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The Week in Review - Dec 10

What do butterflies and the British monarchy and local electric company grants have in common? My week! Read on for a run-down of what struck me the last few days.


Kate Bowler’s Advent Devotional, “The Season of Almost” blesses the start of my workdays. Her podcast “Everything Happens” and books Everything Happens for a Reason and The Preacher’s Wife reveal the sneaky places the prosperity gospel’s empty assurances of freedom actually limit us from seeing life as both beautiful and hard. Kate is irreverent and kind and responded to one of my comments on Instagram (yay!).


Turns out, sitting in a room full of butterflies is actually quite therapeutic. Props to the museums and aquariums doing everything they can to stay open right now! They bring the beauty we need.


I read this article and participated in its sister webinar on Transformational Capacity Building. There is work to be done in calling out #CrappyFundingPractices and being honest about the kinds of funding that actually transform organizations. Quoting from the article at length:

“Conventional capacity building’s unexamined desire for nonprofits of color to conform to standards of success rooted in white professionalism pushes communities of color toward compliance with unnecessary practices, which can ultimately thwart the innovative potential of these organizations, rather than boosting it. In failing to expand its cultural frame of reference, conventional capacity building has missed an opportunity to radically reexamine how organizations can operate and achieve their mission.”


Received my hot-off-the-press copy of The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Shout-out to Dr. Boyd Seevers, who let me edit his sections on Old Testament Warfare, Judges, and Joshua a few years ago when I was a student in his Old Testament college course.


I began reading Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Arlie, Berkley-born sociologist, journeys to the deep “red” of the Louisiana Bayou Country to understand what she discovers to be a great paradox of the American right (namely, those whose communities could benefit from government help are the same ones who disdain it). Her interviews are gracious, her portraits complicated and truthful. I was reminded of Deepwater Horizon and Dark Waters as companion movies to this book.


I’m a big fan of small, high-impact grants through local electric companies. It's so fun to work with nonprofit staff on these. The hype around receiving these small potatoes local awards is REAL.


The 2020 Giving In Minnesota Report just became available. Notable findings: 65% of “survey-participating organizations plan to give more to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) led entities,” and 27% of organizations “plan to relax reporting requirements.” This is good news.


Started watching The Crown because it was at the library, of course, and I haven’t been watching any new shows lately. I’m still in Season One, but my goodness. So much expression in hardly any words. Claire Foy was born for this role.



Rich Villodas wrote a helpful piece on the celebrity pastor dilemma in the wake of the Carl Lentz fallout: “The Celebrity Pastor Problem is Every Church’s Struggle.” He says, “One simple way to measure humility as a leader is to tell yourself: ‘Honestly identify the tasks and people you think are beneath you.’” As the wife of a pastor in a small place, I and my husband face daily “beneath us” tasks that continually draw us to gospel clarity.


Here we go again… The SBC, among others, claiming that “critical theory is incompatible with Christianity.” Holy Post Podcast debriefs. Justin Giboney tweets.


To quote from Kate Bowler's Advent devotional, quoting Hamilton Wright Mabie,

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love."
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