Weekend Must-Reads {09.09.11} | church leadership retreat edition


This weekend I find myself with the honor, joy, and privilege of heading to a two-day long leadership retreat for my amazing church, liberti church: center city. In honor of this, I wanted to post articles by myself and others focusing on Church philosophy, community, and such. Some of them are a bit longer than usual, so feel free to grab a cup coffee before digging in. I hope you find these helpful and encouraging no matter where you find yourself in relation to the Christian Church. Have a great weekend. And be sure to stop by next week; I’m pretty excited for the stuff I’ve got planned for the blog then.

And Thus It Begins: liberti home meetings & my heart | the long way home

liberti: center city’s home meetings start next week. I wrote this blog post last year the day before I began leading a brand new group in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia. It’s wonderful to look back over the past year with these people and see that God has answered every prayer I had in this post. I’m still serving these amazing people as their leader, and I can’t wait to see them on Tuesday.

On the State of Contemporary Theology | Fors Clavigera – James K.A. Smith

Here, the author of one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, Desiring the Kingdom, offers his thoughts on the current state of theology, denominations, and theological education. A quick must-read for all.

Continue reading

Advertisements

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.

___________

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.

Continue reading

I’ve got a new job in Philadelphia


In May 2009, I decided to drop out of seminary (for many reasons). Then employment drama ensued. I got a job, couldn’t start the job, then got a part-time position at the company, and then was finally able to move into the full-time spot I was originally hired for.

And it’s been wonderful. Over the past year and half, I was able to love my caseload of people and take them from broken and with nothing to on the path towards healing and recovery. I actually got to see change and growth up close–and it changed me.

But, it’s time to move on. As I’ve been praying for for a while, I recently got offered a job that is walking distance from my house. I finally get to realize my desire to not only live and spend my money in the city, but also to earn my money and serve the residents there as well.
Continue reading

Interpreting & Applying Proverbs (thoughts on Proverbs 10:12)


Proverbs is always such a weird book to try and apply to your life. The theme of the book is what? Wisdom. Is it teaching wisdom to give people a bunch of cookie cutter situations and tell them how to act? No.

In Proverbs 26:4-5, we see two Proverbs back-to-back that say opposite things. One says “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself”. The very next verse says “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes”.

Long story short, all of the book of Proverbs flows from Chapter 1, which talks about the fear of the lord being the beginning of wisdom. Those two contradictory proverbs show us that the book is not meant to be a cut-and-paste sort of thing. It’s not the case that a fool could simply read it, start acting like the “wise man” found throughout Proverbs and suddenly be wise (how would he apply those two verses above?).

Wisdom comes not from doing the things the wise man does, but by being the kind of wise man who fears the Lord and can discern what response to use in a given situation at the right time.
Continue reading

Weekly Must-Reads {05.24.11} | theology & politics edition


As promised, this week’s weekly must-reads tend towards the theological. We do have some political “leftovers” from last week that you all should find interesting. So, as usual, read to your heart’s content and please comment and let me know what you think about these! 

__________

More Like Prayer 5 | Jesus Creed

Fascinating and oh-so-brief introduction to a whole new way of looking at the gospel, politics, and the church. Wow.

Mercifully Forsaken | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Wow. Simply wow. Such a beautiful and powerful piece of writing on the mercy of God in his forsaking of us. Did not expect this from Christianity Today (front page, no less!).

Continue reading

Weekly Must-Reads {05.17.11} | politics & writing edition


This week’s weekly must-reads are focused on the pressing political matters of the day: Obama, Osama, the budget “crisis”, etc. I’ve thrown in some fun articles on writing at the end. And for my more “theologically-inclined” friends: don’t worry, I’ll throw you some stuff next week. But in the meantime, check these things out and let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Running in the red: How the U.S., on the road to surplus, detoured to massive debt | The Washington Post

As we hit the federal debt-ceiling this week, I wanted to send this article everyone’s way. It is such an enlightening read on how our economic surplus became our deficit–and it’s a reasoned, insightful, factual, calm, and immensely helpful article. (SPOILER ALERT: it was BOTH Bush and Obama’s faults, but mostly Bush’s).

News Desk: Don’t Release the Photos | The New Yorker

This article convinced me that Obama’s decision to not release the photos of dead bin Laden was the right call.

Jon Stewart wants release of bin Laden photos | Salon.com

This video changed my mind back to its opinion that Obama should release the photos of dead bin Laden.

Continue reading

liberti east Easter outreach: help feed families in need


I have the privilege of being a part of an amazing movement of churches in Philadelphia, seeking to be the presence of Christ to this city and its inhabitants. This family of churches currently numbers three, each one serving a different area of the city (I go to the Center City one).

The church in the East part of the city has been gracious enough to spearhead an initiative for Easter where they hope to give away 1,000 Easter meals to familes in need. The baskets include a ham, sides, and desert for a family of four. They need people to donate money for the meals (they’re trying to raise $20,000), volunteer to fill the baskets and/or deliver them, and families who would like to receive one of these meals. Remember:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” — James 1:27

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink…?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ –Matthew 25:34-40

For more information or to sign up for any part of this initiative, please visit:  http://www.libertieasteroutreach.com/
Continue reading

Weekly Must-Reads {03.07.11}


This week’s weekly must-reads contain some links to articles I was reading a couple of weeks ago but didn’t end up doing one of these reading lists in order to share. They include articles on singleness, economics, foreign policy and art. I hope you find these intriguing, thought provoking, and discussion-causing. As usual, feel free to add your own links for myself and others to read in the comments section, as well as comment on these articles.

Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com

I know this is a few weeks old, but it’s amazing and I wasn’t able to post it when it came out. It’s a beautiful, substantive article on the necessity of weakness, sin, and failure in our search for civility and grace.  Anybody know the religious leanings of David Brooks?

Continue reading

Open Mic: John Yoo, Torture, & Christian Ethics


Yesterday I wrote about how Catholicism views the idea of torture and how a possible response to it and it’s socio-political effects can be found in the Eucharist.  That article was written because the idea of Torture has come front and center in the political discourse once more.  For those not keeping track of the current political climate concerning the previous administration, John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley that was given the charge by the Bush administration and the CIA to define the nature and limits of “enhanced interrogation techniques“. He along with Jay Bybee authored the famous “torture memos” which gave legal justification for the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques in order to get information from suspected terrorists.

Last year, the Office of Professional Responsibility wrote a report finding the two men guilty of professional misconduct and recommended the Justice Department do a full investigation. Ealier this month, both Bybee and Yoo were officially cleared of all wrongdoing in the eyes of the Department of Justice. Further, the DOJ strongly suggested that no further investigation nor disciplinary action from the bar should be sought. Last week the Department officially closed its investigation. Yesterday, the top ethicist of the Department of Justice said that not only did Yoo and Bybee do nothing criminal, but neither did they even act unethically. (Full summary of the metanarrative of all of this can be found here.)

Continue reading

Catholicism on Torture, the State, & the Eucharist


I know, I know — this seems like a weird topic to inaugurate this series. Today, in my ongoing series “Catholics Aren’t Crazy” I wanted to put up a post on a Catholic view of Scripture, inspiration, and inerrancy. They have some amazing things to say on these topics that Evangelicals could do really well to embrace. But alas, current events have changed that plan. Tomorrow I’m posting up a potentially controversial article here on a Christian view of Torture. I’m writing it in light of the recent developments, publications, and interviews concerning the legal and ethical exoneration of the “Torture Memo” authors, John Yoo and Jay Bybee. In my research I stumbled upon the following wonderful article by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic, posted on his blog on Ash Wednesday:

“May the Judgment Not Be Too Heavy Upon Us” — The Daily Dish

The article concerns Marc Thiessen, former speech writer for President Bush. Thiessen is on a tour of every news outlet it seems (I’ve seen him on like four different ones just this past week) to promote his brand new book, Courting Disaster, the point of which is pretty much as follows: Our “enhanced interrogation” techniques were moral, effective, and NOT torture; and President Obama has ended them, thereby “inviting the next attack” and putting everyone in America at risk of being slaughtered by Islamic extremists.

Continue reading

weekend update


I wanted to write a quick note to anyone that’s been confused about the lack of writing on all of my sites.

For one reason or another, I’ve decided to do more research on the Slavery, Bible, and Atheism series.  Here’s why: It’s a six part series and so far each part has required two separate posts.  I am mostly done with the second post of Part 2, and for the whole series so far, I have almost 20 pages of content written.  With the stuff I want to say, and the content I wish to cover, I’ve realized that by the end of the series, if I stay on pace, I could have anywhere between 60 and 75 pages worth of material written.  And this doesn’t even include the pages worth of comments I’ve written on comments on Facebook and here on the blog.  So far, all I’ve written has been very “bloggy” in style and language; in other words — completely unworthy of even considering trying to see published.  It’s been very polemical and directly addresses other people and conversations not directly involved in this blog.

Continue reading