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
Chris Morton explores how to adjust our church and leadership strategies when our values change:
Sadly, what often happens is that our ideals change but behavior does not.
We all know the truism that what you measure is what gets done. Whether we like it or not, our ideals often get trumped by our score card.
So how do we redefine a win when our values have changed?
Brian Zahnd takes a strong look at the cross as a counter-script to the American way:
The American prescription for happiness is the script we’ve been handed. But it’s a lie. It’s a false gospel, yet enormously popular. The only possible way to resist that dominant script is through the adoption of what Walter Brueggemann calls a counter-script. For the Christian that counter-script is the gospel of Jesus Christ — at the center of which stands a cross!
When we are trying to relocate the center of authentic Christianity we are led to Calvary. Jesus promised paradise, not to those who prioritize personal happiness, but to one who was dying on a cross beside him.
Scot McKnight takes on a significant chapter of N.T. Wright’s new book, Simply Good News:
A recent example of yet one more attempt to correct the church and to get the church back on track is N.T. Wright’s chapter “Distorted and Competing Gospels” in his new book, Simply Good News.
He’s definitely pointing his finger at shallow gospels and the world’s pressures when it comes to comprehending how good the news is. There’s a holy impatience in Wright in this (quite long) chapter.
News & Views
Benjamin L. Corey asks why so many Christians are worshiping the American Sniper:
Time and time again over the past week one thing in American Christianity has become clear: Chris Kyle is a man to whom we must bow down and worship, and failure to do this is part and parcel to heresy.
The slightest critique of Kyle is not only met with push-back, but a quick severing of Christian relationship. So much for Jesus’ words of, “By this all people will know you are mine: if you love one another.”
Christena Cleveland shares 3 MLK quotes that continue to convict her today:
A fifth point regarding nonviolent resistance is that it avoids not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. The nonviolent resistor not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him.
This idea goes hand-in-hand with a book that is absolutely slaying me right now: Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. In it, Volf reminds us that for evil to fully triumph, two acts of evil must be committed. The perpetrator must commit an evil act and the victim must return an evil act in response to the first act. What both MLK and Volf make clear is that the victim’s contribution to the triumph of evil doesn’t have to take a behavioral form.
Efrem Smith reflects on Dr. King by tracing his concepts of the dream, the struggle, and direct action to kingdom work:
Dr. King spoke of victory. He really believed that the vision and strategy at the foundation of nonviolent direct action was winning and would continue to win. Even when the soldiers of nonviolence were being beaten and attacked by fire hoses and dogs, Dr. King believed that victory was taking place. If he could speak now, I wonder if in some radical way he would see his death as a, victory? I do know though of a Savior in Christ whose death and resurrection actually did bring on victory. The work of advancing the Kingdom He proclaimed is victorious work. The Church must be about victorious work in under-resourced communities and among marginalized people.
Partners & Resources
Missio Alliance Writing Team member Brandon Wrencher shares a sermon on MLK and vocation at The Apocalypse Review:
The passage says that in those days divine messages and visions were rare. And yet, the message God does give, God gives to Samuel. Only a few verses later in Chapter 1 it tells that this message is one that judges the corruption of the priest Eli’s sons. The voice of vocation comes to Samuel not only in the midst of political upheaval, but also Samuel’s message is one that will further unsettle the status quo. A vocation, a call, a purpose that unsettles is the last thing most of us want, isn’t it? I suspect that this is what Martin Luther King meant when he said: “I submit to you that if a [person] hasn’t discovered something [they] will die for, [they aren’t] fit to live.” Because to unsettle what’s comfortable and at ease, means something has to change, to sacrifice, to die even. Death to an ego. Sacrificing your reputation. Changing your perspective.
Luke Norsworthy interviews N.T. Wright on his podcast – and it’s great!
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our new series on the topic of #TrulyHuman:
A #TrulyHuman Crisis: The Hidden Gnosticism Within Evangelical Christianity, by Karina Kreminski
Love And Hate According To Martin Luther King Jr., by Mark Moore