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Wesleyan Accent ~ While You Were Preaching: News Roundup

What made headlines while pastors were preaching this weekend? With firework celebrations, parades, Vacation Bible School, and family travels occupying our time and attention, catch up on news from the church and around the world with this quick overview.

Worldwide attention has been turned toward Thailand, where a harrowing rescue is taking place, eliciting a global push to #prayforthailand.  A group of boys – soccer players – and their coach were found alive in a complicated cave system after being reported missing. Rising flood waters have made the rescue a diving mission; one expert diver has died after taking in air tanks for the boys.

This image shared by the BBC illustrates the challenges faced by rescue divers in reaching the stranded boys.

According to the BBC, “A team of 90 expert divers – 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas – has been working in the cave system. They have been guiding the boys through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the Tham Luang cave system. Getting to and from where the boys are has been an exhausting round trip, even for the experienced divers. The process includes a mixture of walking, wading, climbing and diving along guide ropes already in place. Wearing full-face masks, which are easier for novice divers than traditional respirators, each boy is being accompanied by two divers, who also carry his air supply.”

Becky Castle Miller has compiled a user-friendly chart comparing Bible translations of passages about women, and the differences are pretty remarkable. “The ESV is intentionally complementarian, meaning it favors a male-dominant hierarchy in marriage and the church. While Scot [McKnight] maintains that all modern English translations are good and reliable, he doesn’t favor the ESV because of their wording on women’s issues, among other problems.” Castle Miller is a student at Northern Seminary and the Discipleship Director at an international church in The Netherlands.

Over the weekend, NPR shared an interesting take on the intersection between the Beatles and religion by reminiscing about the odd emergence of “Submarine Churches” after the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film premiered 50 years ago. (A restored version of the film was released in theaters yesterday.)

The logo of a Submarine Church from the Online Archive of California.

“Not long after the British-made film landed in the United States, “submarine churches” attracted urban, young people. They adopted the outline of a yellow submarine with a small cross on its periscope as their symbol and displayed it alongside peace signs, flowers and other popular emblems of the 1960s. There were enough of the churches a year after the film’s release that they operated The Submarine Church Press, which published a national directory of 40 such churches, most with mainline Protestant or Catholic roots, and held a three-day “rap session,” or conference, in Kansas City.”

Worn-out preachers may find some inspiration in this nuanced defense of rest as an essential component of creativity. “It seems that no matter how much the #hustle culture or the #nosleep blowhards on Instagram and Twitter would have you believe, there really is no trade-off to overwork. Long work hours don’t make you more successful. Instead, no rest makes you tired, sick, and uncreative,” writes Jeff Sieh. Citing Pang’s Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Lessone of the most eye-catching sections points out the value of what Pang describes as “deep play.” Among other characteristics, “deep play” “offers a new context in which to use some of the same skills from their day job” and “offers some of the same rewards as their day job, but also offers different, clearer rewards.”

“It’s Coming Home.” What sounds like a sermon title is actually a dark, wry hope of the English as England has advanced to soccer’s (or football’s) World Cup semi-finals for the first time in a very, very long time. The phrase is encapsulated in a popular song, “Three Lions,” from a couple of comedians in the nineties: the tune captures the bitter despair and hope that lives simultaneously in sports fans’ hearts.

How do you really, truly rest? For weary clergy, don’t miss Edgar Bazan’s post from this weekend, The Rest of GodThe United Methodist pastor writes, “when we hear Jesus talking about rest, it is not the kind that you find in a couple of weeks in the summer, in a hammock, or in bed, but it is the relief in life that leads us to experience joy and the blessings of God through a grace/faith relationship with him. This is an invitation aimed at all people to bring them to a place of belief, trust, and a deeper level of commitment in which they are to follow Jesus and become like him.” He continues, “God moved creation from disorder and formlessness to a place of beauty, order, and creativity. And rest is the final gift of God to creation.”

We hope these highlights will help inform and inspire you this week!