Best of the Rest (Feb 18)

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading lately:

Megan Phelps-Roper

The most encouraging story came from this article about a couple of the Phelps family who left the hatred of Westboro Baptist behind.

She kept trying to conquer the doubts. Westboro teaches that one cannot trust his or her feelings. They’re unreliable. Human nature “is inherently sinful and inherently completely sinful,” Megan explains. “All that’s trustworthy is the Bible. And if you have a feeling or a thought that’s against the church’s interpretations of the Bible, then it’s a feeling or a thought against God himself.”

This, of course, assumes that the church’s teachings and God’s feelings are one and the same. And this, of course, assumes that the church’s interpretation of the Bible is infallible, that this much-debated document handed down over the centuries has, in 2013, been processed and understood correctly only by a small band of believers in Topeka. “Now?” Megan says. “That sounds crazy to me.”

In an act of simple beauty, Elizabeth Esther recounts some theology from her 5-year-old:

“I know God loves everybody and that is most importantest thing of all the things I know.”

However, Jesus throws a cog in the wheelhouse of “my God is bigger than your god”

In Jesus we see the infinite enfleshed in the finite, the transcendent incarnated in the immanent.

The God who should be greater than Superman became a mere human in a backwater town, in a conquered country, on a small planet, in a remote corner of the universe.

Worse yet for those of us who need our God to be the biggest, baddest, most ultimate sovereign being in the universe, this God who by all rights should have come as king, instead became a humble carpenter. This God who by all rights should have been surround only by the greatest, most holy people in the world, instead surrounded himself with fishermen, tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners of all sorts.

Then, in the ultimate insult to our greater than Superman theology, this God who by all rights should have had the world bowing at his feet, instead chose to let that world conquer, humiliate, and ultimately murder him.

Fellow MennoNerd Chris Lenshyn at Anabaptistly gave this great piece about the dirty ‘D’ word: doubt.

The grand narrative of the Bible does not shy away from doubt. We encounter ‘heroes’ of faith who languished within the depths of doubt.

Often our churches do not encounter doubt with any degree of maturity.  If we do not take doubts seriously, churches come across as merely trying to maintain a comfortable faith ‘construct.’

Oh yeah, and Mennonite Central Committee, the peace-making and development agency used by most Anabaptist churches, is one of the 12 Most Threatening people/groups according to the NRA. I get a lot of amusement out of trying to see how MCC is threatening.

Bo Sanders for Homebrewed Christianity discusses why evangelicals hate lent, getting into a really helpful distinction between Theology of Glory and Theology of the Cross (evangelicals tend to emphasize the former; Anabaptist along with Catholics tend to emphasize the latter).

And last but certainly not least, Preston Yancey begins a two-part series on sex and marriage with a controversial (but very well-supported) point.

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.