The World Wide Religious Web for Friday, January 13, 2012

HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH! Do you suffer friggatriskaidekaphobia (aka, paraskevidekatriaphobia)?

LAW OR GOSPEL? Why the Bible Is Not a Book of Laws.

But I don’t believe the Bible is fundamentally a moral power tool. The Bible is not a law book as much as it is a gift book, not so much about living right as about being right with God because of what he has done for us in Jesus Christ.


So, again: Jefferson Bethke is on to something good and right. But we are on to something good and right to make the right distinctions, lest we put ourselves in the Pharisaical place of saying “I thank you God I’m not like those religious people.”

AN OPEN LETTER: Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together.

In short, the refusal of these religious organizations to treat a same-sex sexual relationship as if it were a marriage marked them and their members as bigots, subjecting them to the full arsenal of government punishments and pressures reserved for racists. These punishments will only grow more frequent and more severe if civil “marriage” is redefined in additional jurisdictions. For then, government will compel special recognition of relationships that we the undersigned religious leaders and the communities of faith that we represent cannot, in conscience, affirm. Because law and government not only coerce and incentivize but also teach, these sanctions would lend greater moral legitimacy to private efforts to punish those who defend marriage.

Therefore, we encourage all people of good will to protect marriage as the union between one man and one woman, and to consider carefully the far-reaching consequences for the religious freedom of all Americans if marriage is redefined. We especially urge those entrusted with the public good to support laws that uphold the time-honored definition of marriage, and so avoid threatening the religious freedom of countless institutions and citizens

WHERE TO BEGIN… The Trouble with Ed Young’s Rooftop Sexperiment.

Such “over the top” moments—and was there ever a more apt time for the description?—are troubling indicators of our woefully deficient discipleship patterns on matters of marriage and sexuality. The problems that the Youngs are trying to address are, alas, very real. Yet as is often the case, their solution is at best incomplete.

THOUGHTS ABOUT HAITI RELIEF: When “Effectiveness” Is Not Effective.

As the months and years wind on, we must continue this work of love and care, work that often seems—earthly-speaking—to accomplish too little. Perhaps now more than ever, we must remain faithful to our work there; now that the news cameras have left and the initial wave of relief teams has gone home. We must continue working hard to bring effective and efficient solutions to the problems Haitians face—designing effective programs, monitoring them well, and holding ourselves accountable to bringing results that are in our power to bring, and praying fervently for this troubled country. And we must also be willing to be reckless in offering the eternal things of love, gratitude, and kindness.

Meanwhile, why not give to Convoy of Hope?

SCARY, BUT TRUE: Justin Bieber’s Ecce Home.

It is entirely possible that Justin has more of an influence in the young-person-you-love’s life than any clergyperson — living or dead — does. That sounds scandalous, I know, but it’s true.

FAITH & POLITICS: “An Awakening of Conservative Christians”: Rick Santorum on Faith and Politics.

FORTY PERCENT: Conservatives Remain the Largest Ideological Group in U.S.

FINALLY: Kardashians no longer sought-after celebrities, insiders say.

HEH: My Faulty Moral Standards (Which I’d Like to Think are Better than Yours).

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