Things I read that made me think: 9/1/2013

I figured I would start doing a weekly post on things I’ve read during the week that you should check out because they made me think. I’m not good at ranking things so this list is purely in the random order that they came to mind.

1)Tamed Cynic: Top Ten Heresies and Remedies for Them
Fellow Methodist pastor Jason Micheli has started a series on the ancient heresies that keep coming back, the latest being #6 Donatism — the belief that priests have to be in a certain state of sinlessness for their sacraments to be valid. You’ll be surprised at what they actually look like and you might have the discomfort of recognizing yourself in some of them.

2) Reformedish: Jesus wasn’t a Stoic (Or, the Difference Between Socrates and Christ)
My buddy Derek Rishmawy compares ancient pagan Greek asceticism which devalued the physical world with Christian asceticism which doesn’t view the physical as being inherently bad. It is super-important to separate Greek philosophy from true Christianity on precisely this issue. God created the world and called it good. It’s not evil to enjoy physical things; it is evil to get addicted to them and make them idols which is why we fast and sacrifice.

3) Rachel Held Evans: Aristotle vs. Jesus — What Makes the New Testament Household Codes Different
Several of the New Testament epistles contain instructions for women to submit to men and slaves to submit to their masters. Rachel Held Evans points out that these household codes were very much in conformity with standard patriarchal expectations of 1st century Roman civilization, but what’s important are the places where they deviated from the norms. When you look at the difference between how Paul described things and how Aristotle described things, it shows the change that Jesus brings into the mix.

4) Christena Cleveland: People of Color Blog Too (25 Christian Blogs You Should Be Reading)
One of the things that I’ve been convicted by is how much I end up reading other white nerdy guys in the blogosphere. I need to broaden my horizons. Thankfully Christena Cleveland has curated this list of quality Christian bloggers from a more diverse background to check out.

5) Micah Murray: What Elysium Taught Me About the Kingdom of God
I went to see the movie Elysium because of this post. It’s a very powerful movie that everyone should check out, and I will be writing my own review of it very soon. Thanks to Micah for calling attention to it.

6) The Plow Boy: A Triangular View of the Atonement
I love geeking out over atonement theory. This is yet another way of thinking about how to organize the different aspects of Jesus’ cross and the work that it does. I’m not sure I agree with it completely but Larry Garcia is a very smart dude who has given these things a lot of thought.

7) Defeating the Dragons: Complementarianism and Metaphors
I have been consistently impressed with the thoughtfulness and integrity that Samantha at Defeating the Dragons has in reading the Bible and tackling some of the biggest clobber passages of fundamentalism. In this piece, she wrestles with what Ephesians 5:22-23 is really supposed to be about.

8. Elizabeth Esther: Military Strike Against Syria?
This is the most rational thing I’ve read about the impending US military strike against Syria. It’s a case of doing something that might not help anything for the sake of doing something. At least if you blow something up, you have a measurable form of achievement. Complete madness!

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