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Tim Challies

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May 23, 2006

Mark Heinrich has thrown down the gauntlet. It has hit the ground with a resounding pfffft and with all the force of feather colliding with the earth. My world has been shaken. The impact of this gauntlet was such that Marc not only posted a challenge on his blog, but felt obligated to email me when I did not respond within what he felt was a sufficient timeframe.

My initial reaction was simply to send Marc the following and consider it a done deal:

Marc Heinrich

But I thought better of it. Here is what Mark is complaining about:

Tim Challies has finally gone too far. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of his, but I have to draw the line somewhere. Recent posts of his have gotten me to the point where I find it probable that I can no longer link to him. You heard me right, I’m thinking of de-linking Challies. You cannot be in doubt as to the posts I’m referring to.

They are, of course, his King for a Week feature. Tim graciously awarded me this honor last year and at the time I felt it was an honor. I was King for 7 days and then the “Honor” passed to another blog. Well these days, if Tim names you King for a Week, you are King for like 3-4 weeks. I mean, c’mon Tim, what’s up with that? It’s a complete outrage! Basically I want at least another week as King or I am deleting him from my blogroll!

I’m glad to know what Mark is a huge fan. Until this time I thought that my fanbase included only my five-year old son who still thinks I’m the strongest, bestest dad in the world. My son has a lot to learn. Marc must too.

But It occured to me that I could work this to my advantage. So here is the deal. I will give Marc one more week as King For A Week, but not without some equal action on his part. Marc: you can be King for Another Week if you remove the picture of your feet from your site…because I’m pretty sure no one wants to be so assaulted when they visit Purgatorio. The content of your site is already sufficiently horrifying (especially the “divine vinyl”). Consider it a fair value trade.


April 03, 2006

This weekend, the blogosphere, or the small corner of it that exists in Oakville, Ontario, was rocked with the allegations that Tim Challies has retired from the blogosphere. It began with an article posted on Saturday by Pastor Shaun in which he announced Challies’ retirement: “In a move nearly as upsetting as the announcement of Al Mohler’s ghost writing team, and nearly as threatening to the future stability of the Christian blogosphere, Tim Challies, web designer and blogger at Challies.com, announced today that he will be ‘closing the book on the blogging chapter of his life.’”

This announcement spurred Rebecca of “Rebecca Writes” fame to begin a “Save Challies” campaign. “Our aim with the ‘Save Challies’ campaign,” said Rebecca,” isn’t just about Tim. It is about keeping Canada as a driving force in the blogosphere. There just aren’t better bloggers than Canada has. Tim will be back, I guarantee it. I imagine it’s just this April weather that’s got him a little down.” When asked how the campaign would spend the money they’ve raised, Rebecca replied, “We’re going to buy Tim a dog. He really needs a dog. That would make everything right.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to Challies revealed that he already has a dog and that one is enough. In fact, one is far more than enough as far as he is concerned. It seems that this dog may be the cause of most of the problems in Tim’s life.

Rumors abound as to why Challies has retired, but Adrian Warnock broke the news of some startling information which Shaun thinks may have played an important role. Challies, it seems, has been accepting bribes. “Larger-than-life Dever admitted to Tim in a rare moment of honesty that he was actually faking T4GB blog posts by his buddies - just as Challies was speaking of revealing the charlatan online, Mahaney came back from the bar and offered him a substantial bribe to keep quiet, which Tim accepted.” Warnock alleges that Challies accepted one thousand U.S. dollars in hush money.

Challies spokesperson Richard Archer, spoke on behalf of his client. “Tim is shocked and dismayed by these malicious rumors. He denies all allegations of improper conduct and the receiving of bribes, though he does admit to an intense dislike of his wife’s dog. ‘No one ever told me before we bought one that dogs make nasty messes all over the yard,’ he said while cleaning the lawn on a Sunday afternoon. We expect that the team of lawyers retained by Challies Dot Com will be serving Shaun, Rebecca and Warnock with lawsuits in the coming days. It is time for some justice—Canadian style!”

Challies, whom a reporter confronted when he was returning home after walking his son to school this morning, declined to comment. “I decline to comment,” he said. When pressed, he merely replied, “Ooo, a squirrel,” and went running after a squirrel, giggling all the while. The squirrel got away.

It turns out that this Challies guy is not going anywhere soon. According to Archer, “He just has too much to say to stop now. And he just does not think he can live without the perks that come with being a blogger. The lifestyle of a blogger; the fast-paced life; the celebrity lifestyle; the brunch, the cheese. It’s what everyone dreams of. Especially the cheese.”

March 31, 2006

Before we get frivolous, Jeff Fuller has asked that I pass along an April Fool’s tract he is promoting called “Don’t Be An April Fool.” You can download it here.

I am now firmly established in my new office, which I grow to enjoy more every day. At one point I had all the books on the shelves, but have since begun to try to put them in some semblance of order. Of course prior to order there must be chaos, so there are currently books piled all over the floor (to my wife’s great chagrin). I really have no idea how to organize a growing theological library, so am interested in hearing from those who have had to find ways of sorting and organizing largish personal libraries. I could use some tips!

To this point I have put all of my commentaries and reference books (New Testament introductions, etc) together on a few shelves and have put most of my antique books up high. I also have a shelf or two of church history and another that is a set of Spurgeon’s sermons. Beyond that I have been planning just to mix everything else together, sorting by the name of the author. But it seems to me that there must be a better way than organizing a library by Commentaries & Reference, Church History, Antique and then other. Does anyone have some advice to pass along? My library is not exceedingly large now, but it is rapidly heading that way and I’d like to get a handle on it now while I still can.

The finishing touch for my office is the wall decoration. My order of prints (courtesy of Reformation Art - the place to shop for that theological or church history geek in your life) showed up in the mail a few days ago and I am thrilled with them. I immediately ran off to Ikea and managed to find a set of frames that will do the trick (easier said than done since Ikea stocks European-sized frames and the prints came on American-sized paper. And of course, since this was Ikea, they only had six frames while I have seven prints). As soon as my wife and I can agree on whether or not it will look ridiculous to have the prints in a row along the wall (I say it will look fine, she says it will look silly) I will hang them up. Here are the prints I ordered. In keeping with the theme of Friday Frivolity, I have subtely added one that does not belong. Feel free to guess which one.

Martin Luther

John Knox

Hugh Latimer

Thomas Cranmer

William Tyndale

John Calvin

C.J. Mahaney

John Wycliffe

It looks like I have a fairly busy weekend coming up, though thankfully not nearly as busy as last weekend! Our house is nearly in order and another Saturday’s worth of work should go a long ways to setting things straight. Have a blessed weekend!

March 24, 2006

First off, I’d like to apologize for the lighter-than-usual blogging over the past few days. As you may know, we are preparing to move this weekend. We signed the final papers yesterday morning, hope to be handed the key to the house early this afternoon, and will be actually moving tomorrow. We’ll be heading over this evening to clean, move in some of the more fragile and important boxes, replace the locks, and so on. As you might expect, our house is in a state of chaos as we prepare to leave it after almost six years. My entire library is sitting in boxes in the basement and there is not a bookshelf in sight. This is a great hardship for me. Thankfully, I had a box of books show up in this morning’s mail (to my wife’s chagrin. “As if we don’t already have enough boxes…”) so I can at least have something to read before those boxes get unpacked (Not that I expect to have a lot of time to read).

So I do apologize that there has not been a lot of inspiring content to be seen in the past few days. I have great plans for the next couple of weeks and hope to atone myself in my own eyes, at least. If this blog is a guage of my spiritual temperature, it seems that I must be heading towards hypothermia. The reality, I hope, is that I have been very busy and very distracted. And even more significantly, I have been out of my routine. My daily routine is an important part of my blogging, and when the routine is disrupted, so is blogging!

On to business.

I am looking for a person to help me with a project I am embarking upon. I need someone who is eager and willing to read at least fifty books a year (give or take) and review them. I hope to be able to supply the books so this should not be an expensive venture. The books will cover a wide variety of topics, but will be primarily what is published by Christian publishers. Past experience has shown me that many people are willing to accept books, but fewer are willing to actually read them, and fewer still to review them! And of even greater importance than the quantity of reading, is that this person must display sound theology and the gift of discernment (not to be confused with the dubious gift of complaining about everything). Unlike some of my previous ventures, this person does not need to have a blog or other web site. And finally, this person must agree not to be offended if I opt not to select him over others who inquire. So if you feel this is something that would interest you, please contact me by email.

On a similar vein, if you are a discerning person but sometimes prefer watching good DVDs (the type of DVD I tend to review on this site) to reading books, please drop me a line as well. I may have a variation of the first project in which I can involve you.

I suppose all of this is leading to what I consider a rather exciting announcement that should be coming in the next week or two. But for now you’ll just have to wait.

Turning to matters of far less importance, this morning I headed to Canadian Tire (kind of like a Canadian version of WalMart, I suppose) to buy a cordless drill. I have to get serious about this home ownership stuff, and I think a cordless drill is a prerequisite to that. Knowing nothing about such power tools, I asked one of the helpful retired staff members for advice. I gave him three criteria: I don’t want to spend too much, I am not going to use it very often, and it has to be good enough that my father-in-law won’t laugh at me when he sees it. We eventually picked out a “Mastercraft” drill, which is, I believe, Canadian Tire’s generic brand. I wanted to get a Dewalt since my friends tell me that this is the best brand (and might even make my father-in-law jealous), but it was almost $150 more for roughly the same features. And hey, my Mastercraft came with a good warranty and that’s usually good enough for me. It has already proven its worth in making quick work of disassembling our bed. I’ll let you know if I get laughed at.

The final selling feature for this drill was when the guy at Canadian Tire told me that his son is in the Canadian Navy (we have a navy? This guy may have been putting me on…) and that they use this drill on the frigate his son serves abord. I guess Canada has a budget navy. I bet members of the U.S. Navy are stocked with brand name tools. But if Mastercraft is good enough for the Royal Canadian Navy, it’s good enough for me. I think I’m getting all misty-eyed.

Finally, I just received an email blast from the Together for the Gospel crew. Apparently there are only 400 spots remaining. The conference will be held from April 26-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. Why not group together with a few people in your church and raise enough money to send your pastor? It promises to be an amazing, encouraging, edifying event.

And now, I have boxes to pack and furniture to move. I’ll check in tomorrow once we are a little more settled.

March 17, 2006

It’s good to see Amy beginning to get back to posting her humble musings. She’s been a bit of a slacker lately! And speaking of Amy, my really-quite pregnant wife made the mistake of reading Amy’s birth story in which she describes the rather difficult time she had in giving birth to her latest bundle of joy. Thankfully I was able to console Aileen with the knowledge that her path to childbirth always leads her to take all the painkillers she can get her hands on as quickly as she can. To this point, neither of her two births have been particularly difficult. But having given birth twice she knows better than to read about other people’s experiences this close to the big day. Personally, I preferred the men’s version of Amy’s story: “We went to the hospital and had a baby boy. He is hardy and strong. Everyone is home and doing well. See you next post.” Aileen should have stuck with that!

This morning, Jollyblogger posted “A Blogger’s Creed,” a simple quote from Augustine that resonated with me. Augustine says, “I am the sort of man who writes because he has made progress, and who makes progress by writing.” That is an apt description of my approach to blogging. I make progress in knowledge and understanding (and hopefully in sanctification) by my writing. This is why I keep stressing that, in my case, blogging is inseperable from my spiritual disciplines. I have found recently that I am more capable of thinking when in front of a keyboard then in solitude. It seems that my thoughts flow quite naturally through my fingers.

I am anticipating quite a busy weekend with our big move now just a week away. A week from Saturday we will be moving to our new digs. I told Aileen that I would buy her a house before we turn thirty. I’ll make it, Lord willing, with just over a month to spare (her birthday is in early May). So if you live in the area and are desperate for something to do next Saturday, why not help me lug boxes?

March 10, 2006

My friend Matthew sent me an interesting article today. It is the story of a Christian athiest. Yes, you read that correct: a Christian atheist. Isn’t postmodernism wonderful? The article begins like this:

I don’t believe in God.

I don’t believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don’t believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don’t believe exists.

Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church.

And so he stood before a Presbyterian Church and affirmed that he endorsed the core principles in Christ’s teaching; intended to work to deepen his understanding and practice of the universal love at the heart of those principles; and pledged to be a responsible member of the church and the larger community. Wonderful. He concludes, then, that “I’m a Christian, sort of. A secular Christian. A Christian atheist, perhaps. But, in a deep sense, I would argue, a real Christian.”

I would like to know, purely out of interest, what he feels are the core principles in Christ’s teaching. That Christ is the only way to the Father? That seemed fairly central to Jesus. That we are all sinful God-haters? That was another key. But of course none of this would matter to him. He goes on to deny that the Bible is a literal book but affirms his belief that it is, at best, metaphorical and is meant to be read symbolically. He explains that his desire to join a church was based more on politics than theology. And then he suggests that anyone, even a member of a different religion, can be a Christian.

There is so much that can be said about this article, but really, is there any point? This is yet another example of postmodernism allowing a person to redefine hard truths. In this postmodern mindset, a person who does not like the meaning of a particular word is more than welcome to define it as he sees fit. The accepted, historical meaning of a word really has no relevance. If Mr. Jensen would like “Christian” to refer to a person who denies Christ but who accepts the teaching of this mythical figure, then we ought to welcome him with open arms.

His new church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which seems to have no right to name itself after Andrew or even call itself a church, includes on their horrendously bad web site, a page dedicated to “words of wisdom.” They include “pearls of wisdom” from a variety of religions. It’s nauseating. Jensen seems to have found a church worthy of his new-found beliefs.

Stuff and nonsense, I say!

But if you really want to read about it, you can do so here.

Let’s move along. While I was at the Shepherd’s Conference I mentioned the ongoing pastor rushes - those times when pastors rush their way to the front of the church to secure the premier seats for each of the sessions. This rush happens before almost every session, provided that the worship center has been closed prior to that session. I managed to make my way into the church before one of the sessions and setup at the front of the church with my camera. The worship team finished their practice and staff members moved to each of the ten or twelve doors to the worship center. After a countdown from ten to zero, all of the doors were opened simultaneously. Sure enough, a crowd of pastors came belting down the aisle, jostling for the pews closest to the front.

Armed with my camera, I captured some visual evidence of this grand event. My camera is, unfortunately, a little dated and was not able to secure great pictures. But still, the following three shots will provide a glimpse of the infamous pastor rush.

This is the view from the front a split second after the doors were opened:

This is the view a couple of seconds later (the amount of time that elapsed between the photos is the amount of time it takes for my camera to reset between shots). So as to keep this an opportunity for humor and not gossip, I blurred the faces of the two men who were leading the charge:

And this is the next shot. At this point the person who led the sprint down the aisle has nearly enveloped me. Thankfully I was seperated from him by the hard back of a pew.

And finally, I had a person forward me a link to a new video from SermonSpice entitled Evangelism Linebacker. It is a blatant ripoff of Reebok’s series of ads featuring “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.” I got to thinking about the web site and became offended at the name. SermonSpice. The site encourages pastors to add a little “spice” to their sermons by adding a video to it. Do we really need multimedia spice in our sermons? I have no real objection to the occasional funny video, but not during the sermon! If a sermon needs some spice that badly, perhaps the pastor needs to spend more time preparing.

And that is it for me for today. Needless to say, after a week away I have a large stack of work piling up around me. I’m a busy lad at the moment!

February 24, 2006

I’m always reading statistics. And really I have no choice because our culture seems obsessed with them. I have a question for those of you out there who are more adept than I am with numbers (and, statistically-speaking, I’d guess that this includes over 99% of you). What does it mean when “survey results are considered accurate within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.” What on earth does that mean?

One of the most popular videos available over at Google Video is this one. It is some Japanese kid shredding an electric guitar while playing a variation of Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. I have a great love of classical music and perhaps an even greater love of rock music. I simply love it when the two are combined. Does anyone know of any other examples of a rock-classical fusion like this?

I went and got a hair cut this morning. I have two criteria for choosing a person to cut my hair. First, he must be old. Second, he must have an accent. Those old, European career barbers are so far superior to just about anyone else. They don’t dye, highlight, frost or gel. They cut your hair, talk a little bit, and send you packing. That’s the way it should be. The shop I went to today was great. The interior was classic ‘70’s. There was an old man getting his hair cut who said he was 86. He was talking about being married for 60 years and reminiscing about the time he brought his son for his first hair cut in this very shop, some 35 years ago. The barber cutting his hair had given his son his first hair cut all those years ago. That’s my kind of barber shop.

I received a very large box full of DVDs a couple of days ago, so I have my work cut out for me this weekend. I am going to have to spend quite a bit of time in front of the television. I hope that you have a far more constructive weekend!

February 17, 2006

First off, let’s do another giveaway. For some reason I keep getting copies of Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth in the mail so let’s go ahead and clear out a couple of those. It seems appropriate that in giving away Nancy’s book we’d have a contest somehow based on the Pearceys. So how’s this? The first person to tell me what instrument Nancy plays AND the instrument her husband Rick plays, will win a copy of the book. That person can then choose any other person who posts on this site to receive the second copy of the book.

To this point I have not commented on the Evangelical Climate Initiative that we have all read so much about. The reason I have held my tongue is that I really know very little about the inititiave and about global warming. My understanding of global warming is that it does not exist, or that there is very little proof of its existence, and that dedicating huge amounts of resources to combatting it is a colossal waste of money. But my ignorance of the topic has precluded me from saying anything substantial. It is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way through blogging: it’s often better to keep my mouth closed. But I think my feelings were adequately expressed by Steve Camp when he wrote, “A guy writes one very successful book, makes a lot of money and all of a sudden he’s concerned about people with AIDS and world hunger. Fair enough. But now, Rick Warren is spearheading a global effort called the Evangelical Climate Initiative. There’s only one problem—global warming doesn’t exist.” I have to believe that the church has more pressing problems to deal with than global warming. For example, widespread apostacy and unbelief come to mind.

If you have nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon, here is a neat little Flash game. Using logic and basic physics you have to get a ball to a target. It’s more fun than it sounds. I suppose it’s for those people who like playing Mousetrap.

For those who do not enjoy book and DVD reviews, I apologize for the large number I’ve been posting lately. I’ll also warn you that there are more to come. I have a long (very long) list of DVDs to watch and review and quite a large number of books I have read but not yet reviewed. I hope to take care of some of this over the weekend. I have been a mite lazy in this regard and it’s time I played catchup.

Janelle over at GirlTalk asked a few questions in regards to the King of the Week award.

Now, Mr. Challies, the GirlTalkers are honored to be awarded this prestigious title, and we were just wondering-does this come with anything? Given the designation “King” found in the title of your award, we thought that you might accompany this honor with, let’s say, a royal feast of some kind. Just in case you were wondering, my favorite restaurants are Outback and Houston’s. Although, we GirlTalkers also love to shop, and we would accept any and all donations toward a shopping spree. If these sound too low key, a cruise would work. I’m thinking the Bahamas or Hawaii. We would also be fine with Disney World if you are looking to simplify things. I leave this decision entirely up to you.

I must have neglected to say that the award does come with a beautiful prize. It comes with something far more valuable than a consumeristic indulgence or an overpriced, underflavored steak at Houston’s (provided that they sell steak. It could be a Vegan restaurant for all I know). It comes with this nifty graphic:


The banner is entirely optional (much like using a gift certificate for Houston’s). But it sure is pretty. And, as per your suggestion, I will treat my wife to a nice dinner at Outback. She thanks you for the suggestion.

Oh, and please don’t call me Mr. Challies. It makes me nervous. Plus, whenever I hear someone say “Mr. Challies” I find myself looking for my dad. He’s Mr. Challies. I’m just Tim.