Archives For The Big Picture

Repaso: August 24, 2012

August 24, 2012 — 1 Comment

1. James K.A. Smith on “holy worldliness”
James K.A. Smith writes for Christianity Today’s This Is Our City project on the “earthly city” and cultural transformation, with nods to Rich Mouw and Augustine:

[A]s citizens of the City of God who find ourselves exiled in the earthly city (in Augustine’s technical sense) are called to “seek the welfare of the city” precisely because we are called to cultivate creation. We will seek the welfare of the earthly city by seeking to annex it to the City of God, thereby reordering creaturely life to shalom.

2. Jon Foreman on the fight & the dance
The Switchfoot frontman is at it again with a new Huffington Post piece:

Yes, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and dogs don’t dance. In fact, most of the creatures here on the planet can fight, very few can dance. We humans have the rare honor of rising above the fight of natural selection and choosing to seek a higher good than mere survival. I could choose joy instead of the fight. Unfortunately, the fight still seems to be the rut that I (and the rest of the human race) fall into. It’s sad but true. We struggle better than we salsa. The habit of the fight seems easy to explain: Dominance is easier to achieve than friendship; consumption is easier than love; and objectification is easier than empathy. Certainly, I desire to enter into the dance of happiness and joy. But, all too often I’m distracted by the fight: sidelined by the little battles along the way.

3. Forum on human rights in Guatemala
Back in June I referred to an amazing, heart-breaking story produced by This American Life about a Guatemalan man living in Boston named Oscar Ramirez. He recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America focused on obstacles to justice for human rights abuses in Guatemala. The video is here, and it also features two people who are featured in Granito, the documentary I blogged about last month.

4. Tim Keller on biblical justice
I reviewed Tim Keller’s Generous Justice a while ago, shortly after it came out, but was just reminded of how good and important it is thanks to an excerpt reprinted in RELEVANT this week:

Despite the effort to draw a line between “justice” as legal fairness and sharing as “charity,” numerous Scripture passages make radical generosity one of the marks of living justly. The just person lives a life of honesty, equity and generosity in every aspect of his or her life. If you are trying to live a life in accordance with the Bible, the concept and call to justice are inescapable. We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.

5. National Geographic’s photo contest winners
The Big Picture has the 11 winning photos from the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Magazine Photo Contest, and many of them are quite good (as one might expect from a competition with a name like that).

6. Josh Garrels is building a studio
If you’re not sick of me posting videos from the singer-songwriter Josh Garrels (like this, this, and this), consider another. He’s working on his follow-up record to “Love & War & The Sea In Between” and he’s looking for a little help.

“The Process” – Josh Garrels from Josh Garrels on Vimeo.

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!

[Photo credit: "A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway." (Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest) via The Big Picture]

1. Euro 2012 photos
I’ve been enjoying watching some of the Euro 2012 matches on watchespn.com, though I can’t say I particularly have a vested interest in any one country. The Big Picture has a great collection of photos of fans from the first few days of the tournament, held this year in Ukraine and Poland.

2. Cristianismo Hoy
It sounds like Christianity Today may begin publishing a Spanish language magazine in 2013:

The decision marks a significant step to engage the United States’ exploding Latino  church community—nearly 15% of Latinos in America are now evangelical, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and that number continues to rise. “Cristianismo Hoy aims to provide a credible, balanced, and unifying evangelical voice for Spanish speaking church leaders in the United States and around the world,” reads the new edition’s working purpose statement.

3. Civility in America
There’s an interesting new infographic out on civility in the US. Here’s the intro paragraph:

A rancorous political environment is primarily responsible for driving a “national civility disorder” and most Americans say politics is increasingly uncivil, complicating resolution of major issues and deterring qualified people from entering public service. Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate partnered with KRC Research to conduct the third annual poll on Civility in America: A Nationwide Survey.

4. La Vida Plena
EFCA Today magazine has an inspiring story on business discipleship ministry in San Jose, Costa Rica, written by Daniel Jenkins who leads the ministry there (HT R.J. Caswell):

Many organizations teach the poor job skills and business practices. But as the church, we bring something more: the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel calls us to la vida plena, or “full life,” and it transforms every aspect of our lives, including our work.

5. Dying for Land
If you’ve seen the 1980s movie The Mission, based on historical events in South America in the 1700s, watch this video to see what life is like for the Guaraní in Brazil today:

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!

[Photo credit: Andres Kudacki/Associated Press via The Big Picture]

1. Sierra Leone ten years after the war
Earlier this week I submitted a writing project focused on Fambul Tok, a home-grown peace and reconciliation initiative taking place around bonfires across Sierra Leone. It’s worth knowing about. As I finished my writing, former Liberian president Charles Taylor was convicted of war crimes in Sierra Leone, a full decade after the war ended. And The Big Picture posted this photo essay with a look at what the country looks like in 2012.

2. Jake Belder on forgotten places
Jake Belder, an assistant minister in Hull, England (and by Twitter appearances, an all-around good guy) has a great feature essay in Comment:

One of the delights of living in England is venturing off the main roads into the little villages that dot the countryside. At the heart of many of these picturesque villages is a small church that has stood for hundreds of years, a reminder the role churches used to play in holding these communities together. Whenever I get the chance, I wander into these churches. I love the musty smell of the old stonework, the silence, and the sense of being in a place altogether different from the world outside. And when I sit in one of the old pews, I think about those who have sat in them over the last five hundred years. Who shepherded them as they lived their lives in this place? How were they equipped to live faithfully in this context?

3. Living Room Songs by Ólafur Arnalds
Joy Williams of The Civil Wars tweeted this last weekend: “Having my heart broken & mended again by Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds’ Living Room Songs EP.” I think you’ll agree, as I do, that these songs are hauntingly beautiful, not unlike the music of fellow Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

4. Q&A videos from The Justice Conference
For those who weren’t able to attend The Justice Conference in Portland in February (and for those who were there too, I suppose), videos from a bunch of Q&A sessions have been posted at askquestions.tv. Lots of great stuff.

5. UMC apologizes to Native Americans
Thanks to Brittany Bennett for sharing the link to this video from the United Methodist Church’s General Conference, where the denomination initiated an act of repentance to begin the process of healing relationships with Native Americans. It’s encouraging to see a group of Christians taking this so seriously.

6. Yet another reason to love Twitter
Katie and I have a really good reason to love Twitter; ask us about it sometime. Another reason to love Twitter is when you’re a cancer survivor who loves baseball and you get to play catch with a pitcher from your team just because you replied to this within two minutes.

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!

[Photo credit: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters via The Big Picture]

1. Japan in photos a year later
The Big Picture photo blog has a collection of the iconic photos from the earthquake and tsunami of a year ago, and what those same spots look like today. The water has receded and most of the debris has been cleared, but it’s clear rebuilding will still take time.

2. Best ways to fight poverty
Two or three weeks ago I blogged about Christianity Today’s cover stories on tackling poverty. Not surprisingly, CT’s coverage garnered some debate over what actually works and what doesn’t when it comes to development. Yesterday, CT posted eight follow-up columns, including one by Mark Galli, one of the original writers. Those weighing in include Christian NGO big wigs like Rich Stearns (World Vision US), Peter Greer (HOPE International), Stephan Bauman (World Relief), and Franklin Graham (Samaritan’s Purse). See all the responses here.

3. Coffee culture in Guatemala
A lot of good coffee comes from Guatemala; most people know that. But what is the country’s coffee drinking culture like? James Fredrick writes for Tico Times about how things may be changing — the introduction of Starbucks and other specialty coffee shops mark a significant rise in domestic coffee consumption which could boost standards of living for growers, but the gap between those who can afford a $3.50 cappuccino and those who pick the beans remains vast.

4. Seven reasons to be hopeful about the church
It’s no secret that many these days “love Jesus but not the church.” The church comes with baggage; why not just cultivate a private walk with Jesus and not bother with the seemingly endless messes in the church? Because the church is still the bride of Christ, and Jesus has no plans to part ways with her. Adam Jeske writes for InterVarsity’s blog with seven reasons to be hopeful for the church.

5. Love needs no justification
Skye Jethani points us to John Stott to help us navigate the ongoing evangelism/social justice divide:

Atonement-only advocates demand that advocates of social justice justify their efforts. And justice advocates demand atonement-only advocates justify their emphasis on gospel proclamation. But, using Stott’s logic, if evangelism or social activism is flowing from a heart of love and compassion, than neither must be justified. Love is its own justification. As you engage this issue in your own community, do not get snared by the false dichotomy that declares either evangelism or social justice must be superior. Instead, let’s affirm whatever work God has called us to, whether that be proclaiming reconciliation or demonstrating it, as long as his love is found to be fueling it.

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!

[Photo credit: The Big Picture]

In last Friday’s Repaso I included a link and and a blurb from a story about those who struggle to make a living by scavenging for scrap metal at a landfill in Guatemala City. It’s a terrible way to make a living — dangerous, foul odors, with hit-or-miss success — until you consider the alternatives in a country like Guatemala where by some estimates 75% of the population lives in poverty.

The Big Picture now has a photo essay on “The Mine” as well, which I encourage you to check out. And consider supporting the work of Lemonade International, educating and empowering the people of La Limonada, a slum community in another ravine in Guatemala City.

[Photo credit: AP/Boston.com]