“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.
“Turkish and Syrian Christians Rally Earthquake Relief” – Jayson Casper in Christianity Today: “Local Christians were among the first responders to the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria that left more than 5,000 people dead and more than 20,000 injured. They just don’t know how to make sense of it. ‘God have mercy on us, Christ have mercy,’ said Gokhan Talas, founder of the evangelical Miras Publishing Ministry in Istanbul. ‘This is our only spiritual reflection right now.’ His first instinct was to go. But as reports came in of deep snowfall and damaged roads, he shifted gears. His wife stayed up all night making phone calls to believers in Malatya, trying to coordinate aid. And with members of his church and Protestant congregations throughout Turkey, they bought blankets, medicines, baby formula, and diapers to send onward to the afflicted areas. ‘From this side of eternity, nothing is clear,’ Talas said. ‘But our sweet Lord is suffering with us.’ He warned of scams preying on the outpouring of generosity from around the world, even among the small Turkish evangelical community of roughly 10,000 believers. Their own supplies are being donated through İlk Umut Derneği—in English, First Hope Association (FHA), a Turkish Protestant NGO working closely with the local Red Crescent and AFAD, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.”
“Why students at a Kentucky Christian school are praying and singing round the clock” – Bob Smietana in Religion News Service: “ast Wednesday (Feb. 8), students at Asbury University gathered for their biweekly chapel service in the 1,500-seat Hughes Auditorium. They sang. They listened to a sermon. They prayed. Nearly a week later, many of them are still there. ‘This has been an extraordinary time for us,’ Asbury President Kevin Brown said during a gathering on Monday, more than 120 hours into what participants have referred to as a spiritual revival. The revival has disrupted life and brought national attention to Asbury, an evangelical Christian school in Wilmore, Kentucky, about a half-hour outside of Lexington. Videos of students singing, weeping and praying have been posted on social media, leading to both criticism and praise from onlookers. News of the revival has also drawn students and other visitors to the campus to take part in the ongoing prayer and worship. ‘We’ve been here in Hughes Auditorium for over a hundred hours — praying, crying, worshipping and uniting — because of Love,’ wrote Alexandra Presta, editor of The Asbury Collegian, the school’s student newspaper, who has been chronicling the services on campus. ‘We’ve even expanded into Estes Chapel across the street at Asbury Theological Seminary and beyond. I can proclaim that Love boldly because God is Love.’ The ongoing meetings in the chapel — which have none of the flashing lights, fog machines or other trappings that accompany many modern worship services — have also brought back memories of a similar revival in the 1970s, which is recounted in a video produced by the university.”
“A Wild Christianity” – Paul Kingsnorth in First Things: “hrough the mouth of the cave I watched the storm front move in from the east. I could already hear the approaching thunder; the low bank of cloud was gray with it. I was perched on a low ledge inside the cave, which was just long enough to accommodate a human body laid prone. I had filled the place with candles, which guttered and danced in the wind that was rising now with the coming storm. The storm broke in an instant, and then everything was roaring. Great nails of rain hammered down on the hazels, and the rumbles of thunder were replaced by an explosion right above me. The dimming evening sky was suddenly ripped from horizon to horizon by a great sheet of white lightning. More rain. More thunder. More electricity. It roared on and then, eventually, it roared past. Ten minutes later the rain had slowed, but the pause in hostilities was only temporary. I could see another front approaching over the mountains. For hours it went on. A night of storm and screaming skies. In the end, everything was black but for the light the candle flames threw on the weeping walls of the limestone cave, and the irregular explosions of light, which would suddenly imprint on my retinas a white cave mouth like an opening to heaven or hell. The roof of the cave was dripping now. Outside there was nothing to be seen unless the lightning came down, seeking the ground like a long-lost brother. No ruined church, no well, no spring, no wood: Everything that had surrounded me during the day had been swallowed by the Atlantic winter. This was how I spent the eve of my fiftieth birthday.”
“What I Would Say to The Pastor Who Follows Me” – Mike Glenn at his blog: “As you might already know, I recently announced that I would be stepping down as Senior Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church at the end of the year. By the time I step down, I will have served as pastor of this church for thirty-two years. That’s a good run in anybody’s book. My friends want to know why I’ve decided to make a transition at this time in my career. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ride it out? Not really. I’ve never been one to coast through life and the thought of trying to sit still when there is so much that can be done drives me nuts. Knowing that about myself, it’s better for me to move on and leave the stage for the next pastor. Here’s what I would tell the pastor who follows me: The age of the mega-church is over….Because churches will be smaller, they will be run by co-vocational staff and volunteers….While the rising generations give, they give very differently than the builders and boomers before them….Trauma is the new reality.”
“The Emmaus Trail” – Henri Gourinard in Bible History Daily: “Although the village of Emmaus plays an important role in the resurrection story, its exact whereabouts remain somewhat of a mystery.1 In the Gospel of Luke (24:13–35) we learn about a disciple of Jesus named Cleopas and his travel companion who were journeying from Jerusalem to Emmaus when they met up with an unassuming stranger. The men had been lamenting the crucifixion of Jesus, which had taken place just three days prior. The stranger approached and inquired about their grief. Cleopas explained that with the crucifixion the hope for redemption had been dashed, and further, that morning the tomb of Jesus had been discovered empty. The stranger reassured them that all these events had been foretold and that they were indeed signs that the Messiah had arrived. The men were comforted, and upon reaching Emmaus, invited the stranger to join them for a meal. It was then, when they sat together and broke bread with the stranger, that they realized he was actually the resurrected Christ. At that very instant, the stranger vanished. Cleopas and his friend immediately set off back to Jerusalem to share the good news of what they had witnessed. From this account, Christian commentators concluded that Emmaus could not be far from Jerusalem. Indeed, two of the earliest manuscripts containing Luke 24:13 reference Emmaus being relatively close to Jerusalem—one manuscript claims the distance was 60 stadia (7 miles), while another claims 160 stadia (19 miles). Since the two men would have set out late in the day and arrived in Jerusalem before dusk, the closer claim of 7 miles was traditionally favored. Thus, two villages, each located about 7 miles from Jerusalem, have traditionally been identified as the Emmaus of the Gospel: Abu Ghosh and el-Qubeibeh. However, a third site, located 19 miles west of Jerusalem in the Judean Hills, may be the real Emmaus for a number of compelling reasons. Early Christian writers living in the Holy Land were of the unanimous opinion that Emmaus was located at a major Roman crossroad in the lowlands area near the towns of Modi‘in, Gezer, and Lydda. This opinion is also supported by the Jerusalem Talmud (Sheviit 9:2). Formely, the Arab village of Imwas (reminiscent of the name Emmaus) stood at the site. And finally, pilgrims who chronicled their visits to the house of Cleopas, which had since been transformed into the Church of the Breaking of the Bread, describe a major city of the Byzantine period known as Emmaus Nicopolis, located here. Tourists and pilgrims alike can now embark on a newly inaugurated 20 km (12.5 mile) walking trail and discover for themselves the trail to Emmaus. The Emmaus Trail, as it is known, is part of a network of trails maintained by the Jewish National Fund.”
“See the extraordinary splendour of ordinary chemicals” – Nina Strochlic in National Geographic: “What do you see in these images? A palm-frond jungle? Bright bird feathers? Taking the Rorschach test that is Peter Woitschikowski’s photomicrography, viewers often compare the shapes with the natural world. But he asks them to embrace the abstract instead—to see something entirely new. ‘The hope is to turn the fantasy on,’ he says. In the 1980s, Woitschikowski, who lives in Germany, bought a microscope after seeing a magazine spread of microcrystal photography. He wanted to reveal this wondrous world that’s invisible to the unaided eye. The shapes are formed on glass lab plates by heating chemicals, such as acetaminophen, or mixing them with water or alcohol. As the substances cool or dry, crystals appear. When illuminated by polarised light, some seem to leap into a ballet of form and colour. The process is so delicate that even slight vibrations can ruin it. That’s why Woitschikowski uses a remote shutter trigger and works late at night when vehicle traffic outside his studio has subsided. ‘It’s a great experiment,’ he says. ‘You don’t know what you’ll see when you begin.'”
Music: Porter’s Gate, “Slow Me Down“