Treasures From the Blogosphere
There are some excellent discussions going on in the blogosphere. Some people are blogging wisdom for the church that I wouldn’t want faithful readers of Levellers (all 3 of you) to miss. So, I am going to link to some of the best ones I’ve seen lately.
1. Dan, a.k.a. “Poser or Prophet?”, who runs the excellent blog, “On Journeying with Those in Exile,” has done a fantastic series on “Christianity and Capitalism.” The discussion is also excellent. I don’t agree with everything written (I DO like the language of human rights, for instance), but this is one of the best theological discussions on economics and why Christians must resist capitalism in our lives together I’ve read in some time. Dan states clearly many things that I have fumbled to say in these pages. I have been too busy to interact with Dan on his blog, but I have printed out everything for further reflection. It’s a 10 part series: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X
2. Byron Smith, whose work I have highlighted before on Nothing New Under the Sun, has been blogging on “Would Jesus vote [g]reen?” I made the “g” lower-cased because Byron is asking about how our faith ought to impact on political decisions on the environment, not whether or not Jesus would endorse one of the Green parties, globally. So far, Byron has also given 10 installments on this series. All are worth reading–soon. Byron has been dealing with our reactions to environmental awareness much like a “stages of death.” I know from reading his work for awhile now (and from the way he handled his cancer, currently in remission, praise God) that the series is too Christian to end simply in acceptance. I look forward to seeing the kind of wise actions and motivations that will flow from these profound reflections. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X Both Dan’s series of posts and Byron’s would make excellent starters for church reflections in, say, an adult Bible study group.
3. Melissa Rogers is always alert to the oddities of U.S. public life, for good, bad, or just weird. In the bad category (my judgment), she notes that the National Association of State Boards of Education is about to elect a new president. The only problem is that Kenneth Willard of Kansas is running unopposed. Willard is an opponent of the teaching of evolution in public schools. Sigh! No wonder the U.S. does so poorly in science. One educator told me that evolutionary biology is so “controversial” in many parts of this nation that in many high schools it is simply omitted–in fact, evolutionary biology may be taught in fewer public schools, NOW, than in 1925 when the Scopes Trial exploded in Dayton, TN. Suddenly, homeschooling doesn’t sound as bad as it usually does. At least, I can supplement with my children so that they learn this basic truth of modern science and can detect idiotic pseudo-religious junk disguised as science such as “intelligent design.” Shudder!
4. The world news has, of course, been full of the tragedy of a near civil war between Hamas and Fatah in the Gaza Strip (and now the latest Israeli military response which may shatter a fragile ceasefire). But all this may miss the rising nonviolent movement in the other Palestine, the West Bank. Sami Awad tells of a nonviolent action in Southern Bethlehem to commemorate the 59th year of the Occupation, which Palestinians refer to as “The Catastrophe.” Sami Awad, btw, is a Palestinian Christian whose family is very influential in Palestinian Christian circles–and many are leaders in the nonviolent movement. Do yourself a favor and make a habit of regularly reading Sami’s blog, Never Give Up.
5. Finally (for now), Baptists in North America are preparing for a major meeting in Atlanta in January of ’08 to celebrate a New Baptist Covenant which will seek to bring together Baptist denominations and conventions that have long been separated by race, ethnicity, politics, and theology, into new cooperative ventures. The Southern Baptist Convention had denounced this meeting as some form of endorsement of Democratic politicians because former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (both Baptists and Democrats) were involved in the planning. But, as Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptists notes, this fear is unfounded. The only ’08 presidential candidate who is a Baptist is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, and he is planning to come to the meeting (which is not political). So will Republican Senators Grassley(IA) and Graham (SC). The meeting is to celebrate unity in Christ, not to score political points and most who will be there will not be politicians of any kind. Aaron Weaver, who blogs as Big Daddy Weave, notes that even though the Southern Baptist Convention is OFFICIALLY boycotting this meeting, several prominent Southern Baptists will attend, including a new generation of SBC bloggers who, though sharing most of the conservative theology of the current SBC leadership, are trying to steer the convention to a more irenic, welcoming future–presumably so they quit driving out folks like me. Though I remain concerned that some Baptist organizations are being overlooked (Alliance of Baptists–my denomination; Seventh-Day Baptists; Free Will Baptists; the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America) by the organizers, this meeting still has enormous potential for good. I am trying to make plans to be there: Scheduled speakers to date include some prominent African-American pastors (e.g., Charles Adams of Detroit), Marian Wright Edelman (founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, the most prominent child advocacy group in the U.S.), journalist Bill Moyers (who was also a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary!), Tony Campolo, Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of Calvary BC in Waco, TX, and many more. Baptists have historically “multiplied by dividing.” It’s no wonder many of our denominations do not participate in the ecumenical movement (mine does), since it is hard to work on reconciling with other parts of the Body of Christ, when we often can’t even break bread with each other! I hope this leads to some massive healing here in North America.
6. Update: Despite all attempts to convince him to continue, Kerry Walters, a.k.a. A Deacon by the Grace of God, is ending his blog, Subversive Christianity. I suppose I’ll have to remove it, then, from Christian Peace Bloggers, alas. But Kerry is ending as he began with 8 theses on the recovery of subversive Christianity. Read them here. You’ll be glad you did.
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