As one of the Church’s great classics, Augustine no doubt wrote his Confessions to acknowledge his own faith in God as his chief good, and out of a need to confess his sins before Him. But I think he had other purposes in mind for this work as well. Since he believed there was something about himself as a human being and his own journey that was typical of most everyone, everywhere, he also wrote this book to assist us in our journeys toward God and genuine happiness—hopefully saving us considerable agony and disappointment—by the example of his own life. His loves and his life were disordered without God; his loves and his life were reordered in God. His example consists of an education of the heart in God, in love, and in authentic happiness. You, me, Augustine—indeed, we are here and all in this together.
2. Comment’s new editor
Speaking of James K.A. Smith and Comment, this week he was named editor of the magazine — wonderful news for readers of Smith and readers of Comment alike. In his announcement, he writes:
[C]ontinue to expect Comment to be a place where professors rub shoulders with policy makers; where scholars listen to practitioners; where Christian theology goes public. We are the magazine for those practitioners who appreciate the importance of reflection. This is a journal of ideas meant to hit the ground in policy and find expression in institutions. Above all, I want Comment to be a life-giving resource for those leaders, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and creators who are convinced of the importance of Christian cultural engagement but are now looking for in-depth guidance and direction.
3. The way of discernment
Mark Buchanan (whose book on Sabbath comes highly recommended by me) reflects in Leadership Journal on the process of discerning his call to become a pastor. That’s not what most of us are called to be and do, but his “four essentials” apply to us all:
I learned virtually everything on the job—preaching, counseling, team-building, strategizing, budgeting, vision-casting, peace-making. There was no trial run for any of this. I had to acquire every skill needed for pastoring as I went, in real time, in the public eye. Nothing was rehearsal. What’s been the one thing needed? What’s been the sine qua non, the irreplaceable necessity without which all the other skills, traits, and gifts add up to zilch? Discernment. Figuring out what to do and how to do it in any given situation.
4. Gondor needs a King
Thomas McKenzie, an Anglican man of the cloth whose pithy and entertaining One Minute Reviews are my go-to source for opinions on all the latest movies, appeals to those of us awaiting both the birth of our Savior and the release of The Hobbit (one more than the other, I hope) by connecting Gondor with Advent in this post:
Boromir didn’t want a king because he had never known a good one. He had only known self-serving rulers. But as he got to know Aragorn he came to respect him, trust him, and even love him. Perhaps we are like Boromir. Perhaps we would rather take care of ourselves because we don’t know a better alternative. But what if there is a better alternative? What if Jesus Christ is a good and loving and merciful king? That could be a king worth following, even a king worth turning over charge of our life to.
5. Phoenix street art
In an installment of Repaso about two months ago, I included a video about street art in Phoenix. Here in our neighborhood, murals are really starting to bring a lot of color to otherwise drab buildings, and it’s really cool to see. Here’s a slideshow of some of the more striking new murals around town.
6. Justice and gospel in the city
Rapper and spoken word artist Propaganda (whose record is available for free here) isn’t one to mince words. This clip from the Verge Conference might make you a bit squeamish, but it’s worth considering, especially for those of “us” drawn to serve “them” in cities.
Repaso is intended as a thought-provoking compilation of news and commentary from the past week related to the intersections of faith, development, justice and peace. As always, I welcome your thoughts on any of the links and ideas in this roundup!
[Image credit: St. Augustine via georgetown.edu]