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.
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.
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).