The Real Crisis of Authority

So you may have noticed the parody that I published yesterday of this article in Christianity Today. Parody and satire are great for blowing off steam, but they don’t quite explain how the steam came to rise in the first place. So I want to talk more about this article by Tish Warren and address where I think the problem is.

To sum up the article, Warren points out that, just like the printing press, the advent of online blogging has created a “crisis of authority.” Namely, if someone is using the Internet to publish their personal take on the Bible, who holds them accountable? Where did they get their knowledge? Who ensures they aren’t damaging the church or leading people astray? Which, granted, are fair questions to ask. (And there are biblical answers. More on that in a minute.)

The first problem I had was the focus on women bloggers in particular. Warren admits that, historically, the institutional church has marginalized women, forcing them to step into the cyber sphere in order to have a voice. She also suggests that the church has done a poor job of giving women theological training with real teeth–choosing instead to entertain us with “funny stories, relatable prose, or charming turns of phrase.” All stuff I heartily agree with. But… Continue reading

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Who’s in Charge of Monks Nailing Theses to Church Doors?

* A parody of this article in Christianity Today, inspired by a tweet from Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks).

Luther95thesesThe rise of church doors in the early 1500s has yielded the genre of the “church reformer.” From the comfort of their studies, these heretical monks can pen lengthy criticisms of Catholicism and affix them to church doors for any passing peasant to see. This advent of literacy, printing and architecture has created a crisis of authority that we haven’t hitherto seen before.

One of the most prominent examples of this crisis involves the popular Martin Luther, who last year announced his opposition to selling indulgences for the absolution of sin. He was cheered by some and denounced by others. The Pope has called for his writings to be burned. Aside from the debate about faith vs. works, broader questions have emerged: Where do scholars like Luther derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching? How can the average peasant know whom to trust?

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Guard Your Heart

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(c) April Kelsey

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. ~ Matthew 24:3-13

Guard your heart. I’ve often heard this phrase in the context of dating: “Don’t get emotionally entangled. Your heart belongs to God and it’s possible to give it away.” But I don’t think guarding one’s heart has anything to do with dating. It’s far more important than that.

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Year-End Confessions: Back from the Ashes

 

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(c) April Kelsey

Hello, Dear Readers.

As you can probably tell from the (in)frequency of my posting, 2016 has been a tough year, and I’ve been fairly quiet about it. I thought it was time to let you know what I’ve been up to and what has changed for me.

I started 2016 in the grip of grief. I had recently said goodbye to someone who meant a great deal to me, and there was no getting over it quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever grieved so long or so hard. Basically, I cried off and on from January to August. I was also diagnosed with a deformed vertebrae in my lower back and spent most of the summer in physical therapy. My mother-in-law lived with me from May to October to help with my kids. Continue reading

I Have Not Obeyed

Hello, dear readers. I hope you are well.

I have a confession. A couple of months ago, I felt God calling me to a season of deep rest. And I have needed it. This has been a very difficult year. I have experienced a great deal of stress and battled chronic pain. My emotional reserves are entirely depleted.

But I knew what deep rest required: a sabbatical from blogging. I didn’t want to do it. I love interacting with the community I’ve built here. I love it when my words resonate with others and they write to tell me how much something I wrote helped them. And I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled a lot this year with envy. There are other wonderful bloggers out there, who have more time than I do, who can post twice a week and, therefore, have a larger readership, more exposure, and more opportunities to speak or guest post on other blogs. I want those things, too. And I know the cost involved in taking time off.

I also know that the moment I hit ‘publish’ on this post, I’ll likely be flooded with a hundred topics to write on.

But it’s past time to obey.

I need rest. I need to breathe and sleep and meditate and pray and read. I need to do art. I need to nurture myself. But most of all, I need to press my ear to the silence and find the heartbeat of God. I need to be carried for a while. I have no grand words of wisdom, prophetic insight, or spiritual instruction. I’m just an empty, broken vessel waiting for some glue.

If you feel inclined to pray for me, please do.

I’m hoping I’ll be back to some light blogging by November 1. I’ll keep you updated on my return. If I feel up to it, I may republish some older posts to keep the blog going. In the meantime, please be blessed and take care.

P.S. I love you all. Please forgive me if I haven’t answered your email.