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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month gains steam

America, divided on values, seeks authoritarian leader
National Catholic Reporter: The 2016 election has revealed divisions in the American public, but it has taken a poll to show just how deep and dangerous those divisions are, Thomas Reese says.

Church pastor: The truth about my late-term abortion
USA Today: Trump's words drove the Rev. Amy Butler to tears, and to write her painful story for the first time.

Clergy Appreciation Month gains steam
Minneapolis Star-Tribune: October has emerged as Clergy Appreciation Month, a little-known recognition that is picking up steam.

Remembering Jack Chick: the Christian cartoonist who tried to save us from hell
The (London) Guardian: The unapologetically fundamentalist artist, who died on Sunday, may be "the most widely read theologian in human history."
Religion News Service: Jack Chick dressed hatred in theology

Smithsonian's Quran exhibit aims to dazzle the eyes and may soften the heart
Religion News Service: Quran exhibit presents a visually stunning tour of more than 1,000 years of Islamic history, told through the calligraphy and ornamentation that grace the sacred folios.

San Jose bishop blasts Trump

 Poll: California measure to end death penalty in danger: Most other propositions have support

 San Jose bishop blasts Trump: Bishop Patrick McGrath, without naming names, says suggesting election will be rigged "borders on the seditious"

 Jesuit ministries seek to make impact to help the homeless in Southern California: Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark will celebrate Oct. 29 mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood "to raise awareness of the LA housing crisis and the opportunity to do something about it on Election Day"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Most College Students Are Leaving the Church

The Year of Living Hopelessly
2016 tempted us toward nihilism. We don't have to go there.
Richard Clark
A cartoon of a dog sitting in a room, calmly declaring "This is fine" while engulfed in flames, has circulated widely on social media and become the symbol of 2016. Our public discourse has often included hand-wringing and outrage, but these days, we're tempted to despair more than ever. As the US presidential campaign took a series of particularly absurd turns, the #lolnothingmatters hashtag rose to prominence among journalists, political operatives, and Christian leaders alike.
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Sponsored By Tyndale House Publishers

Where Struggles Seem Endless, God's Hope Is Infinite
The first study Bible made specifically for those who suffer and the people who love them. Introducing The Beyond Suffering Bible from Tyndale House Publishers and Joni Eareckson Tada.

Died: Jack Chick, Cartoonist Whose Controversial Tracts Became Cult Hits
This was his life!
The Exchange
Rural Church Planting and Coaching Church Planters: November CPLF Gathering
If you're a church planting leader in your denomination, you should join us for this gathering.
The Exchange
Interview with Kent Shaw, Executive Director of Harvest Bible Fellowship
"We want to plant 1,000 churches in our lifetime."
5 Simple Steps to Recruit Volunteers In a Small Church
It's hard to disciple people when you can't even find volunteers. This simple process can help small churches do both better.
The Exchange
3 Mistakes Churches Make When They Talk Money
Ministry leader wants to spread the biblical message of generosity in order to grow generous givers.
Let's Kiss Dating Hello
A sociologist reveals her research about 'ring by spring' culture on a Christian college campus.
Bodies & Souls
Do We Really Need More Breast Cancer 'Awareness'?
Information gets us only so far on the road to health.
The Exchange
C. Peter Wagner (1930-2016), Some Thoughts on His Life and Passing
Missiologist, missionary, writer, teacher, and Church Growth specialist
Why I Don't Go to the Bible to Find Sermon Material
When we treat the Bible like a collection of sermon texts, we can lose the wonder and the beauty of it.
Before You Vote, Watch 'Vertigo'
What Hitchcock's thriller can teach us about sexism, nostalgia, and the gospel's call to justice.
The Local Church
Most College Students Are Leaving the Church. Here's How This Congregation Is Bucking the Trend
What helped a tiny campus church plant become the fastest-growing flock in Tallahassee?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beware the (Online) Culture of Wrath

How St. John Paul II changed the Church and the world | Filip Mazurczak | In celebrating the feast day of the Polish pope, it is fitting to consider the profound and multifaceted impact of his papacy.

The Prophetic Challenge of St. John Paul II | Carl E. Olson | Pope John Paul II's rich teaching is a remarkably rich and cogent whole, a mosaic that rewards repeated study and contemplation

Fake Catholic Groups and the "Catholic Spring" Emails | Dr. Anne Hendershott | It is now impossible to deny that Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United have worked for years to undermine and manipulate Catholic leadership

Mercy is a Serious Matter | Fr. Regis Scanlon, OFMCap | We need to call attention to aspects of this Holy Year of Mercy which represent the “tough” side of God’s mercy which is easily overlooked and often misunderstood.

God, Money, and Catholicism | CWR Staff | Those wishing to equip lay Catholics to think through economic issues should spend more time explaining principles of Catholic social teaching and how they relate to each other.

Faith in Putinism: A Church-State Symbiosis | Joseph Kremers | Putin is building political power around vertical state power, central control of the economy, and reinvigoration of the military, relying on the support of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Abp. Alexander Sample Discusses His Pastoral Letter about Amoris Laetitia | Carl E. Olson | "As difficult as it can be," says the Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, "and as much of a cross it might be for us at a time in our life, God’s grace enables us to overcome our struggles, even with sin."

A cradle of early Christianity, Turkey is often unwelcoming to today’s Christians | Derya M. Little | How a land that still hosts hundreds of ancient churches became a country where less than 0.5 percent of the population is Christian.

Re-assessing the Role of the Pharisees in the New Testament | Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta, SSL, STD | It is very important to emphasize that the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees was not always characterized by hate, controversy, and antagonism.

Crazy clericalism at Houston’s University of St. Thomas | Dr. Randall B. Smith | Some clerics in leadership at Catholic universities give lip service to “empowering the laity”—when their real agenda is enforcing their own ideology.

Serving the Divorced and Remarried Well | Thomas J. Nash | The perils of using subjective standards in interpreting disputed sections of Amoris Laetitia indicates the pressing need for a new Vademecum to help guide confessors

Padre Pio: The Second Pillar of the Jubilee of Mercy | Fr Nicholas Gregoris | Padre Pio was misunderstood and even maligned during his lifetime, but ultimately his authentic sanctity and heroic virtue prevailed over any forms of cynicism and skepticism in his regard.

Scientist, Theologian, Mother | Nicholas Senz | “Science is a love affair with Creation,” says Dr. Stacy Trasancos, author of Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science, “and therefore a love affair with Christ.”

Christians in Syria: “Help us pull our country back from the brink of the abyss” | Alessandra Nucci | Many Christian leaders of Syria are speaking out, asking world leaders to preserve their ancient, war-torn homeland.

Evangelization in Modern Ireland | Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan | The creative minority is the way in which God has throughout history brought about reform. He depends on the few. That has always been the way change occurred in the Church.

“I Think I am a ___, Therefore I am a ___." | John Lawrence Hill | Thoughts on Descartes, gender identity and the demise of the Reality Principle.

William Byrd and the beckoning of beauty | Rev. Peter M.J. Stravinskas | Style and class have been banished from most Catholic sanctuaries in our land; the transient, the ephemeral, the cheap have replaced the beautiful, the uplifting, the inspiring.

Harry Potter and the Magical Gravy Train | Fiorella Nash | The temptation to milk the lucrative Harry Potter franchise for all it’s worth appears to be nearly irresistible.

Pope Francis, new cardinals, and European bishops' leaders | Filip Mazurczak | It’s been decades since the world’s Catholic episcopate has been so polarized, a byproduct of the Francis pontificate.

Pope Francis and Martin Luther | Russell Shaw | At a time when sentimentality sometimes undermines ecumenical thinking, what difference does doctrinal differences among Christians make--isn’t God pleased with all of us?


Cardinal Robert Sarah on "The Strength of Silence" and the Dictatorship of Noise | CWR Staff | In a wide-ranging interview with "La Nef", Cardinal Sarah discusses his new book, published in France, saying, "By living with the silent God, and in Him, we ourselves become silent."

Visiting the Benedictine Monks of Norcia | Dorothy Cummings McLean | It is late September, and I have come with my husband Mark to Norcia, Italy, which is the birthplace of Saints Benedict and Scholastica.

Must one vote? | John Macias | We must move beyond the sense in which we see voting as the beginning and end of the citizen’s political activity.

On voting by not voting | Fr. James V. Schall, SJ | We are fond of the remark of Winston Churchill that democracy is the worst form of government—except for all the others. While witty, this may not be totally true.

Secularism’s “moonshot” doctrine of resurrection | James Day | Secularism is nothing more than an attempt to remake Christianity’s understanding about man, God, and the world.

“Now all that is gone”: The vanishing Christian communities of Iraq and Syria | K. V. Turley | An interview with the filmmakers behind “Our Last Stand,” a new documentary about the on-going genocide perpetrated against Middle Eastern Christians.

Norms, Abnormality, and False Liberation | James Kalb | We don't have more freedom, tolerance, and respect than we used to. Instead we have constraint, suppression, and condemnation with regard to different things.

Beware the (Online) Culture of Wrath | Steven D. Greydanus | How to avoid poisoning your soul on social media

The Two-Front Culture War | William Kilpatrick | To understand Islamization, you have to understand the battles being foughtagainst the left over issues such as abortion, education, same-sex marriage, and transgender bathrooms.

The way forward after the Catholic-Orthodox agreement on primacy and synodality | Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille | How to reconcile Vatican I’s universalizing claims with the now publicly admitted historical fact of regional limitations to the authority of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium?

"Francis has built his popularity at the expense of the church he leads." | Carl E. Olson | Did Saint John Paul II not give the Church enough to ponder about the meaning of marriage, sexuality, family, and the feminine genius?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Insurance company denies chemo, offers suicide drugs instead

 Insurance company denies chemo, offers suicide drugs instead: Orange County resident Stephanie Packer has terminal cancer but doesn't want to end her life

 Domestic violence shelter suffers deep cuts: "We’re creating the next generation of homeless families"

 San Francisco ‘goes pink’ for Planned Parenthood: City Hall flooded with pink lights to honor abortion giant's 100th anniversary

Learning Styles … Don't Help

Learning Styles … Don't Help
Reading this short book review came as somewhat of a shock to me since I've been convinced that (a) each of us has a different learning style (visual, oral, kinetic, etc.) and (b) we will learn more if we are allowed to learn in our natural style. Nope:
Study after study has suggested, however, that learning styles are mostly a myth. Teaching someone to memorize something according to their preferred learning style, for example, does not result in a significant improvement in their ability to recall that information later.
And yet "much to the annoyance of psychologists … this idea refuses to die." This has consequences for education, obviously:
For psychology nerds, this is interesting in that it helps explain why this myth has been so hard to kill: It feels true, even if it isn't. But it also, Jarrett points out, provides some useful advice to anyone trying to learn something new. "[L]earning via our preferred style feels more effective even when it isn't," he writes, "an effect that means learning via our preferred style could even be harmful in the sense of giving us false confidence." On the flip side, you might be underestimating your abilities to retain information when it's not presented in the way you like best.
How to Fix Bad Police Departments
Those of us who wish something could be done about police misconduct may be looking in the wrong places.
Over the last few years, police shootings in Ferguson, Chicago, Charleston, and countless other cities and towns across the country have brought unprecedented attention to the question of when police should use lethal force and how cities should respond to allegations of police misconduct. Though reformers often point to independent prosecutors and civilian review boards as possible arbiters of good policing, one unlikely change-agent has largely been left out of the conversation: the insurance company.
I'm not convinced the "the profit motive" will, in the end, bring better justice—just the opposite in fact. But it may help in the short run. At any rate, this article's argument is intriguing.
The Skinny on Third Party Candidates
More and more people are in a quandary about casting their November ballot. We've heard plenty of arguments for and against the Republican and Democratic candidates. But what are the alternatives for those who are thinking of voting for neither? Ed Stetzer's blog, The Exchange, has recently featured articles by evangelicals arguing for third party candidates Independent Evan McMullin, Libertarian Gary Johnson, and Green Party Jill Stein—and one argument for not voting for any presidential candidate.
On this week's Quick to Listen podcast, my co-host Morgan Lee and I talk about the closing of Books & Culture, the premier evangelical intellectual journal of the last 21 years. Our guests: B&C editor John Wilson and historian (and author of The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) Mark Noll.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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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