Welcome to the second Christian Reconciliation Carnival. The organizers hope this monthly meeting of minds and hearts will build a “road to reconciliation” within the body of Christ.
The Church and Racial Reconciliation
In honor of Black History Month, the special topic for February’s Carnival was racial reconciliation. Three bloggers wrote pieces exploring the challenges and opportunities surrounding better relationships among diverse racial and ethnic groups in the church. A fourth gets honorable mention for reminding us of an important abolitionist and urging us to “go and do likewise.”
Weekend Fisher gets the award for most provocative blog title for What Do the KKK and the NAACP Have In Common?
I posted an interview with two pastors, one white, one African American, whose churches have a 33-year-long tradition of worshiping together on Maundy Thursday. One of those pastors called the tradition “Easily the Favorite Service of Our Entire Church.” I hope you’ll be inspired by their example.
Mark Olson of Pseudo-Polymath offers us Race, Reconciliation, and Communion, an Orthodox perspective on “otherness” as a challenge to the church. Mark also suggests how some of this plays out in the multi-ethnic congregation of which he is a part.
Finally, let me plug a new group blog, Connected Christianity. (And yes, I’m part of the group!). Erin Walker’s Real Change? highlights the life of William Wilberforce, a leader in the British movement to abolish slavery recently featured in the film Amazing Grace. She ponders what it takes to nudge people into taking decisive action in the name of a cause:
History is filled with the names of people who seized opportunities to act in small and grand ways to achieve great feats. Paul of Tarsus journeyed. Rosa Parks sat. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. Mother Teresa taught. Wangari Maathai planted. These people saw a need, felt a nudge, knew their abilities, and acted.
Thanks, Erin, for giving those of us interested in racial reconciliation or any other important work of God something to think about.
Weekend Fisher, a Lutheran, has one of each. First, the question:
For anyone Eastern Orthodox, could you please give the brief explanation of the distinction between God’s essence and God’s energy, and why it matters? I’m asking because I wish to improve my own understanding, and it seems to be a useful distinction that should be more generally known, but is little developed in western Christianity.
I’d be most appreciative if someone would tackle that one for next month.
Next, the answer. WF has provided a thoughtful answer to a Catholic’s questions about the Protestant cringe-factor over Catholic beliefs and practices: One holy catholic and apostolic church. She comments,
I don’t think anyone could have persuaded me to tackle such a large, important, sensitive, and divisive topic at this stage except such a kind, sincere, and honest questioner as Ed. My only request is that you read it as it was intended: not as polemic but as the only answer I could give to the question asked.
WF’s post is a follow-up to a conversation that began here in the post Where Do We Differ? Why Do We Cringe?. I wasn’t going to nominate it for the Carnival, but it has generated a fair number of comments, so it has apparently scratched an itch that at least a few people have.
The Unofficial Topic of the Month
There seems to have been a bit of activity in the blogosphere on the topic of Christians acting badly toward each other. Maybe that is just background noise that shouldn’t have taken me by surprise, but there were a few really nice blogs exposing the problem and offering wisdom about how to overcome it. Read these in the spirit of Paul’s words in Galatians 5:15: “If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”
For the Love of God, a piece by Bert Montgomery at Connected Christianity, explores the ways we Christians expect to receive special treatment in the body of Christ‚Äîand why that is a foolish position to take. Read it for the corny Larry Norman parody if for nothing else!
Kyle Potter gives us a taste of Polycarp and his concern for “sick and straying members” of the church in Polycarp: “To Save Your Whole Body.”
Weekend Fisher (who has been really busy blogging this month!) has written a brief post offering Proof of the Continuing Unity of the Body of Christ.
See You Next Month
Christian Reconciliation Carnival #3 will be hosted at Pacesetters Bible School in late March or early April. Be sure to check back there for details.