Sunday Morning Post, 3.9.14

Every Sunday morning, we’ll be posting articles and links that are saying something important about church, culture, and mission (or that just made us laugh). Here’s what resonated with us this week on the web:

On Ash Wednesday and Lent:

Scot McKnight shared the Ash Wednesday liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wickedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Krista Dalton offered a needed reflection about When the Lenten Fast is Privilege:

Lent is more than reflecting on my personal sins, but on recognizing the privilege I carry in my life. When I receive the ash, I remember the privilege I have to fast, to give, and to mark my brow with mourning when my bodily state is secure. I have the privilege to speak of “the poor” as an abstract category for my theology. I deny myself of what I easily possess in order to give to those who have not.

Rachel Held Evans posted 40 Ideas for Lent.

On Pastors and Bestsellers:

World Magazine broke the story about how a megachurch pastor engineered a bestseller:

Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list.

Matthew Paul Turner shared the actual marketing contract that made this happen.

Sarah Cunningham dug a little deeper into the Christian media focus on Pastor Mark Driscoll:

First, I am disgusted by some hateful critics’ responses to Mark’s behavior. As this Church Leaders article details, for example, Mark has been confronted by armed assailants trying to stab him during a sermon, home break-ins, human excrements left on his doorstep, and social media users posting directions to his house when his wife and children were staying there alone.

And secondly, I think people like me are enabling part of the problem.Whether it is because we prefer to keep our distance from inflammatory culture wars or whether it is because we’re hesitant to critique someone who still bears some similarities to our mission, some of us who are more moderate have perhaps allowed a tragic silence to be our default response to Mark’s pattern of commentary and behavior.

Maybe, in fact, one largely untried way to protect Pastor Mark from these attacks is for more people — particularly moderates and evangelicals like myself who still share some of his beliefs — to raise a louder voice and to raise it more often. To put Mark’s behavior into context more. To underline just as publicly as Mark speaks, that we don’t admire some of these insensitive acts or marketing ploys and to stress that sometimes his attitude doesn’t represent ours.

On the Problematic Response to the Failed Arizona Legislation:

David Fitch weighs in:

The ensuing debate (surrounding the Arizona law) between Christians seems to miss this point entirely. People like Jonathan Merritt/Kirsten Powers and Al Mohler argue vehemently for or against the merits of the legislation itself on Christian grounds. Neither asks whether legislation itself works against what God would do in the world period. For me, I worry that it is any kind of legislation in this manner that forecloses off the space by which we are present with one another, Christian cakemakers with lesbian or gay people getting married, Christians with people they are in conflict with on any issue. I say forget the legislation and instead get together to listen to each other and let the reconciliation of Christ be worked out. Legislation like this forecloses mission.

Bonus Audio:

Check out David Fitch’s appearance on the Gospel Neighboring Podcast!

So what did we miss? Add your favorite links from the week in the comments!

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