Weekly Must-Reads {03.21.11}

I will be spending most of this week at a conference in St. Louis (see below). Blogging might be a little light. I may try and sneak away at some point, but I can’t make any promises. For that reason, this week’s Weekly Must-Reads list is a little longer than usual. In it, we have articles about fat Christians, single Christians, disagreeing “liberal” Christians, and other writings about business and the media. People really seemed to enjoy the last list I posted. I hope this one also serves you all well. And remember: comment, comment, comment!

Liturgy, Music, & Space | Bifrost Arts

This is the conference that I will be attending this week (Facebook page). It’s being put on by an artist’s collective known as Bifrost Arts. They have some amazing music that you should all check out, including one of the most beautiful Christmas album I’ve ever heard. Also check out this video of some of the things they are doing.

Single and Evangelical? Good Luck Finding Work as a Pastor – NYTimes.com

Now this is fascinating. Could the Protestant church have swung the pendulum to opposite unhealthy extreme as Catholics by practically requiring all of its leaders to be married instead of single? Discuss.

Frequent churchgoers frequently fatter – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs

Going to Church makes you fat. But the researchers can’t tell why. Perhaps we are good at “consuming” our faith but not “exercising” it? Seriously: maybe we’re good at sitting down and learning and sitting down and eating, but the hard, sweaty, and active work of healing the sick, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked is difficult; it requires heavy lifting, long walks, and constant movement. The only well-known and faithful Christians I can think of that were/are overweight are the ones not known for their works of service (except maybe Calvin). What do you think the reason is?

G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether – NYTimes.com

This made me so frustrated. It should not be this way. Flat tax with few, if any exemptions; few, if any, taxes on corporate profits. That’s what we need. Even if every American paid the lowest tax bracket rate (10% of income) then, on average, we would pay less taxes and the government would have more money (the downside is that the lowest tax bracket wouldn’t also have exemptions to pay even less).

Organized religion ‘will be driven toward extinction’ in 9 countries, experts predict – CNN Belief Blog

REALLY fascinating article. It sounds hokey and “roll your eyes”-worthy at first, but keep reading and it gets pretty substantive. I know that from within the Christian bubble, my church in the middle of urban Philadelphia is blowing up, and so it can give me a false sense of what’s actually going on in the world. And we can’t forget that the church is growing MASSIVELY in China, Africa, and South America. Finally, the West can lose its monopoly on the Faith. We will have to learn from others what it means to receive and grow in the Faith. Here’s an interesting quote:

“Peter Berger, a former president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, once said that, “People will become so bored with what religious groups have to offer that they will look elsewhere.” He said Protestantism “has reached the strange state of self-liquidation,” that Catholicism was in severe crisis, and anticipated that “religions are likely to survive in small enclaves and pockets” in the United States. He made those predictions in February 1968.”

Steve Inskeep: Liberal Bias at NPR? – WSJ.com

“The facts show that NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air. In surveys by GfK MRI, most listeners consistently identify themselves as “middle of the road” or “conservative.” Millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.”

Rob Bell and C.S. Lewis (by Jeff Cook) | Jesus Creed

This is an amazingly thoughtful article that makes the following claim: There’s not one controversial idea in [Rob Bell’s] “Love Wins” that is not clearly voiced as a real possibility by the most popular evangelical writer of the last century, CS Lewis. Fascinating read. Please please please discuss!

Tony Jones, Greg Boyd respond to Rob Bell | Jesus Creed

Another Rib Bell article, this one from fellow “Emergent” and controversial pastor Tony Jones. He points out the all of Bell’s thoughts are built on this one oft-repeated phrase in his writings/interviews: true love requires freedom. Jones tackles the issues of Divine Sovereignty and Human Will in a beautiful, intelligent, and thought-provoking response surely many of you will enjoy.

Fertility Goddess Asherah: Was ‘God’s Wife’ Edited Out of the Bible? – TIME

Oh goodness. Another “Bible conspiracy theory” article. Oh that we still held in our minds the ideas of growth, process, change, and Story. Then things like this wouldn’t be so scary to us. Yes, in the beginning of a story, there is much that is not revealed to both the reader and the participants of the narrative. It’s as time moves on that we see more clearly the nature of the narrative (and, by extension, the author). So what if early Israelites believed in many gods or that Yahweh had a wife (I personally disagree on that second point, but that’s not the point here)? Eventually we saw God’s clearest revelation of Himself: Jesus. And then things became at least a little more clear. So, everyone: relax.

Barnes & Noble Said to Be Likely to End Search Without Buyer – Bloomberg

Well well well. The other big bookstore chain is facing issues. After Borders filed for bankruptcy, we come to find that B&N is looking for a buyer. The reason, they cite? Amazon and ebooks. I disagree, mostly. Look for an upcoming post I’ll put up about why this is.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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