Every Sunday morning, we’ll be posting articles and links that are saying something important about church, culture, and mission. Here’s what resonated with us this week on the web:
Church & Theology
Michael Moynagh writes at the Fresh Expressions blog about how established pastors can come alongside pioneers:
You can be a sounding board, an encourager, a source of probing questions, a warning voice, and an advocate for what they are doing, especially to others in your church who do not understand.
Pioneers often feel fragile. They are trying something new, risking failure and feeling anxious. If they are “ahead of the curve” they may feel misunderstood or unappreciated.
What they need is a pastor.
Brian Zahnd collaborates with The Work of the People to create this video on a cruciform vision of beauty:
Roger Olson provides background on the topic of big tent vs. small tent evangelicalism:
Recently here I celebrated what I believe evangelical Calvinists and Arminians agree about–that God gets all the credit and glory for anything good that we achieve or do because we cannot do it without God’s transforming work within us. How many Calvinists agreed? Only a very few. Instead I hear that Calvinist leaders are still misrepresenting Arminianism and describing it as Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. What is that but tribalism? Small tent evangelicalism. Drawing circles unnecessarily to shut out people deemed somehow unfit to be part of the club of authentic evangelicals.
I consider this mindset and the excluding rhetoric and practices it leads to “neo-fundamentalism.” Unfortunately, it is catching on to the point that the totalizers and exclusivists are capturing the label “evangelical” for themselves.
News & Views
Rachel Held Evans featured Julie Rodgers in a Q & A on being a celibate gay Christian:
I don’t know how integral one’s sexuality is to his or her identity (perhaps it varies from person to person, depending on the weight each person gives it). I believe my sexuality matters in the same way I believe it matters that I’m a woman or that I’m an introvert: they affect how I exist in the world and how I relate to other people. What’s most important to me with regard to my identity though—what I choose to give the most weight—is my faith. The deepest part of who I am is a follower of Christ who’s been rescued by Him, and the Bible informs my understanding of why I’m here and what I’m to be about. I might see through a slightly different lens because of my orientation, but it seems the Lord uses all the different parts of me—including my sexuality—to write a unique story of restoration that creates a little more beauty in the world.
Benjamin Corey shares his perspective on how he couldn’t be an atheist even if he wanted to:
All things considered, I think the fundamental difference between a theist and an atheist, is that we look at the evening sky and just see something different.
For me, the option that nothing existed (no matter) then everything existed (all matter) without there being a creator to cause it all into existence, makes as little sense to me as a God belief makes to them. That leaves me with the option that something must have eternally existed (matter or God), and when it comes to that option, believing a creator eternally existed just seems to make more sense (though both options are bit mind boggling.)
This big, beautiful universe must have come from somewhere. It’s all too complex, too beautiful, to purposeful, to have all been a self-creating cosmic accident.
Religion News Service interviews Jim Wallis on his upcoming visit to Ferguson:
I’m coming to Ferguson because repentance has not happened there yet, and the faith community really won’t rest until it does. Ferguson can’t be just another moment, like Trayvon Martin was. We need moments like this to turn into a movement.
I’ll say this as clearly as I can. What’s very clear is that black lives are worthless in America and the criminal justice system. It’s time to right that unacceptable wrong.
On The Missio Blog
We continued in our October series on Mission-Centered Unity:
What’s So Scary About Ecumenism, by Seth Richardson
Restoring Unity: The Invitation of the Banquet of Heaven, by Ruthie Johnson
My Journey to Missional Ecumenism, Part One, by John Armstrong