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Friday, April 15, 2016

Why the Local Church Is Awesome

The Pope on 'Adultery'
The word adultery is in quotes, because some conservative Catholics think he's fudging on the idea, using the euphemism "irregular relationships" instead. His "apostolic exhortation" encyclical Amoris Laetitia ("the joy of love") has ignited a debate in the Catholic world. Bishop Robert Barron thinks it's good pastoral advice; The Week columnist Michael Dogherty thinks the ethical bottom has dropped out from beneath the church. From what I've read, I tend toward the moderate concern of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat explained here and here. A lot depends on how the exhortation will play day to day in the local parish in the years ahead.
Why the Local Church Is Awesome
I mean that in two ways. First, literally, meaning: despite the headaches and frustrations of being involved with a local church, it's the place where God forms us into Christ's image—which is, yes, an awe-inspiring reality, that God would use such a lowly means to perform such an exalted work. But I also mean it literarily or better, journalistically, meaning: online managing editor Richard Clark has started a new "vertical" on our website called "The Local Church." It is "a companion and community for anyone invested in the local church." I suspect it is going to be a go-to place for anyone in church leadership at any level.
The Limits of 'White Privilege'
Any student of history recognizes that white America owes some of its privileged position in society due to racism. This historic fact is the genesis of the conversation about "white privilege" today. So the term is useful—as far as it goes. But it doesn't explain all the disparities between blacks and whites (try to ignore the author's needlessly angry and annoying rhetoric and just note his examples). Nor is it a term to hang the future of race relations on, for it creates as many problems for blacks as it solves according to this black author. As with most catch phrases, it helps in some ways, and not others.
The Limits of 'Doing Life Together'
Speaking of catch phrases, here's one that's popular in evangelical circles that, uh, also helps in some ways and not in others!
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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