The Weekend Wanderer: 19 March 2022

The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles


Ukraine rubble“Wartime Prayers of Ukraine’s Evangelicals” – Jayson Casper in Christianity Today: “The Ukrainian church needs support. But so do the individuals who shepherd the body of Christ. Often they are lost behind the headlines and statistics of war. Even their quotes fail to convey the full depth of their struggle. Christianity Today asked Ukrainian evangelical leaders to help readers enter their war-torn world by sharing a glimpse of it. Each provided a Bible verse that has proven meaningful for perseverance, prayer requests for both concrete personal needs and more profound spiritual longings, and a referral to how readers can get involved.”


webRNS-kyiv-tv-tower1“Catholic theologians question the morality of Ukraine’s violent resistance” – Thomas Reese in Religion News Service: “The response of Catholic moral theologians to the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been universally negative. ‘The war in Ukraine is a spiritual, human and ecological catastrophe,’ said Eli S. McCarthy, a peace activist at Georgetown University’s Justice and Peace Studies, in a recent email to me. The view is shared by Catholic pacifists as well as followers of the just war theory. There is no justification for the invasion, they agree. The fighting should stop, and the Russian troops should go home. Where Catholic moralists begin to disagree is on what means are appropriate in responding to the invasion. Peace advocates like McCarthy believe that a violent response will make matters worse. He bemoans the fact that ‘we have failed to adequately train people in nonviolent conflict, resistance and civilian-based defense.’…But pacifists aren’t the only ones questioning an armed response to the Russian invasion. The just war theory has never supported fighting a war, even a defensive war, if there is no chance of winning.”


Ambivalent Embodiment“Lenten Privations?” – Scott Cairns in The HuffPost Blog: “I, too, used to puzzle over the idea of “giving up” one thing or another for Lent. Having been brought up within a community of folks whose sense of who they were (Baptists of an exceedingly fundamental sort) was not nearly as strong as their sense of who they weren’t (Catholics), I hadn’t been offered much of an explanation along the way. More recently, having followed my heart to the East (specifically, the very Jewish-inflected early Church of Eastern Christian Orthodoxy), I’ve found a good bit more help in understanding the double whammy of self-deprivation and almsgiving. In that tradition, the period of Great Lent is certainly a period of fasting and self-examination, but it is no less a period of turning one’s attention from oneself to others. That is to say, the fathers and mothers of the Church have constructed an efficacious ascetical program that precludes eating meat and dairy for the duration, but they have coupled that program of self-constraint with an insistence upon giving to those in need….Fair to say, nothing about the Orthodox way is solely a matter of turning away (from sin, bad habits, or certain foods), but is necessarily a matter of turning toward Christ. One finds, as it happens, that when one turns toward Christ, the particulars of sin, etc., are relegated to being behind him. The point here is that the energy of saying “no” to one thing or another is far less efficacious than the energy of saying “yes” to something (Someone) more desirable.”


“Holy Sepulchre Church pavement restoration allows first-time excavation” – Judith Sudilovsky in The Jerusalem Post: “An archaeological study of the floor under the Church of the Holy Sepulchrewill be possible for the first time, after a two-year undertaking to repair and restore its pavement stones got underway in an inaugural ceremony on Monday. This is the second phase of restoration work in the church following the restoration of the Edicule in 2016-2017, revered by Christians as the tomb of Jesus, which was directed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and conducted by an interdisciplinary team from the National Technical University of Athens. The current work is being conducted under the direction of the Custody of the Holy Land in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the Armenian Patriarchate, the three historical guardians of the Church, according to the 1852 Status Quo agreement that solidified the territorial division among the Christian communities in the church and other holy Christian sites.”


“As Fewer Americans Attend Church, Can Coffee Shops Fill the Void?” – Dora Mekouar in Voice of America: “Churches and other houses of worship have historically played critical social and political functions in American society. But fewer people are attending religious services, and the decline of churches and other houses of worship threatens to leave a void that could potentially be filled by coffee shops. ‘For so much of American history, the church has really been — or their congregations have really been — essential, providing an unheralded role in providing cohesion and connectedness in communities … encouraging civic engagement and political participation,’ says Daniel Cox, director of the Survey Center on American Life and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ‘It was not happenstance or luck that the civil rights movement emerged out of the church,’ Cox says. ‘And you see that cross-culturally … whether it’s in predominantly white rural communities, in the suburbs, wherever, churches have historically been really, really important.'”


128121“10 Biblical Terms I Wish Christians Had in English” – Jost Zetzsche in Christianity Today: “You’ve probably read the articles about foreign-language words that don’t have an immediate counterpart in English. As a German, I immediately think of schadenfreude, that apparently untranslatable term for, well, schadenfreude—the guilty joy you feel in someone else’s misfortune. Kudos to you virtuous native English speakers for not having your own word for that smug feeling. Other foreign words are also woven seamlessly into daily life, like the Swedish ombudsman, the Finnish sauna, or the Italian pizza. There are many others, of course, especially in a language like English that derived its uncommonly large dictionary from the treasure chests of many languages. Then there are the words that haven’t made it into the English dictionary yet, though they’ve achieved notoriety as beautiful but untranslatable terms. (As a translator, I’ll add that “untranslatable” isn’t exactly true. It’s just that we don’t have a word-to-word equivalent.) This includes terms like Danish hygge, which alludes to a sense of cozy comfort in the company of others, or the Finnish sisu, the concept of hidden inner strength in times of adversity. These words enrich how we view the world and offer insights about their cultures of origin. (Again, I apologize for schadenfreude!) What if we could similarly peel back linguistic barriers to see how other languages and cultures view God through the language they use? For almost five years I’ve been collecting and curating data about how languages around the world translate the Bible in different and often insightful ways. Here are a few examples of words I wish we had in English to understand and communicate with God more deeply.”


Music: Max Richter, “On the Nature of Daylight,” from The Blue Noteboks

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