March 28, 2020

What’s Going On Around Internet (Misc Site News)

monkposterSome miscellaneous site news for those of you who have any interest in behind the scenes.

I believe the number of comments on the front page right now is easily a record. There are more 100/200+ comment threads on the front page today than any day I can remember. It’s not only extraordinary conversation, but I have rarely needed to engage in any moderation at all. So thanks to everyone for making this a great blog with the most diverse conversation in the blogosphere.

Coming Up? Well, I sent out a new Liturgical Gangstas question on spiritual warfare in ministry. I’ll do a podcast tomorrow. I hope to have a sermon in “Preaching for Grown-Ups” posted before the Monday. I’ve been writing more than usual, so expect a bit of a break, but you never know.

Some of you have asked my opinion of the FTC ruling regulating blogs receiving compensation for product endorsement or review. The only thing I accept for product review is a sample of the product, i.e. a book or a dvd/cd. I have never received any other compensation for reviews or endorsements. I’ve been offered an array of things, but I don’t consider that to be ethical. If I receive a book to review, I’ll tell you in the review. So the FTC is welcome to stop in. I’ve gotten a pile of free books, a handful of cds/dvds, and a couple of t-shirts.

Those of you who would like to be involved with Internet in a material way always have the Amazon list or Paypal button. There are other ways some of you have helped and there’s always a way to replace technology or purchase materials for my students. Many thanks to those of you who have been tangible encouragements to what I’m doing.

Book news? OK. Right now, nothing is happening or has happened for a couple of weeks. My official deadline is in less than 2 weeks, but the book is basically done. There will be some changes when we get an official title and a final run through to get everything finalized, but my editor is very happy with the book. Happy enough to be on vacation. Publishing date is still fall of next year.

One final thing: I’m interested in knowing about any evangelical churches that are using the Book of Common Prayer or other liturgical resources on a regular basis in spiritual formation. I’ve become aware of several Vineyard churches that have gone liturgical and I’d like to know of others. Is this a “movement” within the Vineyard/Third wave? I’ve heard similar stories about groups in the IHOP movement going to more liturgical prayer. So I’m looking for those “non-liturgical” evangelicals who are using liturgical resources. I’d be interested in churches, pastors, etc.

Just for your continuing information, there is a Bio tab and a site FAQ tab at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Subscribe to all the relevant feeds on the sidebar. If you have any technical issues, let me know so I can tell Joe the plumber.

I’m enjoying new music these days by Jeremy Casella, Rosanne Cash and Indelible Grace. Missing the Reds, but listening to the playoffs on Gameday audio. Vin Scully on the Dodgers is a voice about to retire, so I’m enjoying every inning of Vin.


  1. IHOP movement = International House Of Pancakes?

    • Prayer

      • If that wasn’t intentional on their part, that’s kind of an unfortunate coincidence.

        If it was intentional on their part, that’s kind of weird.

        • When it comes weird and IHOP, brother, you don’t know the half of it.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Not “weird”, Sam. Lame knockoff.

          Evangelical Christianity is full of similar knockoff names. And knockoff logos. And day-late-and-dollar-short “Just like whatever was Cool(TM) last year, except CHRISTIAN (TM)!” (Just wait until the first Christian Paranormal Romances — you can’t call them “vampires”, but they still *SPARKLE* in the sunlight — hit the Christian Bookstore stands…)

          P.S. I used to work at International House of Pancakes (not Prayer) corporate HQ back in the late Seventies. I’ve avoided their restaurant chains ever since. Talk about pointy-haired bosses tunnel-visioned into their own egos and never-ending power struggle — Screwtape would have felt right at home amid their “Admin”.

  2. Re. Vin Scully

    I wholeheartedly agree. He is a voice from my youth that has solidified great memories in my heart, keeping me young. The only other who comes close is my personal favorite, Ernie Harwell, who, tragically, is dying of cancer. His calling of a ball game brings a soothing to my soul little else comes close to. Good man, too.

    • I’ll tell you who the voice of my youth is; John Miller broadcasting the Baltimore Orioles games. I would listen to him with my dad on summer nights on the way home from church softball league games.

      My dad loved/loves the Orioles, and so do I. I can’t hear John Miller enough. His voice brings back wonderful memories.

  3. Monk,

    You can check your email for a more detailed account, but for everybody else, I’m in the process of working up a church plant thru a baptists state convention that will be liturgical in format. In fact just for comments and feedback, and I love to hear from folks, I have posted on m blog link (not a ploy for traffic) of a litrugy that has been designed for the worship. I have no formal training as a liturgist so I have probably botched the whole thing. All constructive criticism is welcome.

    Basically the church, which we have yet to name, will have three key goals. We want to be evangelical, missional, and litrugical. We are looking to work with folks who are looking for worship that is focused on God and that connects with the larger Christian traditions. We will see if a baptist can pull this off, or if it will get the final go head for support form the state convention.

    I’v also recently started, or will be starting November, a once a week, on Wednesday Morning Prayer service, at the local YMCA at 6:45 in the morning before I go to work.


    • the format on the blog will probably be off but you can get the general idea

    • Austin, judging by the havoc that has been wreaked by professionally trained liturgists in Catholiclism, you’re probably better off as you are 😉

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        We talking Liturgical Dance (TM) and Clown Masses (TM)?

        • And the “wreckovation” of churches (there’s one particular example that has me practically in tears – the Parish church of my town which is a typically 19th century watered-down vaguely Gothic style, but not bad for what it is, or rather was – the innovators got at it and now the altar rails are gone, the altar in the St. Joseph chapel is hacked out for no reason at all, don’t even talk to me about what they did to the Lady chapel, the altar is now a bundle of sticks… I could go on but it’s too disheartening).

          Not to mention the new church designs which look like everything from flying saucers to units on an industrial estate.

          And the down-grading of popular devotions (though there are signs of rowing back on this, thank goodness – Benediction is coming back, and Eucharistic Devotion).

          And the “Happy Mealifciation” of the Eucharist, by which I mean the shifting of the emphasis regarding the Mass from the Sacrifice of Calvary to the Common Meal.

          I know I sound like a grumpy old “hey, you kids, get off my lawn!” type, and I do appreciate many of the changes that came in, but there was an over-enthusiasm in throwing out *everything* that seemed old-fashioned in the name of what were contemporary fads, and the retort to any protests that ‘you don’t understand the liturgy, leave it to us, we’re trained and qualified’ which was a strange form of lay clericalism – all laity are equal, but some (the liturgists) are more equal than others.

          I suppose it’s just “you never miss the water till the well runs dry” – when we had the old things, we didn’t appreciate them at the time 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            And the “wreckovation” of churches (there’s one particular example that has me practically in tears… I could go on but it’s too disheartening).

            I’m from Los Angeles. Home of the ugliest cathedral in Western-Rite Christendom. With a statue of St Mary sculpted to look like a Stalinist “Joe the Worker” with Popeye arms.

            Not to mention the new church designs which look like everything from flying saucers to units on an industrial estate.

            Not just Catholics to blame in that regard. I remember some comment about one in France that “at least it’s easily convertible into a mosque when the time comes”. Get too TRENDY and you’ll become Old Fashioned overnight (anybody here remember Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In?) Nothing gets old as fast as Over-Relevance. Except Pretentious Over-Relevance.

            I’m glad St Boniface in Anaheim was built in 1962. Stained-glass windows, iconic mosaics, cruciform/basilica arrangement with choir loft over narthex… I’ve seen some recent-construction parish churches in the diocese, and they just don’t “feel” like there’s anything sacred to them.

          • Oh, I’ve seen the pictures of that statue, Headless. Commisserations – still, at least you know you’re doing penitential work and mortification of the senses when you pray before it 😉

            And to be fair, some of the traditional statues can be too syrupy sweet in the other direction, so it’s hard to strike a balance.

    • Okay, to give a serious response, what I saw I liked. You have the spine of the service well constructed, with room to change and add/remove as necessary in practice, but with enough structure to keep it from collapsing into everyone sitting around looking at each other going “What do we do now?”

      To address criticism: I can see a lot of potential accusations of “It’s too rigid! It’s too Catholic! It’s too dry and formal!” but those you will know better to address from inside your own tradition.

      Are you going to be experimenting with introducing the church year as well, or do you want to go easy on them at first?

      • I preach with thru the RCL, so yes there will be he basic bones of the church year with the major seasons etc.

        Thanks for the response.

        • I await with interest feedback on the response from your congregation. If you are misfortunate enough to have any like me in the pews, there will be much grumbling about all these new-fangled notions and the old ways were good enough 😉

  4. The new FAQ is interesting, especially the NH confession link. Are you going to write about the meaning of “truth without any mixture of error for its matter” and how that is different from ‘inerrant’ ?

    • Truth without any mixture of error is a bad and untrue phrase. I would defer from that expression.

      The Bible is true in all matters relating to salvation.

      Inerrant is a non sequitor when applied to any humanly written document, even if it is divinely inspired.

  5. Well, our church isn’t liturgical, but I ran a group for a couple years that made generous use of the BCP and lectionary. Also, our young adults are starting to express an interest in how other denominations/traditions worship, so I’ll be working up a teaching series on the major streams, and that will likely involve visits to several churches. This might function as a catalyst to introduce more liturgical elements, even if it’s only in a subset of the church.

  6. Vineyard and liturgy? You don’t seem surprised. I’m…well…I don’t know…Should there be any concern that liturgy is becoming a worship circus side show?

    • So sad for the Lutherans – tossing out liturgy at the time when it is becoming popular again. By the time Lutherans figure out that kickin’ worship bands are a bad idea, they’ll be back in vogue again.

      • We’re pretty slow on the uptake. By the time it dawns on folks that liturgy isn’t evil or toxic to people under 60, most of the Lutheran churches will look like that church in Detroit the iMonk showed a while back.

        • That’s the sound of goose bumps going up my spine. I hope it doesn’t happen. What will kill the denomination (LCMS) is not failing to keep up with the latest trends but attempting to do so. As the saying goes, he who marries the spirit of the age will soon be left a widower. As Billy Graham said years ago, the Lutheran church is a sleeping giant. It could be a real leader in a time of a leadership vacuum in evangelicalism. It just needs to be true to its heritage and share that treasure with the rest of the church. I think there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but there are days I just want to scream.

  7. I believe Journey church (the Acts 29 one) is starting a new liturgical service as well.
    How ironic is this? Liturgical upstarts are becoming a trend! Pretty soon there will be more BCP users than there are actual Episcopalians.

  8. “you can follow me on Facebook”

    Just went there and see the issue that must give you the most struggles in your life. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I’ve had to “just say no”.

  9. Off-topic, but when I saw this, I immediately thought of you, Michael, and your recent encounter with the flora of your native land:

    I hope you are in better health now?

  10. Is the Rosanne Cash music you mentioned the one where she covers some songs off the “List” that her dad gave her of 100 core country songs? I heard a great interview with her on NPR on Monday about that.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Coming Up? Well, I sent out a new Liturgical Gangstas question on spiritual warfare in ministry.

    That could get lively. REAL lively. I’ve heard a LOT of horror stories regarding Spiritual Warrior Types. I think even IMonk said in one of his older essays “These guys make me think I just stepped into a bad Star Wars prequel.” (No, IMonk, you just stepped into a badly-run Call of Cthulhu game.)

    • I will definitely be interested to hear what the Gangstas have to say on this topic, because spiritual warfare – what that? as far as Catholics are concerned.

      Yeah, we have exorcists, but it’s not like in the films. And we don’t (so far as I know) have the Demons of Burned-Out Lightbulbs that Headless (I believe) mentioned 🙂

      Though I am given to understand that the African church is very lively in this area – the notorious Archbishop Milingo first got into trouble over his exorcisms and healing services and was hauled back to Rome from Zambia over this.

      • Berry College a local liberal arts school with a quasi-religous past just had a big controversy that got national coverage when an RA conducted an exoricism at a bible study. Supposedly he had been on a mission trip and had gavitated to that type of thing going on.

        • See, you’re supposed to be very careful before doing exorcisms. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry can carry one out; there is the diocesan exorcist who is licensed to perform these, the bishop has to give his permission, and there has to be a medical examination beforehand to rule out mental illness and the like.

          There’s a book about the training of a modern exorcist:

          Haven’t read this myself, so can’t comment on how sensational (or otherwise) it is 🙂

  12. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    I’ve been noticing the three-figure comment counts for the past month or two.

    Looks like you’ve hit the big time, IMonk.

  13. I feel a Chesteron quotation coming on 😉

    From “Heretics”:

    “The whole modern world is pining for a genuinely sensational journalism. This has been discovered by that very able and honest journalist, Mr. Blatchford, who started his campaign against Christianity, warned on all sides, I believe, that it would ruin his paper, but who continued from an honourable sense of intellectual responsibility. He discovered, however, that while he had undoubtedly shocked his readers, he had also greatly advanced his newspaper. It was bought –first, by all the people who agreed with him and wanted to read it; and secondly, by all the people who disagreed with him, and wanted to write him letters. Those letters were voluminous (I helped, I am glad to say, to swell their volume), and they were generally inserted with a generous fulness. Thus was accidentally discovered (like the steam-engine) the great journalistic maxim– that if an editor can only make people angry enough, they will write half his newspaper for him for nothing.”

    Let us hope that Michael’s book will also sell very well, both to “the people who agreed with him and wanted to read it; and secondly, by all the people who disagreed with him, and wanted to write him letters” (or blog posts) 🙂

  14. Well, LOL, or CryOutLoud…..not sure which, I’ve been a member of a Vineyard (in IHOP’s back yard, no less) for the past 21 yrs and I have all the questions that I-MONK does 🙂 Cant’ wait till he gets the answers so I get the answers….. yeah, we are sorta autonamous you could say… I’ll be meeting with an associate Vineyard pastor for dinner tonight, and I’ll get as much as he knows….which prob. isn’t a whole lot more than I know.

    Reporting back later: I-MONK, the columns and posts the last few weeks have been outstanding and life giving; glad to hear the writing has gone well, and the ‘backwoods plague has……well….just GONE.

    Peace and strength
    Greg R

  15. Hey Michael. Who is your publisher? And what is the book specifically about? Look forward to seeing it come out.

    • Waterbrook, imprint of Random House.

      Name is in flux. Book is for those who have left the church but kept their faith.

      • Book is for those who have left the church but kept their faith.

        To try and see them come back into community (in a gracious way, of course, not patronisingly)?

  16. Trinity Vineyard in Atlanta is going AMiA:

  17. Yo iMonk, I’m really happy for you. I’m gonna let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best blog conversations of all time!