The Weekend Wanderer: 27 November 2021

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. Disclaimer: 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.


gratitude science“Research Roundup: 6 Takeaways on the Goodness of Gratitude” – Stefani McDade in Christianity Today offers a reflection on six scholarly articles related to gratitude. Here’s one: “Da Jiang, Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Psychological Sciencesand Social Sciences, December 2020 – ‘Numerous studies have shown that gratitude can improve the mental health of people facing stressful events. However, most studies in this area have been based on laboratory experiments and retrospective surveys, rather than actual situations in which people are experiencing stress.’ ‘This study attempted to fill these gaps by examining the benefits of feeling gratitude every day during the COVID-19 outbreak. … These findings demonstrate the benefits of gratitude in a naturalistic situation that induced stress and anxiety.'”


Turning Points“The Great Commission’s Greatest Hits” – Jay Riley Case interviews Alice T. Ott at Christianity Today: “When Jesus delivered the Great Commission to a small band of disciples, they might have wondered how they were supposed to carry his gospel to the ends of the earth. Yet across the nations it spread, winning converts and planting churches everywhere it went. Alice T. Ott, a missions and world Christianity professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, surveys the pivotal moments of this journey in Turning Points in the Expansion of Christianity: From Pentecost to the Present. Jay Riley Case, a historian of missions at Malone University, spoke with Ott about the big picture and the smaller details of Christianity’s global advance. Q: What got you interested in the history of the expansion of Christianity? A: My interest is an outgrowth of my own experiences. I have loved history ever since I was a teenager. I spent 21 years of my adult life as a missionary in Germany. After my husband and I returned to the United States, I earned my PhD and started teaching courses on the history of mission and Christianity in the non-Western world. The book grew out of my research for these courses, as well as from my teaching and interacting with students.”


Haiti kidnapping“Two Kidnapped Missionaries Freed in Haiti” – From the Editors of Christianity Today: “Two members of a missionary group kidnapped in Haiti a month ago have finally been freed, leaving 15 Christians still in captivity. ‘The two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for,’ stated Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) on its website. The Ohio-based group said it ‘cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location. We encourage you to continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation,’ stated CAM. ‘While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held. Continue to lift up the remaining hostages before the Lord.'”


Austin Kleon - gratitude zine“A gratitude zine: Exercises to help you feel thankful” – Austin Kleon put together this “Gratitude Zine,” which some helpful exercises for gratitude: “‘I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’—G.K. Chesterton  It’s Thanksgiving week here in Texas, and I wanted to share with y’all another little zineI made that you can download and print out. (If you’re having dinner guests, feel free to print out enough to leave one at everyone’s place setting!) Gratitude is something I have struggled with in the past. In fact, it’s been at times in my life when I should have felt more thankful than ever that I’ve had the hardest time feeling thankful.”


harvest-wheat-farmer-hand“Agricultural Metaphors for the Christian Life” – Matthew Barrett in Tabletalk: “At the center of the Christian faith is a fundamental belief: there is no one like God. He is not the creature but the Creator, the One Isaiah says is high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1). How amazing it is, then, that this God would stoop down and make Himself known to finite and sinful creatures like us. John Calvin loved to say that God is like a nurse who bends low to lisp to a newborn. When we read the Bible, we see this accommodation whenever God uses metaphors to convey His saving message to us in a way that we can understand. These metaphors help us know God and live the Christian life coram Deo, before the face of God. For example, out of the many ways God could have communicated with Israel, He chose agricultural metaphors. Israel was a people whose existence depended on the soil. Israel was liberated from Egypt to enter the land God promised to her father Abraham. Yet notice how this land is described: it is a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 3:8). Agriculture was not only a way of life for Israel; it was a sign of God’s covenant blessing. To enjoy the fruit of the land was a sure indication that God had fulfilled His promises to Abraham.”


Myanmar fires“Army Attacks Continue in Myanmar’s Most Christian State” – Grant Peck in APNews: “More than 160 buildings in a town in northwestern Myanmar, including at least two churches, have been destroyed by fires caused by shelling by government troops, local media and activists reported Saturday. The destruction of parts of the town of Thantlang in Chin state appeared to be another escalation in the ongoing struggle between Myanmar’s military-installed government and forces opposed to it. The army seized power in February from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, but has failed to quell the widespread resistance. A government spokesman denied ‘nonsense allegations being reported in the country-destroying media,’ and blamed insurgents for instigating the fighting and setting the fires.”


Music: Jpk. (feat. Young Dre Flaco), “scars”

Bibliography for “Who Do You Say I Am?”

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Who Do You Say I Am?,” which is the sixth part of an extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew.

Bibliography for “Who Do You Say I Am?” [Gospel of Matthew, part 6]

Kenneth E. Bailey. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008.

Jeannine K. Brown and Kyle Roberts. Matthew. The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Michael Joseph Brown. “The Gospel of Matthew.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 85-120. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

John Calvin. A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Volume 1. Trans. By A. W. Morrison. Calvin’s Commentaries. Ed. by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

John Chrysostom. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew. NPNF, series 1, vol. 10. Ed. by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

R. T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Craig S. Keener. Matthew. IVPNTC. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

Scot McKnight. “Matthew, Gospel of.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 526-541. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

Manlio Simonetti, editor. Matthew 1-13. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

________. Matthew 14-28. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002.

Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, 5th edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

N. T. Wright. The Challenge of Jesus. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

________. Simply Jesus. New York: HarperCollins, 2011.

Philip Yancey. The Jesus I Never Knew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.

The Weekend Wanderer: 6 November 2021

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. Disclaimer: 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.


fracturing“The Six Way Fracturing of Evangelicalism” – Michael Graham with Skyler Flowers at Mere Orthodoxy: “The last few years have highlighted major differences in how Americans have processed the same cultural moments. Every month seems to bring another national Rorschach Test as to how we parse the times. Unlike Rorschach Tests these national events are not always neutral blobs of cultural ink. The same rending of the fabric of America is also happening (maybe not so) quietly within evangelicalism. I regularly hear from about six dozen pastors from around the United States. Over the past year, each of them have expressed to me that they are exhausted, and I have yet to hear from a single one that they are thriving. When drilling down on these things much of the exhaustion revolves around what we have all been intuitively feeling and objectively observing: evangelicalism is fracturing.”


joustra-001-scaled“Unity in Diversity: Understanding pluralism in light of the imago Dei”– Jessica Joustra in Comment: “We are hungry for dignity. What Charles Taylor calls the politics of recognition—the perverse and often baffling need for each one of us to be affirmed in our uniqueness—is a hunger at the heart of so much North Atlantic hurt. Christians, cautious of these therapeutic politics, often fall back on the image of God as a sure rock on which to base our recognition of human worth. But what does it mean to image the divine? What does it actually tell us about who we are, and how we should live? One of the places we can go to best answer this question is—perhaps surprisingly—Calvinism. Yes, you read that right. The same tradition branded as racist segregationists in the American South, South Africa, and elsewhere; as misogynists and abusers; as argumentative, ill tempered, bearded theobros.Can grounding for human dignity really come out of John Calvin and his tribe? I want to argue that in Calvin’s tribe, and particularly in his student Herman Bavinck, we find a beautiful, pluralistic, and foundational doctrine of human dignity and human diversity. This gift comes to us now at an urgent time, certainly for all Christians, but especially, perhaps, for Calvinists. This doctrine begins—as Calvinists so love to—with the triune God.”


mosaic-rehov-imj“What Did People Eat and Drink in Roman Palestine?” – Megan Sauter in Bible History Daily: “In a land flowing with milk and honey, what kinds of food made up the ancient Jewish diet? What did people eat and drink in Roman Palestine? Susan Weingarten guides readers through a menu of the first millennium C.E. in her article “Biblical Archaeology 101: The Ancient Diet of Roman Palestine,” published in the March/April 2019 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although it is difficult to reconstruct the diet of the average person in Palestine during the Roman and Late Antique periods, Weingarten, as both a food historian and an archaeologist, is well equipped for the task. Using archaeological remains and ancient texts, such as the Mishnah, Tosefta, and Talmuds, she pieces together the ancient Jewish diet.”


126179“In Plain Prayer: Why Missionary Families Are Showing Love to Haiti Kidnappers” – Donald B. Kraybill and Steven M. Nolt in Christianity Today: “Like many others, we have been following the story of the 12 adults and five children associated with Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) who were kidnapped in Haiti on October 16 and are being held for ransom. The situation is difficult to contemplate, and we join countless individuals around the globe in praying for their release. Unfortunately, circumstances in Haiti have allowed kidnapping to become all too common, routinely placing the lives of locals—and sometimes those of foreigners—at risk. But although the CAM abduction story fits a sad pattern of sorts, the official response has provoked queries from both religious and secular observers. The nature and tone of CAM’s public statements and the prayer requests from the captives’ families have surprised many people because they have included prayer for the kidnappers and a desire to extend love and forgiveness to the gang members holding the 16 Americans and one Canadian captive.”


most-evangelicals-still-giving-to-church-charity-the-nonprofit-times“Most Evangelicals Still Giving To Church, Charity” – Mark Hrywna in The NonProfit Times: “When it comes to charitable giving, evangelical Protestants are just like everyone else — more or less. Those who attend church or read the Bible more often tend to give more to church and/or charity, as do those who are older and have higher incomes, but there are some who don’t give at all. ‘The Generosity Factor: Evangelicals and Giving,’ a 32-page report released by Infinity Concepts and Grey Matter Research, estimates that only 13% of Protestants, about one in eight, give anything close to tithing, which authors estimated at 8% of household income. Almost one in five (19%) give nothing at all. The study was limited to those who did not identify with a non-Protestant group, such as Mormon, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox. American evangelical Protestants represent an estimated 23% of American adults, roughly 59 million people. Evangelical giving broke down as follows, according to respondents:

  • 74% give to church;
  • 58%, charity;
  • 51%, church and charity;
  • 22%, only church;
  • 19%, did not give in the last 12 months; and,
  • 7%, only to charity.”

Austin Kleon mind map“How to make a map of your mind” – Austin Kleon at his blog: “When ideas aren’t coming, or I’m confused about what’s going on in my head, I’ll make something called a mind map. Starting in the middle of a notebook page, I’ll draw a picture, or write a word or phrase with a box or a circle around it, then I’ll write the first word or phrase that comes to my mind next to it, enclose it with a box or a circle, and draw a line connecting them. I’ll repeat this process until the page is full. There’s not a whole lot to this simple technique, but it’s one of the easiest ways I know to get myself going when I’m stuck. It does at least 2 things for me:

  1. It serves as a form of “free writing” — it gets things out of my head quickly so I can look at them on the page. (I think because you’re starting in the middle and working out, the radial pattern tricks your brain into loosening up.)
  2. Because it’s nonlinear and the words are spread out, I can see or make connections between things that I might not if I were just writing straight prose.

I’ve made so many of these maps over the years…”


Music: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, “Moanin’,” from Moanin’.

Bibliography for Stories of the Kingdom: the parables of Jesus

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “Stories of the Kingdom: the parables of Jesus,” which is the fifth part of an extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew, focusing on Jesus’ parables in Matthew 13.

Bibliography for “Stories of the Kingdom: the parables of Jesus” [Gospel of Matthew, part 5]

Kenneth E. Bailey. Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983.

________. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008.

Craig L. Blomberg. Interpreting the Parables, 2nd ed. Downers Grove, IL:InterVarsity, 2012.

Jeannine K. Brown and Kyle Roberts. Matthew. The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Michael Joseph Brown. “The Gospel of Matthew.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 85-120. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

John Calvin. A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Volume 1. Trans. By A. W. Morrison. Calvin’s Commentaries. Ed. by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

John Chrysostom. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew. NPNF, series 1, vol. 10. Ed. by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

C. H. Dodd. The Parables of the Kingdom. New York: Collins, 1961.

R. T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Joachim Jeremias. Rediscovering the Parables of Jesus. London: SCM Press, 2012.

Craig S. Keener. Matthew. IVPNTC. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

Scot McKnight. “Matthew, Gospel of.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 526-541. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

Manlio Simonetti, editor. Matthew 1-13. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

Klyne R. Snodgrass. “Parable.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 591-601. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

________. Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, 5th edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

Bibliography for the Messiah’s Mission

When I conclude a sermon series, I usually share resources I utilized in my study and preparation for sermons. Here is the bibliography for our recent series, “The Messiah’s Mission,” which is the fourth part of an extended walk through the Gospel of Matthew, focusing on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 8-12.

Bibliography for “The Messiah’s Mission” [Gospel of Matthew, part 4]

Kenneth E. Bailey. Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983.

________. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008.

David J. Bosch. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1991.

Jeannine K. Brown and Kyle Roberts. Matthew. The Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2018.

Michael Joseph Brown. “The Gospel of Matthew.” In True to Our Native Land: An African American New Testament Commentary, edited by Brian K. Blount, 85-120. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

John Calvin. A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Volume 1. Trans. By A. W. Morrison. Calvin’s Commentaries. Ed. by David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1972.

John Chrysostom. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew. NPNF, series 1, vol. 10. Ed. by Philip Schaff. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994.

Dean Flemming. Recovering the Full Mission of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2013.

R. T. France. The Gospel of Matthew. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007.

Romano Guardini. The Lord. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1954.

Craig S. Keener. Matthew. IVPNTC. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997.

Scot McKnight. “Matthew, Gospel of.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall, 526-541. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992.

Manlio Simonetti, editor. Matthew 1-13. ACCS. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2001.

Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Synoptic Gospels, 5th edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992.

Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006.