Saturday, March 07, 2015

Miscellaneous wanderings and musings

It's been a while since I posted stuff from elsewhere—not that I don't read it, I just fail to post it. Usually what happens is that I mark something and then fail to post it until it is so old that it doesn't make any sense. Well, for some reason this week brought more than the usual number of "must reads," so I'm linking to them. Enjoy!

Brian Zahnd asks how the Church is different from America. He challenges you to list 5 ways and then to his own amazement comes up with a dozen. Then he sums it all up:

Don’t get me wrong. I love America. I really do. It’s my home. For the most part it’s a fine place to live. But it’s not where my faith or my supreme allegiance lie. America is not the “last best hope of the world” (as claimed by Lincoln, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama). The first and last and only hope of the world is Jesus Christ and his kingdom. My supreme faith and allegiance is reserved for Jesus and what he is building. I am a revolutionary Christian. And I am willing to suffer for it.
Amen! Sounds like good theology to me. That shouldn't cause too many Christians a problem, should it? Well, apparently it does, as a certain chaplain found out recently. Apparently if you preach on forgiving your enemies as a chaplain in a Christian school, you can anger some important donors and get demoted. There are lots of links I could post here, but this one is a nice summary (as always, avoid the comments after the story!).
As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever. And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are. I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians.
You can read the full transcription of the sermon here. He was demoted from VP of Community Formation and Chaplain. Now he is Chaplain. My question? How long before he is Unemployed? He has experienced what a friend of mine refers to as the right boot of fellowship...

By the way, "Beckum is currently on leave from the campus until March 13. A statement given by the president’s office said that Beckum was 'provided paid administrative leave for rest and an opportunity for the transition to occur.'” (source). As I said, how long before he joins the ranks of the unemployed?

How about something a little different now? A good (Lenten) sermon over at Faith and Theology

In the early 1950s a man named Clarence Jordan founded an interracial farm in Georgia called the Koinonia Community, which at the time was a very foolish and dangerous thing to do. He asked his brother Robert, a lawyer, to act as counsel for the farm. “Clarence,” Robert said, “I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. If I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”

“We might lose everything too,” Clarence replied.

“It’s different for you,” Robert said.

“Why is it different?” And Clarence went on to remind his brother how, when they were baptised, they were asked: “Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?” “What did you say, Robert?”

Robert paused, and then said, “I follow Jesus – up to a point.”

“Could that point by any chance be – the cross?” his brother challenged him.

“That’s right. I follow Jesus to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”

“Then,” Clarence said, “I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple.”

What about me? Am I an admirer or a disciple? What about you? John Michael Talbot had a song back in the 1970s with the line, "When you are ensured this world's friendship, it's easy to live." (I can't find the full lyrics on Google...)

Meanwhile, Roger Olson has a good post on being an Egalitarian Complementarian. Sound like an oxymoron? Maybe, but what he says resonates with me. Read the whole thing, but here's the concluding paragraph:

We need to overcome our polar oppositions and recognize both man and woman as uniquely gifted by God, equal in every way, interdependent, and yet really different ways of being human.
And, finally, a review of a book that I just put on interlibrary loan request after reading the review:
If the truth is that our very first relationship when we come into being is one that is not reciprocal, we can understand why a pregnant woman might, at least some of the time, experience her encounter with the newone [his word for a fetus/unborn child] as burdensome and onerous. That, of course, is to forget momentarily how she herself first emerged, but, more important, it means that we have a decision to make. Shall we regard the burden of this asymmetry as an indication that human beings should be independent and self-sufficient? Or should we see in it an intimation of the truth that, from the start and always thereafter, we are dependent on each other? A phenomenological analysis of human emergence suggests that “the secret to the meaning of human life — our need of each other — is given away by its newest members.”
Interesting, to say the least. Something for everybody to hate in the book by the sounds of it; he's attacking the philosophical foundations of western individualism—both right and left won't stand for that! And I love his word "newone" to describe the life that is forming in the womb. (With thanks to Scot for the link)

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