Reads of the Week
1) What the Pope's Popularity Says About American Culture by Jonathan Merritt
"Recognizing the complexity of this cultural narrative provides an opportunity for those who call themselves “Christians” to reflect on why they are actually encountering some resistance from some sectors of society. Is any of it deserved? Which opposition can be written off as irrational disdain and which is legitimate defiance to a malformation of the faith? When is the social tension a necessary result of speaking prophetically and when are we paying a price unnecessarily?"
2) Blue Valentines by Chelsea Batten
"Typically, with pain like this, I don’t grieve so much as hurl it back from whence it came. It feels like contesting a traffic ticket–a long, protracted thumb-wrestle between mute power and dedicated protest. I make my prayers, if you can call them that, with impassioned thoroughness and elaborate legalese, listing with categorical precision why I didn’t deserve to experience this. Again. And again, the answer comes back mute–another form to fill, out as it were–each one saps my strength a little more, until finally I’m just dully, mulishly repeating 'No. No.'"
3) 5 Ways Progressive Mainline Churches Can Welcome Disenfranchised Evangelicals by Rachel Held Evans
"There is much to love about evangelicalism, but lately I’ve been receiving a lot of messages from disenfranchised evangelicals who, after a break from church, are looking to return. Many hope to find a place in a more progressive tradition, but feel a bit disoriented their first time in an Episcopal Church or at a PCUSA coffee hour. In addition, when I travel, I meet many progressive ministers who are eager to welcome new people to their churches. So with all that in mind, here are some ideas for helping those evangelical visitors feel more at home."
4) The Complexity of Loving Your Neighbor by Nate Pyle
"Here’s what I believe. I do not believe that loving God with our whole being ever has to be in conflict with loving our neighbor. If, in our love of God, we fail to love and serve our neighbor, then maybe we are misunderstanding what it means to love God."
5) Dismantling the White Male Industrial Complex by Christena Cleveland
"The truth is that the battle for justice won’t be won when white men finally join the fight. The battle was already won on the cross. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is at hand. It’s here. It’s happening. It’s already been set in motion. We’re inevitably moving toward a world that reflects the prophetic reality of the resurrection. Justice will be done. All things will be made new."
How To Be Free by Shannan Martin
Tweets of the Week
"Don't text and drive. Just pull over until you're done using your phone. That's what I do. I've been on the side of the road since 2011." - @jwoodham
"If only there was a German word for schadenfreude." - @psmith
"Cookie Monster is nearly 50 now and is somehow neither a) progressing in English subject/verb agreement, nor b) dead from all those cookies." - @TheRevReid
On Pop Theology Week in Review
James Bond is the Church by Laura Brekke
"Let us suppose that James Bond is the Church. Not a church, but the Church."
The Popes Predict the World Cup Final by Ben Moore
"Never before have the home countries of two living popes played each other in a World Cup Final."
Song of the Week
"Turn Down for What" by DJ Snake and Lil Jon
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