links to 4 items worth your time

1. Waiting for God to Act

“We have been seduced by an idolatry that deceives us into thinking that God is mostly found in the big and loud, when in fact, God is almost never found in the big and loud. The ways of God are predominantly small and quiet. The ways of God are about as loud as seed falling on the ground or bread rising in an oven. The ways of God are almost never found in the shouts of the crowd; the ways of God are more often found in trickling tears and whispered prayers. We want God to do a big thing, while God is planning to do a small thing. We are impressed by the big and loud. God is not. We are in a hurry. God is not. We want God to act fast, but Godspeed is almost always slow.

“So we are waiting for God to act, but I would suggest that we are not so much waiting for God to act as we are waiting to become contemplative enough to discern what God is doing.”

2. A Nativity for Our Time

“What sorts of things should Christians really be upset by at Christmas?”

3. The Christus Victor View of the Atonement [essential reading]

“… the Christus Victor perspective inspires disciples to live counter-cultural lives that are persistently on-guard against the demonically seductive pull of nationalism, patriotism, culturally endorsed violence, greed, racism and a host of other structural evils that are part of the spiritually polluted air we all breath.”

4. 2,000-year-old ‘Pilate’ ring just might have belonged to notorious Jesus judge

“An intriguing 2,000-year-old copper alloy ring bearing the inscription ‘of Pilatus’ may be only the second artifact testifying to the historicity of the infamous Pontius Pilate. Unearthed 50 years ago, the ring was overlooked until recently, when it got a good scrub, and a second look. …

“While the name Pontius was common for Romans during the Second Temple, Pilate was not.”

links to 5 helpful articles

1. Why Worship Services are So Boring by Mike Glenn [essential reading]

“They’re bored. I know that. Here’s what else I know – It’s not my fault. And why isn’t it my fault? Aren’t I the one who’s in charge of worship? No, I’m not.”

2. Refugee Politics and a Tale of Two Thanksgivings [essential reading; how quickly we forget … and how slowly we repent]

“One national Gallup poll conducted in May 1975, just one month after the fall of Saigon, found that only 36 per cent of Americans surveyed favored the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees; 54 per cent of Americans surveyed opposed it. … Even a full decade after the end of the Vietnam War, a plurality of Americans believed that the United States had accepted too many refugees.”

3. How religious groups voted in the midterm elections

“White evangelical or born-again Christians backed Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives at about the same rate they did in 2014.”

4. Let Your Internet Yes Be Your Real-Life Yes: The Problem with Online Persona

“The persona allows us to say and do whatever it is our desired audience desires, whatever it takes in fact to maintain the persona and — fingers crossed — turn the persona into a brand. Meanwhile, the person shrinks, and his or her soul along with it.”

5. Homelessness, Step by Step

“… homelessness step by step through the eyes of several families, over the final months of last year.”