1. Proximate justice
Steven Garber of The Washington Institute (@TWI_vocation), whose book Fabric of Faithfulness I raved about when I read it last year, offers some sane words in light of recent events:
Wendell Berry has taught me that even the most complex situations, socially, economically, politically, are like marriage, and I’m sure that he is right. Most moments in our marriage reflect the deeper, harder truth that we each are implicated in the problem, and that we each have something important to say about its resolution. The only way forward is to make peace with proximate justice. It is a choice to make peace with something, something that is honest and true, something that is more just and more merciful, even if it is not everything. All-or-nothing never works– in marriages, in friendships, in the workplace, in the church. And it never works in politics.
2. A long faithfulness
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Eugene Peterson and that I’m pretty sure we’re related. Jonathan Merritt (@JonathanMerritt) managed to arrange an interview with him, and it’s chock full of wisdom, like this word to restless young Christians in search of spiritual depth:
Go to the nearest smallest church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months. If it doesn’t work out, find somewhere else. But don’t look for programs, don’t look for entertainment, and don’t look for a great preacher. A Christian congregation is not a glamorous place, not a romantic place. That’s what I always told people. If people were leaving my congregation to go to another place of work, I’d say, “The smallest church, the closest church, and stay there for 6 months.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. Some pastors are just incompetent. And some are flat out bad. So I don’t think that’s the answer to everything, but it’s a better place to start than going to the one with all the programs, the glitz, all that stuff.
3. What is integral mission?
Thanks to Tim Amstutz (@TimAmstutz) for sharing this helpful resource from David Westlake (@davidwestlake) of Tearfund, explaining what international development practitioners mean when they talk about integral mission, and why it’s such a helpful way of thinking about mission and ministry among the poor. He’s producing a series of podcasts and videos about it, and they seem excellent so far. Incidentally, I learned a lot about integral mission from Tim Amstutz and his exceptional colleagues with World Relief in Cambodia when I lived there back in 2006, so thanks Tim!
4. Does Bob Dylan deserve a Nobel Prize in Literature?
Bill Wyman (@hitsville) thinks so, as he writes in a New York Times op-ed (I will not disagree with him):
This year’s Nobel Prize in Literature should be announced in early October, and over on the tony British betting site Ladbrokes, Haruki Murakami of Japan, riding the waves of acclaim for his fantastical novel “1Q84,” is the favorite. Other well-known names — Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates — are bandied about, but Mr. Murakami is unique: among perennial Nobel front-runners, it would be difficult to find a writer more influenced by the popular music and culture born of the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s. That fact prompts a pressing question: why isn’t the most vital of the artistic catalysts of those upheavals himself a front-runner for the prize? I’m referring of course to Bob Dylan, a fierce and uncompromising poet whose writing, 50 years on, still crackles with relevance. Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience. His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.
5. Telling the story with integrity
Shortly after Katie and I got back from visiting La Limonada, Guatemala this spring, I wrote a post reflecting on the importance of integrity in telling the stories of the poor. The Chalmers Center values the same thing and demonstrates it in this video (can’t be embedded, unfortunately) featuring women who belong to savings groups in Togo.