The Weekend Wanderer: 29 September 2018

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.

 

83478“She Shaped Me: 10 Exemplars of Faith” – “Throughout history, God has used faithful women in powerful ways for the good of the church and the world. They are women of character and virtue, women who struggled and made mistakes, women who took risks and devoted their lives to answering God’s call. Above all, they are women who deeply loved God. Here, ten contemporary women reflect on the examples of ten women from Christian history who have significantly influenced their own faith in Jesus.”

 

fear“Fear Factor”John Wilson reviews Martha Nussbaum’s The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis in his typically insightful fashion.  “The Monarchy of Fear is deeper and more subtle than many current accounts of fear, but at the same time (as the title suggests) it is even more sweeping in its assertion of fear’s role in our common life: ‘It is both chronologically and causally primary, getting its teeth into us very early and then coloring the rest of our lives to a greater or lesser degree.'”

 

_103598823_man2“Ethiopia’s Meskel festival: Bonfires, robes and crosses” – Ethiopians are celebrating the annual Meskel festival, the first big festival of the Ethiopian religious year. According to Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition, the national holiday marks the finding of the cross that Jesus was crucified on. Thousands celebrated the eve of the festival, known as Demera, by gathering in Meskel Square in the heart of the capital city, Addis Ababa.

 

larry norman“The Unlikely Endurance of Christian Rock” – Kelefa Sanneh reviews and interacts with religious historian Randall J. Stephens’ exploration of the relationship between Christianity and rock and roll in The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘n’ Roll. Walking through the history of American Christianity’s relationship with culture, Sanneh touches upon Martin Luther King, Jr., Larry Norman, contemporary worship music, and Imagine Dragons, just to name a few. And if that last piques your interest, well, you may just want to read the article over at The New Yorker.

 

83607“Azusa Pacific Okays Gay Romance (But Not Sex and Marriage)” – Azusa Pacific University (APU) made changes to their human sexuality policy that attempts to be more general and not shine the spotlight in a discriminatory manner on same-sex attraction or those with gender dysphoria. However, it seems the impulse creates a tension within the statement in relation to what is allowed and what is ideal that is not necessary. This further highlights the challenge to a united stance within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) on such issues. “APU dropped the section on ‘Same-Sex Relationships’ from its Student Standards of Conduct. It earlier read: ‘9.0 Same-Sex Relationships: Students may not engage in a romanticized same-sex relationship.’ In addition, it made several revisions to its sexuality statement.” You can read further reporting on this, including various opinions on its significance, and the original statement at Christianity Today.

 

painIn light of the challenges to the church and failures of leadership, Alan Jacobs’ brief reflections on the difference between inconsistency and hypocrisy are invaluable. “We’re all inconsistent (in my case quite often): we hold certain values but don’t live up to them all the time; we want always to act in certain ways but manage to act in those ways only occasionally. That’s the universal human experience. Hypocrisy is something different. Hypocrisy is deceptive: the hypocrite pretends to certain virtues that he doesn’t hold and doesn’t even really want to hold.”

 

autotune-header-edit2“How Auto-Tune Revolutionized the Sound of Popular Music” – Over at Pitchfork, Simon Reynolds takes us his readers into “An in-depth history of the most important pop innovation of the last 20 years, from Cher’s “Believe” to Kanye West to Migos.” I have occasionally enjoyed the bizarre uses of auto-tune, such as Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak or Bon Iver’s recent work with it, but usually you will find me bemoaning the ways that auto-tune has ruined music forever. From what I read, Reynolds and I could probably commiserate about this together.

 

atlanta“Busiest Airport’s in the World” – “It’s not just you: Airports really are getting busier.
Close to 104 million passengers passed though Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2017, making it the world’s busiest passenger airport for another year.
That’s according to 2017 travel data released Thursday by Airports Council International.
Globally, there were significant increases in passenger numbers, air cargo traffic and total aircraft movements.”

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]

The Weekend Wanderer: 18 August 2018

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.

 

83122“Evangelical Ethiopian Helps End Orthodox Schism” – “Ending 27 years of schism, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in their homeland and in America reunited the two feuding branches of one of the world’s oldest churches. Ironically, the push came from the Horn of Africa nation’s new evangelical prime minister.”

 

maxresdefault“Report details sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania’s Catholic Church” – In a news report that will not only make your stomach turn but possibly leave you with nightmares, a grand jury released a voluminous report about sexual abuse in Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. CNN reports: “A new grand jury report says that internal documents from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania show that more than 300 ‘predator priests’ have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.” We cannot turn aside from this crisis within churches related to sexual abuse.

 

GrahamsAfter reading that, you may need some recovery. Why not read Bob Russell’s reflective essay “These Pastors’ Stories Won’t Make The New York Times.” While I wish that Bob could point us to more than white males, I appreciate what he’s trying to do by sharing stories of everyday pastors who lived with integrity in the midst of their ministry.  If you enjoy this essay, you might also want to check out Bob’s helpful book written after a flourishing pastoral ministry: After 50 Years of Ministry 7 Things I’d Do Differently and 7 Things I’d Do the Same.

 

9780226365459“Why I’m Still Confident about ‘Confident Pluralism” – John Inazu writes: “Two years ago, I published a book called Confident Pluralism. In it, I argue that living together across our differences in this country must begin by acknowledging the depth of those differences. And our differences are indeed deep…The past two years have affirmed, if not magnified, these claims.” Read Inazu’s rationale for still standing favorably by his central thesis and claims in that book. [Thanks to Andy Cornett for this link.]

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 11.29.31 AM“God at the Margins (Part 2 of 3)” – Here is part 2 of  the story of my friends, Michal and John Chabo. The brothers delve deeply into God’s faithfulness in the midst of their challenging departure from Syria. Don’t miss this amazing story. While you’re at it, stop by their website in order to discover more about their work with Chabros Music.

 

download.jpeg“CoWo-NoGrow” Kevin Martin offers his reflections upon liturgical faithfulness, contemporary worship practices, and the failure of many prevailing ministry models in this article over at First Things. “I remember a scorching article Richard Neuhaus wrote when he edited the old Forum Letter before he started First Things, in which he ripped contemporary worship as a betrayal of the gospel and called for getting the worship right because then the doctrine and the practice will fall into line. I believe he was right then and is still right on this today.”

 

Madeleine-L_Engle-c-2000-screenshot-of-HistoryChannel.com-photo-by-Everett“How Fiction Fueled Madeleine L’Engle’s Faith” – Sarah Arthur provides a wonderful look at the way in which Madeleine L’Engle was shaped in her moral formation by good literature. “Her engagement with these books—Scripture included—was deeply formative. They nourished ‘the same hunger in me, the hunger for the truth that is beyond fact, the hunger for courage and hope in a difficult world, the hunger for something more than ordinary vision.'”

 

_102875847_15607--xiazhi-china“In pictures: World Architecture Festival 2018 shortlist” – If you love architecture or simply enjoy good photography, make a brief visit to the BBC’s website to peruse projects from 81 countries have been shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards 2018. A sampling includes a research centre in Riyadh, a village lounge in rural China and a mosque without a minaret in Iran.

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]

The Weekend Wanderer: 26 May 2018

The “Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly post in which I gather a smattering of news, stories, resources, and other media you could explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like.

82069“Two Slave Brothers Birthed Africa’s Oldest State Church” tells the story of the two unlikely 4th century missionaries who brought the gospel into the Axum Empire in present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. These two brothers, kidnapped into slavery, entered the the royal household and helped transform the kingdom for Christ.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 11.15.58 AM“The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined” – Last week’s shooting in Santa Fe highlights the challenges we face as a nation in relation to gun violence. No matter where you stand on this issue politically, we are overdue for deep reconsideration of how we personally and governmentally deal with guns. You may also want to read Mark Galli’s recent article “God Hates Gun Violence” over at Christianity Today.

 

crying music“Musical trends and predictability of success in contemporary songs in and out of the top charts” – A recent study out of the University of California-Irvine examines trends in contemporary music, including the undeniable “a clear downward trend in ‘happiness’ and ‘brightness’, as well as a slight upward trend in ‘sadness’.” If that is confusing, you may want to also read “Why We Can’t Stop Listening to Sad Songs.”

 

_101640493_d25a7344-d7af-4bba-9863-46659f9264bfWith all the hoopla around the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last weekend, maybe you could step back for a moment and watch or read the sermon given during the ceremony by Bishop Michael Curry – the first African American presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA. Drawing from the Song of Solomon, 1 Corinthians 13, the Gospel of Matthew and other texts, he preaches about the power of love.

 

fuller seminary“The Future of Fuller” – Fuller Theological Seminary announced this past week that it was relocating its campus from Pasadena to Pomona, California. Fuller cites a number of reasons for this, some that are specific to Fuller and others that are contextual for higher education. My own seminary, Northern Theological Seminary, made a similar move this past year, relocating from Lombard to Lisle, Illinois. On a related note, Calvin College announced plans to rename as “Calvin University” by 2020, which is a trend in Christian colleges, er, universities, recently.

 

Cyanometer-1Two Hundred Years of Blue: Cerulean splendor from Goethe, Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, and other literary masters.” – If you like the color blue, why not join Maria Popova for an exploration of the historic, literary associations of that color. Ranging from Georgia O’Keefe to Henry David Thoreau, Popova’s article over at BrainPickings is just fun to read.

 

walker_percy

One of my favorite modern authors is the southern, gothic writer Walker Percy. His novels and his philosophical writings have helped me think well about Christian living with imagination in our post-Christian day. In a recent article, “Walker Percy’s Funny and Frightening Prophecy,” Ralph C. Wood offers poignant reflection on how Percy’s Kierkegaardian Catholicism provides a way forward in what feels like our present time of ruin. Specifically, he showcases Percy’s novel Love in the Ruins as prophetic words that “reads as if it were written in anticipation of the 2016 presidential election.”

 

williamson-art“Advice for Incels: Join a Church” by Kevin Williamson will probably take you in many directions you never expected in relation to underlying aggression and dissatisfaction in our culture. I can guarantee you will probably dislike some of what he writes, while also be provoked to think longer about other things he writes. In case you’re not aware, the incel movement is “an online community of men united by their inability to convince women to have sex with them. (‘Incel’ stands for ‘involuntarily celibate’)” (from Vox), and has been blamed for attacks in Toronto this past April.

[I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.]