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
John Chandler writes at V3 Movement about evaluating preaching in the missional church:
After seven articles, and almost as many months, we finally come to the end of this series on Sermon Preparation for the Missional Pastor. While the last article was on the actual development of a sermon outline, I suggested there is one more step that’s all too easy to overlook: Evaluate.
So may I offer you four questions to ask of each sermon as a final step and tune-up prior to delivery?
Donald Miller offers a needed reminder on the truth about worrying:
I thought about how I was going to get behind on my project and how I resented having to keep this appointment. Then it hit me: These things always turn out fine. I had plenty of hours on the other side of the appointment to write and by no means was the day ruined.
Roger Olson makes an interesting – and controversial – comparison between the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” and Bill Gothard’s movement:
Anyone familiar with the YRRM should see certain sociological parallels between it and the Gothard movement of the 1970s. Both are centered around the teachings of a charismatic personality. Both respond to a deeply felt need among Christians. (The felt need the YRRM responds to is that of a thicker, richer theology than most churches provide.) The leaders of both offer relatively simple and yet seemingly profound answers to contemporary questions. Both are solidly within orthodox Christianity and so cannot be attacked as heretical. On the other hand, both foster a kind of fanaticism about the central message such that outsiders are made to feel less spiritual, if not less Christian, than those “in the know.”
News & Views
Brian Zahnd casts a vision of Christmas as “shock and awe”:
When the Prince of Peace was born in Bethlehem the armies of heaven didn’t launch hellfire missiles from the sky, instead they sang heavenly songs about peace on earth. How impractical. How ineffective. How naïve. Or… How beautiful. I choose to call an army that combats evil by singing songs of peace a beautiful thing. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. As a Christian I believe that a baby born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, a baby whose birth we celebrate every December 25th, is the child king Isaiah sang about long ago.
John Hawthorne makes the most interesting observation of the Christmas season: Ralphie is a millennial evangelical:
Of course, at the end of the story (spoilers ahead for the two of you who don’t know how it ends) Ralphie gets the BB gun. He takes it outside to try it out and manages to have a BB ricochet and nearly hit him in the eye. It was just as they’d all said. Except that his mother keeps his secret and cleans him up. He pursued his dream and it almost went wrong, and yet he found his own way forward. In that moment, he finds his independent voice that isn’t defined by his family, neighborhood, and social structure.
This is where today’s millennial evangelicals find themselves.
Christena Cleveland writes at RELEVANT with 5 ways to be a racial reconciler:
These days, as people around the nation become more aware of racial injustice, many young Christians of all races are eager to be part of the solution.
That’s great news; we need every available hand on deck! But since so many of us have grown up in racially isolated communities, many of us don’t know what racial reconciliation looks like, what it requires of us, or how to work toward it. If we’re not careful, our lack of understanding can 1) paralyze us, preventing us from taking steps toward reconciliation, or 2) cause us to jump onto the racial reconciliation bandwagon without any direction or intentionality.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our two month #ChurchTrending series:
#ChurchTrending: A New Narrative For Singleness, by Ruthie Johnson
#ChurchTrending: The Fallacy Of The Homogeneity Principle, by Karina Kreminski