The Weekend Wanderer: 8 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.

The Course - Jessica Bruah“The Cancer Chair: Is suffering meaningless?” – Christian Wiman, American poet and Professor of the Practice of Religion and Literature at Yale Divinity School, writes about his journey with cancer and questions about the meaning of suffering. Always an astute craftsman of words (if you haven’t read My Bright Abyss, do yourself a favor and read it sometime soon!), Wiman brings together reflections on his own cancer, the book of Job, Friedrich Nietzsche, Simone Weil, Albert Camus, and the Cross of Christ.

 

0_DydTubCNbDSFL-mb“From the Abundance of the Heart” – Alan Jacobs shares an essay on a topic that more of us should think about, particularly in the social media era: the power of our words. Relating an experience of giving a lecture based on an essay he had written but not yet published, Jacobs encountered the sourness of his words as they came out of his mouth, bringing a sense of conviction about the fact that these were both his words and words of which he did not approve at the same. There are some interesting insights here about the words of Jesus: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

 

Vector picture of Human Evolution“What If We Don’t Have to Choose Between Evolution and Adam and Eve?” – When I was working as a college pastor in the early 2000s, we conducted a teaching series called “Hot Topics,” where we engaged with controversial issues facing students in relation to faith. One of those topics that continues to be hotly debated in certain circles is the relationship between creation and evolution. Just this past year, S. Joshua Swamidass, a computational biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, published The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry in an attempt to change the terms of the debate. His book is up for a Reader’s Choice Award at InterVarsity Press. Here’s an interview with Swamidass about his book and his thought-provoking claims.

 

Dorothy Sayer mystery“‘No Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition or Mumbo Jumbo’: Dorothy L Sayers and the Detection Club” – Dorothy Sayers, one of the most incisive writers and thinkers of her era, is perhaps known best today for her connection to the Inklings, a group of writer including J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. Christians may know her for her radio play, The Man Born to Be King, or The Mind of the Maker, but Sayers was well-known for her mystery-writing with the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. Sayers founded the Detection Club to support mystery writing, and it apparently still exists today. Who knew?

 

rohr_edit“Richard Rohr Reorders the Universe” – These days I cannot seem to take more than a few steps within Christian circles without someone mentioning Richard Rohr. He is one of those authors whose influence looms large for those who are seeking to reengage with faith and spirituality in an ecclesially disillusioned age. There are certain impulses about Rohr that I appreciate, some theological moves that deeply concern me, and a few other things about him that just drive me nuts. Love him or hate him, you have to reckon with Richard Rohr in discussions of faith today. Back in July, I shared Matthew Milliner’s helpful “field guide” to Rohr, and just this week Eliza Griswold offered a more personal look Rohr and his influence in North America today.

 

Steve Gillen“Willow Creek’s interim pastor to step down as church drops top candidates to fill Hybels’ shoes” – Speaking of ecclesial disillusionment, Willow Creek continues to reel after the leadership crisis surrounding misconduct accusations against former Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. After the top two candidates for filling the Senior Pastor role were released by Willow Creek, Steve Gillen, Willow’s acting senior pastor, tendered his resignation effective March 17 because of the protracted nature of the search. Looming in the background are recent accusations that Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian, an influential founder of Willow Creek and mentor to Bill Hybels, has also been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct both at Willow Creek and during his time at Wheaton College. May God purify His church and have mercy upon His people.

 

Music: Asgeir, “Until Daybreak,” from Bury the Moon

[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.]

Rob Bell on Words at #fantastical

Here are my notes on Rob Bell’s message Friday morning at David Crowder’s Fantastical Church Music Conference. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Rob is saying here, I think it is a very interesting conversation around the importance of words in worship.

Rob Bell, Friday morning

Thesis: Words can be used in lots of ways.

Consider what we are doing when we speak and for the worship leader to place words on peoples’ lips; creating physical unity (breathing) in the room with singing and responsive readings.

Creating a space for both joy and release and unity

Words can be used for definitive precision and technical description (e.g., auto mechanic giving diagnosis and remedy for your car)

Words can also be used as:Read More »

The Words I Need

Yesterday at Brooklife I spoke from Proverbs on the topic of words in our series “The Life I Need.”

My main idea was: we need to speak the truth without deceit from our hearts.

I pulled together three different verses from Proverbs in order to get at this main idea:

  • Proverbs 12:19 – “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only for a moment.”
  • Proverbs 24:26 – “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”
  • Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Three questions that I urged everyone to consider were:

  1. Am I being honest with God about every area in my life or am I trying to hide things from Him?
  2. Am I being honest with myself about every area in my life or am I in denial about secret sin?
  3. Am I unwaveringly honest and straightforward with my words in every situation, relationship, and endeavor regardless of the hurt or benefit to me?
  4. Am I diligently guarding what comes into my heart, so that what comes out is truly and honestly good?

You can listen to the message here or subscribe to our podcast online here (iTunes / RSS feed).

We used a video called “Honesty” from Visual Reality as an intro to the message.

You can view the presentation that accompanies the message here: