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Friday roundup: Five things worth paying attention to this week

5.17. 2019 Posted By: David and Leann Augsburger 404 Times read

Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.

1. Rachel Held Evans called every woman to step boldly into her own place. We find ourselves a part of a worldwide digital community sharing grief and gratitude for this preacher-writer-prophet who died much too soon. She was a very bright light that shines on and on. In our April “Friday roundup” we were talking about her book. Now we are all talking about Rachel. At the very least, read the three articles on her prophetic voice in Christian Century (here and here and here). Or the tribute in Sojourners. And remember how she touched your life. And join us in remembering. When humble giants die, a gigantic loss.

2. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty? by Wendy Brown (Zone Books). Written in 2010, and even more relevant today, it’s the history of the many border walls that have been built since 1990.  Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the moment in which the world came together as one?  Ironically, the result is that from that moment we can detect a surge in anxiety about national sovereignty. A new global political order is visible in which nations are not the primary actors; rather, economy that transcends boundaries shapes the world.

3. Mennonite Central Committee relief sale. An event that brings us together in a way that temporarily diminishes differences and creates common cause. (What if the reign of God were a transcendent goal all the time?) Our church offers the homemade ice cream and hot fudge sundae booth and the line at the counter provides a tangible taste of happiness on a warm California afternoon. The effort to say and do something visible about world need unites the crowd and dissolves boundaries. This happens here May 17-18 and all around North America on other dates.

4. Engaging Scripture. April Yamasaki recommended it in Sacred Pauses, and we are doing it in our home base church by reading a parable or story from the Gospels at the end of our worship. Each person reads it daily all week and records how it engaged life for them, and then when we gather a guide goes deep on the text followed by each reporting learnings. Some texts linger for more than a week, like the buried treasure, which all but one thought a parallel to the priceless pearl that follows. One noted the contrast between false religion of self interest in the first and true religion of self-sacrifice in the second. “He buried it to hide the hoard,” she said. “Can’t get over it.” Upsetting. Worth talking about.

5. Politics—corruption, pardons, collusion, distortion, truth and prevarication. What we try not talking about. Exhaustion with pundits and twitters, breaking news that is broken news, what is there to talk about unless something not worth talking about is all we hear being talked about? We turn, instead, to read and discuss the vast silences about global threats on environment, global injustices in economics, global concern for the exploited and global resurgence of tribal, racial (false category) and systemic injustices. These are things we talk about—often—in our prayers.

David and Leann Augsburger are two semi-retired people who co-lead a home base church (Peace Mennonite Church, Claremont, California) and volunteer to welcome, care and connect people in the San Gabriel valley.

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