Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Truth About Balloons and the Best Things You'll Read All Week

by Ben Howard

Reads of the Week

1) A Dream Deferred: Christopher, Terrell, Trayvon and the Outrage of Silence by Maria Dixon

"Friends, the major crisis, Dr. King, speaks of is the hypocrisy of self-delusion that allows us to justify or ignore one murder and protest another. It is the belief that four centuries of oppression and mistreatment justify turning a blind eye and keeping a tight lip when the oppressor finds himself oppressed. It is the political rhetoric that tells one mother her child is valuable, while systematically and structurally telling another that hers is an instant candidate for the garbage heap."

2) The Stakes in Inter-Religious Relations by Robert Hunt

"There is an all too casual arrogance in accepting the validity of a person’s faith while simultaneously robbing it of its actual cost and existential significance. In this respect I prefer the anti-religious vitriol of the New Atheists to the suffocating smugness of the New Age. At least the atheists understand what’s at stake in religion."

3) Mugabe, Putin and The Gospel Coalition? by Fred Clark

"Put yourself in their shoes. You’re operating a nice high-traffic Calvinist blog-cluster, posting all sorts of authoritative declarations about sexual morality and public order and the like. And then one day Vladimir Putin announces a new law in Russia embodying everything you’ve been saying for years about LGBT people. Vladimir freakin’ Putin – a former KGB honcho who acts like he’s still a Soviet boss."

4) Being Black at Seattle Pacific University: 3 Things I Learned by Nikkita Oliver

"The young woman who spoke up reminded me that God appears when we cannot take it anymore. God’s grace pools at the lowest places. God certainly showed the young woman who asked the question grace by guarding her from my response. But God also showed me grace by showing me that there are white people who see and know what is right."

5) In the Church, But Not of It by Alise Wright

"We positioned ourselves as the new arbiters of what it meant to be Christian. We traded one form of judgment for another that fit us a bit more comfortably. I have to be honest, though. Any kind of judgment starts to chafe after a while. This seat became hard, this robe confining. Being on the outside is lonely, even if there are others there, because really, everyone is suspect."

6) Versus and Clobber Verses: "It's An Almost Impossible Situation" by Fred Clark

"Rassbach is right that it is 'unlikely the government would try to force a pastor to perform a same-sex marriage' — although 'unlikely' seems a bit understated for something so pointless, illegal and unprecedented. We could also, I suppose, say it was 'unlikely' that the government would force churches to baptize unbelievers. Or that it was 'unlikely' that the government will mandate conversion to a particular religious sect. Those statements would be true as well if we use 'unlikely' in the Rassbachian sense of utterly impossible."

7) Discovering Liturgy by Micah Murray

"A year ago, I couldn’t be bothered to put on pants and drive twenty minutes for a church service that I could just as easily stream online. But you can’t podcast sacraments and for reasons I don’t yet understand, when I stand there in wooden pews sidelit by stained glass, the words of the Communion liturgy bring me to tears every time."

8) Well, Miley Cyrus. How Predictable of You by Elizabeth Esther

"Here’s the truth: Miley Cyrus doesn’t care what you think. She doesn’t care that you’re outraged, disgusted, offended and horrified. In fact, she likes having 'haters.' It motivates her. Miley Cyrus set out to shock everyone and she succeeded. The only surprise, here, is that the adults are asking stupid questions like: 'How did this happen?'"

9) Hath God Said? by Micah Murray

"In Scripture, these are the first words attributed to the Devil. I’ve heard countless warnings against asking this question. Because it was used by the Serpent to tempt Eve, they say it’s dangerous for us to ask too. But I’ve found that it’s been one of the most important questions on my journey of following Jesus."

10) Criminalizing Christ: The Love Wins Incident and the Nationwide Targeting of Homeless by David Henson

"Cities have made it illegal to lie down. They have made it illegal to share a meal with people who are homeless. They have made it illegal to sit in parks or on benches for long periods of time. They have made it illegal to eat in public spaces. They change their parks’ watering schedules to douse anyone staying there after hours. They have removed completely and banned park benches. They have banned panhandling."

Honorable Mention

Diverse But Not Integrated: Religion's Race Problem by Christian Piatt

One Good Phrase: Cara Meredith (You Got This) by Cara Meredith

Hope in the Darkness by Fiona Koefoed-Jespersen

Tweets of the Week

"Robin Thicke's music career is still him acting out for that one time his dad said, 'I love you, Kirk.' while hugging him." by Ian McLoud (@KindaScottish)

"Siri, I am your father." - Clippy (@TheClippy)

"Hey kids, you sure love Mountain Dew, but you know what's even radder? This guy I know, a Mountain JEW—and his name is Jesus Christ." - Ashley Feinberg (@ashfein)

On Pop Theology Week in Review

On Pop Theology Podcast: Episode 37 - Dick Cheney Sounds Like the Devil by Ben Howard

"This week Ben, Sebastian, and Jesse dig into the terrible, awful concept of hell, but in a fun way with jokes."

How-To Theology by Lyndsey Graves

"I went to a Christian university where everyone is required to take a minor in religion, and the first session of Intro to Theology was always an attempt to get a roomful of Communications or Chemistry undergraduates to care." 

The Meaning of Loyalty (or, Why My Dad Became a Braves Fan) by Ian McLoud

"I grew up in Saginaw, Texas, a town whose only claim to something better than obscurity is its massive grain elevators - some of the biggest ever built, because this is Texas after all, and even small towns here need the biggest something to prove the Texas bravado."

Song of the Week 

"Scar" by Cloud Control


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