As church leaders, we have our ears, hearts, and words. We pray that God will use them. But we also have limitations--time, energy, and ability. And even though we feel helpless, like we can never do enough, sometimes being the person who takes the picture, who tells the story is our most important job.
In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott labeled the Super Bowl “the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” Since then, an annual flurry of media stories suggest a strong link between the national sporting extravaganza and an increase in forced prostitution. Responses to this perceived increase include awareness campaigns and heightened enforcement.
Surf’s up on religious doubt. We’ve heard about millenials leaving the church in droves (although—trust me—young folk are not alone in disenchantment with organized religion), the spiritual-but-not-religious, the backlash against SBNRs, and atheists holding Sunday go-to meetings. Now we are turning to the Janus of doubt/faith.
There is much to criticize about the International Olympic Committee and the global party it throws every two years: the domination of industrialized nations, corporate greed and flagrant bouts of political fence-sitting, whether with Nazi policies in Germany in the 1930s or the recent homophobic legislation in Russia. However, the IOC has not just paid lip service to the ancient idea of an Olympic truce.
I’ve become a loyal viewer of the ABC drama Nashville. The story sort of comes and goes—here it’s a subtly observed relationship drama, there it’s an off-the-rails primetime soap—but it’s perhaps the first TV musical with consistently great music direction, and some of the performers are pretty good, too. So I wait the silly story lines out and keep watching.
Last week’s episode followed young country star Juliette Barnes through the aftermath of her confrontation with a conservative Christian protester.
In the past year or so, we have started using the term "faith formation" at my congregation. In the past, we talked about "Christian education," or we talked about "Sunday school" or "confirmation." Or maybe, "adult study." Words like that.
According to the scholarship of the mid-20th century, Micah 6:1-8 is—like similar passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos—a “covenant lawsuit.” The name of the literary genre is taken from the Hebrew word rib (pronounced, “reev”), frequently translated “debate” or “controversy” or, in most of these passages, “complaint” or “case.” Such language conjures up the image of God as plaintiff and Israel as defendant, gathered before some court that would (imagine this) have authority over both. Personally, I think such a literal reading of the “lawsuit” form stretches the theology farther than it will go, but my point for the moment is that a rib is the sound of God complaining.