“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.
“A Benediction for Election Season” – Kenneth Tanner in Sojourners: “May you remember that all politics and all platforms and all legalities and all borders and all leaders are temporary.
May you recall that political movements and boundaries and personalities and programs are here one day and gone the next. All of these are passing away.
May you resist the temptation to place ultimate trust in any person, policy, party, movement, or nation — even a beautiful idea that is embodied by a nation — because there is no nation with an eternal foundation.
May you know that your kingdom is not of this world but of the world that is coming to this world and that is not yet here.
May you in the same breath grasp that engagement with the things of this world — not escape from its harsher, darker realities — is the sacrificial pattern of Jesus Christ.
May you discover your role in the just and merciful governance of the world God made good and pursue that cosmos-converting vocation with love amid the world’s brokenness and grittiness…”
“Formation for a Newly Disrupted Generation” – Rich Villodas at Missio Alliance: “Nearly 80 years ago, a young, German pastor-theologian, writing from prison, asked a question the Church has returned to ask time and time again. It was at its core, christologically anchored. Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked, who is Christ for us today? ‘What is bothering me incessantly is the question what Christianity really is, or indeed who Christ really is, for us today,’ Bonhoeffer said. Some 80 years later, that question remains; but we also must ask a second deeply penetrating question—an important formational one—namely, what is the Church to be for Christ today? Before the Church can properly engage the world in mission, there must be a clear and comprehensive exploration of formation. The great need and opportunity before us is to reimagine a paradigm of discipleship that truly shapes people into the image of Jesus for the sake of the world. In the words of the late Robert Mulholland, the call is to be ‘in God for the world’ rather than ‘to be in the world for God.’ What is the Church to be for Christ today? Very simply, people formed into his image.”
“Christians Meeting in Nairobi Call for Climate Change Promises to be Fulfilled” – Ryan Truscott in Christianity Today: “Busiswa Dlamini is frustrated at the slow pace as her country confronts the effects of climate change. The Christian activist from Eswatini, the semi-arid southern African kingdom previously known as Swaziland, says as a young person, it is difficult to come up with solutions in the face of a system designed to continue the status quo. ‘Yes, we do come up with solutions, but where there are no policies, it’s very hard for us to implement the ideas and innovations that we have,’ she told CT. ‘There’s a gap in my country between what the youth are trying to do and what the government is doing.’ She and representatives from dozens of other Christian churches and church-related groups in Africa, the United States, and Europe gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, last month for a two-day convocation about climate and its impact on hunger. The meeting was organized by Bread for the World and hosted by the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), which represents half a million Christians. The convocation produced a statement ahead of the 27th annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), which began in Egypt on Sunday. The meeting led to the signing of a faith leaders’ statement—A Faithful Voice on Hunger and Climate Justice—that organizers call ‘bold and prophetic.'”
“Christian monastery possibly pre-dating Islam found in UAE” – Jon Gambrell in AP: “An ancient Christian monastery possibly dating as far back as the years before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula has been discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, officials announced Thursday. The monastery on Siniyah Island, part of the sand-dune sheikhdom of Umm al-Quwain, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf. It marks the second such monastery found in the Emirates, dating back as many as 1,400 years — long before its desert expanses gave birth to a thriving oil industry that led to a unified nation home to the high-rise towers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The two monasteries became lost to history in the sands of time as scholars believe Christians slowly converted to Islam as that faith grew more prevalent in the region. Today, Christians remain a minority across the wider Middle East, though Pope Francis was arriving in nearby Bahrain on Thursday to promote interfaith dialogue with Muslim leaders. For Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University who helped investigate the newly discovered monastery, the UAE today is a ‘melting pot of nations.'”
“A Womb More Spacious Than Stars” – Matthew Milliner interviewed at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: “‘Don’t dare think that somehow your conversation with Mary and your interest in her is in competition with your relationship with Christ. … You are flirting with heresy if you do not have a doctrine of Mary as mother of God.’ —Matthew Milliner. What is the role of the Virgin Mary in Christian spiritual formation? Art historian Matthew Milliner (Wheaton College) joins Evan Rosa for a conversation about beauty of Mary in Christian spirituality—particularly for Protestants, for whom the abuses of the past have alienated them from a core component of creedal Christianity, Mary as ‘Theotokos,’ the Mother of God. They discuss the history of iconoclasm against Mary, the struggle of contemporary Christianity with art and aesthetics, unpacking the ‘Woman Clothed with the Sun’ from Revelation 12, the feminist objection to Mary, and how the Virgin Mary upends an ancient pagan goddess culture invented to maintain patriarchy. They close with an appreciation of Mother Maria Skobtsova, who’s life and witness in the Ravensbruck death camp during the Holocaust exemplifies how the example and presence of Mary Theotokos today might inform the pursuit of a life worth living.”
“James Webb telescope’s ghostly ‘Pillars of Creation'” – Jonathan Amos at the BBC: “Why satisfy yourself with one course when you can have a double helping? The US space agency Nasa has issued a second image of the famous ‘Pillars of Creation’ taken by the new super space telescope, James Webb. This week we get a rendering of the active star-forming region as seen by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). Last week, it was the observatory’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) that was highlighting this remarkable location some 6,500 light-years from Earth. The pillars lie at the heart of what astronomers refer to as Messier 16 (M16), or the Eagle Nebula. They are the subject of intense study. Every great telescope is pointed in their direction to try to understand the physics and the chemistry in play as new stars are birthed in great clouds of gas and dust.”
Music: Rachel Wilhelm, “Daniel’s Song,” from Mystery Canticles (EP)