The Sunday Morning Post, 11.16.14

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

David Fitch concludes his review of Scot McKnight’s new book Kingdom Conspiracy:

McKnight and I have had many discussions/charitable disagreements together in the hall, at Missio Alliance, at Wheaton Theology Conference etc. (Here’s where the “For Fitch” dedication comes from. Check out the picture.). He many times comes back to me with the question that ends the book on page 255: “Did Gandhi do Kingdom work?” One time he asked me that question in a Q&A at Wheaton Theology conference and I replied “maybe.” McKnight would say “no way.” But I believe one way to look at Gandhi is to see God preveniently at work for His purposes, but that this work is incomplete, inchoate (and may remain so). Nonetheless, it carries the seeds of penultimate work still to be completed in Christ Jesus in the church (the church redefined as God’s people). And so we can discern God at work in the world (missio Dei) in many works in the world, yet not complete to their rightful end in Christ (this is so different than sphere ideas of Kuyperian theology). Gandhi then could become Kingdom work (was MLK’s appropriation of Gandhi for the church’s movement for civil rights a completion of this work in Christ?). This does not mean, by the way, that Gandhi’s work will reach this end. It doesn’t mean that all good works are potentially Kingdom. And discerning that difference takes a community of Christ to discern by the Spirit in the fullness of Christ and bring Jesus as the completion of those works in the world in Christ – from which a community always forms.

John Hawthorne records his reflections on the Missional Learning Commons event on Missional Evangelism:

Last weekend I drove to the Chicago area to participate in the Missio Alliance Missional Learning Commons in Westmont, IL. The theme this year was on evangelism and brought together pastors, parachurch leaders, theologians, and ministry professors. I’m pretty sure I was the only sociologist in attendance. I was curious to see how the nature of evangelism might be shifting in the context of a post-Christendom culture and whether my ideas about Identity Evangelicalism would resonate at all.

Scot McKnight’s expounds on Tim Keller’s new book about prayer, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God:

One of the themes Tim Keller presses us to see in his new book on prayer (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God) is that prayer is a conversation with God on the basis of the Bible’s words. We listen to God through reading and pondering and meditating over Scripture and then we pray to God. But Keller’s title focuses on the experience of prayer and intimacy with God, so I have been waiting for these themes to appear more directly: they do, in chapter 11.

Tim Keller is not one bit shy of speaking about the experience of God in prayer.

News & Views

The New Yorker reports about the reasons for the release of missionary Kenneth Bae in North Korea:

The unilateral release of the American prisoners may well have been another line of defense against the threat of criminal charges. Although it is unlikely that Kim Jong-un would ever stand trial in the Hague, he would also not relish the prospect of living out his days as an international pariah, unable to travel the world. Kim is still in his thirties, and he had at least a taste of the outside world when he was schooled as child in Switzerland; his father rarely left North Korea, and then only in an armored railroad car, reportedly because he was afraid to fly.

Addie Zierman writes at A Deeper Story about how real church friendships are not like a Christian romance novel:

Here between the sidewalks and the strip malls, the beige and the blacktop, there are beautiful things happening. In the little white church at the crossroad, we are not all the best of friends, everyone pursuing a relationship with God in the same delicate, lovely way, everyone gathering for weekly barbecues. Our hearts beat for different things in different ways, and the romance is that we still come together, every week, taking the bread and the cup, choosing this even when it feels awkward and stunted and strange.

Joshua Becker writes at the Storyline blog about the emptiness of accolades:

The pursuit of accolades is always a foolish desire.

It often negatively impacts the decisions we make and the life we choose to live. But they never fully satisfy our hearts or our souls. Even those who have reached the pinnacle of fame and prestige in our society long for more. As Eric Hoffer once wrote, “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”

Kingdom Conspiracy at Northern Seminary

This weekend, we hosted our Kingdom Conspiracy event with Scot McKnight at Northern Seminary. Here are some “tweetable moments”:

On The Missio Blog

On the blog today, we continued our two month #ChurchTrending series:

#ChurchTrending: The Pastor As Cultural Exegete, by Karina Kreminski

#ChurchTrending: Radical Authenticity, Sexuality, And Spiritual Transformation, by Derek Vreeland

#ChurchTrending: Glass In The Playground, by Austin McNair

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