“The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, 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.
“This Year, Try Organizing Your Life Like a Monk” – Tish Harrison Warren in The New York Times: “Last week, when we looked at suggested resolutions from thinkers and writers, I mentioned that I often feel ambivalent about the beginning-of-the-year thrust toward disciplines, goals and habits. I tend more toward variety and chaos rather than order and routine. But over the last decade, I’ve found a strange source of inspiration. The lives of monks and nuns have taught me, a non-Catholic mother who sleeps late whenever possible and binges Netflix, how to better live. Because of their example, I’ve adopted a rule of life. A rule of life is an overarching plan governing your daily practices, habits and routines. It is not a resolution, but rather a comprehensive way to take stock of how you spend your time so that you can be the person you want to be. The most famous rule of life is the Rule of St. Benedict, written in the sixth century, which organizes the life of Benedictine monks, specifying everything from what they should wear to when they should pray. My copy of the Rule of St. Benedict clocks in at just under 100 pages. My personal rule of life, by contrast, is three pages long (and ever evolving). While Benedict sets out eight times of daily prayer, my rule of life dictates far fewer. Benedict encourages ‘stability’ by requiring monks to stay with the same community and not relocate at will. I seek to impose stability through my rule by limiting travel for work to no more than four times a year. He lays out long hours of daily silence. I have three lovely but loud kids, so I include comparatively shorter times of silence in my rule. His rule prohibits monks from having private ownership and wealth. Mine lays out goals for giving, generosity and budgeting. His rule recommends times of fasting. My rule dictates when I will put away devices and limits my screen time. John Mark Comer is the founding pastor of Bridgetown Church in Portland, Ore. He now runs a nonprofit and hosts the ‘Rule of Life Podcast.’ As many people think about their goals for the year ahead, I asked John Mark if he’d speak with me about the concept of a rule of life.”
“5 Theology Books from the Global Church” – Geethanjali Tupps in Christianity Today: “Reading the Gospel of John through Palestinian Eyes by Yohanna Katanacho: Palestinian theologian Yohanna Katanacho describes Jesus as “shaped by first-century Judaism” but also as one who “redefined” much of what it meant to be Jewish. Katanacho’s commentary on John unpacks the implications of Jesus inhabiting this identity when it comes to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and the salvation of the world.
African Hermeneutics by Elizabeth Mburu:Kenyan New Testament scholar Elizabeth Mburu encourages African Christians and those ministering in an African context to explore Hebrew poetic parallelism and Paul’s letters through symbols rooted in her culture. She imagines four legs of a stool as the foundations for biblical interpretation: a text’s parallels to the African context, its theological context, its literary context, and its historical and cultural context.”
“The great and strange John Donne” – Jill Peláez Baumgaertner in The Christian Century: “Finally a biography of John Donne that captures his eccentricities, his contradictions, his fabulous twists and turns, his trickiness, and—as one critic has put it—his thinking ‘awry and squint.’ Oxford fellow Katherine Rundell does all of this with an engaging spirit not often seen in academic books. Some fine biographies of Donne exist, one of which—John Carey’s John Donne: Life, Mind and Art—awakened Rundell as a teen to the possibilities that literary criticism could be ‘electric.’ But Rundell does something brand-new, matching Donne’s energy with her own. Rundell calls this book, which recently won the 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, ‘both a biography of Donne and an act of evangelism.’ It offers a deeply sensitive and clear-eyed reading of Donne’s work and life. But it is also a piece of poetry that reveals the complexities of his thought, his impulsiveness, his ‘flair’ which Rundell calls ‘its own kind of truth: if you want to make your point, make it so vivid and strange that it cuts straight through your interlocutor’s complacent inattention.’ She refers to ‘quicksilver Donne,’ to his ‘magpie mind, obsessed with gathering.’ She calls him out, labeling him ‘both celebrant and assassin, ever shifting between the two.’ Super-Infinite is a biography that presents in linear fashion the events of a man’s life, but it is also an expressionistic portrait of a singular individual.”
“Philadelphia Activist Shane Claiborne to be honored at The King Center’s 2023 Beloved Community Awards” – Red Letter Christians: “Shane Claiborne, Co-Director of Red Letter Christians, will be recognized by The King Center at their annual Beloved Community Award Ceremony on January 14, 2023 at 7:30pm ET in Atlanta, Georgia. The awards recognize individuals that exemplify excellence in leadership, pursuit of social justice, and commitment to creating the Beloved Community in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and have made notable strides toward improving the quality of life for all. Claiborne will be honored with the Beloved Community Social Justice Award, which recognizes those who have demonstrated a commitment to utilizing influence and power with love to transform unjust systems. Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center, said of Claiborne, ‘From your work with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, your advocacy for the homeless, to your courageous fight to eradicate militarism through the power of love, your life’s work depicts the very essence of this award. We believe you, Shane Claiborne, represent the courageous, willing, and committed leadership our founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, spoke of when she said, the Beloved Community is a “goal that can be accomplished through courage and determination and through education and training if enough people are willing to make the necessary commitment.”‘”
“Thoughts on ‘Cancel Culture'” – Scot McKnight in his newsletter: “Recently a friend sent me an article by a first amendment lawyer on cancel culture. The article is by Ken White, and he opens with this on his Substack.
Last March I wrote a self-indulgently long post airing my grievances about the term “cancel culture” and how it’s used in an unprincipled, unproductive way that discourages good discussions rather than encouraging them.
My thesis was this: (1) any productive discussion of cancel culture needs a workable definition of it, (2) any principled discussion of cancel culture must consider the free speech interests of everyone involved, not just the “first speaker,” and (3) any useful discussion of cancel culture needs specific action items — articulable things to do or not to do in order to advance “free speech culture.”
Most of us would agree with each of the three elements of his socially-responsible thesis. He chose to examine the details of a teacher at a liberal arts university who got “cancelled” in what White contends was a clear case of cancel culture at many levels. His article provides many insights.
In this case White said the case was not about first amendment but what he calls a “Free Speech Culture.” Here are again his words:
It’s a Free Speech Culture issue — an issue about how society ought to respond to speech when we disapprove of it — and a Speech Decency issue — an issue about what speech is kind, decent, and moral.
This is where I find his take on the issue helpful:
Here’s how I’ve defined “cancel culture” — it’s “when speech is met with a response that, in my opinion, is very disproportionate.”
That’s what concerns many of us: when the punishment, judgment, decision, or verdict is disproportionate, then we begin to smell something wrong for humans in a society of toleration and respect. Disproportionality.”
“Died: Jack Hayford, Pentecostal Pastor Who Wrote ‘Majesty'” – Daniel Silliman in Christianity Today: “Jack Hayford, the Foursquare Church leader who taught evangelicals that God is enthroned in the praises of his people, died on Sunday at the age of 88. Hayford was the longtime pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California; the author of ‘Majesty‘ and more than 500 other praise and worship songs; and the fourth president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. He regularly led weeklong seminars for pastors that expanded and shaped evangelicals’ view of worship. He convinced a wide range of people not only to occasionally raise their hands while praying and accept glossolalia as a special prayer language but also, more importantly, to see worship as central to the work of the church. ‘Worship has often been misunderstood as the musical prelude,’ Hayford wrote, ‘rather than the means by which we, as the people of God, invite the dominion of his kingdom to be established on earth. Psalm 22:3 says that the king of kings is literally ‘enthroned’ in our praises. Wherever God’s people come together to worship, we become a habitation for his presence.’ Hayford was a Pentecostal bridge-builder and a pastor to pastors who did much to promote charismatic renewal practices. Even people who had historically been skeptical of Pentecostalism were drawn to Hayford.”
Music: Josh Garrels, “White Owl,” from Love and War and the Sea In Between