Daily Archives: April 28, 2014

(TLC) Justin Terry reviews two books by Kevin Giles and Romano Guardini

These two books by Kevin Giles and Romano Guardini offer rich reflections on the person of Jesus Christ. Both authors accept the classic Chalcedonian formulation of Christology, that Jesus was truly God and truly man, and offer meditations on what this means for our spiritual lives (Guardini) or for other theological commitments (Giles).

Guardini was a Roman Catholic theologian and philosopher from Italy who was mentor to Pope Benedict XVI. He wrote Jesus Christus, first published in Germany in 1957, while working on his masterpiece, The Lord (1937). It offers meditations on the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

Every chapter offers fresh perspectives on familiar biblical texts that are communicated with admirable simplicity. This is scholarship in service of the Church at its best.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Christology, Theology

(VOX) Your atheism isn't going to keep your kids from believing in God

The Good Wife’s Grace Florrick (Makenzie Vega) has been slowly growing more devout since season two and was baptized in season three. Her atheist mother Alicia (Julianna Margulies) has been generally accepting of the conversion, but tension has developed in the wake of a death close to Alicia, due to Grace’s repeated insistence that the deceased is in heaven. Meanwhile, The Americans’ Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys), being undercover Soviet spies, have no faith, and are furious when their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) joins a church.

It makes for decent enough drama, but is this actually common? Do kids raised without religion actively seek it out and convert all that often? As it turns out, yes. The most recent data on this that I’ve come across comes from Pew’s 2008 Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that only 46 percent of people who are raised religiously unaffiliated (which includes atheists, agnostics, and those who say they’re “nothing in particular”) remain unaffiliated as adults. By contrast, 68 percent of Catholics and 52 percent of Protestant stay with their childhood religion, and only 14 percent and 13 percent (respectively) stop subscribing to any religion at all….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Children, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Sociology, Theology

(Christian Today) Rowan Williams says Britain is 'post-Christian'

The former Archbishop’s views are shared by Susie Leafe, director of the evangelical Anglican group Reform. Speaking to Christian Today, she said: “I think we would be better to describe ourselves as a post-Christian country. We need to acknowledge that we have inherited laws and a culture shaped by Christianity.”

She also suggested that while Britain may be leaving its Christian identity behind, what it is taking up instead is unclear, and therefore Christians need to better present the advantages of a strong faith presence in public life.

“We are in danger of frittering away our legacy without a coherent alternative,” she said.

“David Cameron’s comments reflect the latent Christian understanding that many in the UK relate to. The job of our churches is to say that there is so much more on offer.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Reuters) Over 20 People Killed In Attack on Central African Republic Town

Fifteen local chiefs and three staff from Médecins Sans Frontières among the dead in assault on clinic

At least 22 people, including 15 local chiefs and three members of staff of the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, were killed in an attack on a town in the Central African Republic, officials said on Sunday.

The attack on Saturday was in Nanga Boguila, about 450 km (280 miles) north of the capital Bangui. Some 2,000 French and over 5,000 African peacekeepers are struggling to halt waves of violence that have gripped the country over the last 18 months.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Central African Republic, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Rural/Town Life, Violence

Jay Green on Todd Brenneman's new book on the Triumph of Sentimentality in Us Evangelicalism

…historian Todd M. Brenneman wonders if the beating heart of evangelical identity lies elsewhere, perhaps most centrally along the aisles of the local LifeWay Christian Store. In Homespun Gospel: The Triumph of Sentimentality in Contemporary American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press), Brenneman shifts the conversation away from beliefs and actions toward feelings. He shows how popular forms of evangelical expression traffic in familial and tender imagery: God as father, people as “little children,” and nostalgic longings for home and the traditional middle-class nuclear family.

Brenneman draws compelling links between the worlds of religious consumer goods””from Christian CDs, DVDs, and books to toys, home decor, and devotional art””and the “core evangelical message” of God’s love. These products, he argues, “construct religiosity as a practice of sentimentality instead of one of intellectual discovery.” This is why, in our search for spiritual resources at LifeWay, we’re likelier to encounter the works of tobyMac or Bob the Tomato than Abraham Kuyper or Alister McGrath.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Books, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Psychology, Religion & Culture

(NC Reg.) Dwight Longenecker–Pope St. John XXIII and the Anglican Archbishop

Despite the problems, the redoubtable Archbishop Fisher set out for the Vatican that morning. Only then did he and his party realize that they were being given special honors. The Swiss Guard was arrayed in full dress uniform, the red carpets were out, and he was received ceremoniously by the Chamberlain of Sword and Cape.

Archbishop Fisher was alone with Pope John for more than an hour. They spoke of the relations of all the churches. The pope grouped the Anglicans with other Protestants, and the archbishop suggested there was a difference. Pope John accepted special status for Anglicanism and said how delighted he was, as successor of Gregory the Great, to be meeting with the successor of Augustine of Canterbury.

During the meeting, Pope John made some observations on the Gospel. In his meditations, he thought of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At the end, the gentle pope asked the archbishop when the Anglicans would come back, and Archbishop Fisher made his now-famous reply ”” that it was impossible to go back; instead, “we must go forward together.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, History, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(London) Times–Britain is ”˜now a post-Christian nation’

David Cameron should not have “played politics” with his faith by asserting that Britain is a Christian country, a senior Liberal Democrat has said.

Tim Farron, the party’s president, said that being a committed Christian did not stop him believing that the church should be separated from the state.

In an apparent criticism of the prime minister for trying to win over Ukip voters by talking about his faith, Mr Farron accused Mr Cameron of using religion to make “partisan points”.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Atlantic) A Key to College Success: Involved Dads

Family scholars, from sociologist Sara McLanahan to psychologist Ross Parke, have long observed that fathers typically play an important role in advancing the welfare of their children. Focusing on the impact of family structure, McLanahan has found that, compared to children from single-parent homes, children who live with their fathers in an intact family have significantly lower rates of incarceration and teenage pregnancy and higher rates of high school and college graduation. Examining the extent and style of paternal involvement, Parke notes, for instance, that engaged fathers play an important role in “helping sons and daughters achieve independent and distinct identities” and that this independence often translates into educational and occupational success.

Likewise, a U.S. Department of Education study found that among children living with both biological parents, those with highly involved fathers were 42 percent more likely to earn A grades and 33 percent less likely to be held back a year in school than children whose dads had low levels of involvement. But little research has examined the association between paternal involvement per se and college graduation.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Sociology

A Kendall Harmon Easter Sermon–The Resurrection is Real, and Calls us To Confidence and Boldness

Listen to it all; it is based on 1 John 1 the opening few verses.

Posted in * By Kendall, * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings

(NYT Op-ed) Nicholas Kristof on the importance of Religious Literacy

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they believe that the Bible holds the answer to all or most of life’s basic questions. Yet only one-third know that Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and 10 percent think that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

Many Americans know even less about other faiths, from Islam to Hinduism. Several days after 9/11, a vigilante shot and killed an Indian-American Sikh because of the assumption that a turban must mean a Muslim: Ignorance and murderous bigotry joined in one.

All this goes to the larger question of the relevance of the humanities. Literature, philosophy and the arts have come to be seen as effete and irrelevant, but if we want to understand the world around us and think deeply about it, it helps to have exposure to Shakespeare and Kant, Mozart and Confucius ”” and, yes, Jesus, Moses and the Prophet Muhammad.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education, Religion & Culture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who on the evening of the first Easter Day didst appear to thy disciples when they were afraid and didst speak to them thy word of peace: Grant to us thy servants that same holy peace, that we may walk henceforth in the light of thy presence and know the power of thy risen life, until we come to the joy of thy everlasting kingdom.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water,
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

–Psalm 1

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(RNS) Meet James Woods, who could be the first open atheist elected to Congress

If he is successful, Arizona’s James Woods will be the first person elected to United States Congress to openly campaign as an atheist.

The last admitted atheist in Congress, Rep. Pete Stark, D-California, served for decades before publicly sharing his atheism. Similarly Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, opened up about his atheism last year””after he was no longer in office.

Woods, who is running for Congress in Arizona’s Congressional District 5, wants to be the first to successfully campaign as an atheist, as well as the first blind member of Congress in nearly 100 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Atheism, House of Representatives, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Economist) A billion shades of grey–the challenge of an aging Global Economy

The world is on the cusp of a staggering rise in the number of old people, and they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600m to 1.1 billion. The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth and “secular stagnation”, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will bust government budgets.

But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce.

Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy, combined with the replacement of generous defined-benefit pension plans with stingier defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–India’s Domestic Workers

One of the Indian capital’s best known lobbyists for domestic workers is a Belgian nun. Jeanne Devos founded the National Domestic Workers Movement 34 years ago. It tries to organize among this vast informal workforce, by some estimates as high as 40 million mostly women. Many were trafficked into the work as children.

SISTER JEANNE DEVOS (Founder, National Domestic Workers Movement): That’s a whole network of money, racket””it’s amazing. It’s one of the biggest incomes for most people. Just go to the villages, get them poor children, sell them back in the city.

LEEZA JOSEPH: Domestic workers are very invisible. They are not recognized as workers.

DE SAM LAZARO: Leeza Joseph heads the movement’s Delhi office.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Economy, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture, Women