Just some of things I loved reading this week…
From Rachel Held Evans on being labeled “divisive”:
Like most Christians, when I read the prayer of Jesus from John 17, my heart aches for the day when the Church will be unified, when our love for one another and for the world will be our greatest witness to the truth of the gospel message. And any time another Christian suggests I’m not doing my part to help make this happen, I feel a sharp stab of guilt.
Maybe I shouldn’t say anything.
Maybe I should just let it go.
Maybe I was wrong to bring it up.
At times, these are good instincts to follow and it’s best just to let something go. But far too often, the “stop-being-so-divisive” line is used by those in power to diffuse, or even silence, difficult conversations about why things might need to change.
Best analysis of the male-dominated Christian conference scene:
While I don’t think we can conclude that the Christian conference industry is downright sexist, we can say that most conferences have some serious work to do if they want their stage to look anything like the 21st century church.
Micah J. Murray’s piece, which went all kinds of viral, on how feminism hurts men (satire alert):
Because of feminism, men can no longer walk down the street without fear of being catcalled, harassed, or even sexually assaulted by women. When he is assaulted, the man is blamed – the way he dressed he was “asking for it”.
Because of feminism, there are no major Christian conferences about how to act like men, where thousands of men can celebrate their manliness and Jesus (and perhaps poke fun at female stereotypes).
Favorite Sarah Bessey quote of the week:
We serve a God who builds tables in the wilderness, who makes streams flow in deserts, who causes the barren places to spring forth with new growth. We see in the Gospels the heart of God to heal us, to save us, to set us free. We see what life looks like in the Kingdom of God, over and over again, the creative and extravagant grace that cuts through the brambles and the boundaries to the heart. Some part of me thinks it’s a delight to Him: a delight to make a way where there is no way, to do a new thing among the ruins, to surprise us.
Second favorite Sarah Bessey quote of the week:
The truth is that patriarchal systems hurt men as much as they hurt women. Just as women were not created to be oppressed and so it damages us, I believe that men were not created to be the oppressors and that it will damage them.
Tamara Rice on steamrolling nuance when it comes to the atonement. She’s writing specifically about the nouthetic or “biblical” counseling movement, but I believe her insight is relevant to other forms of fundamentalism as well:
This thing I experienced… was a heels-dug-in-deep stubborn refusal to allow for a both/and with Jesus or any nuance of complexity, even though the reality is we serve an infinite and complex God. We were speaking of the most important act in human history. Were we really saying that there could only ever be one single reason that Jesus came and died? That despite the most beloved verse in the New Testament, we were going to trivialize and minimize God’s indescribable love… lest we become obsessed with self? Were we really changing God’s story just to shore up what we perceived as a slippery slope to self-centeredness?
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove on what real hospitality looks like (this certainly sums up my experience in the Middle East several years ago):
But if you travel to the Middle East, you learn that this isn’t the only way people survive in the world. A friend in Iraq told me that hospitality is a pact in his culture. When I eat at his table, he is not only welcoming me into his home. He is promising to defend my life with his own until the food that I have eaten is digested. I’m not sure whether it’s possible to run a fast-food restaurant if you really believe that.
Jamie the Very Worst Missionary/Best Blogger speaks for all of us reluctant huggers:
As soon as I saw my son’s friend’s dad, my arms began to rise like a hungry zombie, “We are going to hug you, Semi-familiar-Dude-in-the-grocery-store!”, and my brain was like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!”. So my arms were indicating they wanted a hug but my face was implying that a hug was a really bad idea. That poor guy.
Favorite tweet of the week:
And my own most read post:
How I won’t be getting a shotgun when my daughter starts dating, after all