world-bg_ongrid.jpg An engineer dies and reports to the Pearly Gates. St. Peter checks his dossier and says, “Ah, you’re an engineer — you’re in the wrong place.” The engineer reports to the gates of hell and is promptly admitted. Pretty soon though, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts designing and building improvements to the place. After a while they’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and asks, “So, how’s it going down there in hell?”

Satan answers, “Hey, things are going great! We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets and escalators — and there’s no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next!”

God replies, “What??? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake — he should never have gotten down there, send him up here.”

“No way!” Satan says. “I like having an engineer on the staff, and I’m keeping him.”

Now God threatens, “Send him back up here, or I’ll sue!”

Satan begins to laugh uproariously. Finally, he is able respond: “Yeah, right! And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?”

Alright, if that doesn’t do it for you, Frank Viola has a good one.

  1. I remember the days when saying you met someone online had a bit of a stigma… it would be assumed that you must both be antisocial weirdos. People online are actually just like you and me though… and it’s no longer weird to meet people online who become close friends… as Erin will attest.
  2. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn dies at 89, of heart failure. Obituary at BBC (with video that told me it wasn’t working, try later) with coverage on CNN and BBC; Wikipedia entry. I confess my copy of The Gulag Archipelago, which changed the world, has remained unread on my shelf, but I found One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich quite impacting… and an easier read. The novel is based on his own experience.
  3. A responsible review of Paul Young’s The Shack: “The Shack is a tale of tragedy redeemed, not a theological treatise” (HT: Scot McKnight) Bob Hyatt reviews it as well, and does a really good job with it — worth reading. I tend to agree with Bob on one salient point: the book is theological, as I said in my review. Now that I look, I read and reviewed it a year ago, and it’s still making waves. Not bad for a book that nobody wanted to publish. Oh, and Erin covers this as well, including Bob’s appearance on a radio interview with Paul Young and Pam Hogeweide.
  4. Todd Bentley releases a Study Bible ($149.95)
  5. Michael Spenser interviews John Frye, author of Jesus the Pastor. A 5-question interview, but the responses are packed with goodies. Frye self-identifies as a bit of a post-charismatic, and be ready to jot down a long reading list from his responses.
  6. Roger Ebert is blogging.
  7. On the Shape of the Church in China
  8. Andrew “TSK” Jones has two posts on blogging-related issues… legalities and protocol.
  9. Beyond merely reading Alan Hirsch’s The Problem of institutions (part II), Grace summarizes a number of comments Organic Organization vs. Corporate Institution. I went all-out and started reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations… and you should too. As I said, institutions have inherent problems which we can call “transaction costs” that keep it from its mission. Definitely more to come on this one.
  10. More head-scratchin’ weird signs
  11. 10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List (NYT: FRR)
  12. TEDTalks… this one is a little damning: Alisa Miller: Why we know less than ever about the world
  13. I don’t know much about J.D. Payne’s book Missional House Churches, but I gather he identifies four types of people in house churches… the fourth is missional Christians and new believers — he writes with the intent of encouraging house churches to be missional.
  14. This is a bit older and I may have linked it already, but it’s good… Brant Hansen finding Where God Lives
  15. Sivin Kit points out an MP3 lecture by Lesslie Newbigin from 1991.
  16. George Orwell is blogging! Well, sort of…
  17. Tough Choices: How Making Decisions Tires Your Brain
  18. On grammar: if you’d only read John Stackhouse;^)
  19. Jason Clark lists links to resources & information on animals
  20. Just stare at this ASBO comic for a few minutes, and all kinds of meanings begin to fill your mind.
  21. On the question of Christianity shaped by Paul more than the gospels… this is a real issue, and actually one which was the beginning of my church exit.
  22. Cathleen Falsani on Obama’s faith
  23. Bono reflects on “Boy”, as the remastered album is being rereleased. (HT: Mike Todd)
  24. Why Frank Viola left the institutional church

Alright, let’s wrap up with this: if Joe Thorn can do it, maybe I can too… I took the Dante’s Inferno Test, and in fact, no, he’s better than me — getting all the way up to Purgatory! He must be almost saintly.

The Dante’s Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell – Limbo!

First Level of Hell – Limbo

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief’s abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Level Score
Purgatory (Repenting Believers) High
Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) High
Level 2 (Lustful) Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous) Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) Very Low
Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) Very Low
Level 7 (Violent) Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) Moderate
Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) Very Low

Dang. Oh well… tune in next week and see what’s up around here. Odd, I’ve got this particular AC/DC song in my head, one I can’t sing or play when the kids are around… I don’t want to have to explain…

Say, if you’re still game for more reading take a gander at a couple of pieces from earlier in the week around here — if you missed them, there are three that could stand some further conversation: I Have a Dream… Oration, Political Comparisons, & the Future of the Sermon, Come to the Table! — Who, Me?, and Guy Church. Again. Okay, now I’m done for today.

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