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
Robert Cornwall reviews Leroy Barber’s new book, Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White – Who’s More Precious in God’s Sight?:
With regard to urban missions, which often minister to/with persons of color, many of these efforts are run by White Christians wishing to retain control over the missions venture, using their financial support as the reason for their need to control. Even though the ministries largely work with people of color, he found an unwillingness to entrust leadership to persons of color. Indeed he discovered that when he rose to positions of leadership, financial support among White supporters decreased or ended altogether. What he discovered was that many of these organizations paternalistic, and even harbors neo-colonialist attitudes. It is these kinds of realities that get narrated in this book. He raises important questions about power. There is disappointment in how Christians treat one another. There is, both anger and grief present in the story. .
Pastor Andrew Arndt writes for the Antioch Session on “A God in the Dirt”:
And, as if to seal the deal on this, the Gospel writers make the altogether unexpected and metaphysically outrageous claim that this God, who was already always present in the dirt, took our dusty frame and united it to himself, making our physical nature a permanent possession of his, dignifying it with glory unspeakable. “The Word” one of Jesus’ friends writes, “became flesh, and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory–glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
This God doesn’t just have dirt under his fingernails, he has united himself to the dirt.
Sarah Bessey brings truth and light on the subject of experiencing accusation – and accolades:
My prayer now is that my weakness shows the strength of Christ and his Kingdom.
I will call attention to my feet of clay and my own contradictions over and over again because no one is more aware than me that I only carry a priceless treasure – the life of Christ – in this (quite) cracked pot of earth. The treasure and the validity of the message can’t be dependent on my ability to please everyone all the time.
God is at work despite me and through me and in me – all at the same time.
News & Views
Efrem Smith writes about the need to really believe in the urban poor:
All this energy on the Suburban Privileged can take energy away from believing the Poor. Believing in the Poor is much more than having compassion for the Poor. Within Evangelicalism and mainline Protestantism there is much compassion and advocacy for the Poor in the US, but I question is we are fully committed to the empowerment of the Poor. Empowerment of the Poor means you believe in their potential to lead, develop, create, innovate, and become a part of your succession plan if you are an older leader. This is what’s missing in far too many of our models of evangelism, discipleship, and witness within the body of Christ in the US.
David Fitch blogs about his speech at the recent Church & Post-Christian Culture Conference, entitled “I Am a Racist”:
I am a racist. I am a white male in his 50’s. I have been born into and bred in socio cultural systems built by white men. White men’s ways of thinking and operating built into its power structures. There is a socio-cultural history that dates back to at least the 15th century that makes me blind to the ways my life is advantaged in society. Therefore I am a racist.
Even if I wanted to, I cannot with the snap of my fingers undo my habits that have been formed within this culture for me for hundreds of years. I see the world in the way I was brought up to see the world. I cannot see it any differently without the help of people who are not white and male. And so, today, I confess, I am a racist.
Helen Lee writes at Christianity Today about the Asian American Church – which is silent no more:
It’s still possible to miss the ways Asian Americans are shaping American Christianity. With just a few exceptions, Asian Americans rarely headline major conferences, attract media attention, or top Christian publishing’s bestseller lists. But thanks to their bicultural heritage and the particular challenges it brings, Asian American Christians are finding they have unique voices and gifts that allow them to connect with both non–Asian American audiences and segments of the church that no one else can reach.
On The Missio Blog
We transitioned from our September conversation to our October conversation on Mission-Centered Unity:
Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians, by John Lederach
Missional Ecumenism: Body Life in Canada, by Karen Wilk