“The First Church of Intersectionality”
“Why Asian Americans Struggle to Feel at Home in White-Majority Churches”
“Generation X, Y, Z, and Others”
These are 3 recent articles from Steve Doe’s monthly curated selections that he passes on to his presbytery.
Steve is the Regional Home Missionary for the Presbytery of the MidAtlantic. He has developed an interesting and helpful practice that he shares with his fellow elders. He curates interesting articles or blog posts that specifically give insight into the rapidly changing culture, and then he selects the top 5 and puts them into a one page collection. He adds his own comments to introduce the pieces to his brothers in the presbytery—noting why they are important and why they are of interest to Reformed Christians. A recent example is included below. We were able to ask Steve a couple of questions about this practice. This is not a transcript, but a summary of Steve’s answers:
Q. How did this idea come about….what was the impetus and motivation?
Steve: This specific idea comes probably from when I attended a seminar by Randy Lovelace (OPC Pastor, Columbia, MD) and then auditing an RTS Seminary class on Urban Apologetics. These two classes brought a lot of ideas and resources to my attention. I started reading on my own and gathering resources. I was thinking about how I could help the presbytery. Pastors are busy. They don’t have time to find the best resources, so I thought I could do that and pass them along.
Q. How do you find and select the resources and narrow it down to just 5?
Steve: I usually try to find things that “nudge us a bit.” Often I include articles that are asking questions I suspect we aren’t even thinking about. It may be that I find something that relates to a topic that I’ve talked about with someone. If it’s interesting and I think it’s probably not on our radar as Reformed Pastors and Elders, then I may include it. Or it may be a recommendation that comes from “outside the box.”
Q. How has this practice of reading “outside the box” changed you…how has it changed your view of unbelievers and the world around you?
Steve: First, I’m more aware. I’m more aware that people I’m engaging with (especially minorities) may feel uncomfortable because of the cultural circumstances….not so much in talking to me but in regard to cultural norms or expectations. Second, it’s made me think. It’s made me think that we are kind of blind to the fact that others don’t think the way we do. We don’t realize how different the views are in our current cultural climate. Third, it’s made me realize we assume. We assume we are right and that people can’t understand a lot of the things we believe or talk about.
Steve’s practice is a great example of being more intentional about our outward-ness. This is what outwardopc.com is all about. How can we grow in our ability and effectiveness to understand and connect with people around us in our rapidly changing world? Thanks to Steve for taking the initiative to start this practice and for sharing it with all of us. We hope to continue to share stories of what people in the OPC are doing to reach the lost.
How does Steve’s example translate to you–beyond just a quick check of the articles below?
Do you ever get to read “outside the box” and find it helpful?
Are you the curator, like Steve, that needs to find a way to be intentional about sharing the best things you find?
Do you even know what to do with articles like these?
Do they help you better understand unbelievers or do they seem more like a distraction or waste of time?
Hopefully Steve’s practice will spur us on to be more effectively outward and to reach a dying world.
Here is an example of Steve’s most recent collection in its entirety:
Some Things to Interest You
Stephen Doe, RHM PMA
While there are already plenty of things to read, here are a few suggestions to give you insight into our current cultural milieu. Obviously, the views are not necessarily endorsed (!) but do give you a glimpse at what people are saying and seeing.
“Can My Son Be Friends with White People?” – Jasmine L. Holmes 11.17.17 – A thought-provoking blog by an evangelical African-American woman on the challenges her son will face.
“First Church of Intersectionality” – Elizabeth C. Corey First Things 8.2017 – This is a short and helpful article about the idea of group identities being formed by categories of oppression, whether race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. Corey provides a clear overview of the academic movement that filters down into oppositional movements such as transgenderism. She also alludes to the “ersatz” religious character of this movement.
“Let It Be” – Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic, 5.2003 – Rauch, a secular Jewish, homosexual claims to have coined the term “apatheist” to describe those for whom religion is a non-question. Is he right, or is he just ignoring the empty longing of the modern image-bearer?
“What happens when politics drive our faith?“ – Dr. Carl Ellis, RTS Wisdom Wednesday 11.22.17 – Dr. Ellis, in less than two minutes crisply articulates the danger of allowing our politics to drive our theology, and the biblical alternative…in two minutes!
http://rts.edu/site/wisdomwednesday/ “ (scroll down 1 or 2 videos to Carl)
Why Asian Americans Struggle to Feel at Home in White-Majority Churches” – Steve S. Chang. The Gospel Coalition, 11.16.17 – His provocative idea is “White Churches Are More White Than They Realize” as he tries to make everyone think about what it means to say that every church has its own culture affected by history, tradition, theological commitments, and…ethnic background? Challenging.
Remember that these kinds of resources can help us think in ways that we are unused to thinking as we seek to bring the gospel to bear on our day and time.