The Sunday Morning Post, 4.6.14

Every Sunday morning, we’ll be posting articles and links that are saying something important about church, culture, and mission (or that just made us laugh). Here’s what resonated with us this week on the web:

On the World Vision Aftermath

Rachel Held Evans explained her sense of being kicked out of evangelicalism:

So rather than wearing out my voice in calling for an end to evangelicalism’s culture wars, I think it’s time to focus on finding and creating church among its many refugees—women called to ministry, our LGBTQ brother and sisters, science-lovers, doubters, dreamers, misfits, abuse survivors, those who refuse to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith or their compassion and their religion, those who have, for whatever reason, been “farewelled.”

Instead of fighting for a seat at the evangelical table, I want to prepare tables in the wilderness, where everyone is welcome and where we can go on discussing (and debating!) the Bible, science, sexuality, gender, racial reconciliation, justice, church, and faith, but without labels, without wars.

Then she followed up with a call to reflect about how evangelicalism might have enough room for diverse sides:

It still hurts. Nothing’s changed.  And the punch in the gut from last week’s World Vision situation (in which 10,000 children lost their sponsorship as a result of an evangelical protests) continues to leave me, and many others, feeling breathless.

As much as I wish I didn’t care, I still dream of an evangelicalism where both my friend Jen Hatmaker (who wrote this) and my friend Ben Moberg (who wrote this) are welcome at the same table. One baptism. One communion.  One faith.  One family.

Maybe it’s not worth handing that dream over to the loudest, most divisive voices. Maybe it’s worth fighting for.

Michael W. Pahl guest posted at Scot McKnight’s blog about “Bible Biblical Christians” and “Jesus Biblical Christians”:

If you didn’t hear about the World Vision kerfuffle last week, you were either still in winter hibernation or nowhere near the US (yes, the kerfuffle was about World Vision in the US, not globally). In the space of 48 hours, World Vision US first opened their hiring gates to people in committed same-sex marriages, then slammed the gates back shut.

During those tumultuous few days there were two dominant Christian voices demanding attention.

Some Christians sought to rally the troops, appealing to the Bible: “Hold the line on biblical morality! Stand firm on thebiblical view of heterosexual marriage and homosexuality!Those who aren’t with us are against us!”

Other Christians also sought to rally the troops, also appealing to the Bible: “Be like Jesus! Focus on the children in poverty, the little ones and least of these! Let God’s sun shine on the righteous and the unrighteous! Those who aren’t against us are with us!”

And John W. Hawthorne described the whole thing as evangelicalism’s “come to Jesus moment”:

“Coming to Jesus” will require some significant changes to evangelicalism as we’ve known it if it is to ever be true to its potential. We will need to begin with assumptions of diversity instead of unanimity.  I wrote in my last post that faithful religious groups can see things in different ways. We need an evangelicalism that affirms this reality, whether we’re talking to evangelical Episcopalians who have affirmed a gay bishop or talking to a writer who celebrates complementarity. We will have to live with the discomfort of knowing that we differ from our sisters and brothers in Christ. Jesus said that’s what the world would be looking at.

On Slow Church, Parish Collective, & Fresh Expressions:

The Washington Post reported on the new Slow Church book, conference, and movement:

You can’t franchise the kingdom of God, say the authors of “Slow Church,” a new book from InterVarsity Press that applies the lessons of the slow food movement to congregational life.

C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison, the book’s authors, are part of a loose network of writers, friends, theologians and pastors worried about what they call the “McDonaldization” of church. They say too many small churches try to mass-produce spiritual growth by copying the latest megachurch techniques.

Instead, Smith and Pattison advocate for “slow church” — an approach to ministry that stresses local context and creativity over pre-packaged programs.

Christianity Today interviewed Parish Collective founder Tim Soerens:

This is one reason we see the parish as a timely gift to the current state of the church today. Responsibility and limitation may not be the sexiest words, but we can neither be truly human, nor communally present, without naming how we will be limited, and how we will be responsible. As my friend and co-author Paul Sparks repeatedly says “The parish is an invitation to the real.”

But, I actually get even more excited about the possibilities that arise when connecting to specific neighborhoods. Can you fathom what sort of collaborative ventures could arise if even 10% of Christian faith communities oriented around joining God in very particular places?

Fresh Expressions US posted this video on their YouTube channel from their National Gathering last week:


Best on the Missio Alliance Blog:

Beyond Eros and Icons of the Age to Come: Lenten Anthropology, by Dr. Charlie Self

NT Wright on the Song of Worship

The Memory of Christendom, by Karina Kreminski

So what did we miss? Feel free to share the top posts of the week from your own blog or around the web right here in the comments!

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