Christianity Today has released their list of the Top 12 Albums of 2004. Generally in the past I have listened to almost all of the albums on their lists, but this year is an exception as I bought only four of them. Fortunately they made sure to give Derek Webb some love, awarding him the second spot on the list. They say of him “…he doesn’t just peel back layers of the heart with candid insight; he breaks it wide open to expose our shortcomings. Not content to simply repeat the acoustic pop stylings of his former band Caedmon’s Call, Webb branches out into an alternative pop sound that’s fairly outside the box. Big commercial success or not, Webb has truly arrived with another album of incredible songwriting depth.” I have to say that “fairly outside the box” is one of the weakest sentences I’ve read in a long time – either he’s outside the box or not. I’m not sure how he can be fairly outside of it. The magazine awarded Sara Groves the top honor this year so that is an album I’ll have to investigate. The other albums on the list that I have are Relient K, Caedmon’s Call and Sanctus Real.
I’ve told you many times before that you really need to sign up to receive the monthly newsletter from Think on These Things Ministries which is written by Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois. It is available for delivery by email or old fashioned snail mail, and you can also read it on the ministry’s site (though it appears they have not added the November issue yet). This month Gilley writes about one of my favorite topics, which is the offense of the Gospel. He shows how this offensive message clashes with seeker sensitive churches so that sooner or later something has to give. He also discusses how New Testament church services were generally not regarded as a place for evangelism. He always has great things to say and I look forward to getting his newsletter each month.
And finally today, World Magazine published an interesting article about Christian bookstores that are now open for business on Sundays, even though they know that this means their employees will be unable to attend church. They justify this by insisting that their business is actually ministry and they need to remain open for ministry purposes so they can “reach people when ministry is at the forefront of their hearts and minds.” They draw an interesting comparison with the chain Hobby Lobby which recently made the decision to close on Sundays, a decision which cost the chain about $100 million in sales per year – an astounding number. I think also of Chik-Fil-A, a chain which remains closed on Sunday though it surely costs them millions in potential revenues. And they also make an outstanding chicken sandwich which I am sure to indulge in whenever I go to the South.