New Podcast worth subscribing to…

shane_sternSpeaking of Faith is a new podcast that explores religion. “Each week, host Krista Tippett focuses on a different theme, asking writers, thinkers and theologians to discuss how religion shapes everyday life.”

Here is a link to a good interview with Shane Claiborne talking about the New Monastics

There are also some additional interviews with the likes of Peter Berger and Jaroslav Pelikan talking about the importance of creeds.

[HT Scot McKnight]

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The Christian Calendar and Advent

JR Woodward has posted an intriguing article on his blog Dream Awakener about culture and the importance of the Christian Calendar for Spiritual Formation.  In a culture that seems to be winning the affections of Christians en masse, attention to the formative elements of the Christian Calendar seems more important than ever.  Getting the narrative of God into the church in an attempt to subvert the narrative of Technological, therapeutic, military, consumerism (see Brueggemann lecture transcript I posted HERE) is one of the most important tasks of ministry and ecclesiological strategy today.  The ontological question of Christian identity is a challenging one to address as often the shaping forces of society remain unnoticed by the numbed masses that seek fulfillment from a story of material consumption that is failing.

As we approach the first Sunday of Advent, how might the liturgical readings serve to embed us deeply within the Jesus narrative to the point where the Church can realign her affections to Christ and be the foretaste of the New Heaven and New Earth promised?

Worldviews and generations converge in the Church…what to do?

Chris Monroe over at Paradoxology had posted an astute refleciton on the realities of modern entrenchmnet within his congregation with regards to what it means to be the Church. 

"The diversity within Christ’s body is beautiful and worth celebrating — racially, socio-economically, generationally, etc. — yet the differences I see emerging between modern and postmodern evangelicals (in particular) may prove to be one of the most formidable barriers dividing the body of Christ in coming decades…"

There are some good questions that are asked in his post that deserve further reflection.

On Justice and the Gospel…

Becoming_friends_2 In "Becoming Friends: Worship, Justice and the Practice of Christian Friendship", Paul Wadell offers the following insightful words about the Church’s call in his Chapter entitled "Setting the World on Fire: Friendship with God and a Commitment to Justice

"The church is called to embody and work for the justice of God in the world.  We are not to be a church of complacency, but a church that dares to be a source of division and misunderstanding for the sake of justice.  We are adept at shirking this responsibility because there is always a cost to taking the reign of God seriously, especially when we see it not as a distant possibility but as a vision of how we are to live now.  One of the most glaring ways we make Christianity safe and rob the gospel of its power is by muting the unmistakable call to justice that was central to the ministry of Jesus.  We transform Jesus from a prophet of justice proclaiming the Kingdom of God to an itinerant therapist who is little more than a chaplain for our souls.  Such a distortion not only seriously misreads the gospel but also violates the message and mission of Jesus."

A Franciscan Benediction…

A wonderful prayer posted at Waving or Drowning that helps keep things in perspective for the faithful…

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world.
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.