For those of you who suffer paraskevidekatriaphobia, I’d like to wish you a very happy Friday the 13th!
I hosted a “candid conversation” between my dad, who is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, and several young AG ministers. Four years ago, they started FutureAG.blogspot.com, which was controversial at the time. Anyway, I thought the conversation was interesting. Here’s the video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
PrayforHuckabee.com raises a Rob Bell-like theological question: As Gov. Mike Huckabee contemplates running for president, he wants us to pray for him. “Pray that I will hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit as He leads my steps according to His will.” Which raises the question: “Does God always get what God wants?” If God wants Huckabee to run for president, will Huckabee win the Republican primaries? If Huckabee wins the primaries, will he win the election? If he doesn’t, has God’s will been thwarted?
“How big a stumbling block will Newt Gingrich’s three marriages and admission of an affair pose to his efforts to win so-called values voters?” My guess: Big in the primaries, but small in the general election. On a related note, Eboo Patel wonders whether “a Catholic running against Islam”—such as Gingrich—recognizes the irony of what he’s doing.
Stephen Prothero asks a tough question about American Christian attitudes toward Osama bin Laden: “How Christian can a country be if even Bible believers cannot get behind something as basic to the Bible as the golden rule? Is Jesus really the lord of your life if his ‘hard teachings’ can be so blithely ignored?” Ouch.
The Catholic University of America has invited Speaker John Boehner to deliver its commencement address this year, an invitation that has caused controversy. Some CUA academics are not pleased.
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings. From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.
But Rev. Robert Sirico thinks Boehner’s critics are confused.
Question: Is the Welfare State a necessary means to accomplish the end of meeting the needs of the poor? If the answer is yes, then Boehner’s critics have a point. If the answer is no, then Sirico is right when he says of House Republicans, “they simply reflect a different, and in many people’s estimation, more accurate and economically-informed way, of proposing how we achieve worthy goals.”
In this vein, check out “Rethinking Redistribution” by Jeffrey A. Miron and “Beyond the Welfare State” by Yuval Levin. You might also want to look at John Cogan’s “The Millionaire Retirees Next Door,” which argues, “Typical retired couples will collect $1 million or more in Social Security and Medicare. This is more than they paid in, and the cost will fall on today’s workers.”
For me, the question is now whether to help the poor but how. I don’t believe that our current Welfare State is sustainable.
Did the PCUSA decide to ordain LGBTQ folk, or did it decide to drop the “chastity in singleness” requirement for ordination? GetReligion.org explains. On a related note: “The momentum of the gay clergy movement, however, may soon grind to a halt.”
“Navy reverses itself on gay marriages on military bases.”
“Beyond ‘Religious’ and ‘Secular’”:
Whatever one makes of them individually, however, Sorek and Picard, along with Sephardi figures like Meir Buzaglo, recognize just how crabbed and constricting the categories of “religious” and “secular” truly are, and are trying from different directions to think through Israel’s current cultural impasse and beyond the tired and destructive religious status quo. They thus present a bracing challenge to self-described religious and secular alike, and a daring demand to grasp the responsibility for the Jewish past and future that comes with living in freedom in the Jewish state.
Could America benefit from a similar “thinking through”?
The Christian Science Monitor is publishing an interesting five-part series, “Religion, Politics & the Public Space.”
- “Why ‘God is personal, never private”
- “What can rescue the Arab spring?”
- “Iran’s spiritual leader isn’t a hardline Islamist, but a mystic poet”
- “Abuse of Muslims shows equality is still an open question in Europe”
- “A revolutionary development: Religions are speaking in common tongues”
“Sects, Love, and Rock & Roll”: a history of Christian rock music. There’s also a book.
“The Seminary Bubble”:
Imagine an institution that requires its leaders to attend not only college, but graduate school. Imagine that the graduate school in question is constitutionally forbidden from receiving any form of government aid, that it typically requires three years of full-time schooling for the diploma, that the nature of the schooling bears almost no resemblance to the job in question, and that the pay for graduates is far lower than other professions. You have just imagined the relationship between the Christian Church and her seminaries.
Yowzer! Here’s Part 2, which has lots of good links to online theological resources. My seminaries (Fuller, AGTS) seem to do a better job of preparing people for ministry.