Monday, September 30, 2013

A Baby in Disguise and the Best Things You'll Read All Week

by Ben Howard

Reads of the Week

1) I Emailed Pastor Rick Warren & There Is No "If" by Kathy Khang

"There is no “if”.  I am hurt, upset, offended, and distressed, not just because “an” image was posted, but that Warren posted the image of a Red Guard soldier as a joke, because people pointed out the disconcerting nature of posting such an image and then Warren then told us to get over it, alluded to how the self-righteous didn’t get Jesus’ jokes but Jesus’ disciples did, and then erased any proof of his public missteps and his followers’ mean-spirited comments that appeared to go unmoderated."

2) Field Notes on Grace from 10 Days on the Road by Nadia Bolz-Weber

"For some reason, the nice volunteer from the cathedral suggested to everyone in the book signing line that they not only write their name on the sticky note but they add whatever additional inscription they’d lie me to write, making the line move 10 times slower and also forcing me to write things like: May you be carried on the wings of the spirit and other crap I. Would. Never. Say."

3) Ask a Racial Reconciler... by Austin Channing Brown

"After each activity, when leading the discussion, we always ask the same question first- “How did that feel?” Common answers are anger, sadness, guilt, and shame. We don’t try to change the emotion, we just ask that everyone commits to a productive and respectful conversation even as they continue to feel the emotion (because lets be honest, my team is only reproducing the exact same emotions that are felt when race conversations happen randomly. If we can teach participants to name the emotion and still have an honest, respectful, messy conversation, we have truly achieved something!)"

4) How Do We Melt Swords Into Plowshares? by Kelley Nikondeha

"What an odd collective, really. In a country where pastors and imams fear one another, these men are fierce friends. Issa invites everyone to his home during Ramadan – and they all come. Rodrigue gets married and they all attend, dressed to the nines. When I arrive at the airport Ndipa’s there to greet me and carry my luggage. These friends have become my Burundian family, the people who make me feel welcome – and safe."

5) Jesus the Privileged by Christena Cleveland

"I bet Jesus had a sociological imagination. I bet he knew that he had more voice/status/power/influence than slaves, Samaritans, and women.  I bet he was aware of the powerful status divisions in his society and knew that emptying himself of his privilege would come at great cost to himself. I bet he knew that sticking his neck out for the oppressed would be “bad” for his ministry platform and relationships. I bet he knew that “good” things awaited him if he just stayed in his lane and didn’t try to disrupt the social order. I bet he knew that he could use his elevated social position to cling to power, create a privileged bubble with his fellow free Jewish male buddies, and make a better life for himself."

6) "Dracula" and the Bible by Fred Clark

"These two approaches seem almost like opposites. The first says that the story is what the text says, and that our task is thus to cut away and to cut through everything else to try to get back to the pure, unspoiled essence of the original, authoritative text. The second says that the story is ours, not just Stoker’s, and so Stoker is just one of many participants in a community."

7) The Electric Christian Acid Test Or, I Was a Teenage Metalhead for Jesus by Paul Bowers

"It is safe to say that most of them didn’t get into music to become role models. But I remember as a young man wanting so desperately for them to be worth looking up to. It was a funny set of expectations I had for my rock stars: I wanted them to echo my youthful disaffection, but I also wanted them to point me toward God and holy living. I wanted them to be the book of Ecclesiastes to me, dismissing the theatrics of high school as chasing after the wind while exhorting me to remember my Creator in the days of my youth."

8) Mind the Gap by Carol Howard Merritt

"Now that I’ve discovered them, I can’t get enough of science fiction and dystopian novels. The best authors point out the theological implications, even when the writers or characters are nontheists. Each author warns us that we may not fully grasp the ethical dilemmas that we create with each new technology. We have not lived with certain devices long enough to understand how they will change our behaviors, but we can imagine what might happen."

9) Science vs. Religion: A Race to Destruction? by Christian Piatt

"In a perfect world, both science and religion should be means to desired ends. With the former, it is a vehicle by which we can advance human knowledge and potential. With the latter, it is a system that can help us better come to know ourselves as creatures composed of some admixture of body and spirit. However, as humans tend to do, the appreciation for such systems can tend to breed dependence. And in justifying our dependence, we tend to elevate the system that was simply meant to be a tool to a sort of godlike status."

10) Jeremiah 29:11 is Not About You by Jonathan Merritt

"When I read, it is easy to unconsciously assume that Jeremiah’s you is, well, me. But in fact, Jeremiah’s verse is not written to a me; it is written to a we. It is not a promise by God to prosper the individuals in the audience but to prosper the community over the course of history. (I’d like to pause here to apologize to those of you who’ve had this verse tattooed across your rib cage.)"

Honorable Mention

The Great Soda Caper by Richard Beck

The GOP & the Perils of Talking to Yourself by Eric Clapp

Meet the Internet's Most Hated Typist by Jason Morehead

Tweets of the Week

"I just watched a homeless man yell "Thank you for Pokemon" at a group of Japanese tourists is this purgatory am I dead" - Ashley Feinberg (@ashfein)

"Dear Berkeley. Your Roosters crowing at 7:15pm isn't cute or ironic. DO BETTER ROOSTERS. DO BETTER." - Elon James White (@elonjames)

"25 years ago, during the best shower of his life, Dick Wolf's eyes widen as he mutters to himself 'How about a show that has law AND order?' - Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn)

On Pop Theology Week in Review

On Pop Theology Podcast: Episode 41 - Justice and the Sacraments w/ Katie Grimes

"Ben sits down with blogger and theologian Katie Grimes this week to talk about issues of justice and ethics."

Song of the Week

"Black Flies" by Ben Howard (aka the OTHER Ben Howard)


You can follow On Pop Theology on Twitter @OnPopTheology or like us on Facebook at

Contact us at onpoptheology [at]  

You might also like:  

No comments:

Post a Comment