This is the first in what I hope to be a regular feature on the blog as I return to regular content. Every Friday I plan to link to some of what I feel like are most significant blog posts during the past week or two in hopes that they will cause you to think and even better, further the discussion. So, without further ado here we go.
Why Progressive Christians Should Care About Abortion, Rachel Held Evans
Let’s face it: We are unlikely to find a single party that truly represents a “culture of life,” and abortion will probably never be made illegal, so we’ll have to go about it the old fashioned way, working through the diverse channels of the Kingdom to adopt and support responsible adoption, welcome single moms into our homes and churches, reach out to the lonely and disenfranchised, address the socioeconomic issues involved, and engage in some difficult conversations about the many factors that contribute to the abortion rate in this country, (especially birth control). It seems to me that Christians who are more conservative and Christians who are more liberal, Christians who are politically pro-life and Christians who are politically pro-choice, should be able to come together on this and advocate for life in a way that takes seriously the complexities involved and that honors both women and their unborn children.
Robert Webber on The Theology of Evangelism in the Early Church, Chaplain Mike at Internetmonk
Ancient evangelism occurred in a setting hostile to the church and its values; it developed in the context of a clear self-understanding of the church as the eschatological people who are under the reign of God, the people who confess “Jesus is Lord.” It was evangelism with teeth, not an “easy believism” or a “cheap grace”; and it was a spiritual journey of discipleship, spiritual formation, and entrance into a new community.
Top Ten Reason Why Men Should Not Be Church Leaders, Robin Parry
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
Thus, for Bender, the focus was on discipleship not sacraments or the inner enjoyment of justification. The church was not an institution or a place for Word-proclamation in emphasis but instead a brotherhood of love. In addition, against Catholics and Calvinists who believed in social reform, like the Lutherans the Anabaptists were less optimistic about social transformation. But, unlike the Lutherans who split life into the secular and sacred, the Anabaptists wanted a radical commitment that meant the creation of an alternative Christian society.
The combination of anti-suburbanism with new categories like “missional” and “radical” has positioned a generation of youth and young adults to experience an intense amount of shame for simply being ordinary Christians who desire to love God and love their neighbors (Matt 22:36-40). In fact, missional, radical Christianity could easily be called “the new legalism.” A few decades ago, an entire generation of Baby Boomers walked away from traditional churches to escape the legalistic moralism of “being good” but what their Millennial children received in exchange, in an individualistic American Christian culture, was shamed-driven pressure to be awesome and extraordinary young adults expected to tangibly make a difference in the world immediately. But this cycle of reaction and counter-reaction, inaugurated by the Baby Boomers, does not seem to be producing faithful young adults. Instead, many are simply burning out.
Really, complementarianism describes a biblically-derived complimentary view of gender roles in marriage, home, and church. That is, each gender – male and female – is different from the other, with different roles to play in these particular spheres of life; but each role is not “better or worse” than the other. Instead, each role complements the other! It’s all good, homeboys and homegirls (so long as both the homeboy and homegirl in question each stay within their particularly defined roles). Yet, as these roles are unpacked it becomes clear that there is not just gender diversity but gender hierarchy at work. Men are uniquely called to take the “highest” leadership positions in both the home (head) and church (elder/pastor), and women are called to other “lower” tasks that generally imply submission to male leadership.