October 22, 2020

Around the Web with Friends

By Chaplain Mike

It is time to give some of our friends that we list in our Links and on our Blogroll some love. Many people are doing excellent writing and dealing with important subjects. I want to recommend a few today. Links are denoted by any red text.

The Christian Monist
You will appreciate and may even recognize some familiar scenarios in JMJ’s group of posts, “The Subtle Art of Spiritual Abuse,” a series of vignettes about power plays in a Midwestern evangelical congregation and the people they affect. Look for them in the June and July 2011 archives.

Reclaiming the Mission
David Fitch appeals to Christian denominations to “STOP FUNDING TRADITIONAL CHURCH PLANTS and instead fund missionaries to inhabit contexts all across the new mission fields of N America.” His model? “Instead of funding one entrepreneurial pastor, preacher and organizer to go in and organize a center for Christian goods and services, let us fund three or four leader/ or leader couples to go in as a team to an under-churched context.” Fitch suggests that this team settle in, get jobs, get to know their neighbors, and devote a certain amount of time outside their work obligations to planting seeds of the Gospel and beginning to gather new believers together. This for at least an initial ten-year commitment. Sounds almost Pauline. Let’s go!

Kingdom People
Trevin Wax writes about making the transition from attractional youth ministry to missional youth ministry. I think he’s on to something here. I especially like what he says about the relationship of the youth to the church as a whole and about teaching young people now to fulfill their vocations in the community.

John H. Armstrong
Among a number of fascinating posts, John writes about the refreshingly humble and gracious faith of Texas Rangers’ baseball star Josh Hamilton in the aftermath a fan’s untimely death in Rangers Ballpark.

Over at Patheos’s evangelical portal, you can read Ben Witherington’s review of the final Harry Potter film and Francis Beckwith’s glowing recommendation of the new book, How to Go From Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-Five Difficult Steps, by Notre Dame sociologist, Christian Smith. Also, Karen Spears Zacharias lists and comments on her “Summer Reads,” and Michael F. Bird summarizes five gains that are “keepers” from the so-called New Perspective in NT studies.


  1. Some of the many blessings found in the IMONK neighborhood are the many juicey links and referrals. I would highly recommend the Trevin Wax’s interview with his friend Robbie Sager regarding the emerging church. The title is something like “The Emerging Church: A Retrospective”. Great overview and takeaways.

    thanks again Chap Mike for setting up this summer buffet.

  2. Thanks for the postings – great reads. I enjoyed the Trevin Wax posting as well. I have a dear friend in the East St. Louis area who I think is moving in this same direction – remarkable work being done. Randy’s link – http://www.acts18stl.org/

  3. @Chap Mike , if you ;haven’t seen it already: “Why I Don’t Invite My Friends to Church” Amy Julia Becker over at Patheos. Excellent.

    • Should be “Why We Don’t Invite Our Friends to Church”….. I don’t read reel gud.

  4. One more Mike says

    “The subtle art of spiritual abuse” at Christian Monist is spooky in its reality. It reflects the authors real experiences and if you have a history in evangelicalism, you’ve seen this scenario play out. And if you haven’t, you will.

    Also recommend Trevin Wax’s interview with N.T. Wright, which is excellent.

  5. Thanks for recommending The Christian Monist. I just read “The Subtle Art of Spiritual Abuse” during lunch. It rings soooooo true.

  6. I agree about the scarily true nature of Christian Monist’s recent series. It could be a chapter in M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie”. I recommend both to anyone who wants to read and be warned about those who practice spiritual abuse and coercive control.

  7. Ditto all the previous comments about the Christian Monist.

  8. Lived thru much of JMJ’s vignettes in the early 80’s. And of course I’ve seen the same rough sketch played out many times since then as an observer of other churches. JMJ will be getting a lot of email about this series from “Toms”, the youth group guy, and the families of those kind of abused. This stuff stays ‘real’ for many decades, it has for me.

  9. JMJ’s story struck the heart not only for how true it rang but for also how well it was written.