On the entertainment front:
*For any Beach Boys fans out there who might be reading this blog (I’m looking at you, Wes Burke), here’s a video sure to bring back memories. The now aged but still kicking California surfers recently paid a visit to Central Park and performed a couple oldies, including that immortal, nay Shakespearian classic, “Good Vibrations.” Enjoy.
On the faith and culture front:
*Here is one Christian’s open letter to Sam Harris. This particular Christian also happens to be a cancer patient. The topic: death and resurrection. Well worth reading.
*Some of you have already heard of the massive Calvinist vs. Arminian kerfuffle that’s going on, sparked by this Statement of the Traditional Baptist Understanding of Salvation. The document was designed to make explicit just what it is that the majority of non-Calvinist Southern Baptists believe about salvation. It’s sparked quite the debate. You can read a summing-up of the various responses and counter-responses here. I have nothing deep to contribute, except that it would appear I’m definitely not a Calvinist. Pass the popcorn.
*Tim Challies dared to criticize John Piper. The topic was Piper’s comments about Christianity’s having “a masculine feel.” Challies begs to differ. Of course, here I am looking at Piper’s list of “masculine virtues” (“tender-hearted strength,” “contrite courage,” “risk-taking decisiveness,” “sacrificial leadership”) and thinking, “So what’s not to love?” But in all seriousness, I do definitely disagree with Challies’ assertion that God is neither masculine nor feminine. His argument just fails on a number of levels. I don’t think he’s moved to the dark side, he’s just kind of uptight and confused on this point.
*I present… The Playful Puppies Bible. I sincerely wish I were joking. It got me thinking… just where would one of these adorable, full-page color photos be most appropriately placed in Scripture? The story of Jezebel comes to mind. Insert well-fed puppy portrait here. But hey, at least it’s not the Stock Car Racing edition. Lordie, that Gaither Bible is looking classier all the time.
On the Southern Gospel front:
*NQC has made a deal with TBN to let the network broadcast the show in 2012. A lot of people are furrowing their brows over this, and I admit I’m one of them. TBN just has a sleazy reputation. They’ve been involved in various scandals, and they’ve worked with heretical “prosperity gospel” preachers like Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Benny Hinn. I really question the wisdom of making an association like this. It will be interesting to see whether attendance is significantly affected.
*The Ball Brothers have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their new album. Get all the details here. If nothing else, watch the promo video. But you might want to donate at least a little—if the Brothers are correct, the world will end in accordance to the Mayan calendar should they fail to reach their goal. “Tell your friends… and tell your strangers.” As a matter of fact, they already have almost $11,000 of the $15,000 needed, so I have no doubt they will reach their goal. A nice thing about all this is that Daniel Ball was one of the first people to pledge to the new Union Street project, and now in return Ryan Seaton has been publicizing the Brothers’ campaign.
*The drop date for Brian Free & Assurance’s new record has been pushed down yet again to mid-July. Meanwhile, here’s the cover art. I think Shivers needs a shave. Ditch the beard dude. (Oops… accidental alliteration.)
*Doug Anderson and I sang “In the Garden” together last Saturday. He’s a master harmonizer, and I picked a key that really showcases his silky upper range. What’s impressive is that I launched into this completely cold—no preliminary “Ooooohs”—and he followed me pitch-perfectly from note one. I liked how it came out, though he does overpower me a little in places. Probably several factors at work there—for one thing, his voice just is more resonant, but I think too I had the recorder pointed towards him, and I was holding back out of nervousness/self-consciousness (although Doug is great at putting you at ease). Anyway, enjoy.
[Update: 4shared has changed their sharing system---apparently now I can't share files I upload with people who don't have an account. This is very frustrating. Don't worry, I'll find a way to let you hear it.]
Open thread. Now come on. You can’t NOT find something to talk about here.