Some stuff I noticed this week on a journey around the web….
+ A group of prominent evangelicals (including Russell Moore of Southern, Denny Burke, John Franke, and Michael Horton) have a discussion of Evangelicalism Today. It’s a fascinating look at some different definitions of an evangelical, as well as the twists and turns, maturity and failures of the movement over the past 50 years or so. There are some rather obvious observations, including Burk’s contention that “evangelicalism has shifted away from its doctrinal distinctives and has increasingly become more of a market brand than a doctrinal flag”. But most compelling to me was Horton’s assertion that the evangelical movement is “obsessed with its own relevance” to the point of wanting respect from the culture as much as wanting to reach non-Christians. That’s tough to swallow.
+ “In God’s Name” is a very detailed analysis in The Economist that examines the increasingly important role of religion in global politics, conflict, economy, public life and culture. It is from a non-US American viewpoint which is important to grasp. It also takes into account insights from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. I love how they set the tone for the article: “This special report is an attempt to tease out these conflicts. It comes with three health warnings. First, many numbers in religion are dodgy: most churches inflate their support and many governments do not record religion in their censuses (in Nigeria the best source is health records). Second, in a field where many believers claim to know all the answers, it poses mainly questions. And lastly, given the emotion the subject arouses, the chances are that some of what follows will offend you.” Worth the read.
+ I know it’s a week late (after Reformation Day), but this interview with Alistair McGrath over his recent book on Christianity’s Dangerous Idea: the Protestant Revolution is really interesting.
+ And now for something completely different. Seth Godin is a business and marketing guru who has a fascinating perspective on creativity and making an impact with your brand or product. His observations on “Changing the Game” made me wonder how we can shift people’s default perceptions about Jesus, the church and the gospel.