Well, it’s been a slow week around here as you might have noticed. Next week will be different, but you’ll have to head down to the bottom of this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness to find out more about that. In other news, I shaved my legs and pits for the first time in months. Most exciting thing to happen around here in a while, I tell ya!
But I do have some good writing/reading for this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness to share with y’all:
Radical Practice Needs Deep Roots in Doctrine I love synchronicity – great minds think alike and all that. This beautiful post by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove at The Everyday Awakening explaining the gospel, suffering, atonement theology and more reads like if you took my own posts on suffering, the church and the sacrificial death of Jesus and put them into one post with much more skill and clarity than I have. Really great stuff.
Three Little Words We Christians Need to Say Can you guess what they are? “I’m being oppressed”? Nope. “Write checks to . . . “? Nope. Guess again. How about “I was wrong”? Ding, ding, ding! In this post Dan Edelen challenges us both as individuals and as the corporate Body of Christ to be willing to own our mistakes. It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong and I think the church has a particularly hard time of it because if the church admits that they are wrong about one thing, does that open them up to accussations that they might be wrong about other things as well. As is too often the case in the church, it’s about keeping doubt at bay, imo.
I Don’t Want to Go Back to Church and Why I Will OK, confession time – I haven’t been to church in several years. Maybe one day I’ll write more about it, but for now I’ll just say that I don’t feel guilty or bad about it. Especially after reading this blog post by life-long church attender and Ordained Presbyterian Minister Mark Sandlin. Rev. Sandlin is two months into a three month sabbatical from attending church and shares some of what he’s learned. Including the rather eye-popping statement that “the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) are right in their critique of the Church. We are fools if we don’t listen extremely closely to them.” I hope you’ll head over and read what he has to say. (And like him, I do fully intend to go back to church when the time is right.)
Don’t Tread On Me? Over at The American Jesus, Zack Hunt tackles the conflict between the American “Don’t Tread On Me” ethos and the Christian ideal of overcoming through suffering, sacrifice and service. With everything that’s been going on in our culture lately, I think that Christians are being called to chose the way of Christ over the way of our country more than ever. It’s a counter-intuitive way of thinking to be sure.
Love vs Power In a similar vein, Bev Mitchell, guest posting at Jesus Creed, argues for the idea that love and power are opposite and opposing forces. I don’t know that I’m entirely convinced, but the description of Jesus’ response to Satan tempting him in the desert to reach out and take what was already rightfully his is quite compelling, imo. I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts on this one.
A Critique of the Field of Biblical Studies Yesterday my son Noah was asking why I thought that the church had gotten so screwed up and I was explaining that part of the problem was that with the rise of scientific learning, too many people in the church seemed to think that religion needed to be able to likewise parse out rules and explanations and formula’s to “prove” it’s validity. In the process, mystery and a great deal of historical thought got shoved aside. And when the obvious flaws of the various systems and formula’s were challenged, too many people felt threatened and just doubled down, becoming ever more removed from reality and reason. In this post Bryce Walker argues against just this sort of formulaic way of reading scriptures.
A Conversation with Robert Bellah Robert Bellah is a professor of sociology and practicing Christian (Catholic, I believe, but don’t hold me to that). He has recently published a book called Religion in Evolution. I haven’t read it but will gladly accept a copy from anyone who wants to buy one for me! This interview with Dr. Bellah includes some really juicy quotes and ideas regarding the relationship between different religions, the problem with viewing religion as a set of beliefs and other smart, interesting ideas. I highly recommend reading it.
Never Happier Than When Writing This post by Douglas Eby explains what has long been a great mystery to my husband – why I do not find dissatisfaction motivating. It turns out that I’m like most creative people – the better I feel, the more productive I am. Oddly enough, no one ever described me as creative when I was growing up and it’s not something I recognized in myself until I was well into adulthood. My sister Cindy was the creative one because she’s an artist – a clearly creative endevor. (She did the pictures for my book and blog in fact.) My creativity is of a different sort is all. At any rate, I really enjoy Eby’s blog The Creative Mind. It’s almost embarrassing how many times I read something there and think, “oh- so that’s why I’m like that!”
The Dark Night’s Delusion Returning again to the theme of God’s way of overcoming vs the world’s way, Kevin Miller uses Batman and the Joker to examine the problems inherent in the world’s way of doing battle – it’s too easy to become what you are trying to defeat, or worse. God’s way offers the only way out of this vicious cycle, although it may cost us everything along the way.
Now, about what’s going on this coming week. I wanted to end with Kevin Miller’s post because Mr. Miller is the director of a movie that will be coming out this fall called Hellbound?. It is an examination of different ideas about hell, if it exists and who goes there which includes interviews with Rob Bell, the Phelps, Greg Boyd, Mark Driscoll, Brian McLaren and other big and not-so-big name Christians. I have heard very good things about it. It just so happens that this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. In fact, the subject of hell and discovering that what I and most every other Christian for the last few hundred years had been taught about it was unbiblical and wrong changed the trajectory of my faith life entirely. So, since it’s a subject I have never written about here and I’ve had total writer’s block since stumbling across this movie, I’ve decided that it’s God’s way of saying it’s time for me to share what I know. So, this is going to be Hell Week at The Upside Down World. I hope you’ll follow along as I dig deep into church history, ancient Greek translations, the lake of fire and other hellish goodies as well as my own story of how learning all this changed my faith life immeasurably for the better.
So, that’s it for this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness. As always, if you are a blogger who has a post you’re especially proud of or a reader who’s read something you think everyone should read, please pass it on! And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a big hat tip to Bible Study Geek who brought several of these posts to my attention this week. You should go follow him on facebook!