The Weekend Wanderer: 6 April 2019

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.

Prof_EvelyneReisacher“In Memoriam: Evelyne Reisacher” – “It is with deep sadness that we inform the Fuller community of the passing of our dear colleague, Evelyne Reisacher, on March 30, 2019 after a long battle with cancer. Evelyne was a beloved faculty member in the School of Intercultural Studies serving as associate professor of Islamic studies and intercultural relations. Her dear friend for more than 40 years, Fuller alumna Farida Saidi, was by her side when she died. We give thanks for her life as a joyful witness to the love of Christ for the world.”


28brooksWeb-superJumbo“Longing for an Internet Cleanse” – Here is David Brooks reflecting on the need for slowing down in the midst of a fast-paced and ravenously informed culture. “There is a rapid, dirty river of information coursing through us all day. If you’re in the news business, or a consumer of the news business, your reaction to events has to be instant or it is outdated. If you’re on social media, there are these swarming mobs who rise out of nowhere, leave people broken and do not stick around to perform the patient Kintsugi act of gluing them back together.” That last reference is to the Japanese art-form of Kintsugi. Brooks reflects on this all through the lense of artist Makoto Fujimura, whose work I have featured more than once on my blog.


5A6843CD-0320-4298-848EB265514F97F7_source“Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy” – This public service announcement is brought to you by English majors (like me). “How important is reading fiction in socializing school children? Researchers at The New School in New York City have found evidence that literary fiction improves a reader’s capacity to understand what others are thinking and feeling.” So, how do we raise empathy levels in our society? At least one option is to go out and read some good fiction.


Moby Dick“Reading Moby Dick with Marilynne Robinson – Since we’re talking about reading good fiction, I figured I should make a confession. When I graduated from college as an English literature major, there were a number of “great novels” I had never read. One of them was Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. About ten years ago, I set out to read this great American novel and, to be honest, I really did not like it. I apologize to those of you who love it. However, here comes Drew Bratcher to the rescue by sharing how a class he took on Moby-Dick at the University of Iowa taught by Marilynne Robinson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, transformed his reading of Moby-Dick. Maybe it will for you, too.


WSH_ABORTION“Abortion will be considered unthinkable 50 years from now”Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books and Professor of English at Liberty University, addresses one of the divisive issues of our age. “Nothing marks the progress of any society more than the expansion of human rights to those who formerly lacked them. I believe that if such progress is to continue, prenatal human beings will be included in this group, and we will consider elective abortion primitive and cruel in the future.”


mar17-17-quiet-1200x675“The Busier You Are, the More You Need Quiet Time” – We’re not just talking about a religious “quiet time,” but restorative stillness and silence. This article from Harvard Business Review  challenges our multi-sensory busy culture. “In a recent interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates argued that serious thinkers and writers should get off Twitter….He’s in good company. Author JK Rowling, biographer Walter Isaacson, and psychiatrist Carl Jung have all had disciplined practices for managing the information flow and cultivating periods of deep silence. Ray Dalio, Bill George, California Governor Jerry Brown, and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan have also described structured periods of silence as important factors in their success.”


89924“Transhumanism and the Cult of ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’” – Andy Crouch reviews two books on transhumanism in Christianity Today. “Amid the pop-culture detritus of my childhood, one unforgettable fragment is the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. For the children of the 1970s, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was our first cyborg, fitted with a “bionic” eye and limbs after a nearly fatal accident. Every episode began by retelling his origin story, as a voiceover intoned: ‘We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.’ Those opening lines have stuck with me. They were a kind of boyhood liturgy—a ritual repeated weekly as I watched the latest episode. They compress into a few sentences a great deal of what makes technology the central ideology of our age.”


Music: Third Coast Percussion, “Paddle to the Sea – Act I”


[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.]

In Memoriam: Evelyne Reisacher

Evelyne Reisacher.jpg

First, three snapshots.

It is 2007. My wife, Kelly, and I are huddled in a small room in the Mediterranean at a gathering of workers in the Muslim world, hearing from a group of believers in North Africa. In the midst of this group, two women, one from North Africa and another from France speak compellingly about the work God is doing in France with North Africans.

Fast forward five years to 2012. I am sitting in the back yard of Pastor Marc and Nancy Erickson in a circle of folding chairs in the July sunshine. Those same two women are sharing again, this time updating us on the powerful things God is doing within the church both France and North Africa.

Four years later in 2017, I am one among many in the worship hall at Eastbrook Church, filled with people. That same French woman, Evelyne Reisacher, is once again shaping the minds and the hearts of God’s people with a vision for God’s world and tools for understanding Islam meaningfully and with humility.

This past Saturday we received word here at Eastbrook that our dear sister leapt into the Lord’s presence after a long battle with cancer. Fuller Theological Seminary posted a much more robust remembrance of Evelyne’s career here. All I can say is that this is a great loss to us on this side of glory and a great gain for the eternal kingdom.

I encourage you to find out more about Evelyne’s work and writings.

30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World (2018)


The Muslim celebration of Ramadan begins tomorrow on Tuesday, May 15. Every year we encourage our church to prayer for the Muslim world during this time. We have found this to be a great opportunity to cultivate intercessory prayer for those who do not yet know Christ, greater love for Muslims, and a better understanding of Islam.

I am so thankful for the outstanding resource developed in 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World. There is both a print booklet for adults and one developed for kids.

If you are interested in understanding Islam further, please explore the following resources:

Dwell: MissionsFest 2016

dwell-series-gfx_app-wideThis weekend was the beginning of Dwell: MissionsFest 2016 at Eastbrook Church. When the Apostle John described the Messiah coming into the world he used richly descriptive words:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Behind these evocative words exists the Old Testament concept of the tabernacle, the visible gathering place for worship that is also the visible reminder that God is in our midst. This tangible presence is at the heart of God’s character and mission. If God dwells in our midst, what does it mean for us to dwell in the midst of the world incarnationally with and for God? This is a nine-day celebration emphasizes both local and international mission with guest speakers.

Join in with us on our weekend services and mid-week gatherings. There is a lot going on but here are the highlights:

October 1/2 – Pastor Paul Bland

October 4, 7 PM – Tuesday night prayer and worship

October 5, 6 PM – Meal
October 5, 7 PM – Large group gathering with special guests, Dr. Evelyne Reisacher and Farida Saidi

October 8/9 – Ken Katayama

Access the full schedule via our web-site here.