July 29 -
August 12, 2003
Southern Gospel – love the music, don’t
really understand the comedy. Christian comedy in general usually leaves me
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
LarkNews.com, 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
Richard’s Sermon Cycle
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
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?
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
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?”
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.”
In Souls Filled with Love, the Desire
to Please God is a Continual Prayer
WorldWideWales.tv for its innovative series of web “movies”. One of the
latest tells of evangelist John Wesley and his work in Wales. Enjoyable and
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
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.
Terror and Sorrow in a Domain of Evil
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
Publishers Weekly, reporting on last month’s
Association International Convention:
Perhaps the most prescient
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
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.
3rd August, 2003
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
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
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.
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
Like James Haire, former President of the
Uniting Church, who recently spoke of the
political depravity of our government leaders.
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.
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
SoGospelNews.com 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
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.