Is Christ divided? No; He is Christ United in Mid-City

Thursday, September 22, 2016

On the theology of sleep

Why most people leave religion? They just 'stop believing'
Religion News Service: It's bad news for organized religion: A majority of the religiously unaffiliated -- the so-called "nones" -- say they fell away from faith not because of any negative experience, but because they "stopped believing," usually before the age of 30.

On the theology of sleep
First Things: Theology, being the highest form of knowledge, must surely have an answer to why humans spend on average twenty-five years of their lives sleeping.

Church that has been helping Haitians hits breaking point
San Diego Journal: A San Diego church asks for help, saying it cannot continue to house the high numbers of new arrivals with the resources that it has.

Like Katy Perry, I broke up with the conservative evangelical project
Religion News Service: Brian D. McLaren offers 10 reasons why he had to part company with the conservative evangelical project.

Religious voters may lean Republican, but feel conflicted about the candidates
NPR: Members of a congregation in Boone, N.C., discuss how their Christian commitments are influencing their thinking about this year's presidential election

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Two priests found dead after being kidnapped in Mexico

Analysis & Commentary
Meet the Muslim YouTuber who's proving modesty can be fashionable
‘Science Mike’ McHargue: ‘Christians aren’t stupid, and atheists aren’t evil’
Religion News Service
England’s forgotten Muslim history
The New York Times *
On U.S. trip full of choreography, two off-script moments loomed large

Allowing holy second thoughts

When liturgical candle maker Martin Marklin became curious about the creatures making the wax he used in his business, he found his life and work transformed. In this 5-minute video, Marklin explains what bees can teach us about living as Christians.

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Effective strategic planning requires leaders to ask big questions about the future, not about how to operationalize the work, writes the executive director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.

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Resigning from a thriving megachurch was emotional and difficult for a minister on the staff. But once she realized that staying in a comfortable place was not the best use of her gifts, she knew it was time to go.

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What if our official discernment processes offered the opportunity to change our minds? asks a pastor.

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A classroom exercise in reading John Cassian opened students' imaginations to the way ancient practices can be applied to contemporary issues, writes a seminary professor.

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A Baptist pastor has wondered throughout his career: Why do seekers show up and engage in worship or other spiritual practices?

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I lost my faith in God. Then I found it.

Should kids be forced to stand for the pledge of allegiance?
Religion News Service: Young people are old enough to begin to grapple with these issues for themselves, says Jeffrey Salkin.

Missionaries are struggling to work under new Russia law banning proselytizing
The Washington Post: Mormons are one of many religious groups struggling to operate under the new law, which bans preaching or disseminating religious materials except by authorized officials in registered religious buildings or sites.

6 habits of trustworthy leaders
Fast Company: The people in your office may not trust you as much as you think they do. Here's how to win them over.

I lost my faith in God. Then I found it. Now it's complicated.
The Washington Post: Belief is rarely black and white, whether you're a scientist or a theologian, says Mike McHargue.

Why successful churches aren't turning the world upside-down -- but the outcasts might
Christianity Today: Where are the Christian innovators who will put a dangerous passion for Jesus ahead of personal ministry success?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

We are on summer break 2016

We are on summer break 2016
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Friday, June 17, 2016

A father's faith: How modern dads pass on their religious traditions

Louisville and Orlando, 2016
Baptist News Global: These days, when cynicism overwhelms, Bill Leonard tries to remember the night in a Louisville cathedral when Muhammad Ali kissed him on the cheek, an interfaith congregation reached out in thanksgiving, and for a moment, the kingdom of God came near. You gotta hope.

The Orlando tragedy: what can be said?
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: What we need most is not declarations of the undoubted meaning of the catastrophe, but lament. We need not commentary, but poetry.

Forgiving Dylann Roof is taking a heavy toll on those left behind. But they're not giving up.
The Washington Post: Some have forgiven. Others are still trying. "I know I need to as a believer."

A father's faith: How modern dads pass on their religious traditions
Deseret News National: Even as ideas about fatherhood evolve, certain conclusions about how fathers can pass on their faith remain stable.

You'd think that Israel, of all places, would respect its refugees
The (London) Guardian: Africans facing genocide are making a modern-day Exodus, fleeing through the Sinai. But the Israeli government has no time for non-Jewish asylum seekers, says Giles Fraser.

Orlando Backlash

Orlando Backlash
Emotions are running high after the murder of 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando. We Americans have a desperate and understandable urge to lay the blame somewhere, and we find it irresistible to strike out against political and religious opponents. The New York Times believes the culprit is the Republican Party (which Sean Davis at The Federalist satires effectively, in my view). Attorney Chase Strangio spoke for many when he tweeted "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No. #PulseNightclub," while Zack Ford at Think Progress repudiated Christian attempts at sympathy, saying, "If you want us to feel love, then do not tell us our sexuality is wrong or that the only way to be right is to be celibate." Orlando Pentecostal Pastor Gabriel Salguero begs to differ; his church has modeled what Christian compassion looks like, even with those with whom we deeply disagree.

I spoke about the hazards of identity politics last week, and Brenden O'Neill at Spiked shows how this plays out in Orlando commentary:
Across the media, and in gay-rights circles, observers have insisted we refer to [the victims] as 'queers' first and avoid turning them into 'disembodied, undifferentiated and abstract "human" lives', as one academic put it.... To allow their murder to be 'generalised', to refer to their slaughter as 'an attack on humanity', is wrong, commentators insist, because doing this erases their specific identities and the specific reason they were killed: their gayness. This is all meant to sound PC, and gay-friendly, an attempt to uphold the truth about what happened in Orlando; but in fact it exposes the profound anti-humanism of identity politics.
Maybe the intensity is due to the fact "the best way to understand the Orlando aftermath in terms of cultural politics is as a religious war," as Rod Dreher argues.
If the struggle for gay rights has taken on the qualities of a religious war, then that explains why people like Zack Ford spurn expressions of sympathy from religious conservatives like Russell Moore. No matter how much love and solidarity he expresses towards the suffering in Orlando and those who mourn, he is tainted by the impurity of his beliefs.
I mentioned in a recent editorial that, indeed, there are starkly different world views at play:
Both religious conservatives and LGBT activists ground their respective claims in metaphysics. To simplify: The first group believes that sexual mores are rooted in God-given teaching and the natural order. The second group believes every individual has the right to determine how to live sexually, and we each are duty bound to be true to ourselves, however we conceive the self. Each side champions what it considers a righteous cause that transcends mere personal interest. It is no wonder emotions are running so high, and so much righteous anger is in the air.
I think Dreher's suggestion that this increasingly is not just a philosophical difference but is taking on a religious aura might be more to the point.
Can Anything Good Come from a Big Mac?
On a lighter and more uplifting note, there's McDonalds. Apparently, it's the glue that holds [some] communities together. Three cheers for Big Macs.
The Best Thing to Do for Your Kids
Finally, some indirect Father's Day advice from Frederica Mathewes-Green: "The High and Holy Calling of Being a Wife." There wasn't much that she said that didn't apply to me as a husband. And what exactly does that have to do with Father's Day? Precisely this: as has been often said, the most important thing we do in raising our kids is showing them what a good marriage looks like.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today