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
Scot McKnight offers a portion of his new book A Fellowship of Differents, on Paul and freedom:
The fact is that Paul uttered that great claim of freedom because he meant it. Yes, a life of freedom means exploring new ideas and new ways of living, which requiresdiscernment. Discernment about how freedom means fellowship, godliness, holiness, love, justice, wisdom, and peace, and how it does not mean indulgence, greed, vindictiveness, and narcissism. But it still remains freedom, and for many in the churches this kind of freedom was brand new.
The Gospel Coaltion interviews Sandra McCracken about her new album on the Psalms:
Our culture is uncomfortable with extended grief. The church has a responsibility to fight against the dishonesty of living on the surface of things, or encouraging people to put a smile on their faces so they will have a positive attitude about difficult things. As a music minister, I am convinced that the songs that we sing have a role in shaping our hearts, and songs of lament can make space for us to feel more deeply and to speak more honestly before God. We need songs of lament to be part of our church life, every week. In doing so, I hope that we would not be held fast in our complacency, but drawn out of hiding and comforted by our loving, pursuing Father.
David Fitch weighs in on the poor, programs, and Matthew 25:
The church down through history, has been at its best, and made its biggest impact when it has practiced being with the poor (whoever they are in our context) and resisted turning the poor into a program. To the extent that programs create relational distance between the haves and have-nots, they work against the kingdom. Practicing “being with the least of these” disciplines us into the relational space of faithful presence with the hurting.
News & Views
Ann Voskamp relates heartbreaking stories from Northern Iraq (re: ISIS) and gives us an opportunity to help:
You can read what the UN reports: Sexual violence is “not only used to satisfy promises made to ISIS fighters, but also as a means to humiliate dissenters, draw intelligence information, and dismantle traditional familial and social norms so that the structure of a new caliphate could be formed.”
Not on our watch. Not on our watch will we let blinders be stapled to our hearts, not on our watch will we say we can do nothing, not on our watch will we let women be made invisible so they can be made useable inventory.
Easy “forgivism” may gloss over the terrible situation in the short term, but it reinforces to everyone that the egregious, soul-siphoning sin committed against the victim was trivial, easy to get over. It forgets Jesus’ strongadmonition that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Zach Hoag recaps the Mad Men series finale at Religion News Service:
“Mad Men” transported us to the pivotal decade of the 1960s and dealt deliberately with the advent of Madison Avenue and the heyday of the advertising industry. This was the time in our nation’s history when our materialistic fates were sealed: We became a people defined by things, things produced in mass quantities to feed an insatiable cultural appetite. And that appetite was fueled by advertising.
Partners & Resources
On the blog this week, we began a series of reflections on the Truly Human Gathering:
More About #TrulyHuman: The Incarnation And The Kingdom Of God, by Ruthie Johnson.
Becoming #TrulyHuman: Lessons From A Muslim Slum, by Trudy Smith.
Being #TrulyHuman 2015: A Homecoming, by Dennis R. Edwards.
Experiencing Resurrection And Unity At The #TrulyHuman Gathering, by Brian Lamm.
Come, Creator Spirit: A Reflection For Pentecost Sunday, by Derek Vreeland.