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The most read posts of 2016
Thanks for reading this year, friends. I’m grateful for your engagement and participation in my writing. I write mainly for fun, encouragement, and to add talk back and add my voice to the mix. As my final post for the year, I want to offer you my top ten most read posts.
You may want to respond to the articles or even help me sort through why you think they are “more popular” than others. Some philosophers and students of media may have thoughts.
Happy New Year!
Taylor is surprisingly out-of-touch compared to Mark and Jesus. Does she know the world we live in? For example, that the poor are living 14 years less than the rich? I’m not sure our hard work will save us, and I’m glad Jesus and Mark are telling us something else. They seem to be more aware of what’s happening right now in the world, even 2,000 years ago!
Yesterdays’ march was quite eclectic. Bryce told me that there wasn’t a very organized message. For most of the march, I was in the middle of Bernie Bros hoping that King Bernie would win the DNC’s nomination (even as he was imploring them to support the presumptive nominee—not surprisingly, he got booed). I felt a little icky at times walking with folks who really thought that their salvation and hope could come from the seat of power, as they were longing for a new moral elite to reign. I don’t think Jesus is about regime change and collecting political power. He wants to create alternatives to the domination system, and I believe that Circle of Hope is one such alternative.
In Mark’s decidedly downcast Gospel, which tells of the suffering Christ, he describes the disciples of Christ—all men—as foolish, argumentative, dismissive, and ultimately self-centered. Jesus is alone as he faces death at the end of Holy Week. But who are the model disciples in Mark?
The bleeding woman, for one. Her faith and audacity heal her.
The Syrophoenician woman is still another. She argues back to Jesus and seems to convince him to have mercy on her.
And finally, the unnamed woman who serves Jesus by pouring perfume on his body despite the protesting of the disciples.
It is the women in Mark who are faithful. They are clearly equally gifted to serve, and silencing them is not only irrational, it is against God and his vision for the body of Christ.
I think standing up for the war-worshiping anthem or even saluting a flag or pledging allegiance is nothing short of idolatry. The backlash that Kaepernick received for his protest showcases the deep-seated nature of American patriotism. That alone is reason to not stand.
More than just reacting, though, I’m thankful that Circle of Hope has been committed to creating an alternative and resisting the ways of the world, because as Jesus put it, our Kingdom is not of this world. And I don’t just mean that the world has the wrong philosophy and some other philosophy (anarchism, socialism, Marxism, etc.) would do, I think forfeiting political power and creating an alternative community is what Jesus is calling us to do.
When Jyn asks Cassian questions about the morality of the Rebels, she’s criticized for her impracticality. When Christians say that Assad and the rebel factions leave them unprotected, they get ignored (and when Christians refuse to submit to a violent power, they are idealistic). We are left with the end results of the painful pragmatic reality of politics, their violent coercion into the unsatisfactory “options” they offer us. Their proposed hope is to “get involved.” Barack Obama tells us not to boo—rather to vote. If you are like me, you are left disenchanted, empty and longing for a savior.
Hinkie is idiosyncratic, to be sure. Hard to follow, hard to understand. Infuriatingly inaccessible. I actually don’t excuse him for those things. His 13-page letter is a little difficult to get through. It’s not an example of good communication. And unfortunately, Sam never really communicated well. His brilliance preceded him, but you can be the smartest person in the room, and if you can’t convince anyone of what you’re talking about, you may as well not even be in the room. Maybe I can relate to him because sometimes I struggle to communicate all of my ideas, too.
Our congregations need to be safe places for all people—victimized people in the LBGTQ community and stereotyped Arabs. We need to sow seeds of love and not hate. We need to keep loving others like ourselves and keep including everyone else. The Gospel is delivered best incarnationally when its burden is easy and its yoke is light. Being included should be easy among us, even though they have to make laws in the country to make it seem like an option. I think Circle of Hope offers a place like this, and I’m committed to it.
So my point today is simple. You don’t have to run off to Canada to find freedom from the oppressive binary of our political system. If you aren’t satisfied with the choices we have for President, you aren’t alone. There is a place for you among us. You can help embody the alternative vision of Jesus with real people, face-to-face, in Circle of Hope. Here you can find hope and bring redemption. Join us.
Jesus helped me overcome my fear and overcome the true hatred that me and my family experienced. We really did have the wrong skin color, the wrong last name, and lived in the wrong county. The prejudice against us has deeply impacted our lives even beyond these stories. But Jesus broke through my fear and broke through the hatred. Circle of Hope was instrumental for me to feel and experience that. The people in it were the light in that darkness, and they were the light for me. Honestly, they showed me Jesus in a new way and love for “where I was at” and for who God had made me. I’ve rarely felt like an outsider, like I didn’t belong, and wasn’t loved. Often times, the very diversity that I brought was praised and embraced! They helped make the region inclusive to me. And I am grateful for it.