Friday Findings: A Big Surprise, Forget the Church, and the Bible Gets Cooler

Frieday Findings on Modern RejectWhat a week it has been. After feeling a bit out of sorts last week, I’m back to feeling  like my old self. Whatever that means. I also found and enjoyed some pretty spiffy stuff on the web this week that I can’t wait to share in today’s Friday Findings.

So here we go…

Holy wow! Bananas! A Huge Surprise! I discovered on Tuesday, much to my amazement and surprise, that yours truly found her way onto Church Relevance’s Top 200 Church Blogs of 2012 list. I have to say, I was shocked. Still am, in fact, and feel convinced that someone made some type of clerical error. I’m secretly waiting for an email informing me of their mistake, but until that day comes, I’ll enjoy the honor.

In this bizarro twist of fate, Modern Reject landed at #118 on the list (You can check out the full list here). So many of the blogs I love, adore, admire, and stalk are on this list. Which also means I owe you a huge THANK YOU! Thank you for reading. Thank you for subscribing (you do subscribe, right?). Thank you for commenting. Thank you for being a part of this community and encouraging me every single day. You rule and I’m grateful.

The Mark of Love. This week, my hubster introduced me to a super cool Christian clothing company called Mend Mark. I have to say, I usually find Christian paraphernalia to be so cheesy or lame…but not this stuff. I’d actually wear these clothes. The company describes their products “as visual reminders of the life and death of Jesus, the greatest lover in history.” How sweet is that?

Forget the Church? Did you happen to see the recent cover of Newsweek with the provocative title “Forget the Church: Follow Jesus,”  with an article by Andrew Sullivan? Well, I took the bait, picked up the magazine and started reading. Then, I started cussing because I found it to be such a pile of drivel. {Sigh}. My husband told me to put the magazine down. I relented.

Suffice to say, I was bothered by it, but then I read Frank Viola’s response to the article. He nails it, in my opinion, as he astutely and effectively addresses the glaringly obvious errors in Sullivan’s thinking. Viola’s piece is called Christianity in Crisis (also the title of the original article) and is worth reading even if you happened to miss the Newsweek piece.

The Bible Gets Even Cooler. You may remember a few months back I did an interview with the uber-talented and creative Jim LePage, whose designs turn the books of the Bible into works of art. Well, now Jim and Troy DeShano are collaborating, along with several other illustrators, on a new effort called the Old and New Project.

I cannot begin to tell you how stunning, visually rich, and masterful these new pieces are. One of the designers in the collaboration is Jon Ashcroft, who actually designed Modern Reject (and ain’t she purdy?) Check out one of his Old and New Project pieces here. All  pieces in the project are available to purchase, so you can display them in your home. Go on…put some slick Jesus art on your walls and call it a day.

There you have it– a full week of awesomeness. So what made your awesome list this week? Please tell. I’m dying to know!

8 thoughts on “Friday Findings: A Big Surprise, Forget the Church, and the Bible Gets Cooler”

  1. I personally loved Sullivan’s article! It didn’t have a lot of answers, but the one thing I did pick up was how Christians should stop seeking power and domination. Ever notice how many “leadership conferences” there are? Whatever happened to “discipleship conferences?”

    Plus, being an openly bisexual Christian who leans to the left politically, I tend to be pretty hostile to Evangelical Protestantism. Maybe I overdo it sometimes.

    1. Travis,
      I think in theory, Sullivan was attempting to make some good points. I agree that the church has become too politicized, for example. But when Sullivan said that Jesus going to the cross was His ultimate “apolitical” act and made it sound as if His crucifixion was an act of pacifism or non-violent protest, I almost screamed out loud. It was too much for me. Everything else he wrote lost any teeth or authority in light of that one sentence, for me.

      And I don’t know that the comment section of Friday Findings is the best place to discuss this, but I’m curious Travis when you describe yourself as “openly bisexual” do you mean you are attracted to men as well as women and openly acknowledge that or do you mean something else?

      One of the reasons I ask is because I think sometimes we are too quick to label ourselves as “gay, bisexual,” or whatever when a label does not necessarily make things clearer. There’s a lot of pressure to use labels to wrap up our sexuality with a neat little bow and that’s not always possible. Thankfully, our sexuality is so much more than a label.

  2. Congrats Nicole on your blog being #118 on the list of the top 200 church blogs of 2012! I seldom comment on your posts, but I always read those. Way to go girl!

  3. Hi Nicole,

    I read your blog regularly, and I like the stuff you have to say, so please don’t take this as anything but an honest question: What exactly are your misgivings over the idea of the crucifixion as an act of pacifism and non-violent protest? Or is your unease at that statement rooted in the fact that you don’t believe that that’s the whole story of what’s happening at the cross? (in which case I would agree, by the way!)

    I would probably resist the idea that Jesus was apolitical, or that the church should be apolitical. I believe the church must follow Jesus and make radically political statements through radically political practices – but I do entirely agree with the idea that the church must not be party-political. There must not be an inherent link between the church and any one political party. That works for me, I think. But we must, as followers of Jesus, act as witnesses to a kind of world and a kind of humanity. That means bearing witness to Christian ethics in the face of national policy and cultural assumption. That’s political.

  4. I read Viola’s Christianity in Crises and absolutely agree with him. In fact, I will be looking for a copy of his book Jesus Manifesto.

    I found it encouraging how he states, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus Christ is Christianity. And that knowing Christ is the purpose of living.

    I think when we live in order to know Jesus then He becomes the center of our lives. And I think this way because I experience His presence in my life. I even have dreams of looking at His glory and walking with Him in heaven. Don’t you just love it when that happens? :)

    The Bible says that we speak what is in our hearts. Our dreams, our goals and desires, the way we view our own self-worth are all directly related to what or who is on the throne of our lives.

    The goal of every Christian should be to live life in a way that allows everyone to see Jesus and what He has and is doing in them. And this should be happening regardless of marital status, career choice, or gender.

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