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:+
Church & Theology
What does “success” look like for pastors at a time when the Church is changing so dramatically and when most can’t brag about impressive numbers?
J.R.B.: Many have asked me a similar question: “If it’s not about the three B’s, then what am I after?” As we study the gospels and learn of Jesus’ challenge for us to seek the kingdom first and teach others in the Way of Christ, we see the dominating posture is faithfulness. Jesus will never say, “Well done, my good and successful servant.” In some ways this is encouraging; in other ways, it means a more difficult road. Faithfulness is the basis for ministry.
Over at V3, AJ Swoboda writes about viewing the church as a holy drama, with participants not observers:
Any good drama has a cast, a script, a director, and an audience. As we watch the gospel being proclaimed through the narrative of Acts, Luke is quick to point out that it is a gospel proclaimed from the communal perspective of the “we.”; it rejects the vantage point of the individual alone. “We” preached Jesus, “we” traveled to this city, “we” saw this healing. Why would this be important for Luke? Kevin Vanhoozer has suggested that, in line with Luke’s desire for a corporate witness, the church is in its realest sense a kind of play or theatrical performance; the church as a holy drama.
It a drama with all of the parts working together. God is our director, the Scripture are our script (what Vanhoozer calls the “dramatic fittingness”), the church is the players, and the world is the theatre looking on.
John Hawthorne is over at The Antioch Session talking about having faith in the stories of the priesthood, which you are:
Too much of our discourse is caught up in various version of celebrity pundits: television commentators, religious bloggers, celebrity pastors, leaders of special interest groups (religious or political), politicians. What binds many of these together is that they deal in certainty. They know where their go-to positions are and will defend those against the go-to positions of opponents. My twitter feed is full of people aligning behind one position or another.
But you are God’s people. All of you. And you will tell your story. The story that you tell is far less likely to deal in certainty. It is likely to deal in messiness precisely because everyday life is messy.
News & Views
Brian Zahnd brings a powerful nonviolent word in light of current world events:
Instead of a battlefield where the four horsemen of the Apocalypse ride in vicious repetition, Jesus calls the world to a table where he offers humanity his flesh and blood. And why? Because to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus is to ingest the infinite. Jesus said it this way, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life.” (John 6:54) Jesus abandons the worn out way of trying to change the world by riding warhorses across battlefields. That will never change the world. That’s the way the world already is. Instead Jesus calls us to a table and asks us to eat his flesh and drink his blood that we might participate in his eternal life.
Morgan Guyton brings a strong perspective on both war in Gaza and the immigration crisis:
When children get in the way by doing dastardly things like playing soccer in a war zone, they call us out for thinking that war could ever be clean and noble. I don’t believe for a minute that the Israeli soldier who fired that artillery shell on the Gaza beach was deliberately trying to kill children. The soldier made a very tragic and costly mistake, and unlike the mistakes that are made in other lines of work, this mistake means that the family of these boys will spend the rest of their lives in grief. Even using the word “mistake” is offensively unjust; it’s way bigger than a mistake. The problem is that war itself is terrorism
This is part one of a mini-doc called The Vicar of Baghdad. While discretion is advised, it’s an unforgettable depiction of reconciliation:
On The Missio Blog
We continued our July Conversation on Gender & the Kingdom this week:
How I Changed My Mind on Women in Ministry, Part 1, by Mark Moore
Changing My Mind on Women in Ministry, Part 2, by Mark Moore
Relationships of Welcome, Not Fear, by Karina Kreminski