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 writes about the longing of Advent and living in the tension:
When I was young, I couldn’t understand this emphasis on waiting – let’s get to the Christmas joy!
Now that I have wept, now that I have grieved, now that I have lost, now that I have learned to hold space with and for the ones who are hurting, now I have a place for Advent.
Now that I have fallen in step with the man from Nazareth, I want to walk where he walked into the brokenness of this life, and see the Kingdom of God at hand. Now that I have learned how much I need him, I have learned to watch for him.
AJ Swoboda writes at V3 Movement about the way we “mangerize” God’s mission, and how Acts disrupts this tendency:
In the end, a neatly packaged, sentimentalized view of the ancient biblical stories, does not only great violence to the Bible, but, also, the one about whom the Bible proclaims—God. By selectively ironing out the Bible’s story into a sentimental story about a sentimental God who extends a sentimental love (a kind of love we secretly wish for), we do violence to the truth. A mangerized Bible is a managed Bible. And a mangerized God is a managed God.
Christena Cleveland reminds us to engage and lament darkness at Advent:
Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God. For when we dive into the depths of our worst world, we reach a critical point at which our chocolate and pageants no longer satiate our longing for hope – and we are liberated by this realization. Indeed, the light of true hope is found in the midst of darkness.
So, this Advent season, let’s engage and lament darkness as we seek the Light.
News & Views
Efrem Smith writes about Ferguson and a way forward:
I write this post right after the Grand Jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri. The Grand Jury has made the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson when it comes to the shooting death of Michael Brown. There is television evidence showing that already violence has erupted in Ferguson. We need a way forward in the United States of America that brings about healing, justice, peace, reconciliation, and transformation. My faith still leads me to believe that the best way to realize all of this is thru the non-violent advancement of the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is the most excellent example of the declaration and demonstration of the Kingdom of God. The Church is the front line vehicle for this to be realized today. I also believe that people of good will also have an opportunity to seize a reconciling moment if they so choose.
David Fitch shares a story from David Whited and a humbling word:
As the old man made his way to shake his hand, the young preacher indulged in some quick fantasies about the assessment he was about to receive. He was pretty sure that the elder was going to tell him he was surprised that a young white man could “bring it like that”.
Instead, the old man reached out to shake my youth pastor’s hand and gave him exactly one sentence of feedback. He said, “Boy… you don’t know nothin’.”
Brian Zahnd offers perspective on the American malady of Black Friday, celebrated just days ago:
I feel a falseness prevailing in society when Black Friday becomes a celebrated thing.
I see a malady in America when Black Friday becomes a holiday (holy day).
If the people of God are to be a prophetic people—
This is just the sort of thing that needs to be critiqued and resisted.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog today, we continued our two month #ChurchTrending series:+
#ChurchTrending: Finding The Spirit In Social Resistance, by Cote Soerens
#ChurchTrending: How Trendy Was St Paul? by Nijay Gupta
#ChurchTrending: Economic Flourishing And Kingdom Impact, by Charlie Self
Let #Ferguson Prepare Us For This Season Of Advent, by David Bailey
#ChurchTrending: Reflections On Ferguson In Poem Form, by Jason Butler
#Church Trending: The Primary Responsibility Of A Pastor, by Mark Moore
Grieving For Ferguson And Beyond, by Geoff Holsclaw