“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.
“2,000 Christians in India protest against ongoing persecution” – Timothy at Open Doors: “More than 2,000 Christians from around 70 denominations in India came together in the capital New Delhi last month to protest against ongoing persecution. The peaceful protests on Sunday 19 February called on the government, the court and civil society to intervene on behalf of persecuted Christians, particularly in states that in recent years have passed so-called ‘anti-conversion laws’. In theory, these laws prohibit forced conversion from Hinduism to another religion, but in practice they are often used as an excuse to harass and intimidate Christians who are simply doing things like distributing aid or having a private church meeting. India is number 11 on the World Watch List, making it a place of extreme persecution for many of the country’s 69.5 million Christians (five per cent of the total population). According to research by the United Christian Forum, a New Delhi-based human rights group, there were 598 reported cases of violence against Christians in 2022. Just before Christmas, hundreds of tribal Christians were forced to flee their homes in Chhattisgarh state after they were attacked, allegedly for converting to Christianity. Last month, a church in Madhya Pradesh was burned down and a slogan praising Jesus erased and replaced with the name of a Hindu deity. Three men have been arrested in connection with the incident.”
“Why Isn’t the Civil Rights Movement Considered a Revival Movement?” – Derwin Gray at Church Leaders: “A revival broke out at Asbury. Lord knows the Church in America needs to be awakened from our slumber to see our need for Jesus and his transformative gospel of grace. When we respond in faith to the Holy Spirit, he opens our eyes to the beauty of God’s holiness, the radiance of his glory in Jesus, and his mission to reconcile the world unto himself. Evangelical scholar Richard F. Lovelace summarizes Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) definition of revival. Revival is ‘not a special season of extraordinary religious excitement, as in many forms of latter American revivalism. Rather it is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which restores the people of God to normal spiritual life after a period of corporate declension. Periods of spiritual decline occur in history because the gravity of indwelling sin keeps pulling believers first into formal religion and then into open apostasy. Periods of awakening alternate with these as God graciously breathes new life into his people.’1 America has had her share of revivals over years, from Jesus People Movement of the late 1960s and the 1906 Azuza Street Revival to the two Great Awakenings (1730-1770 and 1795-1835). It is hard to reconcile how the demonic institution of enslaving Black people survived, and even flourished, during the first two Great Awakenings. In 1845, this blatant hypocrisy moved the great Frederick Douglass to write, ‘We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babies sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! All for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slaves auctioneer bell and the church bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand.’2“
“Beth Moore tries to untangle her ‘all knotted-up life’ in new memoir” – Bob Smietana in Religion News Service: “There’s a downside to going someplace where everyone knows your name. Author and Bible teacher Beth Moore discovered that reality in the months after making a public break with the Southern Baptist Convention, which had been her spiritual home since childhood. Whenever she and her husband, Keith, would visit a new church, the results were the same. People were welcoming. But they knew who she was — and would probably prefer if she went elsewhere. Once the very model of the modern evangelical woman, she was now a reminder of the denomination’s controversies surrounding Donald Trump, sexism, racism and the mistreatment of sexual abuse survivors. When Moore would no longer remain silent about such things, she became too much trouble to have around. Even in church. ‘I was a loaded presence,’ she told RNS in a recent interview. In her memoir, All My Knotted-Up Life, out this week from Tyndale, Moore recounts how the couple ended up at an Anglican church in Houston, largely at the suggestion of Keith Moore, who’d grown up Catholic and felt more at home in a liturgical tradition. When they walked in, the rector greeted them and asked their names. When she told him who she was, the rector brightened up. ‘Oh,’ he said, with a smile, ‘Like Beth Moore.’ Then, having no idea who he was talking to, he added, ‘Come right in. We’re glad to have you.'”
“Applying Discipleship to our Political Lives” – Vince Bacote in The Banner: “To be Christian is to live in the middle of tension. We have been given life because of Christ’s saving and reconciling work on the cross, and we await the day he will return to bring final justice and shalom to the creation. While we wait, we have moments when we experience the foretastes of life in God’s kingdom; at others (or simultaneously) we feel the discomfort and distress of a broken world that opposes the ways of God. What is a disciple of Jesus to do when the tensions rise, particularly in political context that leaves one with a sense of homelessness? When I wrote The Political Disciple I attempted to connect four Christian beliefs (creation, Christology, sanctification and eschatology) to our public commitments. My emphasis was Christian fidelity to God with an emphasis on engagement in society. My aim was to present ways that Christian beliefs orient us toward participation in the public realm; in a way, I was responding to the modes of discipleship more hesitant or resistant to a politically engaged faith. As then, I maintain it is important for us to recognize for the first time or recall that we have been given a first great commission that God has never rescinded; our stewardly dominion over the creation is complicated by the Fall, but the task remains, and it includes our political life. What does this stewardship entail in moments like the present?”
“‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ Continues Its Steady Beat” – Emmett G. Price III in Christianity Today: “I was in elementary school when I learned the words to all three verses of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” As a Black adolescent in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles—made famous by movies such as Boyz n the Hood, Training Day, and Straight Outta Compton—this song had particular meaning to me. It was sung with pride at church and social events during Black History Month, an annual commemoration that Black lives, Black accomplishments, and Black achievements matter. Now known as the ‘Black national anthem,’ ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ was penned in 1900 as a hymn of hope—grounded in the belief that resilient faith would sustain us against oppression. James Weldon Johnson, the songwriter, was born in Jacksonville in 1871 to a Haitian mother from the Bahamas and a father from Richmond. The Johnsons had moved to the coastal Florida city, which stood out as a place in the South where Black people had access to education (though segregated) and economic opportunity.”
“Discovering Lilias Trotter” – Miriam Dixon, Miriam Rockness, and Nathan Foster on the Renovaré Podcast: “In 1879, England’s top art critic, John Ruskin, made a staggering offer to his most gifted student, a 26-year-old named Lilias Trotter. He would help her become the greatest living painter who would ‘do things that will be immortal.’ There was just one condition: she must give herself up to art. After much prayer, Lilias turned down Ruskin’s offer and chose to pursue a different kind of immortal glory as a missionary to North Africa. This week on the podcast, Nathan Foster is joined by two Miriams—Miriam Rockness and Miriam ‘Mimi’ Dixon—who open a window into the remarkable life of Lilias Trotter. Lilias’s story raises questions: Couldn’t she have served God as a renowned artist? Wouldn’t that have glorified God more than decades of hidden work in North Africa that ended with little visible results?”
Music: “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by Sheryl Lee Ralph at Super Bowl LVII