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
Sarah Bessey offers some confessions on her current relationship with the church – one of needing restoration:
I don’t think we need a four-walls-and-a-non-profit-status to qualify as church but these people are mine and I am still learning to admit when I need something from them, too. I know Scripture commands us to confess our sins to one another, in order to be healed, but I am also learning to confess my needs, my struggles, even my true state of being. And restoration waits there, too.
So come all you who are weary and exhausted, all you who have poured out of your depths to fill another: be filled, be restored, receive for once.
Welford Orrock writes at the V3 Movement with a critique of DIY spirituality:
While self-reliance is a virtue in many cases, in the lifelong journey of faith, it is toxic for the soul. If, in search of the truth that shapes our lives, the person we find is our own reflection, as in a mirror, what have we gained?
Scot McKnight continues his review of Joshua Ryan Butler’s Skeletons in God’s Closet by looking at the controversial “hope of holy war”:
We are looking today at the God of holy war, at the morality of holy war, of passages in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation where God commands and sanctions war and apparently the ending of the life of many. One can, if they want, choose to turn the OT texts into fiction or exaggerations, but that view does not solve the problem but instead raises the problem of God and holy war and morality of holy war all the same. These things are in the Bible and in Revelation, at least one very common reading has Jesus as the Lord of the Battle.
Dan White Jr. writes with clarity and conviction about the “ecology” of a worship gathering:
As an architect of community, you have to begin to grapple with an Ecology of Gathering. This means asking questions and making choices based on the end goal of re-shaping people into a new narrative of self-emptying love, others-oriented community and costly mission. (Philippians 2:1-11) We can no longer simply adopt what has “worked” in the past, what works at a popular church, or what works down the street. Just because something appears to be “working” doesn’t mean it’s actually working for the good. The medium is the message, which means every aspect of your gathering is either supporting your message, or subverting it.
News & Views
Rachel Held Evans reflects on the category of “post-evangelical” and why many just can’t get past the past:
It was evangelicalism that told me who I was and it was evangelicalism that told me who I wasn’t. You don’t just get over that. You don’t just trash it all and walk away.
Like it or not, our religious traditions help forge our identities. The great challenge, the one that took me a book to articulate and which I suspect will take me a lifetime to work out, is to hold every piece of my faith experience in love, even the broken bits, even the parts that still cut my hands and make them bleed.
Efrem Smith exhorts the church on the need for reconciliation in police-community relations:
The Church must become a force of reconciliation, bridge building, and transformation between police departments and under-resourced communities. This can only happen when the Church recognizes the potential to be held captive by the very forces and systems it seeks to dismantle and transform. When I served as a Youth Pastor and Senior Pastor in Minneapolis, I met with police officials, gang members, city council members, the mayor, youth, single parents, and the incarcerated on a regular basis. I didn’t see myself as a voice for extreme politics and cable news rhetoric, but as a servant and citizen of the Kingdom of God. When the beloved children of God operate in this way, we can work to build healthy relationships between police officers, mayors, and community members.
Antonia Blumberg writes at The Huffington Post about how Martin Luther King, Jr. got his name:
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 as Michael King Jr. after his father, a powerful preacher in his own right. King was known as “Little Mike” throughout his childhood, but the name did not last long.
Things shifted for King at the age of five, when many historians believe his fatherchanged both of their names. In Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, author Taylor Branch describes the elder King’s 1934 trip to Europe — which inspired the name change and would forever change history.
Partners & Resources
Our partner Biblical Seminary posts an article by Derek Cooper with fascinating Christian Chinese history:
The beautiful Chinese calligraphy inscribed on the stele was to be read from top to bottom and from right to left. At the trunk of the slab rested a giant tortoise and at the top stood opposing dragons holding a pearl, adorned with clouds and a cross rising from a lotus flower. Though resembling thousands of others from China’s past, this stele contained a story that those living could scarcely believe: It proved the establishment of Christianity in China around 600 years before previously thought.
Presenter and partner Scot McKnight announced that he has been appointed as a Canon Theologian in the American Anglican church.
Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright is only 3.99 on Kindle right now! It probably won’t last long, so get it fast!
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our new series on the topic of #TrulyHuman:
To Be Human Is To Be Growing, by Karen Wilk.
The Baptism Of The Lord And Learning To Live #TrulyHuman, by Geoff Holsclaw.
On Being #TrulyHuman as an Earth-Heaven Hybrid Creature, by Derek Vreeland.
We Need A Resurrection Moment: A #TrulyHuman Reflection, by Shane Ash.
Becoming Newly, #TrulyHuman: Embodiment Is Not Enough (Part 1), by Seth Richardson.