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Weblog Archive 


July 29 - August 12, 2003


Tuesday 12th August, 2003


Christian Comedy

Southern Gospel – love the music, don’t really understand the comedy. Christian comedy in general usually leaves me yawning.


So praise for Ship of Fools, which pokes fun in a gentle but pointed way at Christian foibles. They’ve just discovered the Spanking Stick, which sounds like something out of Harry Potter, but is in fact an old-fashioned paddle, engraved with biblical verses, designed to teach your kids discipline.


And check out, for headlines like “German travel agency issues Evangelical English dictionary”, “Assemblies of God commits entire 2004 evangelism budget to converting Madonna” and “Thomas Nelson cuts Amos and Nahum, shrinks Leviticus in new Study Bible”.


Posted: 11:55am

Sunday 10th August, 2003


Richard’s Sermon Cycle

Congratulations Richard Hall, a wonderful achievement, cycling to 11 churches yesterday and giving a sermon at each, in celebration of the 300th birthday of John Wesley, and also to raise money for a children’s home. You can read reports and see photos at Richard’s blog.


The achievement is especially noteworthy as Welsh weather conditions yesterday were apparently soaring to what we in Australia call a pleasant and mild day.


But I’m suspicious. As a New Zealand-born Australian (holding dual nationality) I’m always worried when I see Welshmen engaged in strenuous physical exercise. Could it be that Richard is secretly part of a special squad preparing to invade Australia later this year?


Posted: 11:20pm


Friday 8th August, 2003


What Would Jesus Eat?

An excellent one-hour talk on the Australian Christian Channel last night – apparently originally broadcast in the US in May – between pastor John Hagee and nutritionist Don Colbert.


A while ago I poked fun at Dr Colbert’s “The What Would Jesus Eat Cookbook”, asking if Jesus would really eat cilantro salsa and melon shakes.


Actually, my point was that Jesus presumably ate whatever he was given, and – unlike far too many of us in the West – did not have an obsession with food. As I wrote: “He preached the Kingdom of God and repentance, not weight loss.”


The simple fact is that Dr Colbert talks a lot of good sense, with his advocacy of sensible eating habits.


Still, it reminds me of a joke I heard just recently, though I presume it’s not new:


A man died and went to Heaven. Within a few minutes he was cursing and shouting and complaining.


Saint Peter rushed over. “What’s wrong?” he asked.


Screamed the man: “If it hadn’t been for my sensible diet and all that nutrition advice from my pastor, I would have been here 10 years earlier.”


Posted: 10:30am


Thursday 7th August, 2003


In Souls Filled with Love, the Desire to Please God is a Continual Prayer

Congratulations to for its innovative series of web “movies”. One of the latest tells of evangelist John Wesley and his work in Wales. Enjoyable and recommended.


As part of a celebration of the 300th anniversary of John Wesley’s birth, Methodist blogger Richard Hall will this weekend cycle to – and preach at - each of the 11 Welsh churches for which he is Superintendent Minister. He’d welcome our prayers.



Wanted: Entertaining Christian Blogs

Politicians don’t make good bloggers, claims James Taranto.


Do politicians have what it takes to succeed in the cutthroat world of blogging? Not likely. The best political bloggers - Mickey Kaus, Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan - all have a contrarian outlook and irreverent humor. Best of the Web Today, my own bloglike daily column…is filled with snarky references….Blogging, in short, thrives on sarcasm. Politics doesn't.


Religion doesn’t either, which is perhaps why Christian blogs in general aren’t really all that entertaining.


Posted: 9:40am

Monday 4th August, 2003


Terror and Sorrow in a Domain of Evil

Paul Sharpe writes about North Korea:


A cursory glance at the strife and afflictions endured by Christians in…North Korea would cause the hardest heart to recoil in terror and sorrow. The persecution endured by the saints in this domain of evil is beyond description or comprehension. The severity of the suffering of North Koreans in general, and Christians in particular, is a terrifying tale of depravation and martyrdom that is unparalleled in the world today.



A Trend to Watch

As a writer I’m interested in trends in publishing. Here’s an excerpt (not online) from the Religion Bookline newsletter of Publishers Weekly, reporting on last month’s Christian Booksellers Association International Convention:


Perhaps the most prescient exhibitor…was Xulon Books, the two-and-a-half-year-old company that uses print-on-demand to produce and market third-party-pay titles….


Tom Freiling, president and CEO of Xulon, told BookLine that the company expects to publish 1,000 titles this year. "When an author has a very clearly defined, fairly limited niche to publish to, this is the only way that makes any sense. A large commercial house can't afford to publish a title for an audience of 3,000 or 4,000 readers, but an author who is known in that community can do so and make money at it, in addition to getting his or her expertise or point of view out to a receptive group of people. We just didn't have the ability to do this kind of very particularized publishing until two or three years ago."


Apparently Freiling is correct. There were some 50 Xulon authors signing in the publisher's booth, with fairly long lines.


A good friend here in Australia, author of one excellent book on Japanese technology, is in the process of having his next book self-published in the US by iUniverse. He believes he has enough contacts to enable him to get the book reviewed and sold.


I’m in two minds about this. It’s still vanity publishing. But nowadays publishers just don’t want to touch you unless you are already a name. A cheap self-publishing route offers many possibilities. It’s a trend to watch.


Posted: 10:00am



Sunday 3rd August, 2003

Accursed Spammers

Dean Peters at blogs4God takes a spray at those accursed spammers whose torrent of messages fills my inbox when I switch on my computer each morning.


Well, most mornings.


I've noticed that on Sundays the spammers seem to be relatively quiet.


No, surely not. They're not all in church, are they?


Happy Blogday to You
Speaking of Dean and blogs4God, a belated happy first birthday. I hadn't forgotten, but was waiting for something to appear about the birthday on the site itself. So far, nothing.


Dean and team - you're too modest. Get out and celebrate. It's a great achievement. You should be very happy.

Posted: 1:25pm

Thursday 31st July, 2003


Wandering in the Desert

I’m moved and flattered to find myself included among Anita Van Ingen’s list of desert blogs. I don’t think I quite qualify – I’m not a mystic or prophet – but it’s true that my Buddhist experiences in Japan were very much a time of spiritual searching. Yes, perhaps it was a little bit like wandering in the desert.



Benny Hinn Made Me Do It

The half-dozen Nigerian scam emails I get each week are usually deleted immediately. But for some reason I read the latest. It’s from lawyer Iyeke Nicholas. He stole $10 million from a deceased client, but now wants to give it all to me and my ministry. Why? Because he’s become a Christian himself, after seeing Benny Hinn on TV.


Wow, that’s great. And clearly he’s genuine. After all, there’s nothing fake about all the healings and conversions on the Benny Hinn programme. I’m emailing the guy my bank account details immediately.


Posted: 10:00am


Wednesday 30th July, 2003



Pat Robertson gets derided for using biblical language and imagery to advance what often looks more like a right-wing political agenda. So why do we sometimes laud as prophetic those church leaders who use biblical language and imagery to advance left-wing political agendas?


Like James Haire, former President of the Uniting Church, who recently spoke of the political depravity of our government leaders.


Or Peter Carnley, Primate of the Anglican Church:


“We may seek refuge in denial, but it may be better to acknowledge our part in the invasion of Iraq," he said. "We must ourselves own the horrible mistakes, and seek the mercy and the forgiveness of God."


Janet Albrechtsen writes about the new fundamentalism in The Australian this morning.


Posted: 5:25

Tuesday 29th July, 2003


More Southern Gospel

My attempts to write less about Southern Gospel music are failing. Thanks to Chuck Peters for this email:


I surfed onto your website this afternoon. I appreciate your love for southern gospel music. Sometimes us folks here in the states are spoiled a little. I live near Knoxville, TN.. and am happy to say we have a full time FM Southern Gospel station that broadcasts around the clock,. everyday!  However,.. there are lots of people,.. even here in the U.S. that have no southern gospel radio in their area. You are not alone.


I spent about 27 years working in commercial southern gospel radio,..and I miss it very much. To fill the void in my life,.. I have built an internet radio station that airs SG music everyday. I get email from many listeners that say this is there only source for SG music. So maybe I am providing a valuable resource.  If you get a chance,.. give us a listen.. let me know what you think.


I thought I was being adventurous starting my own website. But to start your online radio station – that’s something special. Chuck’s station, SG Live – 365 Radio, is great. Please check it out.



And Still More

Thank you, too, to Susan at for some kind comments. What a wonderful site that is. I’d found it before, but hadn’t spent much time exploring. It’s packed full of news, commentaries, reviews, devotionals and much more.


Here’s an excerpt from an article, Singing to the Choir, that I feel says something important:


There is a huge movement sweeping the Christian pop and rock industries. It is called the Roaring Lambs movement. It is based on a concept in a book by Bob Briner called Roaring Lambs. The main idea of the book is that Christians have a responsibility to impact culture through the arts. It also tackles the sticky subject of Christians submerging themselves into their culture, rather than running from it. I believe that this applies to Southern Gospel as well.

SG artists don't have to be in clubs singing, but they should be trying to make a significant impact on the world around them. Admonishing the church isn't going to cut it. While that ministry is and always will be needed, it shouldn't be the main goal of every artist out there.


Posted: 9:30am