’ve been made clear.

For some good insight into what led to the rescue problems, here are some good articles:

And the outrage icing on the cake: Mayor Nagin is now offering five-day vacations to Las Vegas for New Orleans’s overworked police officers.

As Christians we are to stand up and speak out for justice. In this case, it means speaking out against intrenched corruption and deceit in government, as evidenced by the manifold failures and chicanery of New Orleans and Lousiana government. It also means defending those who are wrongfully accused, like President Bush. It starts with knowing the facts of the matter instead of merely rolling along with the cultural tidal wave of indictment.

Oh, and in slightly related news: Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing house, gets reamed for donating 100,000 Bibles to the relief effort.

Finally, some PCA-related links:

Comments (8)

You are here

I received an email from erstwhile OOCer Erin Layton pointing out a mention of PCA church planter Mike Kytka in the latest entry of the Riverfront Times series “You are here.”

The series appears to be brief conversations with random people at area bars and clubs on moral questions, and runs the gamut of worldviews. But, since it grants a “place at the table” for seemingly any worldview, it duly includes a Christian perspective, provided twice now by Kytka. Here’s a snippet:

“This may come as a shock to you,” he began in response to my question, “but I don’t believe there is any reason to be moral or good if God doesn’t exist. If there is no lawgiver, we should party, live for pleasure and work for goals without any reference to moral or spiritual guidance.”

It’s worth checking out — as much to read Kytka’s POV as to learn about the broken reality of the world we live in.

Comments (1)

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »