Weekly Must-Reads {08.11.11} | reasonable Christianity edition (in honor of John Stott)


This week, I wanted to focus on extremely “reasonable” expressions and discussion surrounding Christianity: it’s heroes, it’s application, and how to live it out. This is in honor of a great man we lost recently. A couple of weeks ago, John Stott, a great and fairly unassuming hero of the Church, died. He is very much responsible for the shaping of a Christianity that is both just and intelligent. Even though he did not preach nor speak regularly, and mostly wrote academic books, it is he that laid the theological foundation that has only now finally trickled down to the masses of young and “restless” Christians today–whether we know his name or not. It is the shoulder of this giant of the faith upon which we all now stand. Let us not forget that. I have provided some links to that end.

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John Stott Has Died | Christianity Today

This is Stott’s obituary in Christianity Today. Read up on his life and read some of the homages linked to in this article. He was an amazing man.

Evangelicals Without Blowhards | NYTimes.com Opinion

This is by Bill Kristof, a weekly contributor to the blogs at NYT. He is not a Christian, and yet he devotes this article in honor of John Stott–his work, his influence, and the presence of millions of Evangelicals that are continuing his work today by caring about justice in this world.

I’m Still Progressive, You’re Still a Bad Person | Patrol Magazine

Such a well-written account of how one can have political hope and motivation to make the world better, while also being tempered by Christian realism as to the nature of history, humanity, and power.

Marketplace as Social Justice | Cardus

These next two articles are not only to politically counter the previous article, but they offer a beautiful picture about how we might engage in the current economic structures of the day in such a way that it actually furthers Social Justice; how we need to not “separate” ourselves form the real world to do some good. Enjoy.

Congressman Paul Ryan: Social teaching and the federal budget: a Catholic politician’s views | Our Sunday Visitor

Yeah, this threw me for a loop. I have hated how the Republicans have acted during the entire term of Obama. It is inexcusable, reprehensible, and embarrassing. And yet, just when I was at the height of my frustration, I run across this article by Paul Ryan, head of the House Budget Committee where he lays out a Catholic perspective on the federal budget. His theological nuance and sophistication of thought startled me as I expect it will you as well. And yet, in the end, his application of this beautiful economic and political theology feels like it is forcing the round peg of his theology into the square hole of his political commitments.

Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve | NPR

Yeah, another seemingly obligatory Christianity “versus” Evolution article. This one is a great report from NPR about the current debate “raging” over the historicity of Adam. All sides are presented, although I think the guys I would side with could have articulated themselves a little more graciously and helpfully (as has been my opinion before and I’ve struggled with myself)

Argument, Truth and the Social Side of Reasoning | NYTimes Opinion

This is more of an “apologetic” for the “reasonableness” of a more ecumenical Christianity. Long story short, this philosophy article talks about how what we believe is true is based far more on “intuition” (read: the imago dei, perhaps?) and our natural evolutionary respect for being able to change someone’s mind. In short, getting at truth is a social process. As Christians, we should apply this in a few ways, not least of which is (1) talk about theology in your everyday community and grow together in it, and (2) don’t segregate yourself from other denominations (and perhaps other faiths) because it is by engaging with them that we all, over time, grow “into the Head [of the Church], which is Christ, and increase in the knowledge of the truth”

Accountability Groups: the Tyranny of Do More, Try Harder | The Resurgence

Having grown up in church and having been a part of many a “accountability group”, I can’t express how much I appreciate this post. If you want to know why you can go to accountability group and it be doing nothing in your life, read this.

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