(Hot) Thursday Thoughts


We’ve had a mild, gorgeous summer here, but today is shaping up to be one of those 95/95 days—95 degrees with 95 percent humidity. Welcome to southern Ohio in the second half of July.

Haven’t had as much inspiration for gut-wrenching blog posts lately. Life is difficult right now, so my energies are being directed elsewhere. Sorry. Will attempt to do better.

So today we get links and various musings on a variety of topics.

Musical Worthiness – Derek Webb is one of the few contemporary Christian artists I listen to. This is slightly old news, but he’s giving away his The Ringing Bell album free at NoiseTrade. You can find other free albums by alternative Christian artists at that site. Heaven knows we need alternatives to Third Day, Casting Crowns, and Mercy Me!

Cautionary-Tale-from-an-Impeccable-Source Worthiness – If you want to hear just how well the Lakeland “Revival” and Todd Bentley travel, William Dembski of Intelligent Design fame shares his tale of attending a Dallas offshoot appearance. Given Dembski’s notoriety, intellect, and the revelation that one of his children is autistic only makes the story all the more worthy of note.

Charitable Worthiness – Reader Sara Wilson alerted me to a 131-year-old organization called The Fresh Air Fund that provides a two-week summer vacation for inner-city kids by placing them with families that live in suburban and rural areas or by sending them to camp. As someone who worked in camping for years and now lives on a farm, sounds ideal to me. If you can host a child, please contact the organization ASAP.

Blog Worthiness – Pastor Michael Newnham’s Phoenix Preacher blog is also worthy of note. Plenty of good linkage there and gripping reading.

A Lesson for Early Adopters – Though always a “wait and see” person when it comes to software updates with new functionality, I threw caution to the wind and upgraded my WordPress software almost immediately after v2.6 came out. I’ve used a plugin that does the upgrade seamlessly, but this time the outcome was a mess and took me about four hours to finally clear up. The plugin choked right at the end, I got locked out of the admin panel, and I could not upgrade the database. A real mess with gobs of scary errors. Sure enough, the next day, a new version of the plugin showed up. Of course.

More WordPress Cautions – If you are using one of the recent versions of WordPress that allows automatic updates of plugins, be very, very careful. The automatic update  feature requires CHMOD settings on WordPress directories that leave them open to hacker exploits. This blog was hacked about a month ago by someone who modified a plugin to a plugin because of the settings necessitated by the automatic plugin update in WordPress. Needless to say, once bitten, twice shy.

Speaking of Messes… – Man, this banking fiasco is a nightmare. Expect more banks to collapse. When the SEC halts shorting of financial stocks, you know we’ve got troubles. It only goes to show you better have your treasure in heaven and not on earth.

Apocalyptic Inflationary Evidence – I live in one of the largest corn and soybean producing states. Many of the farmers around me grow corn; a 1,000+-acre field of corn sits a quarter mile down the road. Yesterday, I was in my local Kroger store and they were selling corn for 50 cents an ear. Never seen a price even remotely that high. I know that many soybean and corn farmers around here had to plant twice because of the deluge of rain we got in spring, but still. I used to buy corn for under 10 cents an ear. I saw a man standing in front of the corn bin in produce shaking his head and muttering. I joined him. He turned to me and said something I’ve been saying to myself a lot lately: “How do people live?” Unbelievable.

The Neo-Apostolic Mashup – Christianity has seen its mix of assaults (postmodernism being the latest whipping boy of apologists), but I’m convinced the New Apostolic Reformation poses a larger threat to the Church globally than postmodernism does, especially if it cannot cleanse out its undiscerning elements. Sadly, I wonder if anything would be left of the movement if the undiscerning elements were purged.

Thank You – Thank you to those of you who contributed to the support of Cerulean Sanctum. I’ve written to those who did. Blessings. A couple contributers typoed their e-mail addresses, though. If you have not received a personal thank you from me, that is why. And for those who enjoy the blog and have offered to support it in the past, you now have the option to do so.

Thanks always for reading. Have a blessed weekend.



It’s county fair week in my pastoral community.

When you live in the country, you step through a rift in time. Whatever life you once lived vanishes in a flash, and you wake à la Rip Van Winkle in unfamiliar environs. But in the reverse of old Rip, you half expect to turn around and see Andy and Opie in black and white out back by the old fishin’ hole.

Back in Mayberry’s heyday, the entire community year revolved around the county fair. Youngsters primped their 4-H livestock,  fresh-faced young women coming into the bloom of maturity practiced their finest equestrian moves with their own personal Flicka, while their moms slaved in the kitchen, hoping against hope to beat that Edna Mae Krebs and her strawberry-rhubarb pie that takes home the blue ribbon year after year, “Bless her little heart—You thinkin' that's Silver Queen?and I hope she gets bit by a rabid polecat after stepping on a rusty nail because heaven knows she’s good, but she’s not that good.”

You know, what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Or maybe you don’t.

Around here, 4-H rules, Flicka still rides, and Edna Mae Krebs continues to be the source of a lot of ground-down teeth amongst the womenfolk. It’s fair week! Around here, local businessowners throw in the towel because, heck, no one shows up for work.  It’s fair week! And the schools? Forget about it. Little Jess and little June are too busy making sure their stew rabbit plumps up nicely for the judges. The principal’s got a bull he just sold at the cattle auction. School? Hey, it’s fair week! Who’s going to be Tobacco Queen this year?

When you live in the country, the local newspapers ain’t like nothin’ you read in the big city. The op-ed pages resemble a seminary debate, as the pastor of the Holiness Church takes umbrage with the editorial written by the Methodist pastor the week before, the darned liberal. And the pastor of the Pentecostal church complains that people today aren’t like they were when he was growing up. Back then, people had no problems with a Tuesday night service, a Wednesday night service, AND a Thursday night service. Now you can only pack ’em in on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights. The world’s goin’ to hell in a handbasket. And, of course, the general store is running a sale on handbaskets through the end of the month.

Probably won’t be any elders’ meetings at the churches because it’s time to get the crop in. When you’re a farmer, the pastor’s just gotta understand that nothing stands in the way of the crop. God knows.

That cloud of dust? It’s the combines harvesting the soybeans. If you look carefully, the corn farmers wear a crooked smirk because they timed their rotation right this year and made a killing. Too bad for the soy guys. Too darned bad.

Out here in the country, you ponder daily the fate of your mailbox, but when that’s about the only thing you’ve got to worry about, life’s not too bad. Your neighbor invites you over to hang out on the back porch, and the old farmer’s wife across the way brings one of those orange cakes slathered in homemade whipped butter frosting with the little bits of pineapple and mandarin oranges in it. A cake good enough to set Edna Mae Krebs’s teeth on edge, I’ll tell you.

You cool your heels on that back porch and listen to the debates about whether Silver Queen is still king, or whether White Magic, Fantasia, or Silverado has got it goin’ on now. And if you’re the city-slicker—like me—you pay extra special attention because you know this is a life or death sort of discussion that might determine your ultimate eternal destination. Even if it is about corn.

It’s fair week. And the Lord Himself is smiling down on us all.