In case anyone was wondering where I was: no, I wasn’t beaten to death by angry pastors for things I’ve said on this blog. (Though the year’s not over yet, wink.) I was just tired, due to the heat (it’s been over 100F/38C every day this week, and we don’t have air conditioning) and some general life ‘n family issues (minor ones, eminently fixable, just a whole lotta them). And in the words of Huey Lewis, I took a couple days off. Never fear, though; I’ve already decided next week will be posts-a-go-go, a lot of stuff to read about – stay tuned and see what happens.
And as a reward for your patience, I have not one, but TWO Periodic Pingbacks to keep you hopping this weekend!
One is from my absolute favorite blog on the Internet, the one I’ve referenced more times than any other, the one I’ve even linked to on this here very page … frankly, the blogger I’d like to be when I grow up, if I ever do. (Seeing as I’m already 39, the odds are low.) You guessed it: the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer. About once a week, he posts something so insightful / incisive / thought-provoking / convicting that I’m tempted to just copy it, paste it here verbatim and pretend it’s mine, but I don’t have the guts. If you read only one blog a day, make it Michael’s; if you read two, I’d be honored to be the second one. Anyway, Michael’s post yesterday, “Why So Serious?: Considering A Short List of Gospel Contradictions”, is so incredibly good, so bullseye-on-target, and so personally shook me up that I have to share it with the world. I’ve rarely seen the gap between “what Christians are called to be” and “how Christians often are” delineated with such brevity, passion and compassion. If you’re satisfied with your spiritual life as-is, read it at your peril.
And if you’re satisfied with the spiritual life of the body of Christ as-is, you should nevah, evah, EVAH read anything by Frank Viola. Frank is one of the few leaders in the American church who’s willing to state publicly that sometimes the emperor not only has no clothes, but could stand to mix in a salad once in a while, spend some time on the Stairmaster and shave that back hair. I don’t always agree with him, but I can’t deny his love for Christ and His church, or his willingness to explore alternatives to the staid, comfortable (and not always Biblical) ennui of much of Western congregational practice. In his latest declaration, “A Jesus Manifesto”, he and Leonard Sweet do their best to bring the concept of following God back to where it belongs – namely, God, in the person of Jesus. Maybe they go a little far (this piece has been criticized elsewhere for ignoring service to others, possibly by folks who didn’t read the entire thing), but given that too much of the church, especially in the U.S., seems to not go far enough, I find this radical approach refreshing.
Hope these takes on Jesus and the Gospel encourage and enlighten you – and me, too.