Snippets from the interweb (12th September 2021)

Is food poverty real and do food banks help?

I think this question needs engaging with properly. Many of us in deprived communities recognise the needs around us but we aren’t so good at recognising that our efforts to help do, sometimes, hurt people in the long run. I am not of the view that offering food necessarily hurts, but we do need to think carefully about how we do it.

Rethinking attractional youth ministry

Lots of good insights in this one.

Short-term, long-term and local churches

‘It would seem inadvisable to consider taking volunteers for short-term mission without reference to their home churches. This becomes even more critical when considering long-term mission, where supporting churches play a key role which may last for decades.’

The Roman Catholic call to confusion

‘By relentlessly pushing Protestants to accept the philosophical principles of skepticism, Roman Catholic apologists render their own apologetic activity pointless. Any converts they do win are those who are simultaneously believing that they are blind and that they can see. They don’t understand that they’ve ultimately fallen into irrational fideism.’

Stop assuming Jesus is in your corner

‘The third commandment is most often trampled in our world. People invoke Jesus’ name to provide moral authority to all sorts of far-reaching, banal, and even horrific causes. As mentioned in my previous article, Christians have a history of getting God’s name and intentions wrong. Yet professing Christians no longer hold a monopoly here; people from a wide variety of beliefs hold that Jesus was, at the very least, moving the same direction they are.’

Serve outside the spotlight

This is excellent: ‘Everybody wants to be a servant until they get treated like one. Pastors not only are servants; they get treated like servants. Prepare yourself now for both the work and its reception by serving others. The best preparation for the spiritual trials of the spotlight is serving cheerfully in the shadows.’

From the archive: What do people mean by ‘coming into the presence of the Spirit’

‘For some folks, there is a belief that we must ‘invite’ the Holy Spirit to join with us when we meet, as though he might not turn up if we don’t. Seemingly our desire to feel/know/see (I don’t know) the Spirit is the determinate factor in whether he shows up at all. The relationship between church and Spirit on such a view resembles a cat faffing around with a jack-in-the-box. Whether the Spirit shows up or not remain, over and again, a genuine surprise that is ultimately caused by our cranking the handle properly.’