‘God and the Gay Christian’ Discussion, Part 5

Over the next few weeks, on Wednesdays, we will be discussing Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. (See Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4)

I chose this particular book because I think it provides the most accessible and personal introduction to the biblical and historical arguments in support of same-sex relationships, and because Matthew is a theologically conservative Christian who affirms the authority of Scripture and who is also gay. His research is sound and his story compelling, and he’s a friend—someone I like and respect and enjoy learning from. 

We will wrap up our discussion next week with a look at Chapters 8, 9 and 10, but today we focus on Matthew’s analysis of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

The Kingdom of God 

Matthew begins this chapter with a startling and sad confession: “I am far from the only gay Christian who has heard the claim that gay people will not inherit the kingdom of God. That message is plastered on protest signs at gay pride parades. It is shouted by roaming street preachers at busy intersections and on college campuses. The result is that, for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, all they have heard about the kingdom of God is that they won’t be in it.” 

That sentence just broke my heart. 

The biblical passage typically cited to exclude LGBT people from the kingdom of God is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which in the King James version says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 

Matthew points out that the two terms consider here are malakoi [sometimes translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoitai [sometimes translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” or, more recently, “homosexuals” or “men who practice homosexuality”]. 

Regarding malakoi, Matthew notes that most uses of the word in ancient literature are not related to same-sex behavior but rather to men who were self-indulgent and enslaved to their passions…for women. In the apostle Paul’s culture, it was believed that women were weak and lacked self-control, so a man who indulged his passions without restraint, or who took on the passive role in any sexual relationship, was considered effeminate. This would explain why many early versions of Scripture translated this word as “wantons,” “debauchers,” “licentious,” and “sensual.” New Testament scholar David Frederickson has argued that, given the context, malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is best translated, “those who lack self-control.” 

The word arsenokoitai is a bit more complicated, and has traditionally been understood to refer to same-sex behavior, especially since a similar word combination occurs in Leviticus 20. In Greek, arsen means “male” and koites means “bed.” While there are very few uses of arsenokoitai in Greek literature after Paul, some of the few uses that have survived indicate it referred to economic exploitation, not same-sex behavior. It’s also important to remember that the most common forms of same-sex behavior in the ancient world were pederasty and sex between masters and slaves. (Pederasty was so common that Philo described it simply as the union of “males with males.”) 

Matthew points to an ancient text known as the Sibylline Oracles in which the word arsenokoites is used to describe injustice: “Do not steal seeds. Whoever takes for himself is accursed to generations of generations, to the scattering of life. Do not arsenokoitein, do not betray information, do not murder. Give one who has labored his wage. Do not oppress a poor man.” He also quotes from the second-century text, Acts of John, which says, “And let the murderer know that the punishment he has earned awaits him in double measure after he leaves this world. So also the poisoner, sorcerer, robber, swindler, and arsenokoites, the thief and all his land.” The word also appears in 1 Timothy 1:10 after “sexually immoral” and before “slave traders.” 

These and other examples from the ancient world have led several scholars to conclude that the term arsenokoites likely describes economic exploitation by some sexual means. 

Given our limited understanding of the exact meaning of these words, it seems like it might be better to err on the side of caution and not rely exclusively on them to condemn or support same-sex relationships. (Personally, I think the Romans 1 passage is probably the most important one to contend with. We covered that in our last discussion.) 

“But here’s the key point to remember,” writes Matthew. “Even if Paul had intended his words to be a condemnation of all forms of same-sex relations, the context in which he would have been making that statement would still differ significantly from our context today.” 

That’s because same-sex behavior in the first century was not understood to be the expression of an exclusive sexual orientation but rather it was understood as excess on the part of those who could easily be content with heterosexual relationships, but who went beyond them in search of more exotic pleasures. So when the translation of malakoi and arsenokoites shifted in the 20th century to refer to people with same-sex orientation, “it fostered the mistaken belief that Paul was condemning a minority group with a different sexual orientation” when “in fact, he was condemning excessive and exploitive sexual conduct.” 

At the end of this chapter, Matthew basically repeats his main thesis: 

“The concept of same-sex orientation did not exist in the ancient world. Prior to recent generations, same-sex behavior was widely understood to be the product of sexual excess, not the expression of a sexual orientation. The issue we face today—gay Christians and their committed relationships—has not been an issue for the church in past eras…”  

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about a threatened gang rape, not an intimate companionship. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were grounded in cultural concerns about patriarchal gender roles and religious ritual purity. Romans 1:26-27 refers to excessive sexual desire and lust and uses “natural” and “unnatural” to refer to customary gender roles, just as those words are used to describe men with long hair and women who cover their heads. 

“The bottom line is this,” writes Matthew.  “The Bible does not directly address the issue of same-sex orientation—or the expression of that orientation. While its six references to same-sex behavior are negative, the concept of same-sex behavior in the Bible is sexual excess, not sexual orientation. What’s more, the main reason tat non-affirming Christians believe the Bible’s statements should apply to all same-sex relationships—men and women’s anatomical complementarity—is not mentioned in any of the passages.” 

Next week we’ll wrap up with a discussion around the biblical arguments for marriage equality. 

Questions for Discussion: 

1.    What do you think of Matthew’s treatment of 1 Corinthians 6? 

2.    If Matthew is right—if committed same-sex relationships are simply never discussed in Scripture—do you find that encouraging or discouraging? Given the degree to which LGBT people have been marginalized, and given the controversy surrounding marriage equality that rages throughout much of the Church, do wish Scripture was a bit more clear on this? Do you think it matters? 

Learn more: 

If you want to learn more about the Bible and sexuality, check out the Reformation Project conference in Washington D.C., November 6-8. Speakers include David Gushee, Allyson Robinson, Gene Robinson, Justin Lee, Jane Clementi, Danny Cortez, Frank Schaefer, James Brownson, Kathy Baldock, Alexia Salvatierra, and Amy Butler.



Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Responses & Resources for the Abraham/Isaac Question

So my post last week about wrestling with the story of Abraham and Isaac and considering the role that conscience plays in our interpretation and application of Scripture generated quite a response. I got “farewelled” and called a heretic. People bemoaned my slippery-slope sliding, mocked my lack of theological training, and accused me of challenging God, hating the Bible, and exploring atheism.  But in the midst of all that came some really fantastic insights, challenges, questions, and ideas…exactly what I’d hoped the post would generate.  And I was reminded that I’m not alone in my questions and curiosity, and that questions and curiosity need not threaten faith but can actually enliven it. 

As it turns out, people have been wrestling with this text and its implications for centuries and there are many fascinating, helpful perspectives on it. And when I asked for more, you sent me poems, essays, books, articles,  encyclopedia entries, and even songs—little gifts that softened my defensive posture by infusing me with fresh curiosity. 

This, I believe, is exactly what the Bible is meant to be: a conversation-starter, not a conversation-ender. The Bible invites us into conversation with God and with one another as we debate, discuss, wrestle with, and learn from its various texts. And this divine conversation reminds us that being people of faith isn’t just about being right; it’s about being a part of a community, part of a great tradition of dialog. Think how boring and individualistic the Christian life would be if biblical interpretation were easy! 

So I thought I’d share with you some of the best responses and resources I received over the past few days. While I don’t agree with every point in every one of these comments, articles, and quotes—I’ve included thoughts from Christians, Jews, and even atheists—I think they provide great fodder for conversation and may help you as you work through all this on your own. Feel free to share your own favorite posts or resources in the comment section.  

Theology and biblical interpretation aren’t meant to be done alone, but in community. We’re all learning as we go. So let’s take a deep breath and just listen to one another for a while: 

From the comments… 

 From Nate Pyle: 

“If, as some argue, the story of Abraham and Isaac is about God revealing himself in a new way and showing that a religion requiring a child sacrifice is wrong, I can't help but wonder what that means for us. For me as a pastor, being sure not to sacrifice my family and my kids on the altar of church. Not sacrificing people with a heavy, moralistic yoke. Not sacrificing relationships because of "truth." Maybe it is time we pay attention to all the ways we sacrifice people on the altar of religion and then stop it.” 

From Amanda:

“There is a scene at the end of Shusaku Endo's exquisite historical novel, Silence, in which the young Jesuit priest Rodrigues is given a choice between ending his Japanese Christian brothers and sisters' tortuous suffering by recanting and trampling on an image of Christ, or standing resolute in his faith and not denying his Savior. In his agonized moment of indecision, Rodrigues hears the voice of Christ say, ‘Trample! Trample! I more than anyone know of the pain in your foot. Trample! It was to be trampled on by men that I was born into this world. It was to share men’s pain that I carried my cross.’ And so, I will forever treasure this novel for teaching me that to deny our absolute faith in God and belief in right doctrine out of love for another is to do exactly as Christ would have us do."

From Kathleen Margaret Schwab: 

“I personally find convincing the theory that the story of Abraham almost sacrificing Issac is a story about the end of child sacrifice. Perhaps the beginning of the culture beginning to wrestle with this ancient practice, and define a response. Sacrificing children was a part of the culture of the time. The Hebrews broke from this practice and went on to be very very critical of it...although the OT also records that even kings of Israel sacrificed their children, which implies that common people may have also done so. I personally think that humans often deal with emotionally heated topics through story telling. The story of Abraham, with the details of the journey, the wood, the binding and the knife, provokes a powerful emotional response from the listener or reader. I think most of us want to say NO! And then our emotional response is confirmed by a message from God, that this sacrifice is not necessary.  I think we need to dig into stories like this, to see what message they give, the emotional arc they take us through.” 

From Micah: 

“Oh man, have I spent a lot of time on this passage. I've hated it and loved it and hated it and loved it again. At this point it's one of my favorite passages of scripture. It wasn't an accident that we named our kid Isaac. There's a lot to this passage, but there's one thing that you've not mentioned that I find completely fascinating: Abraham did not regard God's command as immoral. When you read the text again and again and grapple with it, you're struck by the fact that Abraham's objections were purely logistical, not moral. Isaac was the child of promise; how could he have descendants if he died? Abraham didn't seem particularly fazed by the whole "child sacrifice" thing, and for good reason: child sacrifice was completely normal in his area. No one had ever voiced objections to child sacrifice. Why would they? On what grounds would one of his neighbors have ever decided that a child's life had inherent worth? God didn't ask Abraham to do anything out of the ordinary in Abraham's culture. But it was out of the ordinary for the new culture that God wanted to create. Else why supply the ram at all? So I don't read this passage as a cruel and petty God testing Abraham. I see this passage as the beginning of a redemptive arc that sweeps through all of Scripture. It's the beginning of God teaching his people a new and better ethic. It continues on in, for example, Deuteronomy 18:10 and then carries on throughout the story of Israel. (Micah wrote more about this in a post here.

From Rabbi Moffic: 

Jewish tradition has a long history of arguing that Abraham FAILED God's test. He should have protested. That's why it is an angel at the end who stays Abraham's hand, not God. Just as Abraham protested in Sodom and Gomorrah, all the more he should protested when God's ask him to sacrifice his son.

Articles, Essays, Books, Poems…

Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling: 

“The ethical expression for what Abraham did is that he meant to murder Isaac; the religious expression is that he meant to sacrifice Isaac—but precisely in this contradiction is the anxiety that can make a person sleepless, and yet without this anxiety Abraham is not who he is.” Read the rest here (or a summary here)

The Jewish Virtual Library’s “Akedah” entry (shared by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg): 

“Milton Steinberg (Anatomy of Faith (1960), 147), rejected Kierkegaard's view as ‘unmitigated sacrilege…While it was a merit in Abraham to be willing to sacrifice his only son to his God, it was God's nature and merit that He would not accept an immoral tribute. And it was His purpose, among other things, to establish that truth.’ Other thinkers such as J.B. Soloveitchik have found the Kierkegaardian insights fully compatible with Judaism. Ernst Simon (in Conservative Judaism, 12 (spring 1958), 15–19) believes that a middle position between the two is possible. Judaism is an ethical religion and would never in fact demand a teleological suspension of the ethical. Abraham is, therefore, ordered to stay his hand. The original command to sacrifice Isaac is a warning against too complete an identification of religion with naturalistic ethics." (Read the whole entry.)

Rob Bell’s The Gods Aren’t Angry (or, abbreviated in “What is the Bible: Part 6”)

“…This isn’t a story about what Abraham does for God; it’s a story about what God does for Abraham. Mind blowing. New. Ground breaking. A story about a god who doesn’t demand anything but gives and blesses…So, back to our original question: What kind of God would ask a man to sacrifice his son? Now, an answer: Not this one. The other gods may demand your firstborn, but not this God.”

 “Abraham’s Madness” by Bink Noll (shared by Preston Yancey) and “Sarah: Before Mount Moriah” and “Isaac” by Madeleine L’Engle 

But Where is the Lamb? Imagining the Story of Abraham and Isaac by James Goodman (reviewed here) and The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son by Jon Levenson 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach on “Noah” - seems relevant 

“[Noah] failed in the greatest mission of all. He failed to protect human life. And failed to fight with God when he wanted to take human life. He refuses to wrestle with God….God says “everyone will die” and Noah says nothing. But this is not what God wants. God wants people with moxie! God wants people with spiritual audacity! He does not want the obedient man of belief. He wants the defiant man of faith . It isn’t until Abraham, when God says, ‘we have the rainbow and I promise not to destroy everyone, but I will destroy these two cities Sodom and Gomorah,’ Abraham does something audacious. He says “will the judge of the entire Earth not practice justice?’ He lifts his fists to heaven! He raises a cudgel to Heaven! This made him the first Jew. A Jew does not just accept a divine decree, he does not just bow his head in silent obedience.”

Blog Posts…

Derek Rishmawy with “Abraham, Cultural Distance, and Offering Up Our Moral Conscience” 

“All too often in these discussions of troubling texts, we collapse the cultural distance between us and the biblical characters. Human nature is, in many ways, constant. Conscience is one of those basic human features. Across cultures, everybody has a clear sense of right and wrong, norms against which we must not cross, and an internal compass about these sorts of things. That said, any student of culture knows there are some significant variations across cultures as well. “Self-evident truths” held by post-Enlightenment Americans are not all that apparent to equally intelligent Middle Easterners or citizens of the Majority world. The conscience of a 1st Century citizen might be very sensitive about an issue you and I wouldn’t blink twice about, and vice versa. Our cultural presuppositions and plausibility structures do a significant amount of work here.”

Neil at Godless in Dixie with “Evangelicalism: It’s Not Just a Messaging Problem” 

“In the end, if whatever God tells you to do is right, then morality is fundamentally relative.  Once you’ve decided on that way of thinking, it inevitably devolves into a theological debate about God’s feelings.  This is a highly subjective discussion, of course, since one of the key tenets of monotheism is that if there is a God, you’re probably not him.  So how is it that you feel qualified to determine what he wants and what he doesn’t (and for that matter, why it has to be a “he”)?  It’s your word against another man’s word, not God’s word against everyone else’s.  You can try saying “but the Bible says,” except that’s really the word of more people just like you.  Any attempt to deny this leads to untenable absurdity because the Bible isn’t even consistent with itself.  Biblical writers didn’t all see everything the same way."

[I included the atheist's perspective because it was one of the only responses to actually engage the question at the heart of the post of which the story of Abraham and Isaac was simply an illustration. Also, it was refreshingly free of condescension!]  

Lee Wyatt with “Do Christians Still Sacrifice Their Children?: A Response to Rachel Held Evans” (this one also includes a nice quote from John Howard Yoder) 

“Evans is in effect complaining about a flat reading of the text which assumes any and every command of God is applicable to his people anytime and anywhere.  Yet she appears to practice the same hermeneutic in assuming that believers today might sometime face the same command to sacrifice our children. This is a red herring because we will never face such a command.  Evan’s failure to read the Bible as a story told as chapters or acts of a play (Creation, Catastrophe, Covenant, Christ, Church, and Consummation) and factoring in the difference it makes that we live in the fifth chapter or act, “the Church,” rather than the earlier ones where these texts are found.  After Christ, and in the absence of anything remotely similar in the rest of the New Testament, ought to assure us that whatever those earlier stories mean, they no longer hold for the chapter of the story we live in.  That doesn’t lessen the difficulty we feel with those earlier stories, but it does mean that things have radically changed since Christ such that no more of that kind of thing is appropriate or should even be thinkable for God’s people today.  Yes, some do still think that way, as Evans points out, but that is a misuse or misinterpretation of the Bible and should be treated as such.”

Caroline Langston with "Holding the Blade of Sacrifice" 

It occurs to me that all the violent Old Testament stories that are routinely dismissed by contemporary Christian progressives for their supposed brutality and vengeance are, in fact, the very ones I love. For are not the depictions of riven families and murder and inconclusive journeys how we actually experience life here, in the Far Country? It strikes me that the stories of the Hebrew Bible, read in an evolutionary manner, are a great mercy to us humans, for they bring God nearer to us than we could ever imagine. We who are clueless, bumbling about in our wilderness, thinking we are trying to be obedient.

I'm rereading Marilynne Robinson's Gilead in preparation for Lila and just happened to bump into this quote, (in the voice of Pastor John Ames) which seemed relevant: 

"My point is that Abraham is in effect called upon to sacrifice both his sons, and that the Lord in both instances sends angels to intervene at the critical moment to save the child. Abraham's extreme old age is an important element in both stories, not only because he can hardly hope for more children, not only because the children of old age are unspeakably precious, but also, I think, because any father, particularly an old father, must finally give his child up to the wilderness and trust to the providence of God. It seems almost a cruelty for one generation to beget another when parents can secure so little for their children, so little safety, even in the best circumstances. Great faith is required to give the child up, trusting God to honor the parents' love for him by assuring that there will indeed be angels in the wilderness."


What did I miss? Please feel free to share links in the comment section! 



Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Sunday Superlatives 10/19/14: Travel Edition

I was offline this week traveling from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Charleston, West Virginia, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Phoenix, Arizona to hang out with the Methodist, the Lutherans, and the evangelicals. So today’s superlatives go to the most memorable experiences from the week. Feel free to share your picks from the blogosphere in the comment section. 

Lightest Packer: 
Yours Truly with six days of travel crammed into one backpack and a purse 

Most Unnerving: 
Delta pilot in Chattanooga with “Take a look at that windsock! This should be exciting!” 

Scariest Airport: 
Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia with its 6,302-foot mountaintop runway 

Best Dancers: 
Members of the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church Clergy School who opened their first session dancing to “Happy” 

Best Conversation:
My conversation/interview with Laura Harbert Allen on Southern life, LGBT equality, and faith 

Best Sermon: 
Rev. Telley Gadson on 1 Corinthians 13 at the West Virginia Conference UMC Clergy School (if I can get my hands on the sermon itself, I will share it!) 

Funniest Crew Member:
Delta flight attendant with “If you haven’t been in a moving vehicle since 1985, here’s how you fasten your seat belt.” 

Most Beautiful: 
Good Earth Village in in Spring Valley Minnesota with FALL 

Most Stimulating:
Talking about the sacraments of baptism, confession, communion and anointing of the sick with Lutheran (ELCA) clergy in Minnesota. I loved these people and learned so much. 

Best Light-Reading for a Long Flight: 
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

Best Deep-Reading for a Long Flight: 
The Atlantic Monthly’s November issue and Jon Lee Anderson’s breathtaking feature article, “The Mission” in The New Yorker  

Best Hugs: 
Participants at the Barefoot Tribe Conference at The Grove in Phoenix whose warm welcome will not soon be forgotten 

Coolest Idea:
Artist Scott Erickson created this as I spoke about gender equality at Barefoot Tribes

Most Inspiring: 
When the people of The Grove church shared how they took this post and brought it to life by holding a great feast for more than 675 people at one table! 

Best Feeling: 


In spending time with Christians from a variety of church traditions this week, I was reminded of the degree to which theological and ecclesiological diversity strengthens the Body of Christ. It was especially encouraging to talk about the sacraments (the topic of my next book) with groups that express those sacraments in different ways. I learned a lot and I felt like I contributed a lot too, which is the best way to feel after a trip like this one. Thanks to everyone who instructed me, listened to me, encouraged me, and fed me this week.  I came home feeling tired but grateful. 


So, what did I miss online this week? Share your favorite links in the comments and I’ll catch up! 



Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

Sunday Superlatives 10/12/14

The New York Times treats second graders to fine dining 

Charles Blow (in an interview with Jason Parham) on masculinity

“I believe that we have drawn masculinity in this incredibly narrow, rigid, dangerous way. We think of it as a peak, and I think of it as an ocean…Boys are constantly confronting this notion of failure because they cannot live up to idea of people saying to them, Man up! Be a man! And they don't know what that is because they're just trying to be human. And being human is sometimes fragile. I believe we have to redraw our collective concept of what masculinity is so that it includes the possibility of difference and variation. And once we do that we free these kids up to be kids, and to be human beings.”

Sarah Schwartz at Deeper Story with “Antidepressants as a Means of Grace” 

“On Wednesday mornings, the high school ministry team I was a part of met for breakfast at a local diner. As we swapped prayer requests over bad coffee and scrambled eggs, I shared that I had started taking medicine to help combat my depression, to which the leader of the team, a senior boy I admired, turned and forcefully informed me, ‘You know, that would go away if you just trusted God enough.’”

“Undulatus Asperatus: A New Cloud Type” 

Most Powerful: 
Amena Brown at MOMcan with “Be You Bravely” 

Most Inspiring (nominated by Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu):  
Christy Wade with “How a Transgender Lady Helped Me Not Walk Away Fom My Christian Faith” 

“For an hour, I listened as she shared her story of coming to terms with her faith and gender identity. I was amazed she went to seminary at Baylor and had served as a Baptist preacher. She listened as I shared my journey and how I was struggling. I learned we shared the same belief that the Bible was more than a book of literature. She told me I didn’t have to disregard Scripture. It was obvious she was a woman of vibrant, deep Christian faith. Hope entered my life again. I was overwhelmed with God’s presence and tangibly felt His love wash over me. My life changed that day, and I began my journey of reconciling my faith and sexual orientation, whatever that would look like.” 

Most Informative: 
Marg Mowczko with “Paul and Women in a Nutshell” and “The First Century Church and the Ministry of Women” 

“Paul was not a misogynist: he did not hate or mistrust women. Paul valued Priscilla, Euodia and Syntyche as his co-workers in gospel ministry. He refers to Junia as his relative (or compatriot), his fellow prisoner, and as outstanding among the apostles. He commends Phoebe to the church at Rome as “our sister”, a patroness of many, a minister of the church at Cenchrea, and he probably sent his letter to the Romans with her. He acknowledges the ministry labours of Mary of Rome, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis…”

Most Insightful: 
Richard Beck with “Be Holy to Love Each Other” 

“We are called to be holy as God is holy. We are to purify ourselves. But what is the goal of holiness? For what purpose is purity? The purpose and the goal of holiness and purity is that we will have sincere, genuine, deep and mutual love for each other. Holiness and purity are not the opposite of love. Holiness and purity are the cultivation of love.  The holy person is the loving person. The pure person is the loving person.”

Best Headline:
Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker with “Man infected with Ebola misinformation through causal contact with cable news” 

Best Profile: 
Wyatt Mason at New York Times Magazine with “The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson” 

“…And it was here that Robinson brought up fear: How it has come to keep us at bay from our best selves, the selves that could and should “do something.” In her case, that “something” has been writing. For Robinson, writing is not a craft; it is “testimony,” a bearing witness: an act that demands much of its maker, not least of which is the courage to reveal what one loves.”

Best Series: 
Rebecca Lujan Loveless with “An Uneven Scale: Blog Series on Western Evangelical Justice Work” 

Best Op-Ed:
Nicholas Kristof with “The Diversity of Islam” 

“Beware of generalizations about any faith because they sometimes amount to the religious equivalent of racial profiling. Hinduism contained both Gandhi and the fanatic who assassinated him. The Dalai Lama today is an extraordinary humanitarian, but the fifth Dalai Lama in 1660 ordered children massacred ‘like eggs smashed against rocks.’ Christianity encompassed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and also the 13th century papal legate who in France ordered the massacre of 20,000 Cathar men, women and children for heresy, reportedly saying: ‘Kill them all; God will know his own.’”

Best Reflection:
Ruthie Johnson at Missio Alliance with "Restoring Unity: The Invitation of the Banquet of Heaven"

“In order to move towards unity as the Church, we must first practice the incarnational Kingdom in small, meaningful and routine places, such as meals. Our daily actions and interactions with those who are different—seeking to build bridges across, gender, theology, socioeconomics and race build skills to help us move toward unity as a whole.”

Best Advice:
James Hamblin at The Atlantic with “Buy Experiences, Not Things” 

Best List: 
Peter Enns with “10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Bible” 

“An extremely important lesson for Christians to learn from Judaism is that the Bible invites debate. In fact, it can’t avoid it, given how open it is to multiple interpretations. Winning Bible feuds with others, getting to the right answer, isn’t the end goal. The back-and forth with the Bible, and with God, is where deeper faith is found.”

Best Perspective:  
Jim Wallis with “Ebola is an Inequality Crisis” 

“The knowledge and infrastructure to treat the sick and contain the virus exists in high- and middle-income counties. However, over many years, we have failed to make these things accessible to low-income people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. So now thousands of people in these countries are dying because, in the lottery of birth, they were born in the wrong place.”

On Twitter...


So, what caught your eye online this week? What's happening on your blog? 



Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are constantly negative or a general ass, troll, or hater, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.