Best of the Rest (Dec 17th)

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week. Some are actually more than a week old but I forgot to put them in previous weeks and this week had few anyway, so I moved them forward to today.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci questions the definition of justice used by many evangelicals even while being encouraged by the steady evangelical shift toward seeing social justice as a priority:

One of the central causes of this disconnect for many current justice orientated  Christian ministries is the lack of a solid, developed theology of justice.  The heart is right and the commitment to action is essential.  Yet lacking a right understanding of what justice is and why we do it, we risk missing the deeper implications that shape how we live it out into the world.  We risk parroting the retributive justice of the world rather than embracing the counter-intuitive grace of God that can transform even the worst of sinners into brothers and sisters in Christ.

Kurt Willems discusses the implications of Jesus being born in Bethlehem and not Rome:

Jesus reminds us that donating our lives from the margins of culture is where we will most effectively make and impact for the upside-down kingdom of God. The moment we try to “sell Christmas” to culture, or rather, coerce Christmas (our holy version of Christ-Mass) back into the center of public discourse, we’ve failed to model our witness after Christ. May we become known as a people who donate ourselves to others and give up any aspirations of “selling” Christmas to popular culture. Then, perhaps those who don’t know the Christ of Christ-Mass will earnestly seek him from afar, just like the Magi did that first Christmas.

Buzzfeed gives us 26 moments from the last year to restore our faith in humanity. It may be especially important in light of the events of last Friday.

Emergent Village on Patheos talks about the ten best and ten worst pieces of Christian sex advice.

Jeremy Myers discusses how no church can perfectly protect doctrine when they attempt to block any potential for growth and change.

David Henson talks about why Christmas is not just about Jesus being born to die:

I was sad because of what it said about who people think Jesus is. It says that Jesus was a dumb lamb, carefully cultivated as pure and blameless, so that God might have him slaughtered to set things right in the world.

But it wasn’t his death and crucifixion that set things right in the world. Rather it was his incarnated life that shows us what a world set right might look like. It looks like the kingdom of God — the hungry fed, the wealthy and powerful doing violence for their own sake toppled with nonviolence and solidarity, the oppressed raised up, the outsider welcomed, the end of condemnation and guilt pressed upon us by religious elites, the end of a life absent of hope, full of death.

It looks like shalom.

Finally, the Washington Post talks about the military’s epidemic of suicides where suicides are the top cause of death (not, you know, war).

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.