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Friday, November 29, 2019

Astrology vs. Nuns



Astrology vs. Nuns

I pointed to an article recently that examines Millennial interest in astrology, among other New Age practices. “I Was an Astrologer—Here’s How It Really Works, and Why I Had to Stop gave me more insight to the phenomenon, as well as some insight about the church’s best response. After saying that “Astrology is one big word association game,” she then wrote:
I loved it, though I was losing interest in other mystical practices. Partly I didn’t have time, because I was now immersed in theatre while working as a temp typist at St Vincent’s, a Catholic hospital. But as I bounced from one department to another, my views changed. I’d understood organised religion to be something between an embarrassment and an evil. Yet as Aids did its dreadful work – this was the 1990s – I watched nuns offer compassionate care to the dying. Christian volunteers checked on derelict men with vomit down their clothes. I became uncomfortably aware that New Agers do not build hospitals or feed alcoholics – they buy self-actualisation at the cash register.
This might give us a hint about what it will take to win people of any generation back to the church.
Non-Christian Apologists for the Faith
Speaking of evangelism, here’s a piece that suggests that the two best evangelists of our time may be Jordan Peterson and Roger Scruton—neither of whom are especially enthusiastic about calling themselves Christian. Evangelists is my word, and hyperbole to be sure. They are more like a “gateway drug” to Christianity. Given the ideas dominant in our era, they are controversial, and part of the reason for that, in my view, is that they offer arguments about a variety of topics that make Christian faith a reasonable option.
What Not Say to Critics
One more on apologetics/evangelism (good things comes in three). “Three things not to say when responding to severe criticisms of Christianity” demonstrates bold honesty in acknowledging Christianity’s terrible moments while affirming that “if the gospel is true, it is nothing less than the master story of life on this planet—the reconnection of fallen, broken creatures to their Creator and his purposes for them.” Then author Natasha Moore offers sounds advice on how to respond to our best critics.
Cultivating Wonder
I bumped into an article about Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring, which is credited with jump starting the contemporary environmentalist movement. What I didn’t know about her was what drove her to care for the environment. It was not fear of human self-destruction as much as the possible loss of mystery, and then love:
The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the Universe about us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race. Wonder and humility are wholesome emotions, and they do not exist side-by-side with a lust for destruction.
Thanksgiving Pardons
U.S. Presidents have been pardoning turkeys at least going back to Harry Truman. But in doing a little video research, it’s clear that Barack Obama had the most fun with the occasion. His daughters were required to attend the ceremonies each year and listen to her dad’s corny jokes (which today may count as child abuse in some circles). But that was part of the fun. Enjoy.
Grace and peace,
Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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