Some Blogs I Discovered in 2011

Rachel Held Evans – We all discovered her, didn’t we?  An evangelical (or is she post-evangelical) woman who isn’t afraid of bullies like Mark Driscoll.

Slacktivist – Fred Clark manages to make the Left Behind series interesting, and he is a witty mouthpiece for progressive Christianity.

John Shore – He receives letters that should make any homophobic Christian think twice, and he is an indefatigable ally of GLBT folks in the church.

Media Decoder – The fascinating compilation of media journalists from the New York Times, including those featured in the excellent documentary, Page One.  (I also read, and loved, David Carr’s Night of the Gun, and asked if he’s the new St. Augustine.)

Storied Theology – Fuller prof Daniel Kirk is a step the the right of me, but his posts on the Bible are thoughtful and deep. (I’ll be posting about his new book in January.)

Scrolling though my Google Reader list, it’s notable, and a bit sad, to see how many good bloggers haven’t posted in a long, long time.  I attribute that, in part, to Facebook, because I see most of those people writing there a lot.  But Facebook updates have neither the length (aka, depth) or links that a blog post has.  Alas.  I hope some of them will resolve to blog again in 2012.

What blogs did you discover in 2011?

What blogs went dormant that you miss?

Or, better yet, convince us to start reading your blog in 2012!

The Enduring Relevance of the Didache

For a few years now, I’ve argued that the long-lost ancient text of the early church, known as the didache, has a great deal of relevance for the church of today. In fact, I wrote a book about it, called The Teaching of the Twelve: Believing and Practicing the Primitive Christianity of the Ancient Didache Community.  It’s on sale this week for $2.99.

There’s a companion DVD for group use as well.

And see all the Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt books on sale this week.

Should Churches Be Able to Build Anywhere?

The current home of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, in Wayzata.

According to a federal law passed in 2000, the answer is basically yes.  To wit, a Unitarian Universalist church in Wayzata, Minnesota has won an out-of-court settlement to build a new church in the middle of a residential neighborhood, against the objections of the City of Wayzata:

In a church-state dispute with echoes across the country, a Wayzata congregation has won its battle to build a new church in a residential neighborhood.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka will be allowed to tear down a house and build a church and parking lot in its place, according to a federal court-mediated settlement reached last week between the church and the city of Wayzata.

To underscore the church’s victory, the settlement also requires the city and its insurer to pay the church $500,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.

The 2000 federal law under which the church sued Wayzata, which effectively allows religious projects to trump local zoning restrictions, is being tested in a growing number of communities around the country. Cases resulting in victories for congregations have cropped up in California, Maryland, Colorado and elsewhere.

In its 2010 federal suit, the Unitarian church also charged Wayzata with violating its First Amendment rights to free speech and religious worship.

My question is this: In this day and age, is it appropriate for churches to be built in residential neighborhoods? There is so much commercially-zoned property these days, it seems to me that churches should be built in those areas.

In other words, isn’t it more neighborly for a church to build in a commercial zone than in the middle of a residential neighborhood?

How Did People in the Bible Pray?

That’s the question I set out to answer in my book, Ask, Seek, Knock: Prayers to Change Your Life.  I just figured, if we look to the Bible as a sacred text that gives us guidance in spiritual matters, maybe the characters therein exemplified something we can learn from.  So I looked at Old Testament figures, the Psalmist, Jesus, the Apostles, and even leaders in the early, medieval, and modern church.

The result, I think, is a pretty interesting book.  And this week, it’s available for only 99¢.

See below for the Table of Contents.

And see all the Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt books on sale this week.

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