Welcome to this week’s installment of Weekend Compilations, a blog post where I share links to my favorite blog posts from the previous week.
Sunday: Preston Yancey talks about not being a product. He writes, “If we want to play the numbers game, I’m doing well. There’s a faithful good many of you who read these posts with consistency. I’ve added more Twitter followers in the past six months than in the past two years and that number only continues to grow. I found out by happenstance that I was put on a list of top Christian bloggers not so long ago, thanks to my numbers. So, numerically, I suppose I’m making it or whatever it is success is measured here by, if we’re using those terms. Because, the thing is, I hate this part of it. When people start talking about blogs as brands or products or as modern day street preaching or as changing the world or ever use the word platform—and I mean ever—I roll my eyes so hard that I promise, despite biological impossibilities, I can see my own brain.”
Monday: Rachel Held Evans kicks off her series on Sexuality and the Church. She writes, “I have sat across the table at a coffee shop as a young woman, looking down at her hands, told me her story….complete with the difficult parts…. each word chosen with the kind of care and courage that made me recognize that moment as a precious gift. It was a gift because it cost her something—vulnerability, painful memories, the possibility of rejection. And it was a gift because it honored me to know I was trusted with something so valuable, so fragile, and so personal. Stories faithfully and bravely told are sacred gifts, and in this series, we will treat them as such, with gentleness and respect.When people tell their stories, whether in the comment section or as part of a post, we will be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. (And I will monitor the comment section like a Mama Bear to ensure this is the case!)”
Tuesday: Tony Jones explains that “Evil is [not].” He writes, “Irenaeus, Augustine’s theological rival on this issue, has a very different perspective. Whereas Augustine thinks of humanity as created perfect and then virtually destroyed by the introduction of sin and evil in the Garden, Irenaeus considers Adam and Eve to be the least mature of all human beings. As humanity has matured, we have done so in an environment of good and evil — only by navigating that environment, given to us by God, have we become more morally responsible. Thus, for Irenaeus, evil plays a pedagogical role in the maturation of humanity. Of course, that drives us to look at the empirical evidence. Are we maturing? On the one hand, we don’t own human beings any more, we allow women to vote, and we don’t think that persons with darker skin are only 3/5′s human. On the other hand, we have school shootings and drone bombings and we’re not that far removed from the Holocaust.
Wednesday: Erika Morrison explains “What I Know [And Don’t Know] About Hell.” She writes, “I know that hell is a real place and real people live in it. Every. Damn. Day. Right here, right now, hell is on this earth for scores and scores of humanity. Suffering and oppression are ageless and dreams die with each tick-tock of the ancient clock. Every 3 seconds a child starves to death, but not before their bellies burned in agony for Lord knows how long. We have emergency rooms that ring with wailing and prison cells institutionalizing the ugliness of tormented convicts. Crusades and concentration camps and Tutsi’s and Hutu’s and LRA-type movements represent age after age of mass annihilation and bloodletting savagery. The list of depravity and stupor is endlessly long, from domestic violence to divorce courts to school shootings to the men who rape little boys and girls right down the road from where you live and around the whole world, taking their childhood in a single sickening stride and I wish to God for a swift and harsh judgement for such evil . . . But, I am not the Savior and I do not know how wide His eventual mercy or restorative justice is . . . (Not many of us want Grace to be big enough for Hitler-types, or believe that Jesus could still catch such men before they fall into an eternal customized torture chamber.)”
Thursday: Peter Enns divulges “3 Things I Would Like to See Evangelical Leaders Stop Saying about Biblical Scholarship.” He writes, “2. Source Criticism of the Pentateuch is in a state of chaos. Rather than accepting the traditional view that Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament) in the middle of the second millennium BC, source criticism claims that scribes living after the Babylonian exile (after 539 BC) created the Pentateuch out of various pre-existent “sources.” Source criticism has been a major thorn in the side of conservative Christians since the 19th century. But again, like it or hate it, source criticism is not dead. What isdead is how the earliest source critics theorized about these sources, most notablyJulius Wellhausen in the late 19th century. His theories have been criticized from almost the beginning, but a you’d have a hard time finding a research institution where the basic outlines of source criticism that Wellhausen popularized aren’t a given. In my experience, the motivation behind this claim is apologetic. Casting doubt on the reigning theory of the Pentateuch supposedly elevates by default the traditional view. But this does not address the serious problems with the traditional view that gave rise to alternate explanations in the first place.”
Friday: Rachel Held Evans addresses “Four Myths about Louie Giglio’s Innauguration Prayer (or lack thereof).” She writes, “Another example: When I tweeted that none of Giglio’s civil liberties had been compromised in this situation, a follower responded “I’m surprised you feel this way as this situation reminds me a little of what you went through with Lifeway.” But there’s a big difference. As frustrated as I was with Lifeway for not carrying my book, I never once complained that my civil rights were being violated or that my constitutionally-protected freedom of speech had been taken away. I understood that Lifeway, as a private business, had every right to carry whatever books they pleased, and I knew from the beginning that the consequence of including the word “vagina” could mean getting banned from their stores. And thanks to freedom of speech, I can complain about their morality standards all I like! (Yay America!) Giglio is dealing with the consequences some things he said in a sermon many years ago. You may think these consequences are unfair, but they are not unconstitutional.”
Saturday: Amanda Pavlik writes about “The Nature of Nursing.” She writes, “The nature of my work is quite terrifying if you think about it. I am twenty-three years old – a mere infant on the spectrum of maturity – and I show up to work in my navy blue scrubs and I’m expected to save a life. Or six. I still feel like an imposter when I sign my name with an “RN” behind it… like, I wonder if the board of nursing understands that I fumbled my way through nursing school and made lucky guesses on the state boards… and if they knew that, would I still be allowed to titrate cardiac drips and do chest compressions and push morphine for the one-hundredth time?”
On the blog, I wrote yesterday about “The Blessing of God.” I write, “For one, in St. Matthew Jesus speaks in the third person about general groupings of people. For another, in St. Matthew, Jesus nicely spiritualizes those basic human needs. Poor in spirit. Hunger and thirst for righteousness. As if it’s just a little bit embarrassing that Jesus would declare blessing on those who are poor or hungry just for being poor or hungry—they have to be poor and hungry and spiritual. As if “care for the marginalized” is important, but we want to be very careful to not sacrifice the truth as we talk about grace. As if we are to love all people, sure, but God has special relationship with those who recognize him. Or are aware of him. Or who care about him. In a way that he doesn’t with those who don’t.”