The World Wide (Religious) Web for Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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.


“Is Osama bin Laden in heaven?” A thought experiment from Kyle Roberts.


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?


“Leading atheist publishes secular Bible.” I think it’s safe to assume that The Good Book is neither inspired nor inerrant.


“Is Heavenly Mother Making a Comeback in Mormonism?”

(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.


“Navy plan to allow same-sex marriage on bases draws opposition.”

(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.


Over at, Mark D. Roberts has concluded a four-part series, “The Loneliness of Pastoring.”

  1. A pastor’s suicide points to how deeply lonely the pastoring experience can be
  2. Does the professionalization of ministry lead to pastoral loneliness?
  3. Pastoring is a lonely business. But pastors don’t have to be — and shouldn’t be — as lonely as they often are.
  4. What relationships are essential for every pastor?

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