Best of the Rest (Nov 19th)
Here’s what else I’ve been reading this week:
Rather than doing justice to the historical complexity, diversity, and depth of the Bible, inerrancy seems burdened by them. Even when defined with flexibility and nuance, inerrancy is in awkward conversation, if not all out tension, with some genuine and widely (if not universally) accepted advances in our knowledge of antiquity (e.g., Israelite history, human history, various branches of science) easily accessible to all, and shared by non-inerrantist Christian scholars working across the theological, ecclesiastical, and academic spectrums.
Some wisdom from Sarah Bessey in which she tells us the truth about telling the truth:
Let me lay a bit more truth on us: truth and love are not mutually exclusive.
Truth isn’t the heavy-handed Papa here to lay down the discipline. Real truth sets free, truth invites, truth locks hands with grace, kisses love, and outlasts all of the fashionable Facebook rants and fear-baiting rhetoric, all of the splinter-spotting by the plank-in-the-eye crowd.
For the weirdest story of the week, Jessica Bowman is confused by a children’s Bible that explicitly mocks those who believe in demons (ahem, like me):
Wow. I sat there sort of appalled. Could they BE more condescending? “Some people”, “these people”, “some believe”, “they believe”, “said to be”. The semantic gymnastics are just offensive.“Oh, sometimes people are just so mean we call them demonic. But we don’t mean it. That’s just a fun descriptive word.”
Actually, potentially even weirder is Big Rich Texas Leslie offering tips on how to have a stylish baptism. From the Huffington Post commentary:
Hear that people who have picked up your cross and are following Jesus? While you CAN have it in a church, you might consider a really beautiful, and clean, swimming pool. (For those of you who don’t have access to a beautiful pool and whom Jesus called blessed — the poor, the weak, the meek — you can do your unstylish, dirty baptism anywhere you want.)
Jared Byas raises a great question: why do most evangelical churches have basic requirements for baptism but typically very strict requirements for membership?
Isn’t that essentially saying “Sure, anyone can get into God’s family but around here we have higher standards.” Who do we think we are?
For some fun, check out Shoot Christians Say. Yes, “shoot.”
Back to seriousness, the American Jesus talks about the group he has the hardest time loving: other Christians. I have to admit I’m in the same boat on that one.
Have you ever heard somebody claim that women should be modest because being attractive in front of men is like waving a bottle of beer in an alcoholic’s face? Emily Is Speaking Up points out the flaws in this analogy.
The greatest cause for the week comes out of Occupy Wall Street with a very practical solution of buying out debt and releasing it. It’s called Rolling Jubilee after the biblical concept of Jubilee (every 50 years all debts were erased) and you definitely should check it out.
Sticking with economics, Till He Comes gives us some scary math: it would take $10 billion to solve the world’s water crisis, and American churches alone spent $8.1 billion on sound and video equipment last year.
That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you have written or read anything great this week, please leave it in the comments.