The World Wide (Religious) Web for Wednesday, December 14, 2011


REALLY??? “Time’s Person of the Year: ‘The Protester.’”

Congratulations, Wall Street occupiers. You did it! You got yourselves named Time’s Person of the Year!

Okay, so you had a little help from your fellow protesters, in Egypt, Tunisia, Russia, Yemen, Libya and some other places. And maybe those protesters have accomplished a little more than you have.

A little? Has Occupy Wall Street really accomplished anything? And given the upsurge of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, one has to wonder whether Arab Springers have accomplished much either.

WHY STOP WITH THE SLOGAN? “Against ‘Taking Things Back’: Rethinking the OWS Slogan.”

“Take it back” language is terribly common among Democrats and Republicans, among the 99 percent and the 1 percent. It’s sadly common among religious leaders too, who want to (these words make me cringe) “take back America for Jesus.” I think we can find better ways to envision and work for better days. I’d recommend we abandon “take it back” language altogether—not simply as a verbal exercise, but as a move or posture of spiritual practice, in the way of Jesus.

WHY HISTORY MATTERS: “The Truth about Palestinian Immigration.”

On immigration, as in so many other aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it turns out that history matters, and by ignoring it, Israel and its supporters have badly undermined their own cause. Reversing direction at this late date won’t be easy. But if the conflict is ever to be resolved, correcting the historical record is vital.

I DOUBT GOD FEELS THE NEED TO BES STUCK UP FOR, BUT STILL… “Philosopher Sticks Up for God.”

The so-called New Atheists may claim the mantle of reason, not to mention a much wider audience, thanks to best sellers like Mr. Dawkins’s fire-breathing polemic, “The God Delusion.” But while Mr. Plantinga may favor the highly abstruse style of analytic philosophy, to him the truth of the matter is crystal clear.

Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’ ”

COWBOY UP? LOL! “New Atheists Need to Get Their Narrative Straight.”

So New Atheists: Next time, pay attention to all those Christians you butcher by the millions and see if you can pick up some tips about how to cowboy up and deal with a little suffering.

ABORTION WARS: “The Next Roe v. Wade? Jennie McCormack’s Abortion Battle.”

It’s a bad case for both sides. The fact that McCormack kept a 4-month-old fetus frozen in the winter chill on her back porch is the sort of ghoulish image pro-choice activists try to avoid. For pro-life advocates, supporting her arrest would contradict a longstanding policy of targeting providers while holding women blameless. “It would require a massive change in direction if the anti-abortion movement now supported the criminal prosecution of women directly, which is why McCormack is troubling,” says Cynthia Gorney, a former Washington Post reporter and the author of Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars. “It would violate everything they built the movement on.”

BECAUSE CHOOSING BETWEEN TWEEDLEDEE AND TWEEDLEDUM IS NEVER EASY: “Iowa Evangelicals Split Over Caucus Endorsements.”

MORMONS, NAZIS, & PROGRESSIVES: “LDS Church, through Church News, Praised Hitler, Nazi Germany.” Interestingly enough, they also had a “Surprisingly Deep Affinity for Progressive Politics.” Contradiction, or an example of what Jonah Goldberg called liberal fascism?

ESCHATOLOGY WATCH: “Mayan Prophecy For 2012 Has Believers Preparing For Catastrophe.”

The current doomsday predictions are “all mostly coming out of New Age interpretations and mysticism about Mayan calendrics, which are not based on archeology, anthropology or scholarship,” said Stuart, author of “The Order of Days: The Maya World and the Truth About 2012.”

Nonetheless, people are preparing. Some are also making money. Kehne sells ads and 2012 T-shirts on his website and admits to making a small profit. Tourism packages are already selling for December 2012 vacations in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

BECAUSE WE’RE NOT JOHN THE REVELATOR? “Why You and I Could Not Write the Book of Revelation.”

And yet, I would wager that we know much less of the Scriptures than any generation of believers. We have access to the Bible, but we do not know the Bible.

Accessible knowledge can be searched, analyzed, and mashedup, but it cannot transform the heart, mind, and soul. The accessible Bible is merely information. That information can only become knowledge and wisdom when it has been memorized, internalized, mediated upon, and lived.

And until we do that, we’ll never be able to write as John wrote.

MATISYAHU SANS BEARD BUT NOT “YAHU”? “The Shearing Heard ‘Round the Hasidic World.”

REWRITING THE MARRIAGE SCRIPT? “Barely Half of U.S. Adults Are Married—A Record Low.”

Barely half of all adults in the United States—a record low—are currently married, and the median age at first marriage has never been higher for brides (26.5 years) and grooms (28.7), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data.

MAPPING FAITH: “Religiosity worldwide (map).”

EVANGELICALS & EDUCATION: “Education Is in Our DNA.”

No American child should have to win the lottery just to get a decent education. It is a scandal of the highest magnitude and a violation of the most basic precepts of justice.

FIRE OF LOVE: “The Fire Within Mama Maggie.”

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