Welcome to this week’s installment of Weekend Compilations, a blog every weekend where I post my favorite blogs from around the internet from that particular week.

Sunday: Carson T. Clark talks about “Contemporary American Christianity: Fiscal, Political Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.” He writes,In their 2005 book, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton described the common faith of American youth as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. It’s an obviously spot-on appraisal. Yet my experience has been that while teenagers are perhaps more prone to this, the description also holds true for most of this country’s adult Christians. My only criticism is that I think this description a bit too narrow. If I might humbly propose an expansion, it seems to me most of contemporary American Christianity can be summarized as Fiscal, Political Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Let me explain the two additions.”

Monday: Preston Yancey over at A Deeper Story talks about a “Theology of the Kitchen Table: Fragments.” He writes, “Besides, I do my best theology around a table. I invite people over and give them a place to sit. I pour wine. I offer them homemade bread. I use my hands. I whisper again and again the words of Christ: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them, and I point out that He’s here, sitting with us, and that He is made known somewhere between the broken bread, the poured wine, the things debated with kindness and charity. Only then I’ll pull out my chicken fried ecclesial Latin and talk about female clergy in France in the twelfth century, mention the articles I’ve written and am working on, reference the books, the councils, the encyclicals. But I need to do so with food in hand, with the opportunity to feed others in front of me.”

Tuesday: Richard Beck discusses “A Sign of Them that Believe.” He writes, “A few weeks ago, spending time teaching graduate students in a missional ecclesiology class, I was talking with one of the students about the relationship between fear and faith. As we were talking about this I’d mentioned the experiences and theology of the snake handling churches of Appalachia. I’ve done a series about the snake handling churches which can be found on the sidebar. The bit I was sharing with the student involved the last post in that series where I reflected on the experience of snakebite in these churches. Snakebite is a theological problem in snake handling churches. Even more so is death by snakebite. The point I was making to the student was that the theological problem of snakebite is a problem that many Christians share, even if they don’t handle snakes.”

Wednesday: Sarah Bessey writes a post “In which I can’t Create if I’m always busy Reacting.” She writes, “I can’t live a better story – let alone write one down (by January! *faint*) – if I’m being swept up in a million comments and expectations and frustrations and whirlwinds of offense. I can’t Create, if I’m busy Reacting. Some of my best work—on-screen and off—comes when I’m listening more than I’m talking, when I’m decreasing and God is increasing, when my heart is undivided and whole. This idea is guiding a lot of my life right now (and, yes, of course, I’m talking about way more than just writing a book).”

Thursday: Phillip Aijian over at Mere Orthodoxy talks about “Hamlet, Beauty, and the Case Against Abortion.” He writes, “What an audacious waste of money to hire a plane like that and brandish such images over a Christian campus. We all knew and believed abortion was wrong. We weren’t the ones who needed to be persuaded…right? Not really. The truth is, though I identify myself unambiguously as a conservative Christian, and though I affirm the sacredness of life, there’s a real sense in which I have been complicit in the abortion of children because I don’t actually do much to prevent it. And I’m not alone; I know many individuals who next month will go to the polls and console themselves with the belief that they have discharged their duty to the unborn because they voted Republican, just like they did four years ago.”

Friday: Luke Harms asks “What’s the Point?” He writes, “What is the actual point/purpose/reason for our participation in electoral politics? Why do we do the things that we do in the political sphere? What motivates us to check a particular box for a particular candidate or initiative? What ends are we hoping to bring about through these particular political means? But perhaps most importantly, do those ends include helping people experience the Love of God? Do they include helping to bring people into loving relationship with God? Or is there something else driving us?”

Saturday: Dan Gilgoff over at CNN’s Belief Blog talks about Obama’s Evolving Faith. He Writes, “Obama, for his part, was mostly silent. ‘There’s a profound and genuine humility in the presence of Christ himself,’ Caldwell says, describing the president on such calls. ‘I think he recognizes it as a holy moment.’ It was the second time Caldwell and Obama had prayed by phone in as many months. The two had connected in August on a prayer call Obama has hosted on his birthday every year since coming to the White House. Welcome to the intense, out-of-the-box and widely misunderstood religious life of President Barack Obama. Though he famously left his controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the year he was elected to the presidency, a handful of spiritual advisers close to Obama say that his time in office has significantly deepened his faith.”

On the blog, I wrote on Thursday my second post in a three part series about “Who I am Voting for and Why.” I write, “If the Greens do get 5% of the vote, then the Federal Election Commission will give the Greens twenty million dollars in public funding in 2016. Twenty million dollars translates into media coverage and thus the introduction of a third set of political ideas into American political discourse. The false assumption that there are only two choices in the whole political realm would get challenged and, perhaps, a robust debate could occur. True conflict between candidates and parties who actually disagree on more than the minutiae of governance would be sparked.”

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