Roundup: Contextualization, Jesus as Preacher, Communion, Being There for the Bereaved, “Execution of Christ”

“Tim Keller on Contextualization”: hmsarthistorian evaluates chapter 10 of Keller’s book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, giving two examples of indigenous Christian artists who have successfully contextualized the gospel through their art. Contextualization is not about accommodating every idea in a culture; it’s about affirming what Keller calls a culture’s “‘A’ beliefs”—those beliefs that roughly accord with gospel teachings—but also challenging the “‘B’ beliefs”—beliefs of the culture that lead listeners to find some Christian doctrines implausible or offensive.

“They killed Jesus because of his preaching”: In the video below, excerpted from the sermon “Jesus Preached the Gospel,” Mark Driscoll reminds us that Jesus was a preacher—it was one of his primary ministries. And yet people today, even Christians, often see him as more of a therapist. Let’s not forget the reason he was crucified: for preaching things like “I’m God,” “you’re a sinner,” “you need saving,” “repent.”

“Family Supper: Reclaiming Community through Communion” by Russell Moore: A challenge to evangelical churches to make Communion more, well, communal. “Part of the problem is with the way we present the elements themselves. Most contemporary evangelical churches distribute chewing-gum size pellets of tasteless and oppressively-textured bread along with thimble-sized plastic shot glasses of grape juice. This practice hardly represents the unity maintained by a common loaf and a common cup. It also strips away at the reality of the Supper as a meal for a gathering, not just a prompt for individual reflection.”

“How to Help Bereaved Parents in Your Church” by Jill Sullivan: When it comes to dealing with people who are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one, we tend to either ignore them or offer up some unhelpful, even hurtful, cliché, like “she’s in a better place,” or “I understand what you’re going through.” Sullivan shares what comforted her most when she lost her sixteen-year-old daughter to brain cancer.

Controversial art piece forbidden in China, brought to Europe: SHOWstudio in London is exhibiting the Gao brothers’ bronze sculpture The Execution of Christ this month as part of an exhibition called “Death.” Based on Manet’s painting The Execution of Emperor Maximilian, the work shows eight life-sized Chairman Maos firing at Jesus, referencing the religious oppression that’s still going on in China as well as the artists’ own experience of losing their father when he was arrested and killed during Mao Zedong’s reign. Follow the link to see details of the sculpture. (Even just the standalone sculpture of Christ is very moving.)

Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, “The Execution of Christ,” 2009. Bronze, life-sized.

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