Category: Best of the Rest

Best of the Rest (Feb 18)

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

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.”

Best of the Rest (Feb 4th)

I had a lot of good posts I’ve seen over the past few weeks. However, there have been two extremely good posts that I’ve encountered since last doing a Best of the Rest, so I want to really focus on those:

Rachel Held Evans wrote about the scandal of the evangelical heart and followed it up with a discussion of the word love.

For what makes the Church any different from a cult if it demands we sacrifice our conscience in exchange for unquestioned allegiance to authority?  What sort of God would call himself love and then ask that I betray everything I know in my bones to be love in order to worship him? Did following Jesus mean becoming some shadow of myself, drained of empathy and compassion and revulsion to injustice?

….

Best of the Rest (January 21st)

I haven’t done one of these in a few weeks so I had to significantly trim down from the original huge list I have been steadily bookmarking since the last one. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading:

Mark Driscoll recently complained on Twitter about how bloggers don’t do anything meaningful but just sit around and pontificate. I can only assume it is response to a lot of his critics. Aside from the irony that he is a blogger and pontificated his judgement of bloggers through a micro-blogging site, he is flat-out wrong. Rage Against the Minivan gave the best response I saw, including this list of things she has personally been a part of doing through her blog:

We build schools in Haiti.

We fund-raise for birthing centers.

We lobby for children’s rights.

We match waiting kids with adoptive families.

We recruit sponsors for impoverished children.

We fund adoptions of special-needs kids.

. . . and these are just the projects that I’ve personally been involved in.  I know a lot of bloggers, and there is no way I could even begin to quantify the kind of “get stuff done” things they are behind. Make no mistake about it, BLOGGERS ARE GETTING THINGS DONE.

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.

Best of the Rest (Dec. 10th)

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week. It’s a big one.

The American Jesus talks about putting the X Back Into Xmas:

The scene in the stable that first Christmas wasn’t a gift exchange. It was a moment in which God gave freely, out of a heart of sacrificial love so that the world could be made new. Imagine for a second if we took this same approach to Christmas. Imagine if the criteria for buying gifts at Christmas wasn’t whether or not something appeared on someone’s wish list, but whether or not the giving of the gift could, even in just a small way, change the life of someone in need. Imagine if Christmas wasn’t a time for retailers to break new sales records, but a time in which charities, soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters had their yearly needs covered because the people of God gave freely, out of a heart of sacrificial love so that the world could be made new. If there is a war on Christmas, it’s because we started it with our greed, materialism, and pride.

Best of the Rest (November 26th)

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week:

Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog dismantles the dating myth of what it means for men to be a spiritual leader and why it is hurting many couples.

I started wondering about all the godly men who may have other spiritual gifts—just not the ones traditionally considered “male” spiritual gifts. For example, what about men who have the gift of mercy or hospitality or service or encouragement, and who are full of the fruits of the Spirit? Do we devalue them simply because they’re not at the helm or out in front but rather operating alongside their partner? Is initiating devotional activities within a relationship really what it means to lead?

I wonder whether part of the disappointment and tension among Christian women stems from the fact that they have teaching or pastoral gifts, while their boyfriends or husbands possess other gifts wrongly considered “feminine.” Is it really contradicting God’s will when a woman initiates prayer and Bible study with her significant other? What if her partner models a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control? Is this not the Jesus life? Is such a man being derelict in his spiritual duties to wife and family?

Best of the Rest (Nov 19th)

Here’s what else I’ve been reading this week:

Peter Enns discusses the problems with the term inerrancy and how it is causing us to miss the point of the Bible.

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.

Best of the Rest (Nov 12th)

Here’s some of the cool stuff I’ve been reading this week that I didn’t have the time and/or the insight to devote entire blogs to:

For the fans of my Theology at the Movies series, Scatterings discusses how the Gospel is represented in The Avengers.

Nevertheless, it’s striking how a main ingredient of heroism in this movie is not power (almost everyone in the movie is powerful), but the capacity to realize that I might unintentionally cause as much damage or more as a bad guy intends to.