The Weekend Wanderer: 28 August 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.


“What ‘Jesus Wept’ Means for Manhood” – Richard Mouw at Christianity Today: “Conversations in the public square of late have ranged from biblical masculinity to gender roles in the church. We need these debates, and I am a willing participant in those arguments. But for me, the topics have a personal connection to memories about tears—both my own and the tears of Jesus. I was 12 years old when my paternal grandfather died, and when I stood in front of his coffin, I received a memorable—but as I now see it, toxic—lesson in what it means to be a ‘masculine’ Christian. Our extended family was gathered at the funeral home the evening before the day of the memorial service, and my parents encouraged me to approach the coffin to ‘say your goodbyes to Grandpa.’ When I did so, I started to sob. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder, the strong grip of a favorite uncle who was a construction worker. He leaned over and said softly in my ear, ‘Chin up, soldier. Men don’t cry!’ That image of the Christian man as a warrior facing the challenges of life bravely and without tears stayed with me.”


“The Livelihood of Cairo’s Poorest” – “It has been 35 years since Maggie Gobran abandoned a successful marketing career and an esteemed professorship to care for the poorest of the poor in Egypt. Though she has been named one of the BBC’s 100 most influential women of 2020 and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize more than a half dozen times, the only accolade she cherishes is a nickname the children gave her many years ago: Mama Maggie. ‘In 1985 when I first visited these places, I was sick from the smell. And I think my soul was sick, asking how come we live so comfortable life and they don’t find even a cup of cold, clean water?’ she says. ‘Then we started to ask God, “If you are merciful, God, how come you allow all this misery in this life?”‘ God seems to have answered: How do you?”


“The Whole World Smells Like That to Me: Learning to love like Jesus on the Bowery, Manhattan’s boulevard of broken dreams” – Jim Cymbala at Plough: “I  have always felt that the ultimate spiritual deception we can experience as believers in Jesus is to emphasize our relationship with God, with little concern for the less fortunate around us. That was exactly the problem in ancient Israel when the prophet Isaiah lifted his voice on behalf of the living God:

They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. … They ask me to take action on their behalf pretending they want to be near me. “We have fasted before!” they say. “Why aren’t you impressed?” … No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those that need them. … Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness. … You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58, NLT)

Those words have challenged me throughout the years I have pastored in the inner city of downtown Brooklyn. But it hasn’t always been easy to put them into practice.”


Rise & Fall of Mars Hill“Unintended consequences of failure porn” – Liam Thatcher at his blog: “I’m seven episodes into The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill and my feelings are more mixed than before. Not particularly towards the podcast itself. I have some questions about particular editorial choices in the more recent episodes, but I still feel it’s an important project, generally well-executed, and a valuable though painful listen. But I am increasingly perturbed by the cult following that is developing around it. The drooling anticipation that fills my Twitter timeline ahead of each episode. The cries of ‘I can’t wait’, or ‘I need the next episode NOW!’ The eager anticipation of what new controversies the next installment may unveil. The plethora of mocking memes that get shared after each installment.”


“Unmarried Sex Is Worse Than You Think” – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra and Collin Hansen at The Gospel Coalition: “Americans talk a lot about sex. Anyone would think they’re having a lot of it. After all, some behaviors our society used to affirm without question—getting married, staying faithful, even going to church—all seem like they’d put a damper on an exciting romantic life. And the behaviors now espoused—free sex, with anyone, at any time (as long as there’s consent)—seem like they’d lead to nonstop, uninhibited hookups. Instead, the opposite has happened. Young people are having less sex—and are less happy—than the married, churchgoing generation before them.”


“Architectural Shots Frame the Stately Modern Designs of Churches Across Europe” – Grace Ebert at Colossal: “French photographer Thibaud Poirier continues his Sacred Spaces series by capturing the modern architecture of dozens of temples across Europe. Similar to earlier images, Poirier uses the same focal point of the front pulpit and pews in all of the photographs, allowing easy comparisons between the colors, motifs, and structural details of each location. ‘I selected these spaces for the use of original materials, modern for their time in sacred architecture, like steel, concrete, as well as large aluminum and glass panels,’ he tells Colossal. Because travel has been limited due to COVID-19, Poirier has mostly visited 20th- and 21st-century churches in France, Germany, and the Netherlands for Sacred Spaces II, although he plans to expand his range in the coming months.”


Music: Big Red Machine, “New Auburn,” live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The Weekend Wanderer: 17 October 2020

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.


IDOP“International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians” – There is occasional conversation about persecution of Christians within the United States. While I agree that there is opposition to Christianity in North America, I usually turn my attention elsewhere to see true persecution. Sunday, November 1, is the international day of prayer for persecuted Christians, and I would encourage you to get involved with this important time of awareness and intercessory prayer, as well as continue to be engaged in an ongoing manner with this important cause.


Villados book review“The Antidote to Spiritual Shallowness Isn’t ‘Believing Harder,’ but Going Deeper” – I’ve been looking forward to reading Rich Villodas’ new book, The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus. Villodas is the Lead Pastor at New Life Fellowship in New York, where Pete Scazzero was the former Lead Pastor, and has brought together spiritual formation practices within a multi-ethnic urban church in ways that I admire. As I wait to get to Villodas’ book in my to-read pile, here is a helpful review of the book by Rebecca Toscano for Christianity Today.


C Beha - index“Cracks of faith in the secular self” – Speaking of my to-read pile, here is a review by Joshua Hren of another book, Christopher Beha’s The Index of Self-Destructive Acts. Beha’s book was long-listed for the National Book Award for fiction, and it has been recommended to me by a number of people from various places. I look forward to reading it even more after reading this review.


fracture in the stonewall“A Fracture in the Stonewall” – Carl R. Trueman in First Things: “As Best hints in the article, the addition of the T to the LGB was not a natural marriage for precisely the reason he now finds Stonewall’s stance to be problematic. Trans groups rejected the importance of biological sex. It was not a positive philosophy that brought them into the coalition but rather a shared opposition to heteronormativity. The same also applies to the Q. The LGBTQ+ alliance is thus an alliance forged on the belief that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”


C S Lewis“C.S. Lewis, ‘Transposition’, and the philosophy of mind” – C. S. Lewis is one of the most beloved authors of the 20th century for his wide-ranging work from children’s fiction to Christian apologetics. Lewis is more than that, though. He was a poet and an expert on medieval and renaissance literature. Here in The Critic, Sean Walsh makes a case for recovering Lewis’ work as a philosopher as well.


Sergey Gorshkov - Hugging Tiger“Hidden camera’s hugging tiger wins wildlife photo award” – Perhaps this is something for the lighter side of things, but I appreciate the way these award-winning photographers display the wonders of creation that many of us rarely see. Take a moment to peruse these photos and thank God for the wonderful and intricate beauty of His glorious world.


Music: Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, “Bone Collector,” Mount Royal.

[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.]

The Weekend Wanderer: 22 February 2020

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.

92299“Polyamory: Pastors’ Next Sexual Frontier” – Here’s a topic you may not have thought we would have been talking about in the church, but Preston Sprinkle and Branson Parler help us consider an issue pastors may encounter more in days to come. “For many Christians, polyamory seems so extreme and rare that there’s no need to talk about it. But it is much more common than some people think, and it’s growing in popularity. According to one estimate, ‘as many as 5 percent of Americans are currently in relationships involving consensual nonmonogamy,’ which is about the same percentage as those who identify as LGBTQ. A recent study, published in a peer-reviewed journal, found that 20 percent of Americans have been in a consensual non-monogamous relationship at least once in their life. Another survey showed that nearly 70 percent of non-religious Americans between the ages of 24 and 35 believe that polyamory is okay, even if it’s not their cup of tea. And perhaps most shocking of all, according to sociologist Mark Regnerus in Cheap Sex, roughly 24 percent of church-going people believe that consensual polyamorous relationships are morally permissible.”


Burkina Faso attack“Gunmen massacre 14 Christians during Protestant service in Burkina Faso” – If you haven’t paid attention to the religious tensions in the West African nation of Burkina Faso in recent years, this is a good time to pay attention. There have been increasing attacks against Christians by Islamic militants, including this past week. “Gunmen launched yet another attack on a church service in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, killing 14 people and wounding several others in the small eastern town of Hantoukoura. Sunday’s massacre follows attacks by radical Islamist insurgents on military posts, a mining convoy and places of worship in the restive countryside that the army has struggled to contain. The assailants fled on motorbikes after spraying bullets into the Protestant congregation, authorities said.”


Fasting“The Most Neglected Spiritual Discipline” – I have a love-hate relationship with fasting. I love it because when I fast I encounter my self-will and find ways to meet God in that place in a very tangible way. I hate it because…I encounter my self-will and, let me be honest, I just get downright hangry. With some slight exceptions, I have found that difficulties with a spiritual practice often mean that we really need it. However, as we draw near to the beginning of Lent, Thomas Christianson’s exploration of the significance of this spiritual practice is right on time.


115488“We Need to Read the Bible Jesus Read” – As I continue preaching through a series on the minor prophets at Eastbrook Church, I am reminded of just how significant the larger biblical context is for our understanding of the nature of Jesus as Messiah, the kingdom of God, the gospel, and so much more. In this article Brent A. Strawn, Professor of Old Testment at Duke Divinity School, explains why the Hebrew Bible is so important for us to understand as Christians.


Russell Moore“Trump critic Russell Moore, ERLC to face scrutiny by Southern Baptists” – “The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee will launch a task force to examine the activities of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the convention’s public policy organization headed by the theologian and author Russell Moore. Southern Baptist leaders fear controversy over Moore could lead to a drop in donations. Moore, 48, who has been president of the ERLC since 2013, has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump since the president began campaigning for the White House. In 2016, Moore called Trump ‘an arrogant huckster’ and wrote an essay for the National Review citing ‘Trump’s vitriolic — and often racist and sexist — language about immigrants, women, the disabled and others.’ In response, Trump attacked Moore on Twitter, calling him ‘a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for.’ The same tweet called Moore a ‘nasty guy with no heart!'”


1776“Sorry, New York Times, But America Began in 1776” – One of the most notable journalistic achievements of 2019 was that of the New York Times‘ “1619 project.” It would be mild to say that project generated a lot of conversation about both the content of the project and the nature of the journalistic approach. Now, this past week saw the launch of a non-partisan black-led response to the “1619 Project” called “1776.” Wilfrid Reilly, a participant in “1776,” outlines the three core goals of this response project: “(1) rebutting some outright historical inaccuracies in the 1619 Project; (2) discussing tragedies like slavery and segregation honestly while clarifying that these were not the most important historical foundations of the United States; and (3) presenting an alternative inspirational view of the lessons of our nation’s history to Americans of all races.”


Flannery O'Connor“Flannery O’Connor’s Good Things” – When I was in college, my wife, Kelly, took a class on the writings of two southern novelists I knew very little about at that time: Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy. I am forever grateful that she took that class and patiently introduced me to these two authors, who have become a couple of treasured voices in my life. James Matthew Wilson introduces us to a recently edited collection of O’Connor’s previously unpublished letters, including some with Walker Percy, that is aptly titled Good Things Out of Nazareth.


Music: Herbie Hancock, “Watermelon Man” (1962), from Takin’ Off

[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.]

Preaching on Sexuality: A Theological Framework

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Last week I had the privilege of joining Matt Woodley of Preaching Today to talk about “Preaching on Sexuality: A Theological Framework” as part of the Monday Morning Preacher podcast. We talked about the the challenges and opportunities of preaching on sexuality, gender, love, and the body.  A good deal of the conversation is a reflection of a series from this past November at Eastbrook Church, “Love – Sex – Body: Toward a Theology of Embodied Sexuality.” Another resource that you could look at is the bibliography for that series here.

How do we give a theological framework for thinking about specific sexual issues? Matt Woodley talks to Matt Erickson, Senior Pastor at Eastbrook Church about his experience with preaching on sexuality. His church took the concept of the four chapter gospel: creation (the original goodness of sexuality), fall (how sin, evil and brokenness impact our love), redemption (Jesus redeeming work is significant for love, and our life in our bodies) and restoration (points to the new heaven and the new earth). He challenged people to think about how their love, conception of the body, and sexuality fit together in that big story of God. As a result, the church can then engage with issues like adultery, pornography, homosexuality, gender dysphoria etc…

Check out what was referenced on the podcast:

Matt Woodley serves as the Editor for PreachingToday.com and the Pastor of Compassion Ministries at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also the author of God With Us: The Gospel of Matthew (IVP).

Bibliography for Love-Sex-Body series

Here is the resource bibliography that accompanied the development of the recent preaching series, “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality.” I utilized many resources for specific messages within this series, and many, but not all, of those are included in this bibliography.

Bibliography for “Love-Sex-Body: Toward a Biblical Theology of Embodied Sexuality”:

Alberry, Sam. Is God Anti-Gay? UK: The Good Book Company, 2015.

Butler, Brian,  Jason Evert, and Crystaline Evert. You: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2016.

Coakley, Sarah. The New Asceticism: Sexuality, Gender and the Quest for God. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Coles, Gregory. Single, Gay, Christian. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017.

Collins, Travis. What Does It Mean to be Welcoming?: Navigating LGBT Questions in Your Church. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2018.

Comiskey, Andrew. “Design and delusion: God’s direction for gender identity.” Desert Streams Newsletter. Spring 2017, http://desertstream.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Spring-Newsletter-2017_WebV2.pdf.

Cortez, Mark. ReSourcing Theological Anthropology: A Constructive Account of Humanity in Light of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017.

Cretella, Michelle, M.D. “Gender dysphoria in children.” American College of Pediatricians. August 2016, https://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-dysphoria-in-children.

Davidson, Richard M. The Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.

Dawn, Marva J. Sexual Character: Beyond Technique to Intimacy. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993.

Freitas, Donna. The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy. New York: Basic Books, 2013.

Gagnon, Robert A. J. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Nashville: Abingdon, 2001.

Genetics Home Reference: Your guide to understanding genetic conditions. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/

Green, Daniel and Mel Lawrenz. Why Do I Feel Like Hiding?: How to Overcome Shame and Guilt Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1994.

Green, Joel B. Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008.

Grenz, Stanley J. Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.

________. Welcoming But Not Affirming: An Evangelical Response to Homosexuality. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.

________. The Social God and the Relational Self: A Trinitarian Theology of the Imago Dei. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

Henson, Bill. Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones, 2nd ed. Acton, MA: Posture Shift Books, 2018.

Hiestand, Gerald and Todd Wilson. Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017.

Hill, Wesley. Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality, updated and expanded ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.

________. Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2015.

Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity–Dr. Mark Yarhouse’s website, which includes videos on various topics. http://sexualidentityinstitute.org/

John Paul II. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body. Boston, MA: Pauline Books, 2006.

Jones, Beth Felker. Faithful: A Theology of Sex. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.

Longman, Tremper, III. How to Read Genesis. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005.

McMinn, Lisa Graham. Sexuality and Holy Longing: Embracing Intimacy in a Broken World. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Mayer, Lawrence S. and Paul R. McHugh. “Sexuality and gender: Findings from the biological, psychological and social services.” The New Atlantis, No. 20, 2016, pp. 4-143, http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/introduction-sexuality-and-gender.

Mead, Christina.  “What the Catholic Church wants the transgender community to know.” Life Teen Blog. 2017.

Owens, Tara M. Embracing the Body: Finding God in Our Flesh and Bone. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2015.

Paris, Jenell Williams. The End of Sexual Identity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011.

Pearcey, Nancy R. Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2018.

Roberts, Vaughan. Transgender. UK: The Good Book Company, 2016.

Smith, James K. A. You Are What You Love. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2016.

Sprinkle, Preston. People to Be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015.

________. Grace // Truth 1.0: Five conversations every thoughtful Christian should have about faith, sexuality, and gender. Boise, ID: The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, 2017.

________. Grace // Truth 2.0: Five more conversations every thoughtful Christian should have about faith, sexuality, and gender. Boise, ID: The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, 2018. 

Van der Kolk, Bessel A. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York: Viking, 2014.

Walls, Jerry L., Jeremy Neill, and David Baggett, eds. Venus and Virtue: Celebrating Sex and Seeking Sanctification. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018.

West, Christopher. Theology of the Body for Beginners: A Basic Introduction to St. John Paul II’s Sexual Revolution, rev. ed. North Palm Beach, FL: Wellspring, 2018.

Wilson, Todd A. Mere Sexuality: Rediscovering the Christian vision of sexuality. Harper Collins Publishing, 2017.

Yarhouse, Mark A., Richard E. Butman, and Barrett W. McRay. Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2005.

Yarhouse, Mark.  Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing CultureDowners Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2015.

________ and Olya Zaporozhets. Costly Obedience: What We Can Learn from the Celibate Gay Christian Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2019.

 

 

Specifically for Parents:

Clark, Chap. When Kids Hurt. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 2011.

Hancock, Jim and Kara E. Powell.  Good Sex 2.0 Leader’s Guide: A Whole-Person Approach to Teenage Sexuality and God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2009.

Jones, Stan and Brenna.  God’s Design for Sex. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007. Series includes:

  • The Story of Me (Ages 3- 5)
  • Before I Was Born (Ages 5 – 8)
  • What’s the Big Deal? (Ages 8-11)
  • Facing the Facts (Ages 11-14)

Yarhouse, Mark. Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends.  Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2010.

________. Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministry.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2013.