News round up: spirituality, reform, Christmas and Advent

In Christianity Today there is a review of The Pietist Option: Hope for the Renewal of Christianity. Reviewer Hannah Anderson explains how today’s Christians can draw inspiration from the Pietist movement of the 17th century.

In the Huffington Post Susan Thistlethwaite shares news of the Boston Declaration, which has been signed by 300 theologians in the United States. The declaration is part of the ongoing global debate about what it means to be a Christian. Thistlethwaite spoke at the declaration’s launch, saying:

“We are not here merely to denounce, however. The most important thing we can do as Christian theologians is announce the good news of the Gospel. The good news is the radical inclusivity of God, for God so loved the world.”

Evangelical blogger Anne Kennedy suggests that playing Christmas music too early is a very bad idea. Kennedy says: “Listening to Christmas music from October 1 to December 25 is the sacramental embodiment of the confused rush to have whatever I want right now.” Kennedy encourages us all to wait a little longer.

Advent begins on 3rd December. The theme of the season is waiting for Christ. Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the joy of Christmas. The Telegraph reports on Ian Paul’s warning against the commercialisation of Advent.  Paul spoke against the current fashion for luxury Advent calendars costing hundreds of pounds. He said:

“Christians use Advent as a time to remember two things. The first is Jesus’s own coming to us in poverty from the riches of his glory at the Father’s right hand. The second is God’s promised future coming in judgement – when he will hold all people to account for their greed and selfishness. So it is doubly ironic that people are using Advent to celebrate greed and wealth.”