Category Archives: Quick Links

Listen to Barbara Brown Taylor on the Good Samaritan

If you’re looking for a mid-week sermon fix, check out this powerful message delivered by Barbara Brown Taylor at Riverside Church in New York City last Sunday.

Here’s a preview:  “I became a Christian in my twenties and I was always told to get my beliefs in order before I did things…but based on the story of the Good Samaritan, I wonder if things don’t work the other way around.  Maybe our lives are designed to upset our beliefs, not to reinforce them.”  Click on the link to hear the whole sermon: “The Right Answer”

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Rev. Ferguson on Pragmatic Evangelism

What is the role of the Church in times of crisis? Rev. Darren A. Ferguson talks about how his Church dealt with the aftermath of Hurrican Sandy in his New Jersey community in his Sojourners piece “Evangelism After the Storm.”

We served hot Thanksgiving meals to more than 300 residents of Far Rockaway. When I arrived on that day, I walked from the entrance of our lot to the parking area where the tent was set up. I saw people of all colors, cultures, religions, and orientations, working together for the common good. There were no Blacks or Whites, Republicans or Democrats, no Liberals or Conservatives, Straight or Gay, but only people – together. This great quilt of caring lavished love and hope on the people of our community by providing a true Thanksgiving fellowship and meal.

Read the full article HERE.

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Chris Stedman on Q Ideas: “Want to talk to Non-Christians?”

Chris Stedman offers some valuable insight from an atheist perspective on Q Ideas. I could probably write an entire blog post about each of his six points. What really struck a chord this morning:

Recently, I participated in an interfaith dialogue with someone who responded to my bristling at evangelizing by saying:
But, Chris, it strikes me that the problem there is with the definition of evangelization. If we think of that word as a synonym of hectoring and finger wagging and a holier than thou attitude, I completely agree with you. But what if evangelization is itself a mutually enriching dialogue in which the promises of the Church (that is, of Christ) are put forward as proposals, as encounters, not as edicts? Then we are taking about the manner, not the fact, of evangelization, aren’t we?

He is absolutely right. This is a distinction that I am hearing articulated more and more often by members of religious communities that see evangelizing as central to their faith—and it is one I welcome with gratitude. Maintaining a general orientation toward encountering diversity with inquiry and empathy, rather than lecturing at it, can facilitate a more productive dialogue. That will require listening from both sides and recognizing we have much to learn from one another. For starters, perhaps we can learn how to talk to, and listen to, one another in a more constructive and friendly manner.

From my perspective, you’ve captured it precisely, Chris. I asked in a recent blog post:

And we have been asking what would happen if we approached our friends who are Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, Sikhs and Buddhists with the same humility that Jesus modeled. What if there was a way to talk about faith in which we could communicate respectfully and authentically? What if we found ourselves in a situation where we not only talked about compassion, but we also practiced it by serving alongside those we’ve been taught to try to convert, asking questions, and sharing stories?

Would it water-down our message? Or would it strengthen it?

For me, as an evangelical, this is the promise of interfaith engagement. We don’t need to not evangelize to get along. instead we need to rethink evangelism. And when you really look at the Christian tradition of evangelism and you ask what is effective, what really communicates the message we Christians want to get across… The gospel I know can’t be communicated by hectoring and finger wagging.

If we evangelicals really step back and look at the way Jesus did things, I think we can identify three themes: service, storytelling and relationships. Those also happen to be the core principles of the interfaith movement. So if that’s how Jesus communicated the gospel, isn’t that how Christians should also? For me it’s a no-brainer.

Read Chris’s whole piece at Q Ideas:

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6 Evangelicals You Should Know

Tom Krattenmaker of the Oregan Faith Report introduces us to 6 Evangelicals who are leading the way into a new generation of evangelicalism. These leaders

Embody aspects of the change under way in evangelical America, and whose work is clearing out a larger space for the common good

Read about these evangelical leaders HERE. What do you think? Is anyone missing?

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More on the Good Samaritan

barettoRev. Dr. Eric D. Barreto offers a commentary on the story of the Good Samaritan in his Huffington Post Piece “Good Samaritans All Around.”

In short, we might discover that loving God and neighbor know no bounds, that if we look at the world with God’s eyes we would see Good Samaritans all around us.

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Chris Stedman at Chautauqua

“In the words of native novelist and scholar Thomas King, ‘The truth about stories is that that’s all we are,’ ” Stedman said. “Want a different ethic? Tell a different story. So let’s tell a different story about our religious differences. And let’s be sure that the nonreligious are a part of this conversation.”

It sounds like they have quite the lineup at Chautauqua Institution. Check out this summary of Chris Stedman’s talk

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Shane Claiborne on love

Claiborne claimed that Christians sometimes have been the biggest obstacle of bringing God’s love to the world — they have had too much to say with their mouths and so little to show of God’s love with their lives.

Shane Claiborne hits the nail on the head, addressing the perception of Christians and the need to communicate love.

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Learn about the basics of Ramadan

Ramadan begins this week. Brush up on your facts and history regarding this Muslim tradition here:

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