The “Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly post in which I gather a smattering of news, stories, resources, and other media you could explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.
“Two Slave Brothers Birthed Africa’s Oldest State Church” tells the story of the two unlikely 4th century missionaries who brought the gospel into the Axum Empire in present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. These two brothers, kidnapped into slavery, entered the the royal household and helped transform the kingdom for Christ.
“The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined” – Last week’s shooting in Santa Fe highlights the challenges we face as a nation in relation to gun violence. No matter where you stand on this issue politically, we are overdue for deep reconsideration of how we personally and governmentally deal with guns. You may also want to read Mark Galli’s recent article “God Hates Gun Violence” over at Christianity Today.
“Musical trends and predictability of success in contemporary songs in and out of the top charts” – A recent study out of the University of California-Irvine examines trends in contemporary music, including the undeniable “a clear downward trend in ‘happiness’ and ‘brightness’, as well as a slight upward trend in ‘sadness’.” If that is confusing, you may want to also read “Why We Can’t Stop Listening to Sad Songs.”
With all the hoopla around the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last weekend, maybe you could step back for a moment and watch or read the sermon given during the ceremony by Bishop Michael Curry – the first African American presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA. Drawing from the Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians 13, the Gospel of Matthew and other texts, he preaches about the power of love.
“The Future of Fuller” – Fuller Theological Seminary announced this past week that it was relocating its campus from Pasadena to Pomona, California. Fuller cites a number of reasons for this, some that are specific to Fuller and others that are contextual for higher education. My own seminary, Northern Theological Seminary, made a similar move this past year, relocating from Lombard to Lisle, Illinois. On a related note, Calvin College announced plans to rename as “Calvin University” by 2020, which is a trend in Christian colleges, er, universities, recently.
“Two Hundred Years of Blue: Cerulean splendor from Goethe, Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, and other literary masters.” – If you like the color blue, why not join Maria Popova for an exploration of the historic, literary associations of that color. Ranging from Georgia O’Keefe to Henry David Thoreau, Popova’s article over at BrainPickings is just fun to read.
One of my favorite modern authors is the southern, gothic writer Walker Percy. His novels and his philosophical writings have helped me think well about Christian living with imagination in our post-Christian day. In a recent article, “Walker Percy’s Funny and Frightening Prophecy,” Ralph C. Wood offers poignant reflection on how Percy’s Kierkegaardian Catholicism provides a way forward in what feels like our present time of ruin. Specifically, he showcases Percy’s novel Love in the Ruins as prophetic words that “reads as if it were written in anticipation of the 2016 presidential election.”
“Advice for Incels: Join a Church” by Kevin Williamson will probably take you in many directions you never expected in relation to underlying aggression and dissatisfaction in our culture. I can guarantee you will probably dislike some of what he writes, while also be provoked to think longer about other things he writes. In case you’re not aware, the incel movement is “an online community of men united by their inability to convince women to have sex with them. (‘Incel’ stands for ‘involuntarily celibate’)” (from Vox), and has been blamed for attacks in Toronto this past April.
[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]