Archive for the 'Hall of Fame' Category

Hey – it’s that time of year where the editor of PPP.Info recognizes the efforts of this year’s writers by drawing attention to some of his favorites of their offerings – hoping that they would not go missed in the grand scheme of things.  So, without any more babbling (and in alphabetical order):

Brendt: This was a close one – I’m not sure I can choose between the giggles in Where Did This Come From or his (as usual) dead-on recognition of idiosyncrasies and hypocrisy in Whenever You Assume, You Make… So, instead of choosing, I’ll just pick both :)   Also, if you’ve not visited his blog before, be sure to go over there, as he’s got a lot more material there (including an interesting and spot on review of Avatar).

Chris: Not Chris L – Chris P.  Not that Chris P – the other one.  The one who, this year, introduced us to the music of Ken Silva.  That Chris (who has had more flat tires than anyone I know) probably challenges my thinking more than any other writer, and this year was no different.  His article Those People! What People? You Know THOSE People is an challenging indictment we all need to consider as we write in the blogosphere.

Christian P: One of our youngest, yet probably most mature, writers is Christian P (brief admission – we rather frequently communicate via IM, and participate in Woot-offs together). His article, entitled You Lie, is a very thoughtful piece on how we often go too far in categorizing items in too inflammatory a manner, particularly “lying” vs. being incorrect.

Eugene: Our newest writer here at .Info, Eugene is also our only non-American.  His life in South Africa has given him a diverse set of experiences, which he drew on in many of his articles, my favorite of which was Apartheid in the Body of Christ.  He also has a heart for Jesus’ parables, and I thought both of his articles on the subject – the first on the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and the other on the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son – were incredibly well thought-out and applicable.

Jerry: [Apologies to Jerry for not having this in the initially published version - I must have copy/pasted over it in the page-editor.  Sorry!]  I think no other writer here has had more “thoughts of the day” than Jerry (we should probably make our own tag for them!).  Perhaps it was a product of a tumultuous year, but (as Rob Bell pointed out in “Drops Like Stars”) sometimes our greatest creativity springs from our own times of suffering.  Since we come from a similar church background, I found Jerry’s posts on baptism and grace to be two of the most raw, honest articles I’ve read anywhere this year.

Joe: Mr. Martino, who co-founded this site with me several years ago,  is often rather economical with his words.  However, one of his more lengthy articles, What if a Muslim Street Preacher Showed Up at Your Vacation, is one that has probably had more reverberations since it’s original posting than any other article this year.  I owe Joe a great debt of gratitude for what he – and this blog – have brought me, in terms of my own growth and walk.  Thanks, Joe!

Joe C: Our own active-duty soldier/writer, Joe C, became a dad and had a good deal of travel this past year.  His incredibly-well researched article on Paul and what it means to be truly relevant, Becoming All Things, is the type of writing I wish all of us could produce every day.  He has our prayers for his continued safety.

Neil: One of our most objective writers (and comment-thread peacekeepers), Neil has a special place in his heart for Palestinian believers, and the injustices Western Christians often commit in reflexively siding with the modern State of Israel on any controversial topic.  His article on the current state of the Church in America, an Ode to Chicken Little, is one that I greatly appreciated, particularly in its objective view and wisdom (which, ironically, led to ODM’s channeling Carly Simon in assuming that the article was talking about them).  An excellent read, it was.

Phil Miller: As writers on this site go, I’d say that Phil’s thought processes and organization are probably most in line with my own – even if we do not always agree.  Possibly, it’s because we’re both engineers from the Big Ten, but I suspect it is something more than that.  Phil had quite a harrowing experience this year with his wife’s illness (which we are all so thankful that she has recovered from), and we are all blessed to have him writing with us.  His Easter Article, Jesus is For Losers, especially resonated with me, and the addition of Steve Taylor (one of my favorite “classic” Christian artists) was just icing on the cake.

Zan: My absolute favorite writer at PPP.Info (sorry guys – she’s a lot cuter than all of you, combined.  Plus, she does more to keep me fed, and in line, than any of you.)  She’s probably also the most shy of our writers – often talking to me about things she would want to write, but never does.  Her Esther study has challenged her walk this year, and her “eye-catching title” post, had some excellent thoughts that deserve a second read.

Commenters: To all of our commenters – even more so than my fellow writers, you encourage us to grow more in the depth and strength of our beliefs, and – speaking for myself – have greatly enhanced my walk in challenging my way of thinking, and in encouraging me in a number of my areas of study.  My God bless you all, and bring you a blessed 2010.

Grace and Peace to you,

Chris L.

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Go To FailSometimes the truth is so much better than anything you could make up. Tonight, we can witness a case in point.

First, just to establish some context: As many readers may know, one of the frequent “discernmentalist” sites we take to task for injurious action toward the Body of Christ is Slice of Laodicea (SoL). Slice’s primary mode of operation is to place itself in a position of sanctimonious judgment over anyone/anything its primary author deems to fall short of her shallow, externalist view of Christianity. Unfortunately, Sol’s author is also a radio personality with a larger-than-average platform from which to spew her “discernment” on unsuspecting masses.

Frequent readers of SoL will recognize that one of its author’s primary sources of scorn against the modern church is its lack of older hymns and “proper” externals (with “proper” being defined as 1950’s idealized church culture). And so it is no surprise that SoL would publish an article like this one (here is a link to a screen-capture (and a full one), since it is highly probable that its author will attempt to make it disappear into the ether, as if it never happened).

In this article, SoL’s author begins by staking out a “moral” high ground:

I have heard hip, healthy young Christians laugh about the musical format at VCY America during the wee hours of the morning. Over the night hours our radio network airs quiet hymns and instrumental music interspersed with Scripture readings and devotional thoughts from the host, Vic Eliason. Oh, if only these young people could read the mail that we get.

Before we go on, it should also be noted that the author trumpets, with great pride, her vastly over-inflated ability of “discernment”. With this “gift”, she is able to spitefully trash all sorts of Christian brothers and sisters – Rick Warren, Ravi Zacharias, Rob Bell, Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll and many more – along with casting aspersions at entire bodies of believers all over the world. For instance, her magnified powers of ‘discernment’ have recently been raking Ravi Zacharias over the fires of hell for not mentioning the name of Jesus in a prayer during a program on the National Day of Prayer.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Jim at Old Truth just loves us. He really does. He likes us. I’ve made his little hit piece (thanks again Jim). So after sending him a thank you email, what is a guy to do? Well, come share it over here with you guys. Now, I have to say that I am really disappointed in this post by Jim. It is not his best work, trust me.

CRN.INFO Post from Joe Martino - Time: Time: January 9, 2008

Not a comment, but a post on CRN.INFO in which Joe Martino admits to watchdogging: “I’ve been watching some fascinating discussion on the internet“. But who has Joe been watching? He answers: “… these Online Discernment Ministries (ODM)…“.

Now, this kills me because Jim is so eager to condemn me that he tries to rewrite what I said. Did you catch it? Jim says,

But who has Joe been watching? (Emphasis Mine)

Jim, Jim, Jim, changing my words doesn’t help your case. Let’s look at what I actually wrote (which for some reason Jim had the common decency to put up there for me, Thanks again Jim).

I wrote

I’ve been watching some fascinating discussion on the internet over the last 7-10 days. (Emphasis Mine–do you have to do that when you’re quoting yourself?)

Do you see what Jim did in his hurry there? He changed my “what” to a “who.” So either Jim is intentionally being dishonest and slandering me (Yes, I’ll be contacting an attorney in the morning) or he just missed that day of grammar class. Jim, write what you want about me. I’m not afraid to be marked. You do whatever you gotta do, I’m not going anywhere.

Ironically, I’ve thought about it. I started thinking that it just wasn’t worth our time. Then you changed tactics. You created your little hit piece on Chris and Tim. Ingrid did her thing with that band. I realized we must be driving you guys a little crazy. If you actually have to subscribe to our RSS feed, and scan our comments all over the blog world to criticize us we must be doing something right. So, I’m staying here. I’m gonna keep posting. I’m gonna keep pointing out silly things like the whole “When Jesus returns, He will not be in a good mood.” nonsense. You’ve helped motivate me, Jim.

Which brings us back to this post, Jim. You took my words and twisted them, Jim. That’s not very sporting, nor is it very honest. I’ll be looking forward to you putting this up on the hit piece. Just do me a favor and quote me accurately.

Thanks.

Everyone else, if you missed the above link you can click on this one. I don’t know if he’s doing his little redirect thing or not

http://www.oldtruth.com/Watchdog-Chris-Lyons.cfm?CFID=697714&CFTOKEN=91810346

*******UPDATE For Jim and All*******

Jim, the majority of the conversation I was watching happened on this blog and a couple of others that I will not share with you. Kind of missed that one, too.

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Grumpy CatSo, the end of the year is always the time for “Top 10 Lists”, and to carry on that tradition, here is the list of the top 10 articles, in terms of readership, from 2007.

From a quick perusal of the list, I would also note that two of the articles were from January (the first full month of operation) and that, despite the huge spike in traffic over the past month or so, only two articles were from December.

  1. Criticism of Christian Yoga as “Oxymoron” is Simply Moronic
  2. O Holy Night (Sort Of)
  3. Is it Just Me…
  4. Ingrid’s 1/26/07 “Missing” Article on Watchblogging
  5. Dine with the Porn Producers!
  6. Hallelujah: What’s Right With the World
  7. How Systematic Theology Kills People – Forever
  8. When Scoring Points is of Greater Need than Love
  9. Thou Shalt Not Say “Dude”, Nor Shalt Thou Call Thy Wife “Hot”. Henceforth Consult Ingrid First
  10. Anatomy of a Blogstorm

Also, to honor Julie’s request for more cats, I’ve pulled in a cat picture for this article…

Here’s looking toward a great 2008!

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Bill MacKinnon writes about the wannabe Pope, Johnny Mac ex communicating Doug Pagitt.

There is no Truth War in Jesus’ command. Let me be blunt. MacArthur is as much promoting another gospel as he claims the emergent crowd are. His Darbyist dispensational theology has as many holes as the theology of Brian McLaren. I wouldn’t deign to say that MacArthur isn’t my brother. But I would say this. The man is an… I can’t even say that. Though I wish I could.

Might I suggest, however, that it is time for the more irenic of the Calvinist wing of Christianity to disassociate themselves from the man who wants to be Pope of the Truly Reformed.

But the real gold here is Brant Hansen’s comment:

I’m not one of these namby-pamby, post-mod types who think Truth will be just fine, thank you. I know it’s much, much weaker than that.

If it weren’t for men like John McArthur, the Truth would disappear into thin air. It is not enduring on its own. It will not last without bold leaders to defend it, to much applause, by preaching it to the same people week after week and selling books about it to them.

The Truth is very, very fragile, indeed. If anything, Paul himself was weak-kneed. He claimed he couldn’t even judge himself, and it was up to the Lord to look at men’s motives, not him. McArthur realizes the folly of that kind of false humility.

Chesteron thought that we should be confident of Truth, but less confident about our own selves. McArthur doesn’t fall for that post-mod ruse, either. He’s quite confident that his own take is the Truth, period.

McArthur knows that the church is to do one thing: 1) Defend the truth. 2) Proclaim the truth. 3) Live the truth. That’s it. One thing.

I used to be one of those mod-hip guys who think that Truth will last without McArthur, but now I know better.

Oh snap!

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From here:

For my regular readers let me explain. I began posting as the Rev Scottie over at the Slice of Laodicea website. It all began pretty quietly. I disagreed that all modern type Pastors were clones of each other. I posted my opinion that most Baptist churches and pastors in the South are as much clones as anything. As is customary on that blog things went on a rapid downward spiral of personal attacks. I made the mistake of trying to post an honest commentary as well as asking the moderator to tone down the personal attacks. The Rev Scottie posting days were then ended! I wasn’t even allowed to defend myself against some pretty stupid accusations.

In order to prove the bias and agenda of these folks I created the Dr Louis extreme fundamentalist profile. My goal was to see how much out of context scripture, poor spelling, and personal attacks would be allowed. The answer I found is anything goes as long as you attack someone they disagree with. I searched Google and popped in scripture references that would appear to support my position but were used way out of context. I was able to attack my friends Dave Anderson (movie pastor) and Gary Lamb without any rebuke or restraint. I finally created a Dr Louis Blog and linked it here in hopes that some Laodicea readers and posters would consider how wrong it is for brothers and sisters in Christ (By the way that includes dudes and chicks as well) to run each other down in a public forum.

Hattip: MMI

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(HT: Iggy)

From Cultintervention.com:

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8. Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
9. The group/leader is always right.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

I will admit that I was originally skeptical when I first heard about this, but Ken does, indeed, meet 9 of the 10 criteria

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Mr. Silva, You’ve been quoted on this ministry/webpage/blog as saying,

“There were times I’m writing these articles and I literally turned to the Lord, as if He was standing there, and I said ‘Lord, I didn’t know that. I could not have written that sentence.’ I say that time and time again. I take no credit for this. I’m one of the few who’ll tell you that.”

Now, there are some who if they heard this quote from someone else, say…Rob Bell, or Rick Warren, or Josh Dobson…or well…I imagine you get the idea–they would simply start calling names and making remarks about your eternal resting place, I would like to give you the opportunity to address this quote in the open. Please if you did say this, please explain it. If you did not, please address that and we’ll check our research. However you choose to address it, please do so in public here on the format (or on your own CRN or Apprising Ministries webpage, if you would prefer).
I will wait for further information from you before I attempt to discuss my feelings on such a quote.

Thanks! :)

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Well, it seems that Ingrid’s article decrying the tactics of watchbloggers which Joe wrote about here, and Scott covered over at Verum Serum was pulled. Fortunately, some of us have come to expect such attempts to say and un-say things over at Slice/CRN (like, um, pulling down the entire site and deleting it…)

Here, via internet not-so-wayback technology is the text of Ingrid’s article. Look for more commentary to come later…

[Update: Ingrid has threatened us with a lawsuit because she doesn't want this article seen. As such, and to be safe withing copyright law, I am only quoting key parts of the article below. Should anyone want a full copy of what was here, check out the internet way-back machine.]

Here are selected quotes of interest from the article:

There is a campaign of destruction underway in the church. There are lies being passed off as truth; there is slander and gossip and the carnage that is being caused is causing long-term harm to the cause of the Gospel of Christ. No, I’m not talking about attacks from emergent church followers or outraged Purpose Driven disciples. I’m talking about the seamy underbelly of what goes on in the name of “discernment ministry.” I have been in ministry since 1988 and I can say with confidence that the enemy of Jesus Christ has to do very little. The church is really, really good at destroying itself.

[...]

What is most disturbing in this case is the gossip and false information that has been carried by these “discernment” folks. One researcher who sought to reconcile with me and who apologized for helping to spread false information was warned ahead of time to “be careful” if he talked to me. [...] Worse still, these individuals are publishing columns and links to columns, like the one on [Another blog], blasting [a friend] for “promoting” contemplative. These people have been harassing [this man] for months, demanding that he conduct his decency organization like their own “discernment” ministries. They have deliberately sought to find what evil they can on the American Family Association secular online bookstore link that they use for the sale of their own books. The only people finding New Age and contemplative books on [his] site are the ones spending their time looking for them: [Watchbloggers A, B and C]].

This is the closest thing to a nasty personal vendetta, couched in pious language, I have seen recently. [Watchblogger A's] language isn’t all that pious, actually, as he calls [my friend] a hypocrite and derisively refers to his friendship with [another friend] in his latest column. [Watchblogger A] and [Watchblogger B] are not in a position of authority to demand that [my friend] carry out his organization’s work according to [Watchblogger A's] and [Watchblogger B's] own standards. We answer to the Lord for our own ministries, not [Watchblogger A] and [Watchblogger B].
[...]

Is Christianity just a matter of holding right positions, or should it impact how we relate to each other as believers? Are the commands of Scripture telling us to be tender-hearted and forgiving of one another less important than the verses about heresy and false teaching? Is gossip and slander okay if it is conducted by those knee deep in research on contemplative spirituality? If some New Agers have more personal peace and treat people more kindly than born-again Christians, doesn’t it say something about the content of our hearts? We can rant and rave about contemplative spirituality, meditation, breath prayers and yoga until we’re blue in the face, but if we can’t reconcile with fellow believers who believe the same things and would prefer to publicly find fault and attack them because they don’t do everything the way we do, we have nothing to share with the world. We become frauds.

[...]

When soldiers begin to turn and shoot their own, combat fatigue has set in. No general would long keep soldiers like this in the field. Speaking from my own experience, combat fatigue is a huge menace in this job. I have had to cut back because of my own dangerous level of fatigue recently. How long the Lord will keep any of us in the field if these issues are not resolved, is questionable. Like the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation, we can become very good at discerning error from truth, but when we’ve lost our first love for the Lord Jesus, it starts showing in our relationships. The Lord’s words warn us that he will put our lampstands out completely if we don’t repent. It’s a wake up call for all of us involved in putting out this information.

There you go!

_____

Addendum:

Ingrid’s reason for taking down the post from her site was because it had hurt some relationships and she did not want those wounds reopened.  In this spirit, while keeping with our own policy to not delete articles, I have excerpted the article above while redacting the names from it.  My reason for posting this article was because of the commentary on the attitude and behavior of watchbloggers and the irony of its authorship, with no interest of the names of those specifically involved.  Per Ingrid’s wishes, I do not wish to open old wounds, so the names of the individuals do not appear here…

–Chris L 12/28/07

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Source: Verum Serum

Comments: Scott picks up from Part I of his series examining ‘watch doggies’ (or ‘watch bloggies’), this time examining the psyche, methods and dubious sourcing often used.  He uses “Reverend” Ken Silva as an example, though he not the only one employing such methods, and does an incerdibly thorough job analyzing the inbred sourcing of ‘watch bloggies’.

Memorable Quotes:

SUMMARY: Using just one article as a primary source/starting point, I tracked back the embedded links three levels deep. As one moves from the primary to the secondary and the tertiary, the results are clear. Within the three levels of interwoven confusion, the “Reverend” Ken used a grand total of 394 embedded links to support his contentions. Of these 394 links, 264 of them were references to articles written by his own hand.

CONCLUSION: By a 2 to 1 margin, “Reverend Ken” is his own best proof and support! Why bother to try and prove or support anything using scripture and logic and reason when you can just write another article that can become the proof of the first one, while the first article can be the proof for the second.

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