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
Fr. Tony Bleything writes for the #AntiochSession about making disciples…AA style:
My sponsor, has tethered himself to me. He is walking with me daily because he has a genuine concern for my health and flourishing. But it is not just for my sake that he walks with me, he too is able to grow because of this relationship. Built into the community is the assumption that we will serve others, because we know that if we are not getting outside of our own heads we are in danger of falling back into the broken, self-centered thinking that landed us in recovery in the first place. My sponsor is a very busy man, with a family, multiple business ventures, boards, spiritual committments, and other relationships. Yet, he finds time to talk with me daily, to ask how I’m doing, to make sure I’m doing my work in sobriety.
Discipleship is not just a weekly meeting, it’s not just an accountability group, it’s not just Bible study. Discipleship is one brother or sister who has progressed along spiritual lines coming along side another who has not journeyed as far.
David Fitch blogs about the three P’s of evangelism and introduces this week’s Missional Learning Commons:
Evangelism, or proclaiming the gospel in context, is the subject for this years Missional Learning Commons. In my opening presentation on Saturday morning, I hope to exposit in three easy P.’s what I have experienced are the issues we face in a world which largely ignores or discredits the packaged evangelism of our Christendom past.
Ed Cyzewski is hosting a great series called Denomination Derby, and Amanda Nash guest posts about the Vineyard:
The Vineyard movement has a Both/And Theology. There are many areas that we in the Vineyard try to hold in tension. We often say we want the best of both worlds. We want to be evangelical and charismatic; we are committed to scripture and to hearing a fresh word from God’s Spirit; we want mercy and justice; we believe in the spiritual realm of healing and warfare and that the world God created includes a deep appreciation of the sciences; we want to be connected to the historical and traditional church and explore new and contextualized expressions of faith.
News & Views
New York Times Magazine publishes an amazing long-form story about journalist Theo Padnos and his captivity in Syria:
Matt asked for an English-language Quran. A guard gave it to him. A few days later, Matt said the magic words — “I testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is his prophet” — in front of witnesses. When word got around that Matt had converted, the younger fighters would point at him and say, “You, good!” Then they would point at me and say, “You, bad!”
But the conversion did not get Matt better food, and it certainly did not get him home. Once, one of the more volatile guards slapped him as we were being taken to the bathroom. “You, bad!” he said to Matt. “You lie about religion.” The guard nodded at me. “You, you Christian,” he said. “You, good.”
I learned, eventually, to deflect the enthusiasm of the proselytizers. “Allah has created me a Christian,” I would say. “It’s not my fault.”
Sarah Bessey takes to her soapbox to address the controversy surrounding Canadian host Jian Ghomeshi and sexualized violence:
How dare we make light of the very real terror and horror that women have endured and are enduring? You talk to a woman who has been raped or sexually violated or beaten or abused and then try to tell me that it’s okay to be turned on by that. It is NOT okay. It is never okay, it never will be okay. Violence against women is epidemic and evil, it’s not to be mined for sexual pleasure. How dare we forget our sisters? How dare we make light of or sexualize for our own pleasures the unmitigated horror that is endured by women even at this moment? Whether in the context of a classroom power dynamic or a war torn refugee camp, women are preyed upon, groomed for abuse and abused in horrifying numbers in this way from the youngest to the oldest. There are women who believe they deserve to be treated in this way – think about that for a second.
Brian Zahnd offers a different take on the motivations behind Halloween celebration – as a search for the sacred:
When we can no longer find the sacred we settle for being scared. We can live with the fear that something is out there in the dark — even if it’s a vampire or a werewolf. What we cannot live with is the horrifying idea that there is nothing out there. That we are alone in a cold material world with not so much as a single angel. In such a world even a devil would be welcome company. Halloween affords secular modernity the opportunity to remember a time when the world was inhabited by more than meets the eye. It’s a search for the sacred. So I have a sympathy for Halloween…or All Hallows’ Eve.
But I’m a Christian, and a sacramental Christian at that. I can do better than the thrill of an M. Night Shyamalan movie. I embrace a sacred ontology. I confess the sacred mysteries of the Christian faith.
Christianity Today reports on the dissolution of Mars Hill Church in Seattle:
Marking its own Reformation Day of sorts, Mars Hill Church will dissolve Mark Driscoll’s multisite network and let each of its remaining 13 churches go their own way.
Founded in 1996, the Seattle-based megachurch planted 15 satellite sites across five states, its passion for creating new churches further evidenced by Driscoll founding the Acts 29 network. By New Year’s Day, the multisite organization and the Mars Hill name will be no more.
On the Missio Blog
We introduced our #ChurchTrending series and put out a call for submissions
We rounded up the online conversations about Scot McKnight’s new book Kingdom Conspiracy
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:
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