The Weekend Wanderer: 27 August 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 these articles but have found them thought-provoking.


130547“Dallas Willard’s 3 Fears About the Spiritual Formation Movement” – James Bryan Smith in Christianity Today: “As a young man, I was privileged to be an eyewitness to the rise of the Christian spiritual formation movement. It began, in its modern form, in 1978, when Richard Foster wrote what has become the perennially standard text on the spiritual disciplines, Celebration of Discipline. Within a few years of its publication, Christians who had never heard of solitude, silence, or meditation were now practicing these disciplines. A lot of good was happening, but Richard saw that many Christians were practicing the disciplines in isolation and needed more guidance. So in 1988, he asked Dallas Willard, me, and a few others to join him in forming a spiritual formation ministry called Renovaré (Latin for “to renew”). Dallas, who served as a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California for 40 years, was one of the most important pioneers in the spiritual formation movement among evangelicals and mainline Protestants. He was close friends with Richard; in fact, Dallas first taught Richard about the spiritual disciplines, which of course were nothing new but were rooted in the ancient church….But privately, I noticed something else during those decades: Dallas was voicing serious concerns about the movement’s future.”


Isaac Adams“An Interview with Isaac Adams on ‘Talking About Race'” – Bill Melone interviewing Isaac Adams at Mere Orthodoxy: “Isaac Adams serves as lead pastor at Iron City Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the founder of United? We Pray, a ministry devoted to praying about racial justice. The following transcripted interview revolves around his book, Talking About Race: Gospel Hope for Hard ConversationsBill Melone: Isaac, thank you for participating in this discussion! Your book is a thoughtful and careful work that I hope is widely read, and I hope this discussion will connect people to the book and other work, and perhaps also give insights that connect your work to current issues in evangelicalism. I wanted to start by talking about hope. You wrote in your book:

I believe we still have an opportunity to stun the world with our love for one another, and I pray that we all are asking, ‘How can Christians love each other today on matters of race in such a way that the world has no choice but to say, “Wow! Look at how those Christians love one another!”‘

It’s impossible to write words like this without hope. But with all the division in America and in the American Church right now, it’s hard to have hope like this. Can you give a brief pitch for why I should question my pessimism about hope?”


image 3 - fire“Tending the Inner Fire” – David G. Benner in Conversation Journal: “Christian spirituality should never be a passionless spirituality. It invites us to come in from the cold and be awakened to love by Love. Love is right at the center of Christian spirituality: love of God, love of ourselves, love of our neighbors, and caring love for our world. Eros is an important source of fuel for this love. Brought to life by the Spirit as the flame of Love touches our soul, our passions awaken us and point us toward others and the Other. But as any good spiritual director knows, tending our inner fires is not simply for the purpose of self-fulfilment. Christian spirituality calls us to channel these fires in such a way that it moves us with (com)passion into the world. Passion for God should lead to passionate engagement with the world and the others who share it with us. Christian spirituality is not supposed to be a private matter, something within us or between God and us. Spiritual direction should never focus on the inner journey to the neglect of the outer. Henri Nouwen described the three movements of the spiritual journey as reaching in, reaching up, and reaching out. All three are essential for contact with and discernment and channeling of our inner fire.”


Kenya General Election“Amid post-election tension in Kenya, evangelicals urge to ‘preserve peace'” – Jonatan Soriano In Evangelical Focus – Europe: “Days after the election results were announced, tensions in Kenya remain high. The memory of the 2007 incidents, when 1,200 people lost their lives and another 600,000 were displaced, does not help. Although for the 2022 elections, religious and civic bodies have made efforts to promote a peaceful and “mature” voting process, the victory of the ‘alternative’ candidate led to riots in the capital Nairobi. With 50.49% of the vote and a lead of barely 200,000 votes over his opponent, the hitherto deputy president William Ruto has been declared winner of the elections. Analysts link his victory to three key factors: the support of the central region of the country (the most populated), the perception of Ruto as an ‘alternative’ to the country’s great political dynasties (the Kenyattas and the Odingas), and the state of the economy. However, the announcement by the electoral commission (IEBC) was met with backlash….The Evangelical Alliance of Kenya also issued a pastoral letter to its member churches. In it they acknowledge the work of ‘evangelical churches and communities across the country for the critical role they have played in this process.’ At the same time, they call on their members to recognise the work of the electoral commission and to maintain the connections that have developed, with several Alliance leaders assisting in the vote counting process. ‘During this period, we urge the church to lead the way in upholding the dignity of women, children and the vulnerable in society”, they add. Christians are called to ‘persist in prayer’, especially ‘for the peace that comes only from God.'”


081022pastors-grief“Ministry with the grieving” – Cornelius Plantinga in The Christian Century: “Christian pastors are more than acquainted with grief. They’re steeped in it. First responders and emergency room personnel meet grief that accompanies trauma, but they don’t usually have to minister to it. Pastors do. Their day job is to weep with those who weep. And not just when a congregant gets injured or dies. Grief arises from a host of causes. People grieve job loss, with all its anxieties. They lament their poverty. They grieve over the diminishments of aging, over their poor judgment that led to a tragic mistake, over family estrangements. They grieve over the disturbance or loss of their faith—often itself caused by grief. Congregants rejoice when their child graduates or gets married, but they also grieve because while we want our children to grow, when they do grow we ache. Some folks lament a normalcy they never had: ‘I so wish I had loved my mother and that she had loved me.’ A fair number of congregants feel sad that their lives haven’t turned out as they had hoped. Their lives seem to them flat and insignificant, a wounding rebuke of their youthful dreams.”


spread of Christianity“5 Ways Christianity Spread Through Ancient Rome” – Becky Little at History: “How did Christianity go from a small sect in a corner of the Roman Empire in the first century, to the religion that the emperor converted to in the early fourth century? Its spread was greatly aided by the empire’s political unification and extensive road system, as well as the belief among many Christians that the religion was something anyone could adopt, regardless of regional or religious background.”


Music: Audrey Assad, “I Shall Not Want,” from Fortunate Fall

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