Yet the overall message of the New Testament, especially the book of Acts, is that the church is not a separate community with its own culture. The power of Christianity is found in what scholars of mission call its capacity for contextualization, which means that the message of Christ can be translated into different languages, cultures, and contexts.
Before anything else, I have to give serious props to Jennifer Hudson for doing her acapella tribute to Whitney Houston, whose death at age 48 cast a noticeable pall over the otherwise celebratory evening. With a photo of the recently deceased pop legend hanging over her and millions watching, Hudson pushed back her emotions to deliver a rendition of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” that few could pull off in any situation, let alone one with that kind of pressure. She proved herself a true professional and a peer worthy of comparison to other superstar divas like Houston.
Beyond that stand-out moment, the Grammys offered what seemed to be a house divided in the music world, some of which was reassuring, and some of which simply made me feel old and out of touch.
Thirty-four years later, nearly two decades into the Internet age, the September 2011 break-up of the rock band R.E.M. reminded me just how right Bangs was. R.E.M. was one of the last traditional rock bands still doing relevant work.
Beneath the usual clamor of the holiday season is the faint din of anger.
Once again many have raised their voices regarding the “secularization” of Christmas. Armed with slogans such as “Keep Christ in Christmas,” they ensure we don't forget that this is a holiday about Jesus of Nazareth.
Common greetings such as, “Happy Holidays” are met with a defensive, counter-greetings of “… and Merry Christ-mas to you too.”
Try using the abbreviation “Xmas.” Some folks believe this is literally “X-ing” Jesus out of the Christmas!
What seems to be glaringly absent from these vocal Christmas Crusaders is any protest against the gross consumerism, greed and selfishness that arrives every year with holiday season.
After the synchroblog last week and all the discussions surrounding the question of if the emerging church is too white, I've had a number of interesting discussions regarding the ways in which the voice of the subjugated other (subaltern) finds a space