The Weekend Wanderer: 26 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


127791“The Stunning Humility of God” – Fernando Ortega in Christianity Today: “Many times I’ve stared at Titian’s famous painting “Christ on the Way to Calvary,” which depicts Simon of Cyrene as he helped Jesus carry the cross up the hill to Golgotha. In the painting, it looks as though there is some kind of communication happening between the two—Christ sorrowfully glancing up over his left shoulder and Simon gazing down with kindness at the face of Jesus. What would I have said were I in Simon’s shoes? Maybe it would have been something along the lines of ‘Ah, holy Jesus, how have you offended, that mortal judgement has on you descended.’  The other day, as I was driving my 12-year-old daughter Ruby to school, we saw a weather-beaten woman sitting at the top of the freeway exit, begging for money in the Albuquerque sun. I said to Ruby, ‘That’s Jesus right there.’ ‘What do you mean?’ she asked. I explained how Christ continually identified himself with the downtrodden and marginalized in the world—with beggars, lepers, tax collectors, harlots, thieves—with the ‘least of these,’ according to the society of his day. She still looked at me quizzically. Thrilled to have gained her attention on the subject, I said, ‘The humility of God is a pearl of great beauty in this desolate world.'”


623afa7e567af_humanrightscouncilCropped“Since summer 2021, ‘thousands of Afghans who espoused the Christian faith are hiding in fear'” – Evangelical Focus – Europe: “The Geneva office of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) was present in the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The evangelical body representing 600 million Christian worldwide has been working for a long time in the issue of religious freedom for faith minorities. Addressing the situation of Afghanistan, the WEA alarmed on 8 March in a joint statement with the Baptist World Alliance and The Jubilee Campaign that ‘religious minorities in Afghanistan are threatened. Thousands of Afghans who espoused the Christian faith are hiding in fear since August of last year.’ They called on the Office of the High Commissioner for human Rights to ‘closely monitor’ the situation or religious minorities. ‘We look forward to working with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. We recommend to maintain a strong human rights pillar of the United Nations Assistance Mission to support the Special Rapporteur in continued monitoring of human rights, specifically women and minorities rights.'”


RNSHILLSONGABUSE101714“Hillsong pastor Brian Houston resigns after revelations of indiscretions with women” – Roxanne Stone at Religion News Service: “Less than a week after the Hillsong board released a statement revealing its cofounder, Brian Houston, had sent inappropriate text messages to a staff member and spent time in a woman’s hotel room, the board of the global megachurch has announced the longtime global senior pastor has resigned. In a statement posted on its website Wednesday (March 23), the board said it had accepted Houston’s resignation and acknowledged ‘there will be much emotion at this news.’ Houston, 68, a New Zealand native, founded Hillsong Church with his wife Bobbie in the suburbs of Sydney in 1983. The Pentecostal powerhouse now boasts 30 locations around the world, with an average global attendance of 150,000 weekly. Hillsong’s music program has produced some of the most popular worship songs used in evangelical churches around the world, including ‘Oceans,’ ‘What a Beautiful Name,’ and ‘Shout to the Lord.'”


medicalgraphembed“Will Technology Enhance or Deplete Relationships?” – Matthew Loftus in Plough Quarterly: “If you’ve been to the doctor’s office lately, you probably only had the good fortune to look into your doctor’s eyes for a few seconds in a brief respite between her feverish note-taking on a swivel screen. In the past decade, all medical practitioners in the United States have been forced to switch from paper charts to electronic medical records (EMRs), a technology designed primarily for the purposes of billing. EMRs give little added value to clinicians, and they don’t help patients very much either; they increase medical professionals’ workload, while decreasing their face-to-face time with patients. These systems have been imposed with little care for their impact on the practice of healthcare. I work in a hospital in East Africa, and the EMRs we use there are much like those used in the Baltimore hospital where I completed my residency, only less functional. In the country where I serve, politicians run campaigns promising “a laptop for every child in school” when many of these same children do not have running water at home. There is a painful irony in this mindless celebration of technology. Tamara Winter describes this phenomenon as ‘mimetic misdirection,’ a stubborn belief that the accoutrements of successful development (highways, flashy buildings, digital technology) will be the means by which a country will be uplifted. Suckered by the promise of progress, administrators in hospitals where electricity is unreliable and computers are scarce have bought the lie that an EMR is better than a paper system, and have installed a ‘solution’ that creates more problems than it solves.”


Jewish Minyan“Jews say making daylight saving time permanent threatens morning prayer” – Michele Chabin at Religion News Service: “American Jews say they were blindsided by the U.S. Senate’s lightning-fast passage of a bill to make daylight saving time year-round and intend to fight it. The Sunshine Protection Act, which passed the Senate on March 15, will make it nearly impossible for Jews to pray communally in the morning, Jewish advocates say, and still get to work or school on time during the winter months. According to Jewish law, morning prayers must take place after the sun rises. Daylight saving time, which currently begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, extends darkness on late-winter mornings. ‘It will affect our religious life, our professional life and our family life,’ said Rabbi Abba Cohen, vice president for government affairs for Agudath Israel of America. ‘If congregational and personal prayers begin after 8 in the morning, how will people get to work at 9 a.m. or earlier?'”


rubble-demolished-building-construction-waste-37283447“Some Parts of Evangelicalism Do Not Need To be Deconstructed … They Need To Be Destroyed!” – Michael F. Bird in Word from the Bird: “Jonathan Leeman – a nice guy I’ve interacted with – has an article on Defending Sound Doctrine Against the Deconstruction of American Evangelicalism over at 9Marks. In a nutshell, Leeman rejects the complaint that Christian doctrine, evangelical doctrine, is culturally conditioned and self-interested. Some people, realizing this situatedness and self-interest have been led to question, doubt, re-think, and ‘deconstruct’ their faith. Now, deconstruction is the latest fad, and deconstructing can mean leaving evangelicalism for liturgical churches or else leaving the Christian faith altogether. I have mixed feelings about this. First, I believe in evangelical doctrine, but…we need to be very self-aware of how much of our theology is truly biblical and catholic and how much of our theology is a product of our own perspective, position, and the prevailing philosophy of the day…. Second, some people are wrestling with doubt, regret, and wondering if their whole faith was tied to their social location, inheriting a conservative culture from their parents, a faith that made use of Jesus rather than actually following Jesus.”


Music:Alister Fawnwoda, Suzanne Ciani, Greg Leisz, “Leopard Complex,” from Milan

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