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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.

February 10, 2006

I used to watch far too many episodes of The Simpsons. In fact, I’d be willing to entertain arguments that watching any episodes of The Simpsons is too many, but I digress. Several years ago, after my son began to develop some awareness of what was playing on the television screen I decided that it was probably not an appropriate show for young eyes. And so we turned of The Simpsons and haven’t really watched it since. I don’t miss it in the least.

The other day, though, I began to think about a particular episode. In the middle of this episode a group of concerned citizens knocks on the front door of 742 Evergreen Terrace. Homer opens the door, and upon seeing that the people standing around his doorstep are from the church, groans and says, “This isn’t going to be about Jesus, is it?” It’s not all that funny, really, but it stuck with me. Actually, I think the reason that line has stuck with me is that the audio for that little segment is on a Christian album. Just to make things interesting, I will reach into my big ol’ box of books and send one to the first person to post the name of that band along with the album that includes that clip.

And now I’ll tell you why I thought of that clip. Last Friday night I thought it would be fun to rent a movie for the family to watch. As you well know, it is exceedingly difficult to find a film that the whole family can watch. I suspect we can all think of times when we have allowed our children (and our wives and ourselves) to watch films that we should have turned off. I brought the DVD home from the store and my son, who is nearly six, was immediately excited to see it. He kept asking me what it was. I decided to tease him and refuse to tell him what movie it was. I said, “I don’t think I’ll tell you what it is!” As soon as I said those words his face fell a little bit, he groaned softly and said, “It’s not about God, is it?”

It wasn’t about God. It was about Valiant, an animated pigeon. It was quite a good movie and I was able to watch it guilt-free. And now I am praying for my son’s soul with increased passion!

And speaking of Disney movies, you can watch a trailer for the new Pixar film, Cars here. Pixar is still the top of the heap when it comes to computer animation. And thankfully they tend to keep things cleaner than some other studios (was anyone else shocked by all the innuendo in Shrek?).

Anyways, because we are moving next month, we have streams of people coming through the house this weekend to see if they’d like to rent it once we have left. So there will be no movies tonight. This moving thing has turned out to have some benefits. Because we paid our landlord first and last month’s rent when we moved in five years ago we have no rent to pay in March. Our first mortgage payment is not due until May, so we’re rent/mortgage free for two months. I don’t know what we’ll do with this windfall!

And that’s it for me. I have some book reviews I hope to write and perhaps post over the weekend. Beyond that I am hoping for a peaceful, restful weekend. What more could a guy want?

January 27, 2006

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, this has been a bit of a crazy week. The primary reason is a really good one: Aileen and I just completed the purchase of our first house. We are now waiting only for a piece of paper to change hands from our lawyer to our real estate agent and it’s a done deal. While we would have preferred a single home property, housing prices in this area are sufficiently high that we decided to buy a townhouse - a good, cost-effective way of building some equity towards a “real” house in the future. So we found a nice, upgraded, four bedroom townhouse that should serve us well. Best of all it is quite near our current house so we will not have far to move. We take possession of the house near the end of March.

So this is all very exciting for us! After eight years of paying rent we will be thrilled to finally pay our own mortgage rather than someone else’s. We are exceedingly grateful to God for providing a home for us. We have perhaps not been as diligent as we should have been in seeking such a blessing, but my mother and sister have been praying on our behalf for a long time. This house is the answer to many prayers. One blessing this house will provide is a more natural setting to invite people over. The house we live in now, where we have been for the past five years, is very poorly-suited to entertain people, primarily because there is nowhere for the children to play except for where the adults are trying to converse. The new house remedies this with a large, bright, finished basement that will become the children’s play area. One of the upstairs rooms will become the new headquarters of Challies Dot Com and should be able to fit enough bookshelves that I can be in the same room as my books.

We are looking forward to meeting our new neighbours and to, hopefully, sharing our faith with them. When I was growing up my family’s house was always that house on the street where all the children gathered. My mom was the mom that all the children turned to. Our house was always buzzing with activity and the door was always open. I hope and pray that our house can be that house.

So if you live in the Toronto area and are interested in getting some exercise on or around March 25, do let me know!

Last night I was browsing through a book of verse and found a little poem by Robert Herrick that seemed timely. Here is Herrick’s “A Thanksgiving To God For His House.”

LORD, Thou hast given me a cell

                  Wherein to dwell 

And little house, whose humble roof

                  Is weather-proof 

Under the spars of which I lie

                  Both soft and dry ;

Where Thou my chamber for to ward

                  Hast set a guard

Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep

                  Me, while I sleep.

Low is my porch, as is my fate,

                  Both void of state 

And yet the threshold of my door

                  Is worn by th’ poor,

Who thither come, and freely get

                  Good words or meat 

Like as my parlour, so my hall

                  And kitchen’s small ;

A little buttery, and therein

                  A little bin

Which keeps my little loaf of bread

                  Unclipt, unflead.

Some little sticks of thorn or briar

                  Make me a fire,

Close by whose living coal I sit,

                  And glow like it.

Lord, I confess, too, when I dine,

                  The pulse is Thine,

And all those other bits, that be

                  There placed by Thee ;

The worts, the purslain, and the mess

                  Of water-cress,

Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent 

                  And my content

Makes those, and my beloved beet,

                  To be more sweet.

‘Tis Thou that crown’st my glittering hearth

                  With guiltless mirth ;

And giv’st me wassail bowls to drink,

                  Spiced to the brink.

Lord, ‘tis Thy plenty-dropping hand,

                  That soils my land ;

And giv’st me for my bushel sown,

                  Twice ten for one.

Thou mak’st my teeming hen to lay

                  Her egg each day ;

Besides my healthful ewes to bear

                  Me twins each year,

The while the conduits of my kine

                  Run cream for wine.

All these, and better Thou dost send

                  Me, to this end,

That I should render, for my part,

                  A thankful heart ;

Which, fired with incense, I resign,

                  As wholly Thine 

But the acceptance, that must be,

                  My Christ, by Thee.

December 23, 2005

Just about everyone who reads web sites does so at work. It’s a strange and shameful fact, isn’t it? In fact, you are probably sitting at work right now as you read this. Shame on you. My experience with working the Friday afternoon before Christmas tells me that you’re probably not doing much today anyways. This is the day where most people have already taken the day off and the office is half empty to begin with. Throughout the day more and more people drift away. If you look around you’ll probably see that you’re one of the last people left. What you need to sustain you through the rest of the day is some frivolity.

The Notes to Netflix Pool It seems that when people return movies to Netflix they often feel the need to attach a sticky note with some type of message to the good folks at Netflix. This site documents some of the funnier and more bizarre examples of this phenomenon. This is a personal favorite. As of the time I wrote this I had checked to ensure that none of the notes were off-color. However, with more being added routinely I can’t vouch long-term.

Complaint-Letter Generator If you are working today and feel you deserve the rest of the day off, why not use Scott’s handy complaint-letter generator. It will help you form a letter of complaint against a company or an individual. Here is a complaint I generated against Phil Johnson:

The nature and extent of our current national crisis, as well as its causes and cures, are the subject of intense political struggle. I offer this letter as a contribution to that struggle and debate in hopes of helping to force Mr. Phil Johnson into early retirement. What follows is a series of remarks addressed to the readers of this letter and to Phil himself. I would like to go on, but I do have to keep this letter short. So I’ll wrap it up by saying that Mr. Phil Johnson contributes nothing to society.

Take that!

2005 - The Year in Pictures MSNBC has two incredible galleries of photographs that will take you back through 2005. While the first (Editor’s Choice) is a little bit graphic (as it features photographs from Iraq and other areas of extreme violence) there are several shots that are just stunning. You can view the galleries here.

And Finally… I am having a grand time enjoying my vacation. I trust this time, when most of you will also take time away from many of life’s usual responsibilities, will be as great a blessing for you as it already has been for me. It feels good to do just about nothing!

October 28, 2005

First off I would like to warn everyone that the site may be a little unpredictable over the weekend. I am hoping to upgrade to a whole new design. This design is such a radical departure from the current one that it will take a massive amount of work to make the change. So bear with me through the inevitable missing graphics, broken links and so on. I trust it will all be back to normal by Sunday.

Have you seen this Pumpkin-based computer? I suppose this is what happens when college students are not given enough homework.

I read this morning about a particularly humiliating time Ingrid Schlueter experienced in a church not too long ago. “Last Thanksgiving, my husband and I visited a church we had never attended before for a Thanksgiving worship service the night before Thanksgiving Day. After singing the traditional hymns of thanks and hearing some Scripture, the young pastor ascended the pulpit and looked out with eyes glaring with intensity at the congregation. Knowing this was a conservative church with many of the faculty from a nearby conservative college, I looked forward to being challenged from God’s Word. The title of his sermon was, “Taste and See that the Lord is Good”. His opening words were: “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am. Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?… “

The pastor went on make a point “that unlike green eggs and ham, the Lord doesn’t turn off anyone’s appetite.” You can read more here.

Yikes. Now that got me thinking about the most humiliating moments I’ve experienced in church. After a bit of thought I dredged up one particularly painful memory. It was the year we lived in Scotland and my parents decided that we would go to church on Christmas morning. We were unable to go to our usual church since it was far across town and we did not have a car (and busses were not running) so we went to a local Presbyterian church. Now when I think about Presbyterianism I think of somber, dignified services following the regulative principle. But in this case the pastor eschewed all of that and led us in a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” directed, of course, to Jesus. It was bitterly painful. I am quite sure that no one in the Challies family could bring themselves to participate.

And so I wonder, what are your most painfully humiliating church memories?