Every Sunday, 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
David Fitch blogs about the "imaginary" of the bivocational pastor/missionary:
There are many things to be said about the structures of church that must be re-imagined for any of this to be possible. For instance, no organizing bi-vo pastor can work for more than 15 hours a week in the organizing functions of a church. There always must be 3-5 such pastors founding a community. They must know how to mutually submit to one another under one Lord. The kinds of job skills you must develop require discernment.
Greg Boyd offers the third part of his review of Disarming Scripture by Derek Flood:
To illustrate, Augustine advocated for a “rule of love” when interpreting Scripture that was virtually identical to Flood’s rule for determining when God is breathing life into Scripture to allow it to become the word of God. In his view, every passage of Scripture must be interpreted in a way that increases our “love of God and neighbor.” Yet, this interpretive rule didn’t prevent Augustine from citing Scripture to support the practice of torturing and even killing heretics—out of love! To my mind, this illustrates that we cannot rely on conscience and life experience alone to determine what is or is not “loving,” and thus to determine when Scripture is and is not inspired.
Benjamin L. Corey reflects on his time in Jordan and the life that comes out of death:
My journey to Jordan has been many things, but perhaps more than anything, Jordan is where I remembered that God invites us to let our kernels of wheat– whatever they are– fall to the ground and die, so that he can grow something new out of death… something that he promises will “bear much fruit.”
News & Views
Zach Hoag interviews Rachel Held Evans about her new book Searching For Sunday at HuffPost Religion:
Z: So apparently you've rejected the evangelical church of your youth and apostatized to the mainline, huh? (Tongue firmly in cheek.) Care to explain yourself?
RHE: Ha! It was funny to see some of the pre-release buzz assume this is a story about ditching one denomination for another when it's most certainly not. We get so caught up in categories and labels we forget most people don't fit quite so neatly into them but are rather unique amalgams of many faith experiences, both past and present, good and bad. And I'm the same. I grew up evangelical and am deeply appreciative of those evangelical roots, but lately I've been drawn to the more liturgical tradition and inclusive posture of the Episcopal Church. This doesn't mean I have rejected evangelicalism; it just means I carry elements of both traditions on the journey.
Ben Witherington both affirms and criticizes Evans's approach in Searching For Sunday:
There are many poignant moments and powerful passages in this book about the sacraments, about silence, about other spiritual disciplines, and especially about the feeling of being bereft, cut off from the church, feeling abandoned or even spurned by the Evangelical Churches in which she was raised. A trial separation from such churches gradually became something of a divorce, and she landed in a ‘less-judgmental’ Episcopal Church in Cleveland Tn. What her book fails to really grapple with however is the major difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance of us as we are.
Jonathan Merritt reports at The Atlantic on evangelicals' shifting opinion on gay conversion therapy:
But the death-knell sounded in July of 2013 when Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, America’s largest ex-gay Christian ministry apologized to the LGBT community and shuttered his organization. Chambers once claimed he knew “tens of thousands of people who have successfully changed their sexual orientation.” But last week, he told me “99.9 percent of people I met through Exodus’ ministries had not experienced a change in orientation.”
Sandra McCracken on the RELEVANT podcast.
Rachel Held Evans on the Newsworthy With Norsworthy podcast.
Corey Widmer on the Fresh Expressions US podcast.
Pete Rollins on the Seminary Dropout podcast.
Partners & Resources
How to Survive the Christian Life, by Derek Cooper at Biblical Seminary.
A Garden's Impact, by Stacie Ballard at International Teams.
21 Quotes to Remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Incarnational Ministry, by V3 Movement.
Just Render Unto Caesar Already: The IRS and Frivolous Tax Arguments, by Joe Carter at Acton Institute.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our ongoing series on the topic of #TrulyHuman:
Why I Would Be Going To #TrulyHuman – Even If I Didn’t Have To (Part 1), by Chris Backert.
A #TrulyHuman Challenge: Is Church Meant To Be Safe?, by Karina Kreminski.
Why I Would Be Going To #TrulyHuman – Even If I Didn’t Have To (Part 2), by Chris Backert.
Why I Would Be Going To #TrulyHuman – Even If I Didn’t Have To (Part 3), by Chris Backert.
#TrulyHuman Listening: Prayer Is Someone You’re With, by Mark Moore.
Missio Alliance Comment Policy
The Missio Alliance Writing Collectives exist as a ministry of writing to resource theological practitioners for mission. From our Leading Voices to our regular Writing Team and those invited to publish with us as Community Voices, we are creating a space for thoughtful engagement of critical issues and questions facing the North American Church in God’s mission. This sort of thoughtful engagement is something that we seek to engender not only in our publishing, but in conversations that unfold as a result in the comment section of our articles.
Unfortunately, because of the relational distance introduced by online communication, “thoughtful engagement” and “comment sections” seldom go hand in hand. At the same time, censorship of comments by those who disagree with points made by authors, whose anger or limited perspective taints their words, or who simply feel the need to express their own opinion on a topic without any meaningful engagement with the article or comment in question can mask an important window into the true state of Christian discourse. As such, Missio Alliance sets forth the following suggestions for those who wish to engage in conversation around our writing:
1. Seek to understand the author’s intent.
If you disagree with something the an author said, consider framing your response as, “I hear you as saying _________. Am I understanding you correctly? If so, here’s why I disagree. _____________.
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We deeply desire and value the voice and perspective of our readers. However you may react to an article we publish or a fellow commenter, we encourage you to set forth that reaction is the most constructive way possible. Use your voice and perspective to move conversation forward rather than shut it down.
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One of our favorite tenants is that “an enemy is someone whose story we haven’t heard.” Very often disagreements and rants are the result of people talking past rather than to one another. Everyone’s perspective is intimately bound up with their own stories – their contexts and experiences. We encourage you to couch your comments in whatever aspect of your own story might help others understand where you are coming from.
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