November 9, 2014 / Missio Alliance

The Sunday Morning Post, 11.9.14

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 continues his ongoing review of Scot McKnight’s new book Kingdom Conspiracy:

One of his best observations is made in anticipation of those who would argue that if what he says is true, then the present day church is a sad expression of the Kingdom. It bears little resemblance of the Kingdom described by Jesus.  In response, McKnight warns against comparing the church now with the Kingdom not yet. Such an understanding places undue expectations on the church with the inevitable accompanying disappointments. McKnight says instead we need to compare “kingdom now with church now, or kingdom not yet with church not yet.  But to compare church now with kingdom not yet is not fair to the church.”

Efrem Smith adds important commentary on the issues of racial and economic inequality in the church with “Poor-a-Phobia”:

Yes, I know that “Poor-a-phobia” is not a word, but I believe it is a sickness that exists within our society today, so I will name it and define it. “Poor-a-phobia” is the internalized fear of Poor People further fueled by limited facts mixed with myths and stereotypes. “Poor-a-phobia” can be increased within Privileged People who are not in significant relationship with Poor People. Now some Privileged People may respond to this definition by saying, “Some of my best friends are Poor.” They may also say, “When I look at people, I don’t see Poor, I just see their heart or character.” These statements are no escape or solution to the sickness of “Poor-a-phobia.” Mainly this is the case because these statements are hard to backup when it seems that the more privileged you become the distance from the Poor seems to enlarge. This can actually increase the sickness.

Geoff Holsclaw writes about how his church celebrates All Saints Day and the importance of the “great cloud of witnesses”:

Much like Ash Wednesday, All Saints Day helps us remember that from dust we have been taken and to dust we will return. And yet the accent on All Saints Day is on the Church Triumphant, raised in Christ, the one who has overcome the grave and stolen death’s sting.

It is a day to remember and rejoice the lives of our friends and family who have died before us and sleep in Christ.

Here at Life on the Vine we spend the hour before our service bringing pictures and sharing stories of our loved ones who have gone on before us. And these pictures then stayed around our altar as we worshipped and shared the Communion of Christ together in the main service.

News & Views

Ruth Graham offers important insight at The Atlantic about how a megachurch melts down, with Mars Hill as a case in point:

For a certain kind of young urban Christian, Driscoll offered proof that conservative evangelicism could be both robust and cool.

And that’s why Mars Hill’s demise can be read as an object lesson in the dangers of building a church—or any brand—on a single magnetic leader. Lots of people liked Mark Driscoll, and they liked the idea of him even after his flaws began to show. But when he proved to be all too human, his church couldn’t survive without him. Driscoll apparently once told staff, “I am the brand,” and he turned out to be right.

The Gospel Coalition reviews Rob and Kristen Bell’s new book about marriage, The Zimzum of Love:

In Love Wins Bell introduced us to his “new” way of understanding heaven and hell. At least he used the Bible. In The Zimzum of Love, the Bells reference the Bible a total of three times, one of them being a reference to John 3:16 signs at football games (25). But then, why ground ideas in the Bible when zimzum offers so much uncharted territory for authorial exploration? And this is where Rob and Kristen blast off from planet Christianity for galaxies unknown.

The result? A “spiritual” book that commends the ethics of Christianity but appears ashamed of their source (Luke 9:26). Biblical ideas without scriptural grounding—water with no spring, heat with no sun, liberty with no law (James 1:25). Never mind “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15); Bell makes little effort to handle it at all.

Relevant Magazine reports on a new study about what millennials want out of church:

What Millennials want out of church” is a pretty difficult question to answer, but a synopsis might be summed up as “a church that’s like (streaming music service) Pandora, that could also act as a spiritual guide and confidant.”

A study just released by church stats experts The Barna Group found that millennials (defined here as those between the ages of 14 and 30) are nothing if not hard to nail down.

The Missional Learning Commons

This weekend, we hosted our Missional Learning Commons event in Chicago. Here are some “tweetable moments”:

On The Missio Blog

We hit the ground running this week with our brand new #ChurchTrending series:

Defying Gravity: Why Relativism Is Dying & Everyone Is Believing In Absolute Truth, Part 1, by A.J. Swoboda

Defying Gravity: Why Relativism Is Dying And Everyone Is Believing In Absolute Truth, Part 2, by A.J. Swoboda

#ChurchTrending: Practicing Patience In A World Of Lack, by Seth Richardson

#ChurchTrending: When Church and State Start Dating in School, by Chris Hopper