If my gay and lesbian peers have the right to sexual union and companionship, why don’t I? If the scriptural passages forbidding homosexual behavior apply only to a particular context, then surely the passages about fornication (sexual behavior outside marriage) and Paul’s praise for singleness are also culturally bound. And so long as marriage ascends into the echelons of existential imperative””you must have this in order to be a complete human being””then my singleness becomes a problem. It is no longer a unique witness to the kingdom, where people “will neither marry nor are given in marriage.” It no longer reveals that the water of baptism is thicker than blood””that an entire generation of Christians could be single, and still God would renew his church. Instead, it becomes a second-class existence.
Daily Archives: July 5, 2013
In Canadian eyes, Calgary has not exactly been synonymous with cosmopolitanism.
Located some 200 miles north of Montana, the western city has long been condescended to by eastern elites in metropolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal, who cringed at its cowboy heritage, oil corporations, and conservative politics.
But these days, with Toronto’s mayor stumbling through scandal and the now ex-mayor of Montreal facing corruption charges, many in the east look with envy at the wildly popular Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, a Harvard Kennedy School graduate, the first Muslim mayor of a major North American metropolis, and symbol of a city moving from cow-town stereotypes to something more cosmopolitan….
Father [Giuseppe] Costa observed that Lumen Fidei, which translates as “The Light of Faith,” contains a style that is “part Benedict’s and part Francis’s, especially the introduction where Pope Francis makes the encyclical his own.”
However, unlike other commentators, he said that he would not describe the encyclical as being “written by four hands.”
“Pope Francis presents the encyclical as his,” the priest explained. “This was a gesture of spiritual fraternity between his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis himself. This is why I would not say that the encyclical has been written by four hands.”
In the document’s introduction, Pope Francis notes that Benedict XVI had worked before his resignation to nearly finish a first draft of the encyclical. Pope Francis explains that “as his brother in Christ I have taken up his fine work and added a few contributions of my own.”
Unless you believe, you will not understand (cf. Is 7:9). The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint translation produced in Alexandria, gives the above rendering of the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah to King Ahaz. In this way, the issue of the knowledge of truth became central to faith. The Hebrew text, though, reads differently; the prophet says to the king: “If you will not believe, you shall not be established”. Here there is a play on words, based on two forms of the verb ’amÄn: “you will believe” (ta’amÃ®nÃ») and “you shall be established” (tÄ“’ÄmÄ“nÃ»). Terrified by the might of his enemies, the king seeks the security that an alliance with the great Assyrian empire can offer. The prophet tells him instead to trust completely in the solid and steadfast rock which is the God of Israel. Because God is trustworthy, it is reasonable to have faith in him, to stand fast on his word. He is the same God that Isaiah will later call, twice in one verse, the God who is Amen, “the God of truth” (cf. Is 65:16), the enduring foundation of covenant fidelity. It might seem that the Greek version of the Bible, by translating “be established” as “understand”, profoundly altered the meaning of the text by moving away from the biblical notion of trust in God towards a Greek notion of intellectual understanding. Yet this translation, while certainly reflecting a dialogue with Hellenistic culture, is not alien to the underlying spirit of the Hebrew text. The firm foundation that Isaiah promises to the king is indeed grounded in an understanding of God’s activity and the unity which he gives to human life and to the history of his people. The prophet challenges the king, and us, to understand the Lord’s ways, seeing in God’s faithfulness the wise plan which governs the ages. Saint Augustine took up this synthesis of the ideas of “understanding” and “being established” in his Confessions when he spoke of the truth on which one may rely in order to stand fast: “Then I shall be cast and set firm in the mould of your truth”. From the context we know that Augustine was concerned to show that this trustworthy truth of God is, as the Bible makes clear, his own faithful presence throughout history, his ability to hold together times and ages, and to gather into one the scattered strands of our lives.
24. Read in this light, the prophetic text leads to one conclusion: we need knowledge, we need truth, because without these we cannot stand firm, we cannot move forward. Faith without truth does not save, it does not provide a sure footing. It remains a beautiful story, the projection of our deep yearning for happiness, something capable of satisfying us to the extent that we are willing to deceive ourselves. Either that, or it is reduced to a lofty sentiment which brings consolation and cheer, yet remains prey to the vagaries of our spirit and the changing seasons, incapable of sustaining a steady journey through life. If such were faith, King Ahaz would be right not to stake his life and the security of his kingdom on a feeling. But precisely because of its intrinsic link to truth, faith is instead able to offer a new light, superior to the king’s calculations, for it sees further into the distance and takes into account the hand of God, who remains faithful to his covenant and his promises.
Many interpret the numbers to mean that America is heading down the secular road. In a survey published this month by the Pew Research Center, 48% of Americans say the growing number of “people who are not religious” is a bad thing for American society (and only 11% say it is a good thing).
But I disagree with the notion that the U.S. is heading toward becoming as unchurched as much of Europe. One reason is that saying you have “no religion” is not the same as disbelieving in God. Many people who say they have no religion are simply saying they have no official religious affiliation. They may actually have strong personal beliefs. The increase in the “no religion” group may also be an illusion caused by the rising nonresponse rate to survey studies.
Consider: The proportion of Americans who claim to be atheists has not increased even slightly since Gallup first asked about belief in God in 1944. Back then, 4% said they did not believe in God, and 3% or 4% give that answer today.
Today, at age 65, [Bob] Gersztyn’s religious fervor has mellowed; he rarely attends church and calls himself “an allegorical Christian.” But he has put together his love of pop music and photography to publish an illustrated, two-volume work titled “Jesus Rocks the World ”” The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian Music.”
The book, totaling some 600 pages, traces the history of Jesus music from Negro spirituals, gospel, and blues to its modern-day roots in Southern California with the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard church movements in the 1970s.
It also tells the story of rock and folk stars who had “born-again” conversions, such as Bob Dylan; Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul, and Mary); and John Michael Talbot (of Mason Proffit).
Biola President Barry H. Corey decided that a replica “Jesus saves” sign would create “a fitting reminder” that the school’s core values have not changed in the 105 years since the school’s founding. The Bible Institute of Los Angeles eventually shortened its name to Biola and moved from downtown to La Mirada in 1959.
The sign, one-third the scale of the originals, is incorporated into a 38-by-59-foot photographic mural of the original Bible Institute building and displayed on the side of a parking structure in the interior of the university’s 95-acre campus.
“The placement and size needed to abide by our city’s codes and requirements, including height limitations and sightlines that restricted visibility to our campus boundaries,” Corey said.
THE Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to criticism that he ignored Palestinian Christians during a five-day visit to the Holy Land….
Press reports last week suggested that some Palestinian Christians were angry that, during a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Archbishop Welby did not visit Nazareth or Bethlehem. He did, however, meet Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Remember, O Lord, what thou hast wrought in us, and not what we deserve; and, as thou hast called us to thy service, make us worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
… the geopolitics are favorable and the ideological climate is warming. But on a still-deeper level this is shaping up to be an even more American century than the last. The global game is moving towards America’s home court.
The great trend of this century is the accelerating and deepening wave of change sweeping through every element of human life. Each year sees more scientists with better funding, better instruments and faster, smarter computers probing deeper and seeing further into the mysteries of the physical world. Each year more entrepreneurs are seeking to convert those discoveries and insights into ways to produce new things, or to make old things better and more cheaply. Each year the world’s financial markets are more eager and better prepared to fund new startups, underwrite new investments, and otherwise help entrepreneurs and firms deploy new knowledge and insight more rapidly….This challenge will not go away….
Everybody is going to feel the stress, but the United States of America is better placed to surf this transformation than any other country. Change is our home field. It is who we are and what we do. Brazil may be the country of the future, but America is its hometown.
Read it all (dated, but still oh so relevant).
If the line to immigrate into this country is longer than those in every other country on earth, it is because of the Civil War.
It is true, technically speaking, that the United States was founded with the ratification of the Constitution. And it’s true that in the early 19th century it was a beacon of liberty for some ”” mostly northern European whites.
But the Civil War sealed us as a nation. The novelist and historian Shelby Foote said that before the war our representatives abroad referred to us as “these” United States, but after we became “the” United States. Somehow, as divided as we were, even as the war ended, we have become more than New Yorkers and Tennesseans, Texans and Californians….