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Eclectica: Late Edition (Week of July 7, 2014)

I got tied up writing an actual article over the weekend and didn’t get a chance to gather my favorite links from last week. No worries though – we run a flexible publishing schedule here at duncalfe.com!

The mainstream news hasn’t been devoting much space to it, but bloggers have been picking up the slack on the subject of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Here are two from Ben Irwin:

If you think “standing with Israel” means never criticizing them, you’re going to have to get a new Bible

The prophets routinely condemned Israel and its leaders for wishing destruction rather than mercy on their enemies (Jonah); for wrongly assuming that their military advances and territorial expansion were signs of God’s favor (Amos); for murder, theft, and adultery (Hosea); for coveting and seizing other people’s fields and houses (Micah); and for relying on military power instead of trusting God to protect them (Isaiah).

Why evangelicals should think twice about equating modern Israel with Israel of the Bible

If you’ve been told that unconditional support for Israel is the only “biblical” position, that the modern-day state enjoys the same kind of “most favored nation” status with God as ancient Israel did, then here’s another question. If Israel today is entitled to the covenant blessings spoken by the Old Testament, what about their covenant obligations?

The Bible never spoke of Israel’s covenant blessings apart from their obligations. It’s no use trying to have one without the other. And at least one of these obligations poses a bit of a problem for the modern state of Israel, if it is indeed the same nation as the one in the Bible.

Ancient Israel was not supposed to have a standing army.

In Light of the Current Events in GazaAaron Niequist

I’m learning that this conflict cannot be reduced to “good guys vs bad guys”.

One of my heroes (Christian peace activist Sami Awad) explained to us that this conflict is NOT simply Israeli vs Palestinian or Jew vs Muslim…but it’s ultimately a conflict between those who want peace and those who don’t.  There are wonderful, peaceful men and women on both sides (I’ve met many of them), and dangerous saboteurs on both sides (which we see on the news all the time).

And so, personally, I’m not trying to decide which nation is 100% right so I can 100% support them AGAINST the other nation.  It’s just not that simple.  But in the name of Jesus, I want to find and support the peace-makers on every side. These are really dark days, but we can’t give up.

I’ve Had Enough of the Spilling of BloodCarmen Ibrahim

I’ve had enough of the spilling of blood.

Especially that of children.

On June 12th, three Israeli teenagers (Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach) went missing near Hebron. Their bodies were later found in a pit in a town north of Hebron.

And I held my breath, waiting and knowing hell would break loose.

I’ve been watching and reading the news, wanting to talk about it, but not knowing how.

One of the overarching themes across Micah J. Murray‘s Redemption Pictures is recovering from growing up in an abusive fundamentalist Christian cult. Last week, he published a guest post from Heather Corcoran, and it’s one of the hardest-hitting stories I’ve ever read.

Dear Mr. Gothard

A few months ago, Heather shared this story with me. I sat motionless reading the words you’re about to read, my heart breaking at the horror of it all. My mind didn’t want to believe it, but I knew in my gut that it was true. I recognized the places she speaks of, the phrases she recounts, the life she describes. It’s a story that’s all too familiar by now. I’ve carried Heather’s story in my heart these few months, hearing it again and again whenever Bill Gothard and his teachings are mentioned. I invite you to carry her story in your heart too.

The Complexity of Loving Your NeighborNate Pyle

Here’s what I believe. I do not believe that loving God with our whole being ever has to be in conflict with loving our neighbor. If, in our love of God, we fail to love and serve our neighbor, then maybe we are misunderstanding what it means to love God.

John Piper, Two Mommies and LGBT HamburgersTim Fall

Jesus spent a lot of time with people others rejected. He loved them, knowing that there was no way these people could ever act in a way that would please God but that he, God incarnate, could do that for them. He’s done that for me too.

It looks like Mr. Piper has forgotten that this is the gospel we are called to preach.

That makes me weep.

Will American Christians Fail the Good Samaritan Test?Ed Cyzewski

Loving our neighbors isn’t a matter of picking and choosing which people get to be our neighbors. Isn’t that the whole point of the Good Samaritan parable? Vulnerable people cross our paths unexpectedly without announcing themselves, and sometimes they simply need our help. Loving our neighbors involves stepping in to help when the chance to show love presents itself, not when neighbors meet a government-specified checklist.

Jesus doesn’t give legal loopholes for “illegal immigrants” when loving our neighbors.

The Forgotten Lesson of Bonhoeffer, and the American ChurchGeoff Holsclaw

We often think of Bonhoeffer as a hero of the church, but I think of him more as a cautionary tale.

The forgotten lesson of Bonhoeffer is not that we should all strive to be more like him, but that we should strive to be a church that wouldn’t need him!

Emily Timbol tweeted this thought-provoking screenshot of a Facebook post that re-interpreted what it means to be a “sodomite”.

Today she published Religious Exceptions Have No Scriptural Basis on Red Letter Christians. Since I’m late with this week’s linkage, you get to read the full article instead of just the idea behind it.

It is true that Jesus never spoke about homosexuality. He spoke about marriage and divorce, but those are completely separate issues than that of employment discrimination. Again – same-sex marriage has nothing to do with the discussion on employment discrimination. What does have a lot to do with this discussion though is Jesus’ warnings to His disciples about Sodom. Stay with me.

And here’s a funny I’d never seen before, and it made me laugh. (As does Misty P. on a regular basis.)

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Andrew. That link to Ed’s piece on what’s happening on the southern U.S. border was great, and the comments there had some good discussion too.

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