“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 these articles but have found them thought-provoking.
“The Struggle for Sri Lanka’s Second Birth” – Ivor Poobalan in Christianity Today: “Chaotic scenes unfolded before an incredulous world last weekend in an Indian Ocean island the size of West Virginia yet with a population ten times larger. Since July 9, global media outlets have been running lead stories on the dramatic social ferment in Sri Lanka. A massive citizen mobilization pushed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the most powerful Sri Lankan leader since the days of the country’s ancient kings, to unceremoniously leave by a back door to escape the wrath of hundreds of thousands of protesters that came calling at his presidential palace this past Saturday. He fled Wednesday out to deep sea aboard a naval vessel, next to the Maldives on board a military jet, then to Singapore on a commercial airline. From there he sent his belated resignation Thursday, which enabled some closure so that the nation could look to rebuild from here.”
“Willard’s Four Critical Commitments: The Essential Quadrilateral for Authentic Spiritual Change and Transformation” – Gary W. Moon at Conversatio Divine: “Dallas Willard’s four critical concerns are simultaneously simple, profound and counter cultural to our modern world. But they are not new. We would go so far as to say that you will find these same four commitments across the centuries in the heart of each Christian saint; and at the heart of every movement of authentic change and transformation within the Christian church that has stood the test of time. These are bold statements. But they are supported by Willard’s fourth concern. When an individual or a group of individuals are engaged with his first three concerns, the fourth concern, authentic and demonstrable transformation naturally flows forth. If this type of renovation is not happening, look back to his first three concerns to find the problem concerning the experience of Real Presence. In this essay, we will offer an overview of the mission of the Conversatio Divina (conversatio.org) website, provide an overview of Willard four concerns, and then offer insight into why we choose to feature the voices of ancient Christian spirituality, Ignatian spirituality and Dallas Willard.”
“The Tales the Carpenter Told: The kingdom of God is not built, but planted.” – Todd Brewer at Mockingbird: “Jesus’ father was a carpenter. Presumably his father was a carpenter as well. And his father before him. We might well imagine a few generations of tradesmen, passing their sophisticated engineering knowledge down from father to son: how to hang a plumb line, sharpen a hand saw, or level a wall. Jesus, likewise, would have learned the highly specialized craft from a young age. Alongside the usual religious education for children, Jesus and his siblings would have at least helped his father in the family business. If your roof caved in from a windy storm, Jesus would have been handy with a bow saw. Everything changed, however, when Jesus turned thirty. Leaving behind his auger, Jesus went into the kingdom of God business. But as mysterious as Jesus’ sudden career change was for his family — and they were none too pleased (see Mark 3:21) — it is more surprising that this traveling preacher famed for his analogies refrained from using imagery from the family business.”
“Stop for a minute: These space images are worth your time” – Sergio Peçanha in The Washington Post: “This is a nebula — a giant cloud of gas and place where stars are born. It’s called Carina Nebula. Carina is one of the largest star-forming regions in the Milky Way. It is about 7,600 light-years away. This means that it would take 7,600 years traveling at the speed of light to go from Earth to Carina’s region. So this is not Carina Nebula as it looks today but as it did 7,600 years ago, when the light recorded by the new James Webb telescope left its source. Bonkers, right? Everything about the Webb telescope is mind-boggling. Ponder this: Humans sent a telescope the size of a tennis court into space and parked it four times farther away than the moon. There it orbits the sun along with us, just so we can get some pictures. The very first Webb image made public showed thousands of galaxies as they appeared about 13 billion years ago — that’s almost as far back in time as the Big Bang itself.”
“The Ruins of Christendom” – Brad East reviews Stanley Hauerwas’ latest book, Fully Alive: The Apocalyptic Humanism of Karl Barth, in The Los Angeles Review of Books: “This year Stanley Hauerwas turns 82 years old. To mark the occasion, he has published a book on Karl Barth, who died at the same age in 1968. The timing as well as the pairing is fitting. Barth is the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century, and probably the most widely read of any theologian over the last 100 years. As for Hauerwas, since the passing of Reinhold Niebuhr in 1971, he has been the most prolific, influential, and recognizable Christian theological thinker in American public life. Barth somehow graced the cover of Time magazine in 1962, even though he was a Swiss Calvinist whose books on technical theology are so thick they could stop bullets. Hauerwas has never made the cover, but in 2001 Timedid call him ‘America’s best theologian.’ That fall, Oprah even invited him onto her show. In short, given Hauerwas’s age and stature, Fully Alive: The Apocalyptic Humanism of Karl Barth has the inevitable feel of a valediction. In that sense, the book is an invitation to consider Hauerwas’s project more broadly. That project concerns, above all, the visible witness of the church in a secular age. That is to say, Hauerwas wants to envision, and in certain respects to rethink, what it means to live and worship as the Christian community in a liberal society. What this means for Hauerwas is a sort of social and political dispossession. Christians must be exorcised of the demon of presumptive responsibility for America, not to mention ‘the West.’ That demon’s name is Legion, for it is manifested in countless ways.”
“The Heart Has Its Reasons” – Francis Beckwith in the University of Notre Dame’s Church Life Journal: “In summer 2021, when I realized that on April 28, 2022 it would be exactly fifteen years since I had returned to the Catholic Church, I began ruminating about the Evangelical world from which I had departed and what it was that ultimately carried me back across the Tiber. Because I am a philosophy professor—someone who traffics in concepts, ideas, and arguments, and gets paid to do it—you would think my reversion was purely a matter of the intellect, that my choosing to return to full communion with the Church was the result of a detached rational consideration of the contending arguments offered by competing Christian groups. Although a decade ago I would have agreed with that account, or at least been highly sympathetic to it, I am not too sure about it anymore….Although it all seems so very strange to me now, to my teenage self—a young man who just wanted to follow Jesus—the love, fellowship, and Christian commitment of my Evangelical friends was attractive and overpowering. I felt like I was part of something new and special that was advancing the cause of Christ, but without the historical baggage of the Catholic Church in which I had been born.”
Music: The Smile, “The Smoke,” from A Light for Attracting Attention