Found at divinecotton.com.
- Header image courtesy of Beyond Belief Media. (Adapted from the Christ Pantocrator icon in St. Catherine's monastery, Sinai, 6th century.)
He is the one
who cooks his food in huge palm-oil pots.
Thousands of people have eaten,
yet the remnants fill twelve baskets.
If we leave all this, and go wandering off—
if we leave his great gift, where else shall we go?
Afua Kuma (1900-1987) was a well-known oral poet in Ghana who used her gift of language to praise the name of Jesus. Baptized into the Presbyterian Church with the name Christiana Gyan, she grew up under the teachings of Christianity, the daughter of Akan farmers. Later in life she joined a Pentecostal church, where she was encouraged to pray aloud during the services. In this setting, at the age of 70, she voiced her first spontaneous praise poem; the congregation was amazed and moved by the poetic skill and theological insightfulness coming from this elderly illiterate woman. For the next seventeen years of her life, Madam Kuma was called upon to recite her praise poetry in church and at prayer retreats and Easter rallies, leading her fellow Akan Christians in the worship of Jesus.
Twi oral literature scholar Akosua Anyidoho points out that Madam Kuma’s poetry bears many similarities in form and content to amoma, a genre of Akan praise poems recited to chiefs (75ff.). Traditionally, amoma performers are male court attendants who have been selected from specific lineages and trained in the art of fine language. Madam Kuma was one of the first women to compose in this genre, and not only do her poems break gender barriers, they also remove amoma from their court context and insert them into the realm of the church. Rather than praise earthly rulers, Madam Kuma’s poetry praises God in Christ, of whose court she is a member, and who alone deserves honor and glory. (According to her daughter Beatrice Fantoaa, Madam Kuma once refused the invitation of a chief who had invited her to perform his praises at the commissioning ceremony of a public building; she said she would not perform to honor a human being.) Continue reading
“Four Ways Children Do Faith Better Than Adults” by Stephen Mattson: Curious, honest, passionate, excited, adventurous. Oh, to have faith like a child!
“Benediction: To Hear a Good Word” by Justin Ruddy: The benediction is a liturgical element that I wasn’t familiar with until I moved to Boston and joined a church that closes every service with it. Now I look forward to the benediction every week—there’s such empowerment in it, and it has made me so much more aware of the activity of the three persons of the Godhead in daily life. This sermon was preached last Sunday at my church as part of our Liturgy for Life series. Ruddy emphasizes that we need to listen to God’s good words to us, which drown out all the false and discouraging words the world speaks, and not only that, but we, as Christians, ought to be walking benedictions, speaking the good words of the gospel into the lives of those around us.
This month’s issue of National Geographic magazine has a feature on the photography of Jeff Gusky, from his series “The Hidden World of WWI.” These photographs explore the little-known rock quarries of France’s Picardy region that sheltered soldiers from all sides during the Great War, down beneath the trenches. Preserved there are various personal expressions that Americans, French, and Germans carved into the walls—names, portraits, religious and patriotic symbols, caricatures, wartime imagery, whimsical animal cartoons, and so on. Visit JeffGusky.com to see more photos from this project.
Commemorative art installation outside the Tower of London: To mark the centenary of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies will be progressively installed around the Tower of London through November 11—one for every British military fatality during the war. Commissioned by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, this massive work was conceived and created by Paul Cummins, with installation design by Tom Piper. It’s titled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, after a line from a poem by an English soldier who died in the Great War. When the installation closes, the poppies will be on sale for £25 each, with net proceeds going to charities that support the care of former and current soldiers and their families. For more photos, see Jonathan Evens’s Between blog, or the blog Colossal; they’re amazing. Also check out the “making of” video below.
On the lighter side, read this tongue-in-cheek poem by Martyn Wendell Jones, made up entirely of lines from Focus on the Family’s Plugged In movie reviews! So funny.
Despite the controversy that continually follows Mark Driscoll and that reached a crescendo last week with his removal from the Acts 29 Network, I will continue to post from this sermon series of his, which has five more segments, because I believe there is a lot of good in it; his clear and engaging answers to these twelve common questions about Jesus helped bolster and clarify my faith when I was a college student, and I am hoping that you too will find value in them and won’t let the accusations against Driscoll discolor your reception of them.
You can see part 1 of the series here.
6:21: The concept of “savior” in popular culture
12:56: The concept of “savior” in world religions
All religions besides Christianity teach that you are your own savior, that you can save yourself by living a certain way or practicing a certain technique.
15:39: The concept of “savior” in the Christian Bible Continue reading