Archive | May, 2011
“And spiritual growth? Who wants spiritual growth! I had a growth removed last week. It wasn’t pleasant.”
In America, crazy people accuse the president of being foreign born. In Iran, crazy people charge Ahmadinejad allies with sorcery. In America, the crazy people are on the political fringe. In Iran, the crazy people are the ones in charge.
Do Tiger Mothers raise Black Swans? And more questions from Timothy Dalrymple:
What do we really want for our children: Perfect technical execution, or creative transcendence? Lives of mechanical achievement, or of rich passions and personalities? Do we encourage a healthy growth into sociality and sexuality, or stamp them out in order to focus our children on their professional pursuits? To what extent are our children liberated by our stories, and to what extent are they haunted by our own unfulfilled dreams? And when does the striving for perfection and achievement become less a vision that inspires a joyful labor than a Law that enslaves and drives us to self-loathing?
(a) I didn’t know Mormonism had a Heavenly Mother.
(2) Joanna Brooks, who authored this article, quotes Eliza R. Snow, who wrote a hymn with the lyric:
In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason, truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
Third, Eliza’s younger brother, Lorenzo Snow, was 5th president of the Latter Day Saints. He said: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”
“The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office is a malicious slander and libel.” Then why did your paper PhotoShop the two women—and only them–out of that famous situation room photo.
Church, state, and anti-Semitism: “In her captivating narrative [Sinners on Trial], [Magda] Teter has painstakingly documented how the body politic and the body of Christ were inextricably bound together through the early modern period, and how the Reformation not only failed to diminish the host-desecration calumny but, at least in Catholic Poland, gave it new energy.” This review is a good reminder of the ironies of history, for example, how a Jewish “sect” morphed into an [at times] anti-Semitic religion, and how the Protestant Reformation, rather than reforming this anti-Semitism, made it worse, at least in some places.
(a) Of course the Navy is the first service to do this. The Village People didn’t sing about the Army, after all.
(2) Joe Carter thinks “may” will become “must at some point.
Third, I’m reminded of Neuhaus’ Law: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”
To plant churches or to parent them? In the Assemblies of God, we do both, with generally good results.
- A pastor’s suicide points to how deeply lonely the pastoring experience can be
- Does the professionalization of ministry lead to pastoral loneliness?
- Pastoring is a lonely business. But pastors don’t have to be — and shouldn’t be — as lonely as they often are.
- What relationships are essential for every pastor?
This year is the 400th anniversary of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. Over at ChristianityToday.com, Mark A. Noll asks, “What would it have been like if the KJV had always been only one among several competing English-language versions of the Bible?”His answer:
When the KJV became the cultural and literary standard for the entire English-speaking world, it was easier to focus on the literary excellence of the translation without stopping to face the divine imperatives and promises that are any Bible’s primary reason for existence. The pervasive cultural presence of this Bible also made it easy to exploit scriptural words, phrases, images, and allusions for their evocative power, even when those uses contradicted the Bible’s basic spiritual meaning.
Yet even soberly considered, the immense good accomplished in and through the KJV is a marvel. When the KJV became the cultural and literary standard for the entire English-speaking world, the spiritual impact of the Bible was certainly enhanced because the scriptural message was carried far and wide via an all-pervasive cultural standard. The substance of divine revelation that lay immediately beneath the words of the KJV could also exert a dramatic public impact for good, precisely because this translation so dominated the English-speaking world.
- Part 1: “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible”
- Part 2: “God’s Judgment Upon the South”
- Part 3: “The Confederacy’s “Christian Nation”
- Part 4: “A Slaveholding Nation is a Christian Nation”
Fea’s conclusion is worth keeping in mind when you hear talk about America as a “Christian nation”:
As we’ve seen over the past four columns, by 1860 there were two visions of Christian America. Many Northerners believed that the national Union was sacred because it was created and blessed by God. Many Southerners argued that the Confederate States of America was a Christian nation because the Bible’s teachings were compatible with a southern way of life.
Throughout American history there was seldom a common understanding of what it meant to be a Christian nation. The Civil War is merely one example. This is certainly something to remember whenever we get the urge to talk about America’s so-called Christian roots.
If you like what you read, check out Fea’s America as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction.
Who is the devil like? David Bentley Hart offers these thoughts:
- “the sort of person you try your best to get away from at a party”
- “A merciless real estate developer whose largest projects are all casinos.”
- “Donald Trump—though perhaps just a little nicer”
Ouch. And, heh.
“Bin Laden’s theology a radical break with traditional Islam.” That’s both true and good to know, although Mollie Hemingway has some questions.
“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” There Be Dragons, a new film about Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá, gets a good review from Cathleen Falsani Possley.