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
J.R. Woodward lists his top ten books about church planting over at V3 Movement:
One of the most frequent questions I get from church planters is: What do you recommend as the best books for church planters to read?
As an avid reader who has planted churches on the East Coast and the West Coast, and a person who is devoted full time to helping equip church planters, this is a difficult question to answer. I have sought to avail myself to most all the resources out there on church planting. There are a lot of good books on this topic.
David Fitch writes about a problematic trend in church planting – Pac-Man Tactics:
Often, on that first Sunday, the celebrity pastor will laud the efforts of this new site to bring the gospel to this neighborhood. He will perhaps even say something like “no church preaches the Bible more faithfully in this community like this church will do.” (I know of situations in greater Chicagoland where this actually has taken place.) But what we discover over the ensuing weeks is that this church now attracts hundreds more attenders from the surrounding smaller less spectacular churches. The new ‘site’ mushrooms to a thousand attenders in a matter of months filled with people from other churches. These large churches call this “church planting” as if they are engaging non-Christians and their neighborhoods for the gospel.
Anderson Campbell contribues to the #AntiochSession with a powerful post about the wars we all fight:
Christians are not unlike Onoda. We have a knack for fighting wars that are already over. We refuse to see the signs of defeat (or victory!) all around us and keep on entering into skirmishes and all-out battles. In the midst of all this we inflict unnecessary wounds on innocent bystanders, mistaking them for hostile enemies. Often, that becomes a self-fulfilling act, creating enemies out of people who previously meant us no ill will.
Once you’ve been fighting for so long, though, it is hard to not fight anymore. You need to be discharged. Richard Rohr writes of “discharging the loyal soldier” as a critical step in transitioning from the first half of life into the second half of life.
News & Views
Jonathan Merritt interviews “that preacher of peace” Brian Zahnd about his book A Farewell to Mars:
RNS: I’ve heard people counter, “There can never be peace on earth until the prince of peace comes again?” What say you?
BZ: Ah, yes, the eschatological sleight of hand trick. Every Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace who we confess is Jesus Christ. But if we are challenged to follow the Prince of Peace in his ways of peace, we say, “Oh, that’s not until he comes again.” Of course, this is exegetical nonsense. It’s a way of continuing to follow Caesar and his Pax Romana, while pretending to follow Christ.
Jesus doesn’t say, “Take up your cross and follow me…when I come again.” Jesus invites us to follow him by laying down the sword and taking up the cross now! I can’t imagine Jesus saying, “What are you doing being peacemakers now? That’s not until I come back again.” Ridiculous.
Rachel Held Evans responds to the #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtag with some reasons why we need feminism:
Because, worldwide, more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. (source)
Because nearly 1 in 4 American women between the ages of 18 and 65 has experienced domestic violence. (source)
Because the U.S. State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, and eighty percent of them are women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation. (source)
Because girls like Malala Yousafzai deserve an education and should not be threatened with violence for pursuing one.
Rachel Held Evans also praises the SBC and especially Russell Moore for their response to the child immigration crisis:
When we find ourselves at odds with our fellow Christians over issues that are important to us, it’s easy to slip into the habit of expecting the worst in one another, forgetting just how much we have in common as followers of Jesus.
As much as I disagree with the Southern Baptist Convention’s positions on gender and sexuality (among other issues), it’s been really encouraging to see the SBC partner with Christians of other denominations in advocating for a humane and loving response to the flood of child refugees crossing the border into the U.S. to escape violence in their homeland.
On The Missio Blog
We continued our July Conversation on Gender & the Kingdom this week:
Seeking Authentic [ally Redeemed] Manhood, by Seth Richardson.
Like a Warrior, Like a Woman in Labor (Isaiah 42), by Cote Soerens.
Gender, Trinity, and Missional Spirituality, by Len Hjalmarson.
Dropping F-Bombs, by Carolyn Custis-James.
Gender, Sexual Consumerism, and the Kingdom of God, by Ruthie Johnson.