Posted by Laura K. Cavanaugh
As part of the on-going series, the links below will take you to current conversations about sexuality and relationships as well as issues related to the other three categories of holistic body theology: community, cultural discernment, and service.
Stay informed about what the world and the Church are saying so we can discuss the issues, discern healthy, holistic body theology, and discover God’s truth in the midst of many opinions.
Here’s this week’s installment. (The numbers aren’t rankings. Links are organized roughly by date and similarity of content.)
Don’t be shy. Share your thoughts in the comment section, or join the original conversations via the links provided.
Physicality: Body Image, Sexuality and Relationship Issues
1) Relate with Helen: Let’s Talk About Sex! ”Can you honestly say that you believe that your gift of sexuality is a good gift from God?”
2) Our Bodies Are What? Our bodies are beautiful. They’re the image of God despite all their earthly imperfections. We might have defects, but we are still loved and cherished by God.
3) The (real) secret to hot sex His message is antithetical to the sex advice found everywhere from self-help books to the supermarket checkout line: The secret to a fulfilling sex life is mental, not physical.
4) In New Book ‘Sexual Intelligence’ Sex Therapist Marty Klein Explains the Key to Improving Intimate Relationships and Sexual Satisfaction Dr. Klein reveals that how we think about sex is the primary factor that determines the quality of our sex lives and intimate relationships.
5) Sex in the Body of Christ Christian communities aren’t immune to the sexual revolution.
6) Poll: Americans support contraception coverage, divided over religious exemptions A majority of Americans — including Catholics — believe that employers should be required to provide employee health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost, according to a new survey.
7) Ten Years of Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage (Be sure to click through all six graphs.)
8) Jay Bakker on Homosexuality, Religion & Politics Bakker’s philosophy is that God is loving and all accepting.
9) The Death (and Life) of Marriage in America The full answer for the delay and decline of marriage would touch on birth control technology…, liberal divorce laws…, and even washing/drying machines….
10) The Great Modesty Experiment So, following these rules as carefully as possible, considering my Christian brothers at every turn, I am left with one pair of jeans, and three shirts that fit the modest standards.
11) Surviving church as a single 34. Someone throws the “Paul was never married” card on you. = +2 points
12) Mercy: A Daily Practice of Digging for Truth Seeing God’s love keeps us from being dragged down by hurt and failure, events that are inevitable in our world.
Media Literacy/Cultural Discernment
1) The Power of Choice in ‘Downton Abbey‘ But my favorite aspect of Downton is its emphasis on humans’ agency and accountability despite social and economic barriers. The characters are never excused for their choices by circumstance, class, gender, time period, or even the unfairness of the rules to which they so tightly cling.
2) Caucasian Christian Radio This preferential music that is called “Christian” is killing the gospel message by being exclusive, ethnocentric, and close-minded.
3) A Little More Ration for Fashion [W]hat we wear on our bodies can be an obedient and worshipful response to these experiences of space and time and who we encounter in these experiences.
4) Victoria’s Secret Model Quits to Reserve Body ‘for My Husband’ “Thousands of girls that think that being beautiful is an outer issue and really it’s a heart issue.”
5) Can Fidelity Make a Good Movie? [T]he field of movies about marriage is much more diverse than the box-office belies. Viewers just have to be willing to look beyond a film’s self-advertising and see what can be revealed by digging a little deeper.
6) The Cultural IQ of the Church Christian leaders are lagging behind in attaining the cultural intelligence they need in order to navigate through this multi-cultural reality.
Community: Equality Issues (There’s so much happening this week in the wake of John Piper’s remarks that I thought it deserved its own category.)
1) Eight Traits of a Responsible Ministry Change a word here and there, and what Piper says makes sense to me.
2) God Is Not Ashamed When I challenged men to respond to John Piper’s claim that “God has given Christianity a masculine feel” with posts that celebrate femininity and affirm women in the Church, I never expected this.
3) Following the Leader Wherever She May Go I am deeply convinced that God calls both women and men into all vocations in the Church, gifting and empowering them to walk with one another in obedience to those callings.
4) In Response to Masculine Christianity: A Letter to My Daughter May you never mistake the pronouns of God with the character of God. May you never be so grateful for being created in the image of God that you seek to return the favor.
5) Is Christianity Supposed to Be Masculine? For Paul it would seem that a predominantly masculine Christianity would betray the logic that Christ is all and in all….[T]he traits that Paul mentions to describe the people of God…aren’t those that Piper mentions for his masculine Christianity.
6) Redemption and Strength in Men and Women I think God gave Christianity a redemptive feel, a feel of reconciliation, a feel of hopeful expectation through his desire to save wayward, broken people like us.
7) God the Father…and Mother? The father image shows us just how intimate God’s relationship with God’s people really is. But does this mean God is exclusively a father, and does not have any mother qualities at all?
8) Why the Church Needs Women [W]omen are living, breathing witnesses to the truth about human nature who in their very bodies direct God’s Church away from idolatry and heresy and toward true Christian faith and practice.
9) Sarcasm Alert: The Kitchen Has a Feminine Feel in the Bible God wants men to stay out of the kitchen. Women are the unquestioned authorities in the kitchen.
10) In Search of Masculine Christianity The idea of a strong and aggressive (masculine?) Christianity, portrayed in [Studd’s book], had more to do with restraint, with sacrifice, with generosity, not bullying but serving, not hoarding [but] giving, not rampant conference attending but packing our suitcases for Christ’s sake and not coming home again.
11) A Balanced Perspective of Images for Ministry We discover texts that speak of our mutual motherly ministry. In other words, another dimension of ministry compares pastors/teachers to mothers.
12) Femsculine Christianity [Jesus] never said that his way was masculine or feminine. Rather, he persisted in breaking the oppressive barriers that had been set up against women. We must imitate him in this.
13) Digging Deep; Planting Trees And maybe in the planting we’ll end up with a forest so wide and beautiful the ditch will fill with flowers and old logs and we can sit and have conversations, conversations that are life-giving and life-up-lifting.
14) Unladylike If we want to be part of empowering women everywhere, understanding our value–and our equality in the eyes of God–is essential. It’s from this place that we can go on and transform our world.
15) Unladylike: A Review If we accept her tenet that women were made, fully and completely by a loving God, to do His (Her) good work, then the ways we resist come from Him (Her), too.
16) Breaking Through the Glass Sidewalk War zones are certainly not the only places women are bringing unprecedented change to their communities.
17) Don’t Read This Part of the Bible if You’re 30 or a Woman I am a feminist, and the Book of Ezekiel offends me.
Community: Other Issues
1) To Cade and the Eight Percent We wear political correctness as a badge of honor; but the rising statistics of pregnancies terminated after a Downs syndrome diagnosis reveal the hypocrisy of our celebration.
2) The Great Escapism At first glance, living in local community seems to clash with the lifestyle of a church-hopping, apartment-renting, rootless and restless generation. But the benefits of plugging into local community are many….It’s time to invest where you are—no matter how long you’ll be there.
3) God Is a Verb that Acts Like Jesus The solution to individualism is not smaller churches; the solution to individualism is a decade or more of teaching and embodying the community nature of the Body of Christ….
4) Wherever Two or More Are Gathered…Online And yet, here we are, almost four years of daily interaction later, with a communion of 20 souls around the world.
5) Calling All Callings When we begin to understand this invitation from Jesus to join his mission of restoring all things, our enthusiasm for integrating faith and work will be heightened.
Service: Social Justice Issues
1) Down We Go: Diffusing Power The problem is when our churches, ministries, and communities inadvertently adopt the world’s thirst for power into our culture, our homes and the fabric of our lives.
2) The First Step Is Admitting There Is a Problem …and the evidence in the U. S. and around the world indicates that more and more people are coming to grips with the fact that extreme income inequality is a significant problem and that something has to be done about it.
3) The Church and Extreme Poverty The Church is unrivaled in its capacity. If you want to respond to the massive challenges of global poverty, then the Church is the organization with the legs to get it done.
4) pawn shops, empty refrigerators & the long hill up i am idealistic enough to think that if somehow, some way, every person who lived below the poverty line had brothers & sisters in Christ to journey together with for the long haul that over the course of time life could be different.
5) The Best Ways to Fight Poverty–Really That means that (1) churches should create their own anti-poverty initiatives (like microfinance), and (2) churches should lobby governments to do better.
6) The Washington Projects–Justus–Music Video Premiere The goal of this video is to give the viewer a visual understanding of what these victims face on a daily basis, and to entice those taken captive by the imagery to become the change they wish to see.
7) Praying for the Johns “If men stopped desiring [to buy sex], then this wouldn’t be a problem,” Hightower says. “Praying for men’s hearts to change is very important.”