Facing the Darkness at Christmas, What Joseph Has to Say About Abuse, & Mr. Rogers Wanted to Take Down Consumerism

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

Want to Get Into the Christmas Spirit? Face the Darkness, Tish Harrison Warren. Christmas is a time when we celebrate God bringing light into darkness. But to fully appreciate that beautiful truth, we need to pause long enough to contemplate the darkness. This is what the pre-Christmas season of Advent is all about—grief, loss, pain, and longing. So if you really want to get in the Christmas spirit, don’t avoid the dark parts of life. After all, as Christmas reminds us, God didn’t avoid them. He entered into them.

The Story of Joseph: Abuse, Forgiveness, Power Differentials, and Wisdom, Brad Hambrick. Even before I was a Christian, I (Chris) always loved the biblical story of Joseph. When I was younger, it seemed like a classic underdog story: A young man gets a bad start, overcomes insurmountable odds, and climbs to the top. But as our counseling pastor notes, Joseph’s story is not quite that clean. Joseph’s story is no Aesop’s fable with one simple moral. His story involves abuse, power inequity, and the messy business of forgiveness. Pastor Hambrick raises some important questions for us as we wrestle with the twin responsibilities of Christians to (1) respond to evil with good and (2) to take wise precautions to protect themselves—and others—from abusers.

Mr. Rogers Wasn’t Just Nice: He Wanted to Take Down Consumerism, D. L. Mayfield. Christmas means buying tons of stuff. Or does it? Cue Mr. Rogers, the quiet prophet, who wanted to take down consumerism.

Jesus Came to Preach Good News to the Poor, but Now They’re Leaving the Church, Ryan Burge. Many of the poorest Christians in the United States are leaving the church. This is bad news for the poor, since stepping away from the church generally means stepping away from a community that could help. But it’s also bad news for a body specifically commissioned by Jesus to reach out to “the least of these.”

On the Lighter Side

The Bible Slide, Resound247arts. The next time the Cha-cha slide comes up at a wedding, I’m doing the Bible Slide instead.