The Saturdaily: On the Church

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"The Saturdaily" is a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Check out this week's list.

On Wednesday night, David prayed over Amber and me, prayed that we'd be "ironic champions for the church." Maybe we're headed that way, but that's a heavy mantel. And of the irony, perhaps I'll write about that one day. But for now, I'll just leave it at celebrating some good folks who are writing about Jesus and his body--the church.

1.  Amber writes about the church, how it taught her to party, how to celebrate in a way that points heavenward. Of the grand future feast she writes:

They’ll be feasting in glory, but I’m certain it’ll be organic food (with maybe a tiny side of that awesome casserole), and I’m betting, too, the table won’t feel full of a bunch of strangers sitting on secrets, asking “How bout them Hogs.”

I love the way Amber writes (and not just because we're hitched up). Read her word pictures in Made for the Party.

2.  Winn Collier darn near undid me this week with his piece about Jesus' interaction with adulterous woman in the Gospel of John. He writes:

Reams have been written on what Jesus scribbled on that street, but I’m more intrigued by the fact that Jesus bent low. This posture of humble tenderness was entirely at odds with the highly charged moment.

This is the posture of our servant-God, the bend low, how he did not count equality with God something to be grasped but counted himself as nothing. (See Philippians 2).

3. Using Winn's piece as a prompt, and this week's news regarding the possibility that Jesus had a wife, John Blase wrote a short piece of fiction, an apocryphal tale if you will. He doesn't claim it to be fact, but it is a moving narrative. Of the words Jesus wrote in the ground, John writes:

One of the older men came back that evening to fetch a cloak he’d left behind. He paused at the scene to read two words etched in dust: my friend.

4.  Timothy Willard is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads on the internet. Weekly, or thereabouts, Tim writes what he calls the "Prayer Series," a short devotional to jump-start the weekend. This week he writes about groping for God. He asks, "how will you, today, grope for God—straining for Him and his goodness with every ounce of your will and every fiber of your intellect?" Click here to subscribe to the Prayer Series.

5.  And speaking of A Deeper Church, I hope you'll stop by the Facebook page today and give it a like. Also, consider subscribing to the RSS feed. There is good stuff happening there.

Finally, I stumbled across this song by HoneyHoney, speaking to depravity, loyalty, and love. This might be my new favorite song... at least for today.

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The Saturdaily: On Social Media (Seth's List)

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"The Saturdaily" is a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Check out my list.

If you are reading this, there is no doubt that you are engaged in the social media age. Certainly, good things have come of it, but it would be hard to argue that it hasn't led to a near-detrimental amount of over-sharing, personal marketing, and a cultural sense of pseudo-narcissism. This week's Saturdaily recognizes folks musing on the topic. It's high time we started having these discussions more publicly.

1. Sarah Markley feels social media tension. She's the proprietor of a solidly read (and top-notch) blog, which often seems to carry the expectation of open sharing. She explores privacy, authenticity, and social media in two separate pieces: "A Call for Privacy," and "The Pressure of Living Publicly." She writes:

"But we often don’t value people who are wise enough to keep some of their lives private. We label them as elitist or non-authentic."

Sarah's pieces are made to read together. Spend some time this morning mining the gems from her words.

2. Prompted by Sarah' s piece, Alece Ronzino writers her "blog length comment," on "Privacy, Authenticity, and Living Publicly." She drops this confession on us:

"Sometimes I have to fight the feeling that I’m missing out on great connections and opportunities (because of watching people quote-unquote “get ahead” with their @replies and intentional online shoulder-rubbing) and that I’m just missing out on all the fun..."

In this world of tweeting about everything from book deals to dinner with that select group of local friend, social media can leave us feeling empty. Unslaked. Perhaps we need more honest confessions from folks like Alece.

3. All this talk of social media sent me scrambling for my copy of Henri Nouwen's work Reaching Out. In it, he writes:

"Even the most intimate concerns, such as concerns about the meaning and value of life and death, can become victims of the fashion of the time."


"...we should ask how much of our... writing is more part of an impulsive reaction to the changing demands of our surroundings..."

and finally (and whoa!)...

"When our protests against war, segregation and social injustice do not reach beyond the level of reaction, then our indignation becomes self-righteous, our hope for a better world degenerates into a desire for quick results, and our generosity is soon exhausted by disappointments."

These are good thoughts for those engaged in social media. Do you hear them?

4. Finally, and to bring it full circle, Sarah is calling for social media related posts. Would you consider penning your own thoughts and linking up with her on Monday? You can read "Call for Posts," for more information.

5. How about a little social media song by Garrison Keillor.


Now it's your turn. Have any thoughts on social media? Are there any links you want to share? Have at it in the comments.

The Saturdaily: Seth's List (On Politics and Concrete)

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"The Saturdaily" is a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Check out my list.

1.  Winn Collier is one of my favorite, more recent finds on the internet. Winn has a way of telling it straight--take it or leave it. This week he jumps into political banter. Well, sort of. In "Democrat or Republican," Winn writes:

I am genetically incapable of seeing the world in such stark, all-or-nothing categories. Perhaps it’s a weakness. Truth is I have an inkling we need more poetry and less platform, more friendship and less name-calling, better stories and better neighbors...

Winn isn't talking abstention here. He's talking about engagement in a more civil, dare I say, Christ-centered way. (And for a bonus track, check out Winn's "Sugar Shack.")

2.  "[C]laiming God is on our side is also an assertion of power that always involves the rejection of exactly that “God” who Christians claim to worship." Whoa! Who said that? Karl Barth, actually. But Mason Slater quoted it this week in his cutting piece, "Cruciform Politics." I've always enjoyed Mason's writings. He brings a near-acedemic style with an approachability that is refreshing. Dealing with politics in the church, Mason writes:

I hear people speak and I do not hear Christ but simply Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Tea Party, Capitalist, or Marxist ideology baptized in religious language. As if the Gospel does not call every ideology to account.

These are bold words. Thanks for penning them, Mason. Make sure to read this piece in its entirety and leave Mason a few words.

3.  Stepping away from the realm of the political, Amber prompts us to write the abstract, taking cues from the concrete. This week's prompt centers around her bed, our bed. I know I'm married to her, but this piece of writing is authentic and (if I do say so) brilliant. She weaves a history of our marriage into two paragraphs, writing sentences like:

I’ve leaned into it in pain, in submitted labor, where my water has broken twice. I’ve leaned into 13 years there with my husband, the babies made then suckled.

I'm lucky to share a bed with this woman. And no, you don't have to blush when you read that sentence.

4.  Finally, I stumbled across this piece by Theresa Anderson. If you can't worship to this, well... You need to spend some times in the Psalms today.

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The Saturdaily: Seth's List

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"The Saturdaily" is a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Check out my list, then head to Amber's for her own Saturdaily list.

1. I've been writing for A Deeper Story for a bit over a year (have you been following). Today, they make a grand announcement--the launch of two new channels! I'll be over at A Deeper Church, editing, writing, and the like. Would you join us?

2. Remember the days of evangelical Super Bowl Parties with live bands and tables of pizza?Addie Zierman does, and shares her thoughts on event evangelism in "Outreach Events and the Old Bait-And-Switch." She writes:

When they introduce the upcoming outreach at our church they use words like “non-threatening” and “fun.”

(Odd, because the Gospel is quite threatening to the majority of things my flesh finds "fun.") Commentary aside, Addie does a great job fleshing out why she's done with outreach events.

3. This week, Matt Mooney shares his "Plea for Vanya." Vanya, a special needs orphan in the Ukraine who needs a home. I'll only say this: read, and pray.

4. Amber and I have been talking (mostly behind closed doors) about writer's voice and this internet space. In "Where to Find Your Voice," she writes: "let  [your] writing not be afraid to fall apart from the norm...."  A good read for any writer.

5. I've been back into the short stories of Ernest Hemingway this week. He is terse, cruel, and sometimes violent. What a writer!

6. There are songs that stick to your ribs like biscuits. I circle back to Alexi Murdoch's "All of my Days," for years now. It never gets old.


Don't forget to head over to Amber's for her Saturdaily picks. She has some good ones. And share with us: what are you reading, writing, and listening to?

The Saturdaily: Seth's List

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I'm rebranding my Sunday List to "The Saturdaily: Seth's List," a weekly roundup of good writing, reading, and listening. Starting this week, Amber and I are posting our weekly recap on Saturday mornings. Make sure you check out Amber's Saturdaily list here.

Kimberly Conway Ireton writes a bit about creating a literary culture. In it, she shares some favorite sentences from her literary week. I've always enjoyed folks with a knack for recognizing a good turn of phrase. Kimberly certainly delivers in her post "A Literary Life." (As an aside, I certainly agree--stop whining, start contributing.)

Speaking of good sentences, Dave Malone composes a dandy in his post for Tweetspeak Poetry, "The Silence and Violence of Rain." Writing of Ozarkan folk forecasting, crescent moons, katy-dids, and town-square banter,  Malone drops this dandy on us: "On the long, bone-white slab in front of my town’s post office, it’s too hot for even our chattiest of local raconteurs to share stories." Perhaps I'm partial as a native to the region, but Dave's piece is worth a read.

My college roommate swore he was a pacifist, and I looked at him wonky and say, "whaaa?" He was the first pacifist I'd met, had been raised on a steady diet of early Church of Christ writings on the subject. I've been fascinated with the arguments on either side ever since. This week, Emily Wierenga writes, "On Why I don't Know if I'm a Paciffist." Of cultural contradictions, she writes:

"A person I know says he’s a pacifist. He, the grandson of a man who fought in World War 2, and of another who fought in the navy, says that if someone were to threaten his family, he would not defend them

He says this and then he buys Modern Warfare 2. He says this and then he blows people’s heads off, virtually."

It shouldn't surprise me that Emily ponders the hard stuff. Good work, Emily.

I always love Harper's weekly review. It's everything you need to know about the happenings of the world, all in three simple paragraphs. This week's review includes a "golden," laugh out loud sentence. I'll let you find it. And you can subscribe to the review here.

Yesterday I ran across this video by Zach Williams and the Bellow. Wow.

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Zach Williams and the Bellow - TEACH ME TO KNOW from SerialBox Presents on Vimeo.

Want to talk more about good writing? Jump over to Amber's blog this morning for her "The Saturdaily: Amber's List."