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
Jonathan Martin proposes a particular kind of prophetic speech in a violent age:
Violent speech is the primary vehicle of hate and animosity in a world with unprecedented connectivity, and prophetic speech may yet be our best defense against such powers. However realistic we must speak about the challenges at hand, our speech must yet be more descriptive of God’s transforming love than of human weakness.
Brian Zahnd offers a view of Jesus’s death that radically reforms the usual approach:
Jesus does not save us from God, Jesus reveals God as savior. What is revealed on Good Friday is not a monstrous deity requiring a virgin to be thrown into a volcano or a firstborn son to be nailed to a tree. What is revealed on Good Friday is the depths of human depravity and the greater depths of God’s love.
Sarah Bessey writes a beautiful reflection on motherhood and God’s character, with a Good Friday connection:
And when I think of that veil being torn from the top to the bottom, now I imagine God sweeping into the world, like a mother to her crying child in the darkness with that physical yearning, gathering us up out of our loneliness and our hunger, our longing and our needs to whisper: I’m here, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here. I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, darling, I’m here.
News & Views
Ed Cyzewski offers a personal reflection on rejecting the forgiveness Christ demonstrates:
In a moment when we wouldn’t bat an eye at anyone dehumanizing the Roman soldiers as animals, savages, and barbarians hell bent on destruction and death, Jesus gave them a chance for something I’d say they had no right to expect: redemption. He offered them a way out of their evil deeds rather than standing as judge over them, condemning them for their cruelty.
I want to shout, “No, Jesus. They don’t deserve your mercy and empathy!”
Michael Kruger at TGC explores whether early Christians believed in substitutionary atonement:
But is it really true that the substitutionary view of the atonement was not found before the Middle Ages? Not at all. Such a claim can be readily refuted merely by examining the writings of the New Testament itself—particularly the letters of Paul. However, it is also worth noting that key elements of the substitutionary view were held by some of the earliest Christian writers. One example is the author of the Epistle to Diognetus from the early second century.
Greg Boyd answers a pointed cultural question: Is Islam Inherently Violent?
So you see, the reason why a minority of Muslims continue to engage in religiously motivated violence while Christians do not is not because Islam is inherently violent while Christianity is not. It’s rather because Islamic countries have not, on the whole, embraced the concept of a secular neutral state, outlawing religious violence. In fact, while the secular concept of tolerance has now become deeply ingrained in westerners, I am convinced that, if there were no laws preventing religiously motivated violence, masses of western Christians would still be carrying it out, and I, for one, would likely have years ago gone the way of Michael Servetus!
Resurrection Sunday is here! And because our upcoming North American Gathering is all about resurrection, we want to celebrate with special offers for the conference all this week!
Stay tuned starting tomorrow morning – there will be all kinds of opportunities to attend #TrulyHuman and save $$ in the process!
Richard Rohr on Newsworthy With Norsworthy – Part One and Part Two!
Lauren Winner on the Seminary Dropout podcast.
JR Briggs and Mia Chang on the Fresh Expressions US podcast.
Partners & Resources
Tara Beth Leach with “Resurrection Begins Today” at Northern Seminary.
When the Church Embraces Entrepreneurship, at The Action Institute.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our ongoing series on the topic of #TrulyHuman:
WATCH: Bruxy Cavey On How #TrulyHuman Could Help Revolutionize The Church, by Missio Alliance.
Confessing “Stay At Home Colonialism” And Recommitting To #TrulyHuman, by Scott Emery.
The Relentless Eschatology Of Sí Se Puede: Reflecting On Holy Tuesday, by Cote Soerens.
Maundy Thursday: #TrulyHuman Love Comes Through The Cross, by Seth Richardson.
The Beloved Criminal, by Cote Soerens.
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. _____________.
2. Seek to make your own voice heard.
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.
3. Share your story.
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.
In view of those suggestions for shaping conversation on our site and in an effort to curate a hospitable space of open conversation, Missio Alliance may delete comments and/or ban users who show no regard for constructive engagement, especially those whose comments are easily construed as trolling, threatening, or abusive.