1. Liturgy, tradition, and relevance
A lot of younger Christians – and older ones too, for that matter – are finding themselves drawn to more rooted, intentionally liturgical forms of corporate worship. Andrea Palpant Dilley does a fine job explaining why:
In my 20s, liturgy seemed rote, but now in my 30s, it reminds me that I’m part of an institution much larger and older than myself. As the poet Czeslaw Milosz said, “The sacred exists and is stronger than all our rebellions.” Both my doubt and my faith, and even my ongoing frustrations with the church itself, are part of a tradition that started before I was born and will continue after I die. I rest in the assurance that I have something to lean against, something to resist and, more importantly, something that resists me.
2. Sexual abuse in the church
A group of Christian leaders have added their names to a confessional statement about sexual abuse in the church, a topic that has scandalized the Catholic Church for many years, has tarnished the reputation of Protestant missionary organizations, and has more recently brought an influential evangelical denomination under heavy scrutiny. Here’s the powerful closing paragraph of the much-needed statement:
To all who have been abused, broken, deceived and ignored, we have failed you and our God. We repent for looking nothing like our Lord when we have silenced you, ignored you or moved away from you and then acted as if you were the problem. You are not the problem; you are the voice of our God calling his church to repentance and humility. Thank you for having the courage to speak truth. May God have mercy on us all and oh may the day come when his church reflects the indescribable love and compassion of Jesus, even to the point of laying down our lives for his precious sheep.
3. Modest steps for bridge-building
Catholics and Protestants have their fair share of differences, certainly, and these should by no means be swept under the rug. But we also have many areas of common ground, and we both seek to follow Jesus, who called his followers to the ministry of reconciliation. With that in mind, I really appreciated the “interim strategy” outlined here by the late Avery Dulles, who worked with J.I. Packer and other evangelical heavyweights as part of Evangelicals and Catholics Together. Here’s step number one:
Correct misleading stereotypes. For all our progress toward greater mutual understanding, stereotypes still persist. Often we hear “Catholics worship Mary” or “Evangelicals put private experience above the revelation of God in Scripture.” Such statements may well be true of some Catholics and certain evangelicals, but they represent a departure from, not an authentic development of, the church’s faith.
4. What the Arab Spring was about
Hernando de Soto (@readingsignals), the Peruvian development economist known for his books including The Mystery of Capital, writes in The Spectator with a different take on what Arab protesters really want:
Two years ago, the West thought it recognised what was happening in the Arab world: people wanted democracy, and were having revolutions to make that point. Now, recent events in Egypt have left many open-mouthed. Why should the generals be welcomed back? Why should the same crowds who gathered in Tahrir Square to protest against the old regime reconvene to cheer the deposing of their elected president? Could it be that the Arab Spring was about something else entirely? I believe so. The Arab Spring was a massive economic protest: a demand that the poor should have the basic rights to buy, sell and make their way in the world.
5. Down In The Valley
I’ve been humming along with The Head and the Heart a lot lately.
[Image via humanepursuits.com]