Every now and then, it’s good to give a little insight in what I tend to read online. I have a habit of making notes on some of the sites I’ve particularly enjoyed reading in a while and so the opportunity arose again following a really good session of material online that was worth sharing, and so here are some notes for you to peruse. Enjoy.
- N.T. Wright appears to hit a home run with this response to Stephen Hawking’s view of heaven. Interesting to see Wright mention so many things that would seem to fly in the face of the perception of mainstream Christianity – heaven isn’t where we go when we die, heaven and earth intersects in the people of God. Great concepts, not exactly best realised in the CoE paradigm, but nevertheless, sterling response.
- Deep questions to answer in Dave Black’s look at the rule of Paul and again challenges the way church operates compared with the status quo.
- Arthur argues that simple church is good but it’s not enough and the stuff he writes about is the stuff I want to experience. His article about unity because of difference would dramatically shift certain people’s concepts of church if it were embraced – as it continues to do for me. One of the reasons why I love the man’s blogs is his ability to mix his personal with the spiritual. It is quality stuff, so for example this one about why having left Mormonism he never went to Roman Catholicism despite the familial hints that might have suggested that.
- Alan commends a piece looking at how a traditional church is moving in a direction to be more mutually participatory and its the comments in Alan’s recommendation as well as the article that makes for such fascinating reading. Alan also gives an interesting brief analysis of the Acts 3 episode. Just to make things worse he goes on to establish along similar lines to Arthur the importance of a multiplicity of perspectives informing true growth and development of church, which if we took seriously … Then he only goes to make matters worse with the kind of love with which we’re meant to love each other.
- Keith brings up some really challenging words about the difference between Christianity in the West and in places like China in this post that is food for thought … although ironically it’s critical of our capacity to dwell on food for thought.
- Felicity in this article on the social impact church can make brings back a lot of the positive potentials that were evident in the best of the StokeCog days – things like the link between COG and the YMCA and then the prayer walks along Joiners Square. The things that got me out of my complacent perspective of I’m Alright to a genuine compassion for the needs of those in my neighbourhood. Makes me think how things have changed for me and still need to change to incorporate those elements in living out faithful Christian discipleship.
- Charlie asks a challenging question about whether preaching is overrated or not and his exploration on the matter exposes some key things about what discipleship should be about and the role preaching can take. Reading the comments afterwards is illuminative to how scriptures are used to defend positions on ecclesiology. It’s done in a graceful manner, but it’s clear to see how some would want a hierarchical approach to church life however softly rendered to be reinforced as opposed to a flatter view of church life that encourages people to prophesy and teach in order to edify each other and then to make disciples.
- Being in the backwater of the Christian family that I was in (COG7D) the only label I needed to have was ‘Sabbath-Keeper’. Never had to worry about whether I was a Protestant or an Evangelical or a Conservative or anything like that. As I have grown older and noticed the importance of such labels I’m glad the only label I had to adjust was Sabbath-Keeper. Dan has said goodbye to evangelicalism and the article expresses well the problem with labels that become institutions and lose the centrality of their calling. I don’t mind labels as long as they are accurate and honour Christ, and so I hope to be known as a passionate follower of Christ.
- In the world of politics – a world I remain interested in as a reflection of man’s nature in ruling man and its liability – this week has seen people get emotional over comments concerning rape. I am glad I came across this article that put perspective on the importance of conversation and necessary debate over knee-jerk reactions and outrages that miss the central point of what is at stake.
- Just when you thought it was safe to avoid another ‘zealot’ out comes someone on behalf of the church of Jesus Christ giving the lowdown on the day and time of the Lord’s coming. And obviously being the ever impartial purveyor of news, the public broadcaster the BBC offers an alternative response to the news. Sometimes I don’t think news like this is worth paying attention to and sometimes it saddens me to know people are getting attention through these scams. Yet as with almost everything delivered it is an opportunity. It is a chance to share what I believe according to Jesus and engage people in the things that matter, rather than the hype that doesn’t. It’s something when common sense has to come from the church, eh?
- Great piece on what is better than unconditional love definitely worth the read to get a proper perspective on these important terms
For His Name’s Sake