Weekend Roundup – November 17, 2017

He’s not worried that you’re following along on YouVersion: Pope Says No Phones in Church. Parishioners Keep Scrolling. (Note: you can get YouVersionhere.)

Not sure Francis would agree: The Reformation is over. Protestants won. So why are we still here? “Winning is dangerous — what do you do next? Do you return to Mother Church? … a number of my Protestant graduate students … convert because Catholicism is an intellectually rich theological tradition better able to negotiate the acids of our culture.”

For better, and for worse: Churches merge, close: ‘We no longer live in Christendom. We really have to accept that it’s a thing of the past’

Declining almost as fast as their congregations: UMC’s Young elder numbers slip in 2017

But some UMC congregations are fighting the trend, like Adam Weber’s Embrace Church: S.D. church makes ‘fastest-growing’ list. What’s their secret? “What we wanted to do was lower the bar for people to come in the front door,” Weber said. “We tried to open the door as wide as we possibly could.”

This played a role in my conversion: Are Free Minds and Free Markets Compatible With Christianity?

So much for the divide between science and religion: At Vatican, ‘Tenets of Faith’ Seen as Crucial in Climate Change Effort

Speaking of which, apparently there’s a debate between supporters of the Meteorite and Deep-Ocean Vent theories: We’re More Confident Than Ever That Life on Earth Really Did Come From Meteorites

Did the sun stop moving, or stop shiningHow Scientists Identified the Oldest Known Solar Eclipse … Using the Bible

Like “Friendly” ones. Welcoming Churches are Dying Churches. “Yes, we need to be welcoming… but more importantly, we need to be invitational. That means taking a risk and putting ourselves out there for possible rejection when we invite people to our church. It means going out into the world, making contact with people and building relationships with them.”

When Everything Is Missions: Kevin DeYoung reviews When Everything is Missions, by Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison, who argue that a missionary is “(a) sent (b) across a boundary to where the gospel is not known, (c) to see a church planted that (d) can reach that region with the gospel once the missionary leaves.” I get what they’re saying, but I don’t think that (c) is always required and (d) defines the problem so nobody is a missionary unless they are planning to leave. But suppose you (a) go to work and (b) nobody there knows the gospel and (c) you invite them to be part of a home Bible study and (d) someday you move to a different town and the study moves to someone else’s home. Doesn’t that make you a missionary, even by their own definition?

(Cross-posted at jlppastor.)

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