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
Benjamin L. Corey lists five areas where progressive Christian culture has lost him:
I’m dedicated to following Jesus, and if that means I’ll be called a “Progressive Christian” I am quite content with that. However, my loyalty is to Jesus– and Jesus alone– which means I’m not willing to be constrained by any tribal boundaries and don’t have a problem pointing out areas of disconnect with some in my own tribe. In those cases, I’m content to say, “I love you guys, but you’ve lost me on that one.”
Brian Zahnd riffs on T.S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi by offering his own poetic interpretation:
I know that when I really began to see the Kingdom of God for what it is—
Cherished assumptions about the nation and life I call mine had to die.
I was no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation.
Well, consider this:
When the Magi made their way home, we’re told they went by “another way.”
Of course they did.
Once you see the King, once you have the Epiphany—
You have to travel through this life by “another way.”
Sociologist John Hawthorne offers an institutional analysis of those who are “Done” with church:
The result of these various shifts in institutional culture over the past generation and a half is that the role of congregant has shrunk in both importance and task. If it feels like people are spectators, it’s because that’s what the rules call for. If we want something else, we’ll need to rethink some institutional arrangements.
News & Views
Christena Cleveland lists ten reconciliation books from 2014 that we should read:
It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I try to listen to and learn from people both inside and outside of my so-called tribe. So just because a book is on this list doesn’t mean that I endorse or agree with everything that the author does, believes, writes, or says. I chose these books because they have sharpened my thinking around issues of reconciliation and unity…as iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Enjoy!
Chris Morton takes a crack at some new year’s resolutions – but in bite-size form:
Here are 51 ideas I had. What would add?
1. Wake up five minutes earlier. Spend the time in bed enjoying the silence.
2. Work more kale into your diet.
3. Carry cash and be ready to “give to him who asks you.”
4. Make a list of the decisions you’ve been procrastinating.
6. Call people by their name.
7. Spend 15 minutes reading something on paper…
Jonathan Merritt interviews Tullian Tchividjian at RNS about why new year’s resolutions can be damaging:
RNS: Do you think rigorously setting New Year’s resolutions can be spiritually damaging then?
TT: Let me be clear: making changes in your life is not a bad thing. But these things become damaging, spiritually or otherwise, when we see them as ways to justify ourselves. Robert Capon once said that “the greatest temptation is to think that it is by further, better, and more aggressive living that we can find life.” Thinking that we can save ourselves by our works, in other words, is not just a bad theological idea, it’s a terrible way to live.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we finished our two month #ChurchTrending series:
#ChurchTrending: Barriers To The Gospel And The Great Commandments, by William Walker
#ChurchTrending: Why I’m Quitting Facebook In 2015, by Gary Alan Taylor
The Missio Alliance Essential Reading List Of 2014: Fifteen Books We Love!, by Missio Alliance
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.