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Friday, July 4, 2014

THE GALLI REPORT - Friday, July 04, 2014

The Galli Report newsletter
Friday, July 04, 2014    

I bet you don't know how many (and which) other countries celebrate this American holiday. Or when it finally became a legal holiday. Or which President was born on Independence Day. Well, I didn't. I often end these reports with something fun, but let trivia start off this edition.

Like most people, I habitually think that the four Gospels are the only documents where we find authentic sayings of Jesus. But we hear Jesus in other New Testament books, like his saying about the blessedness of giving (Acts 20:35). And if you're thinking like a historian, you assume that not every Jesus saying in the apocryphal writings (like the Gospel of Thomas) should be dismissed automatically as sheer fabrication. Each has to be weighed, like any other historical quote, to determine its authenticity.
And then there are the sayings of Jesus in the Muslim tradition, like "The world is a bridge: pass over it, but do not build your house upon it." Historian Philip Jenkins discusses such sayings, and their possible authenticity.
Not that every judgment of Jenkins is gospel. But it raises the question: If the church as a whole comes to believe that extrabiblical sayings are authentic to Jesus, should they be added to our Bible? Maybe we should worry about that when the church "as a whole" agrees.

I have not shared the exact journey of my friend Bobby Grow, but I do resonate with his sense that theology is more than an interesting intellectual enterprise. For those of us so built, theology is a healing balm, as hard as that might seem to nontheological types.

That's what we're offering in our current cover story, "33 Under 33." It's a look at some of the most innovative, creative, and faithful emerging Christians. It suggests that the so-called millennials are not trashing church and civilization, as some are wont to complain.

This week's long read is a gripping New Yorker narrative of the Chilean miners who were trapped for 69 days in late summer 2010. Of special interest to me is the religious dimension, which is introduced soon after the men were trapped:
[Mario] Sepúlveda turned to José Henríquez. "Don José, we know you are a Christian man, and we need you to lead us in prayer," he said. "Will you?"

From that moment, Henríquez, a jumbo operator, became known as the Pastor.
Along the way, we see how men act in extremity—the good, the bad, and the inspiring. Enjoy.

Grace and peace,

Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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