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
At the V3 Movement blog, Christine Sine is asking, “How white is your church?”:
Twenty years ago I began reading African, Asian and South American theologians. Many of my colleagues were dismissive of theologies, such as liberation theology, that grew out a culture of oppression. For instance, there are Indian theologies that grew out of cultures of poverty or of South African Black theology which grew out of apartheid cultures.
Authors like Gustavo Gutiérrez and Cornel West changed my life and my worldview. Listening to my friends at NAIITS and indigenous peoples in Australia and North America turned my faith upside down.
Efrem Smith writes about the road forward in regard to race and reconciliation – it looks like a bridge:
So have do we move forward in the midst of racial and class divisions in our nation? How do we find racial reconciliation and righteousness? How do we bring the Kingdom of God to bear on an upside-down, sin-filled, and broken world? The road forward is a bridge. We cannot deny the reality of race and privilege. We cannot use colorblindness and silence to solve deeply rooted racial issues that have plagued our reality for centuries. We must commit to prayerful discussions, bible studies, worship experiences, and solution-development cross culturally and cross racially. We can’t just look for people who look different than us but believe exactly what we do theologically and politically. That’s cheap reconciliation.
Sarah Bessey shares about the women in Christian leadership that she needed to see:
I needed Kelley. I needed a friend who could preach by an old piano in the living room better than most big preachers in megachurches. I needed her to talk to me about justice and jubilee, about Isaiah and Exodus, about midwives and women on the edge. I needed her to give me the theological foundation for the awakening God was breathing into my own spirit, I needed her laughter and her anger, her prophetic imagination and her voracious yearning for shalom. I needed the theologians she gave to me, as one gives a gift. I needed a friend who understood this side of me, celebrated it, and pushed me even further out.
News & Views
David Fitch weighs in after the dust has settled around Mars Hill in Seattle to examine two megachurch sins:
“Multi-Site Video Venue” has become a popular model of organizing for mega churches that want to continue to expand. And yet I contend ( and have contended for years) this form of organizing is prone to two “sins” that work against presence and mission in a local community. I want to be careful NOT to over generalize because I know of multi-site churches who vigorously work to overcome these two sins. But to me, if you examine the culture of many multi-site-video venue churches, these are the two stunningly repeatable sins that occur regularly within them. If one elects to become part of/or a leader in a MSVV church I would urge that person to vigilant in discerning these two sins creeping into the organization of the church. Here’s the two sins as I see them. .
Amena Brown Owen is at StoryLine advising on how to deal with our inner Grinch:
Maybe it’s in a journal, maybe it’s with a friend or family member, but find a safe place to say or write your Grinch’s thoughts. Stuffing your Grinch’s voice inside doesn’t make it disappear. Sometimes we need a place to admit when life sucks. It is sometimes this admission that can help us find hope and light in a dark season of soul.
Brian Zahnd offers an unflinching opinion – you cannot be Christian and support torture:
You cannot be Christian and support torture. I want to be utterly explicit on this point. There is no possibility of compromise. The support of torture is off the table for a Christian. I suppose you can be some version of a “patriot” and support the use of torture, but you cannot be any version of Christian and support torture. So choose one: A torture-endorsing patriot or a Jesus-following Christian. But don’t lie to yourself that you can be both. You cannot.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our two month #ChurchTrending series:
#ChurchTrending: Six Assumptions That Must Make The Missional Shift, by Karen Wilk
#ChurchTrending: Can The Church Lead The Way, Part 2 (Cultural Competence), by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
#ChurchTrending: The Buzzfeedification Of The Holy Spirit, by Ty Grigg
#Churchtrending: A Santa Clausified Advent, by Cote Soerens
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.