“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.
“The Deeper Journey for Leaders: From the False Self to the True Self” – M. Robert Mulholland, Jr., in Beyond Words – The Transforming Center blog: “Once I asked the pastor of a large, vigorous, dynamic, growing church with a strong emphasis on the deeper life in Christ—a church that confirmed fifty to seventy-five new members each week—where these people were coming from. His response surprised me. He told me almost all of these people had begun their journey in Christ in an even larger, more vigorous, more dynamic church whose worship was leading-edge contemporary, whose focus was strongly charismatic and whose corporate life centered in highly emotional expressions of faith in God. These people would stay in that church for about two to three years and then the novelty and excitement would become ritualized and dry for them. They began to hunger, in his words, ‘for something deeper.’ They began to sense there was more to the Christian life. You may have felt the same thing and asked yourself, Isn’t there more to the Christian life than being active in a Christian community, affirming a certain set of beliefs, adopting a particular behavior pattern? The answer is Yes. The ‘more’ is the journey from living out one’s false self to living as our true self in Christ—a self that is deeply centered in and utterly abandoned to God.”
“The State of the Multiethnic Church Movement: Glimpses of the future from Dallas and Indianapolis” – David Swanson in his Occasional Newsletter: “Last week was full of travel. It started with a flight to Dallas for the Mosaix Conference, an every-three-year gathering focused on the multiethnic church. I’ve attended many of these conferences over the years and am always impressed how the organizers, led by Pastor Mark DeYmaz, manage to include so many different practitioners, academics, and other advocates for multiethnic ministry. If there was one theme which raised to the surface for me at this year’s event, it was the role of BIPOC leaders in the multiethnic movement. While not a new theme, it was emphasized by many of the speakers from the main stage. The one workshop I was able to attend was led by Dr. Oneya Okuwobi, professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Okuwobi’s research focuses on the impact of multiethnic churches (often white-led) on leaders and staff of color. It’s not a pretty picture! Dr. Okuwobi detailed the cost extracted from most of the leaders of color whom she interviewed. Having to navigate church cultures which value them mostly for their representation rather than for the experiences and expertise they bring is exhausting. It is demoralizing coming to realize that what these churches said about their goals for justice and reconciliation are nowhere near their intentions.”
“Opinion Michael Gerson followed his faith — and America was better for it” – Karen Tumulty in The Washington Post: “One of the biblical injunctions sometimes cited by Michael Gerson, who died Thursday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer, comes from the New Testament book of Colossians: ‘Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’ That advice works not only for Christian believers such as he was, but also in the sometimes brutal political world in which he made his mark. He was a presidential speechwriter whose own words were, indeed, singularly seasoned and notably full of grace. For the past 15 years, he enriched the pages of this newspaper as a columnist for the Opinions section. But civility, as Mike also noted, does not preclude tough-mindedness. Nor should it be mistaken for a lack of principles or perspective. His own were rooted in the faith that fueled and defined his involvement with politics, and he was scorching in his assessment of his fellow evangelicals when theirs took what he saw as a more cynical turn. In a September essay, he wrote these supposedly conservative Christians ‘have broadly chosen the company of Trump supporters who deny any role for character in politics and define any useful villainy as virtue. In the place of integrity, the Trump movement has elevated a warped kind of authenticity — the authenticity of unfiltered abuse, imperious ignorance, untamed egotism and reflexive bigotry. This,’ Mike wrote, ‘is inconsistent with Christianity by any orthodox measure.'”
“Is Therapy the Cure?: The therapist’s chair could be replacing our community and the pulpit.” – Cali Yee at Mockingbird: “Christmas in 2018 was one of the worst Christmases to date. My older sister and I were in a heated (but frosty) old western standoff. It wasn’t quite unlike that one scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — where the camera zooms in on Clint Eastwood’s face as he stares down his opponents. As all fights are, it was a competition of who was in the right and who was in the wrong. The real kicker didn’t come until she calmly (bitingly) suggested, ‘I really think you should be going to therapy.’ To which I hurled (screamed) back, ‘You think I should be going to therapy?!? YOU should be going to therapy, you, you, you — ‘ I can’t quite remember how it ended, or what unfortunate nickname I gave her, but I do know that it made for one awkward Christmas dinner. In my family, talk of mental illness and therapy wasn’t common. Therapy wasn’t frowned upon, but it certainly wasn’t praised either. And as you can see in the interaction between my sister and me, the need for therapy was like a silly insult, a weapon of sorts, something you said when you wanted to hurt someone.As the dy-stigmatization of mental illness continues to move at a rapid pace, it appears that going to therapy has taken on a different meaning. It is no longer a weapon, brandished to insult or shame. It has become a crown, adorned by those who pursue their ‘best self,’ or a moral obligation, required on a twenty-something’s dating profile. Of course, this is not the case with all generations and cultures. But the dialogue about how everyone should be going to therapy has certainly increased.”
“The Gospel in Wingfeather” – Thomas M. Ward in Plough: “Originally published between 2009 and 2014, Andrew Peterson’s four-book Wingfeather Saga was already popular within the evangelical world when it was re-released in 2020 by Penguin Random House. Since then, its popularity has surged, and it is now poised to break into the mainstream – thanks in part to a successful Angel Studios crowdfunding campaign which will put the books on screen as an animated TV series. Somehow, I hadn’t heard of the series until last year, when it started circulating among my kids’ circles of friends. Then a strangely enthusiastic recommendation from a friend and fellow dad (and professor of literature) finally prompted me to read the books. I didn’t know what I was in for. I was prepared to enjoy a good yarn and have something to talk to the kids about; I was not prepared to find such a believable depiction of love for one’s enemies and such heartbreaking reflection on the cost of redemption. I don’t say this lightly: I don’t think children’s literature has achieved the theological depth of Wingfeather since the Chronicles of Narnia.”
“Ancient yew in ruined Surrey abbey crowned UK tree of the year” – Patrick Barkham in The Guardian: “A gnarled yew whose twisted trunk has been growing for more than half a millennium has been crowned tree of the year. The roots of the yew snake around the ruins of Waverley Abbey in Surrey, which was the first monastery founded in Britain by the Cistercian religious order in 1128. The ancient tree, which won 16% of the total votes in the popular Woodland Trust competition, beat the spectacular ‘portal tree’ in Midlothian (11%), a rowan shaped like an archway. The Waverley Abbey yew will go on to represent the UK in the European tree of the year contest, with its success highlighting the unique wealth of ancient yews in the country. The Ancient Yew Group has identified 978 ancient or veteran yews (more than 500 years old) in England and 407 in Wales; France has 77, while Germany and Spain have only four each. Scotland is home to the Fortingall yew, estimated to be about 3,000 years old and the oldest yew in Britain.”
Music:The Porter’s Gate, “Isaiah (O Come),”Advent Songs