Weekly Ponderings & Links: 1/21/18

Here are some things that caught my interest over the web waves this past week for my: Weekly Ponderings & Links: 1/21/18.

Pete Enns shares 4 particular things about western Christianity that screwed him up. I think they are a fair assessment overall, at least considering my own reality.

1) An overly intellectualized faith. “…there is no room for mystery and for the spiritual value of not-knowing. I understand better now why “mystery” and “subjectivity” were mocked in much of my Christian training.”

2) An overly individualize faith. Enns reminds us of a very important factor about the Bible, which I emphasize a lot whenever I teach and write: “Unlike English, the Greek language of the New Testament has both a plural and singular form of the pronoun “you.” When I read “you”—even though I know better—my default is singular. And so I miss a lot.”

3) White male privilege does exist. “Not being an oppressed person puts me at a disadvantage. I rarely need to cry out as the psalmists do about being treated with injustice, prejudice, with violence. I don’t need to worry about being pulled over by uniformed protectors of the public. There are many more places I can go and things I can do because I am part of the dominant culture.”

4) How rich we are. “Wealth is prized in western culture as a sign of success, what to aim for. Wealth is needed to make the western church run—and it is. Salaries have to be paid, buildings need to be maintained, neighborhood projects are waiting. I get it—and that’s the point. We’re stuck in a system where it is hard to critique wealth and it is easy to get caught up in it.”


                                new testament a very short intro   new testament history

This semester, for some side work, I’ve begun teaching religious studies courses at a local university in Memphis. The institution is Roman Catholic by background, but there is no certainty that students will be interested in the Christian faith from a faith angle. Some of them are interested in such, but not all. For some, it’s an academic exercise (as part of the General Education requirements).

The first class I’ve been assigned is New Testament. I’ve been introduced to a little intro book to the New Testament, literally titled The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction. It weighs in at 160 pages, though looking at it you think it would be just under 100 pages because of its thinness. I’ve also been dipping back into a text from seminary, New Testament History, by the well-known F.F. Bruce.

I’m so used to teaching the Old Testament, and to teaching evangelicals, that it has been nice to get into some more historical and critical scholarship (on some level) with New Testament studies.


New Testament scholar, Scot McKnight, will be doing a free webinar on the book of Revelation. From it, you will get:

  • Get an outline of the different approaches to read the book of Revelation.
  • Develop confidence to read Revelation by gaining an awareness of how it fits
    in the overall story of the Bible.
  • Learn how and why the message of Revelation is important for your church.
  • Have the opportunity to ask Scot your questions about Revelation.

It’s happening this Wednesday, January 24, at 10.00am CST.


(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

I have begun teaching a class on Leadership Development & Care. In preparing some material for the class, I came across this article from Fortune: The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

Theo Epstein, President of the Chicago Cubs, rang in at #1 for 2017. Some of the folk on the list are surprising; some I don’t know. I was also shocked that Barack Obama has not been on the list the past few years.


Business Insider reported news what most social media gurus are probably already aware of:

Millennials are responsible for the declines of several American industries — department stores, casual dining restaurants, and paper napkins, to name a few.

But when it comes to social media, it’s an even younger generation — Generation Z — that’s changing the rules of the game.

Defined as people born between 1995 and the mid-2000s, Generation Z has a markedly different approach to social media than the generations that preceded it.

In November, a Piper Jaffray survey found 47% of teens consider Snapchat their favorite social media platform, up from 35% the year before.

Instagram was the preferred platform for 24% of teens, the same number as one year earlier. Meanwhile, only 9% of teens chose Facebook — a decline of 4% from 2016.

Those are my weekly ponderings and links for January 21, 2018.

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