A Decade of Disillusionment, The Division of the United Methodist Church, & Why Public Discourse Has Become a Shouting Match

Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”

Articles of the Week

The Decade of Disillusionment, Ross Douthat. Take a look at the 2010s in the United States, and from one perspective, not much happened. There were no terrorist attacks on the scale of 9/11. Hardly any new legislation was passed. Some economic indicators went slightly up; some went slightly down. But if you sense that 2020 feels fundamentally different than 2010, you’re on to something. The last decade was dominated by a growing spirit of disillusionment and mistrust. The question now is: Can we overcome that disillusionment with legitimate hope and a tangible way forward?

The Sad, Necessary Division of the United Methodist Church, David French. “The secular media will cast the divide primarily in the terms it understands—as focused on ‘LGBT issues’—but that’s incomplete. The true fracturing point between Mainline and Evangelical churches is over the authority and interpretation of Scripture.”

Shrouded in Darkness: Why Public Discourse Has Turned Into a Shouting Match, Matthew Schmitz. Many of us mourn the vitriol in public debate today. But as Schmitz points out, public debate in our nation (or any nation, for that matter) has always been contentious. There is no “golden age” of civility, charity, and consensus for us to return to. But something about today’s public discourse has changed for the worse. We are, in fact, more eager to demonize our opponents and take their words out of context. Schmitz counsels a better way. And by publicly apologizing to many he has mischaracterized, he models the better way, too.

A Statement on Donald Trump and the Democratic Presidential Candidates, Robert George. “My point here is not to try to adjudicate this dispute [about who to vote for]. It is simply to say that no one should be surprised that many Evangelicals and Catholics support the President over the Democratic alternatives. Whether one assesses and weights the reasons as they do or not, they do have reasons.”

Six Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2020, Carey Nieuwhof. At the Walt Disney Corporation, leaders often say, “In times of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.” Few would deny that we are living through a moment of drastic change. What will the church do in response? Will we allow God’s timeless to become timely to those around us? Or will we hang on to “what we’ve always done,” seeing fewer and fewer results while we wonder what’s wrong with everyone? As Nieuwhof notes, it’s far easier to disrupt yourself than to be disrupted. The year is new. Change is possible. Start by learning.

On the Lighter Side

“d e c l i n e,” Nathan Pyle, “Strange Planet.” In a social media world filled with despair, rage, and jealousy, it’s refreshing to find something that makes one smile. Even if it is a bit morbid. “Strange Planet” is a fresh breath of air.

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d e c l i n e

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