Friday
Oct102014

Yik Yaking

From Jason Lief

So have you heard of this app? Yik Yak? It's like an anonymous Twitter--post anything you want without anyone else knowing who you are. I came to know of this glorious innovation from a colleauge who showed me post after post of students upset about this or that. Lectures, professors, assignments, sporting events--anything and everything came under relentless attack. I found out that our small Christian college is under attack by liberals and feminists. That's funny really... there are conversatives at Dordt who are more liberal than the liberals, but I'm getting off track. Honestly, I'm not exaclty sure what to make of it. I mean, I remember complaining about professors and assignments and forced lectures...in my dorm room with my fellow belly achers. But we didn't have the tehcnology to broadcast it. The real question: Would we have done so if we could have? I'm also reluctant to complain about practices that give young people a voice--often a subversive voice--in a world that is overly structured and crammed down their throat. Could Yik Yak serve an important cultural function by giving voice to ideas that might never be heard? Maybe.

Thursday
Oct092014

A Church for My Daughter

From Theresa Latini

My experience and interpretation of church, particularly worship, has shifted significantly at crucial formative moments in my life. One of these shifts occurred in seminary. As I learned the theology of Reformed worship and as I witnessed skilled practitioners, I became a critic of sorts. I paid attention to the liturgy in a new way, wondered about the ritual significance of its elements, and expected historical continuity within innovation. I was learning, and part of that learning included a moment of analysis, which of course had to lead back to full, embodied participation.

In the past year, I’ve found myself considering worship through a new lens, through the lens of motherhood. This actually began when I was pregnant—the advent of parenting. I’ve found myself listening anew to hymns, prayers, the passing of the peace, benediction, and yes, the sermon. Is this the message I want my daughter to hear? Do I want her to be formed spiritually in this particular milieu? What would these actions teach her implicitly as well as explicitly about God and herself?

Thursday
Oct092014

A Church for My Daughter

From Theresa Latini

My experience and interpretation of church, particularly worship, has shifted significantly at crucial formative moments in my life. One of these shifts occurred in seminary. As I learned the theology of Reformed worship and as I witnessed skilled practitioners, I became a critic of sorts. I paid attention to the liturgy in a new way, wondered about the ritual significance of its elements, and expected historical continuity within innovation. I was learning, and part of that learning included a moment of analysis, which of course had to lead back to full, embodied participation.

In the past year, I’ve found myself considering worship through a new lens, through the lens of motherhood. This actually began when I was pregnant—the advent of parenting. I’ve found myself listening anew to hymns, prayers, the passing of the peace, benediction, and yes, the sermon. Is this the message I want my daughter to hear? Do I want her to be formed spiritually in this particular milieu? What would these actions teach her implicitly as well as explicitly about God and herself? 

I suspect this reflection will be ongoing, and I look forward to the day when I talk with my daughter about it. For now, I’ve come to some preliminary conclusions about the kind of Christian community that I long for, for her.

Wednesday
Oct082014

Casseroles and Cakes 

From Jennifer L. Holberg

Several years ago, I had breakfast with one of my former professors, whose husband had died unexpectedly a few weeks earlier.  She had never been a religious person or very interested in talking about faith. And yet, when I asked her how she was coping, she answered, “I think I might join a church.” 

I tried to not to act surprised (surprise being a rather a bad response in a life-long Christian, one would think, especially one who had had actual training in evangelism) as I responded with something vague about it being a good place to consider questions of mortality and eternity.

“No,” she said. “It’s not that.  It’s because I’ve always heard that church people bring casseroles and cakes when there’s trouble. And look in on widows.  Help them with leaf raking and other chores. I don’t have anything like that—and it sounds very appealing.  Is it true?”

I assured her we were quite expert in the “casseroles and cakes” division and that care of widows was an ongoing imperative throughout the Bible. 

But I was intrigued.  It would have been easy to dismiss this as her mistaking church for a social service or a club.  Yet, it seemed to me that if she were attracted to the church because of seeing our care for each other, because of seeing a winsome community, maybe that wasn’t the worst thing.

Tuesday
Oct072014

Bringing Mystery Back

From Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

You can't tell me there is no mystery
It's overflows my cup

This feast of beauty can intoxicate
Just like the finest wine

Come all you stumblers who believe love rules
Stand up and let it shine

These are excerpts from Bruce Cockburn’s 2004 song, “Mystery,” found on his album Life Short Call Now.

I like the song. I like mystery. It feels like almost everyone likes mystery these days. It is a good antidote to the cold objectivity that has owned the last few centuries. Mystery, intuition, folk-ways, Jesus—they’re all making comebacks; sprung free from the straightjacket of hyper-rationality. Mystery is a key part of Christianity’s breakup strategy with modernity.

It is also a healthy astringent for worship with too much chatter and theology with too many answers. Sometimes it feels like mystery has almost become a church-growth strategy. More and more I hear the actual word “mystery” slipped into worship. Candles, silence, icons, and chanting tossed in at no extra cost. Don’t misunderstand. I actually appreciate most of this, whether it really puts millennial butts in the pews or not.

But there are reasons to poke around a bit in our new enchantment with mystery. I’m not looking for reasons to go back to the bad old days. And I realize that trying to scrutinize mystery, having “reasons” to study it, seems somewhat to miss the point, contrary to the very nature of mystery.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 223 Next 5 Entries »