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If you’re in the news business, or a consumer of the news business, your reaction to events has to be instant or it is outdated.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.]

Still

Still Series GFX_16x9 TitleIn our frenetic world, many of us struggle to find time to do all that must be done in a pace that doesn’t break us. Rest is sometimes a word with which we have a love/hate relationship. The prophet Elijah was a godly person who struggled at a particular season of his life with these same things. We want to look at this strained seasons of Elijah’s life in 1 Kings 19 in order to see what it means to live into Psalm 46:10, which says, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Join us over these next two weekends at Eastbrook Church for our new series, “Still.” You can follow along with the series via our web-site, our Vimeo page, our Facebook page, or by downloading the Eastbrook Church app.

Saturday Prayer 21

My mind races ahead
and lurches forward
Like a fly trapped inside a house
it leaps and rushes from one thought
to another

I want to be still
and know
that You are God
But at the same time
I check my watch
and think about what’s next

Bring me to a place of peace
before You and in You, Lord
Help me to cast my cares upon You
and experience Your peace
that guards my heart and mind

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15)

[This is part of a series of prayer posts in 2012 that began here.]

Talking in Whispers

This week has been an interesting one for me. After coming down with a cold last week, I strained my voice and have been unable to talk in much more than a hoarse whisper the last few days. I’ve been thinking about my use of words and my voice a lot these past few days.

Am I quick to listen or to speak most of the time? Without much of a voice I’ve been challenged to listen more and take my time to not interrupt others.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak. (James 1:19)

How often do I use my words frivolously? So much conversation consists of thoughtless words that fill the air. With my voice hampered, I’m finding it harder to waste words.

If you honor The Lord by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD. (Isaiah 58:13-14)

What do I say without words? I notice how much I can communicate simply by looking at someone, or smiling. Our physical presence communicates a lot, and I am wondering more about that than I usually do.

The eye is the lamp of the body. (Matthew 6:22)

What is God saying in whispers? Since I cannot fill the air with my own words, I am trying to listen more to God as well as others.

The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

His Voice Singing Love Over Us

There are portions of the Bible that the church has traditionally linked with the month-long time of preparation for the arrival of Christ’s coming at Christmas called Advent.

One of those is Zephaniah 3:14-20. While not many of us have likely spent much time in the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah, one of my favorite statements in the entire Bible is found here.

It is found in verse 17:

The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great
delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over
you with singing.

Many times I struggle with understanding God’s love. I don’t easily grasp why He would come to save a desperate, sin-laden lot of people like us. I know that He loves the entire world and all created things (John 3:16), but that can seem agonizingly distant to me.Read More »

Busyness: A Love/Hate Relationship

I struggle with busyness. I hate it, yet I love it. Being busy refreshes me, but it can also suck the life out of my soul.

In my recent reading of a biography of Henri Nouwen, an amazing writer on the spiritual life who was also a professor at Yale and Harvard, I came across some words that spoke deeply to me. Nouwen was a busy man who realized that his external busyness revealed a deeper issue at play in his soul.

His biographer, Michael Ford, writes these words:Read More »