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
Brian Zahnd honors the anniversary of St. Francis’s death by exploring a quote by G.K. Chesterton:
G.K. Chesterton suggested that Saint Francis of Assisi “walked the world like the pardon of God.”It’s an apt summary of the saint’s life. In his wonderful and unique way Saint Francis embodied the grace of God as he walked the hills of Umbria barefoot in his patched brown habit and simple rope belt preaching to birds and bishops. His life was a kind of performance art protest against the pervasive sins of thirteenth century Italy — pride, avarice, corruption, and violence.
Chris Morton writes on the Fresh Expressions blog about what declining churches have to offer:
For many declining churches, their primary asset may be their building. In years past, the building may have been solely dedicated to official church activities. Today, the building sits vacant most of the week.
Have you thought creatively about how your building can be a blessing to your community?
Scot McKnight continues his rumination on N.T. Wright’s Simply Good News:
N.T. Wright, in Simply Good News, makes his standard and oft-repeated idea that heaven for a Jew and for Jesus and the first apostles was not what many today think it is. And that is: (1) Jesus will take us there and (2) it will follow his second coming (or the rapture). “This misses the whole point” (90).
The Bible says remarkably little about what happens to people, even to God’s people, after they die—at least, immediately after they die. Eventually—ah, that’s another story. The Bible, especially the New Testament, is very interested in what happens eventually. That is because the Bible, and the good news at its heart, are about the rescue and renewal of the whole creation(90-91).
News & Views
The Washington Post reports that Joshua Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church, is going to seminary:
And for 17 years, Harris preached the power of outsiderdom as pastor of Covenant Life, a 3,000-member church in Gaithersburg that is well-known — and sometimes controversial — on the national nondenominational scene.
That is, until Sunday, when the 40-year-old announced that he is leaving to go to seminary, saying he needs formal education and training and more exposure and connection to other parts of Christianity.
Jonathan Merritt reports at Religion News Service on the most and least “Bible-minded” cities:
New York City, a city becoming known for its increasingly robust Christian community, fell into the bottom 10 for the first time in the study’s three year history. Though Knoxville, Tennessee topped the list in 2013, the small city dropped out of the top 10 this year. Dallas, Texas–rife with mega-churches and Christian institutions–did not make it into the top 25 this year. And pastors looking for a Biblically literate flock might want to head to Birmingham, Alabama; the city took first place.
Ed Cyzewski continues his “Denomination Derby” series with a look at the Wesleyan Church:
The Wesleyan Church is an evangelical denomination with just under 500,000 members worldwide, with a little less than half of those in North America. The denomination is the result of a merger between the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness Churches in 1968. Both of these former denominations were formed during the turbulent mid-1800 years of the Methodist Church, when people left over social issues.
I love the Wesleyan Church because of their history regarding social issues. Many ancestors to the current Wesleyan Church were Abolitionists, involved in speaking, writing, and even the Underground Railroad. This action spanned the movement from the highest leadership to the grass root attendees.
Partners & Resources
In case you didn’t know, we are extending Early Bird registration for our North American Gathering to the end of the day TODAY! So act fast!!
Our director Chris Backert writes over at the Fresh Expressions US blog about finding “pioneer leaders” among your “pew sitters.”
Our Writing Team member Karen Wilk writes at the V3 Movement blog about leading like a shepherd.
On The Missio Blog
On the blog this week, we continued our new series on the topic of #TrulyHuman:
Becoming #TrulyHuman: Competing Global Anthropologies, by Dr. Charlie Self