Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Yes, we know. These are parlous times; the climate is changing fast, the international economy is in the tank, churches are losing ground in society (and resorting to ever-more-desperate strategies in an effort to cope). The Episcopalians elected a lesbian bishop and all heck is breaking loose over that way, and we're fairly sure there's a new child-molestation scandal about to pop up in the Roman church. (We have no evidence; it's just statistically likely). Time and Newsweek have probably already prepared their usual holiday cover, with Bart Ehrmann asking if there really was a Jesus. Not to mention that both Europe and the East Coast are really, really cold right now.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted
suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
No one has a civil right to have a non-marital relationship treated as a marriage. Marriage is an objective reality—a covenantal union of husband and wife—that it is the duty of the law to recognize and support for the sake of justice and the common good. [Blogger's note: Insert here technical query regarding common-law marriages. They are by definition non-covenantal, and yet recognized by law.] If it fails to do so, genuine social harms follow.
First, the religious liberty of those for whom this is a matter of conscience is jeopardized.
Second, the rights of parents are abused as family life and sex education programs in schools are used to teach children that an enlightened understanding recognizes as “marriages” sexual partnerships that many parents believe are intrinsically non-marital and immoral.
Third, the common good of civil society is damaged when the law itself, in its critical pedagogical function, becomes a tool for eroding a sound understanding of marriage on which the flourishing of the marriage culture in any society vitally depends.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Not one complaint has ever been made about Mike Wooten's professional performance from any member of the public other than the Palin/Heath family and their closest friends. The troopers that I've talked to that have worked with Mike tell me Mike is the kind of guy they'd go through a door with. That he does his work. He's a professional. You know, just no complaints out there about Mike's work.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
ELCA had asked members who opposed the change to hold off on taking action, and CORE delegates had agreed to wait a year before taking steps to split from the ELCA. But Ryan Schwarz, chairman of CORE's Vision and Planning Working Group, said congregations had grown impatient.
"When we talked about waiting a year, we never intended to sit around for a year and just contemplate," he said. "We expected to do planning. Now we're also going to be doing the legwork in terms of creating a new church body.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
TAMPA, Fla. — Florida police say a man arrested for repeatedly calling 911 looking for sex claimed it was the only number he could dial after running out of cell phone minutes. Tampa police said 29-year-old Joshua Basso made sexual comments to the 911 dispatcher and asked if he could come to her house. Investigators say she hung up, but he called back four more times.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
- Semi hits four cows on Clay County road
- Valley folks take on region's eating challenges
- Experts say mild weather to linger
- ND hospital makes changes after babies switched
- Lutherans forget divine grace
What courage you have exhibited to so strongly condemn another’s behavior and commitments[!] I would like to know if you consulted the faithful members of your congregations who are GLBT and included their judgments in your resolutions and if you invited your congregations to vote.
Since you seem so clear and firm on the issue of homosexuality and your Bible’s condemnation of such, what pronouncement are each of your councils preparing for this month? The Christian Bible makes a goodly list: the rich, divorced, women, slavery, enemies, war, imprisoned, foreigners and of course children (Psalm 137:9) to name only a few topics to cut your moral teeth on.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
- The English Ministry of the Lutheran Church in Romania. Two American pastors descend on Eastern Europe; one of them is good-looking and the other has a cute kid.
- Pietati, the English Ministry's blog, which offers a less formal picture of what's happening in Transylvania;
- Pastor Joelle's Skating in the Garden in High Heels Under My Alb. And man, has she got some sharp words for CORE today.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
We've heard, much of our lives, that they kill themselves in awesome numbers, most likely as an effect of months in the cold and dark, supplemented by significant quantities of hard liquor.
Friday, October 30, 2009
During the meeting, ... [it] was said [by two mission pastors] that the ELCA is and will punish mission pastors for their convictions of conscience through withholding of funds for their mission. After these untrue statements were made, people passed the hat for these ministries in order to make up funding that the ELCA would withhold.
As executive director for the Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I want to say as publically and as strongly as possible that exactly the opposite is true. ...
I was not permitted to speak and correct these allegations.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Spurred by the optimism of the early 1960s, the major denominations of Western Christendom have spent half a century being exquisitely polite to one another, setting aside a history of strife in the name of greater Christian unity.
This ecumenical era has borne real theological fruit, especially on issues that divided Catholics and Protestants during the Reformation. But what began as a daring experiment has decayed into bureaucratized complacency — a dull round of interdenominational statements on global warming and Third World debt, only tenuously connected to the Gospel.
This is, again, a popular trope -- and again, bad history. In fact, the modern ecumenical movement began (half a century before Vatican II and the "optimism of the early 60s," by the way) with the deliberate effort of Protestant missionaries to coordinate their efforts and approaches, rather than competing. It expanded into something much greater, a sweeping re-evaluation of the separation between churches, studied both with regard to their faith and order and to their life and work.
Along the way, there were certainly some public statements on subjects which may not have seemed like the work of the church. We think, for instance, of the call for Sunday School curricula dealing with birth control and sex education, delivered by the Council of Christian Churches in the USA -- back in the 1930s.
But in fact, the more serious products of the ecumenical movement have been just the sort of consolidation that Douthat imagines Benedict to be proposing: both institutional mergers that created "uniting churches" in India and the Americas, as well as agreements of "full communion" between historically-rooted partner churches (such as the Lutheran-Reformed Leuenberg Agreement in 1973, and many others since then, including the recent agreement between Lutherans and Methodists in the US). It is such agreements, in which divided churches recognize in one another the elements of a common faith, which have slowly begun to forge a common witness.
Roman Catholic participation has been a tricky thing. After a long period of utter indifference, came another -- roughly 1964 to 1978 -- during which it seemed to lead the way. Since then, we have seen some fits and starts, and in fact Roman Catholic ecumenical efforts have often seemed to focus on good works rather than common faith, meaning, for instance, that they offered significant leadership on the very campaign against third-world debt that Douthat derides. In discussion of doctrinal matters, and in the difficult work of hammering out agreements, Rome has largely ceded leadership to another late-in-the-day entrant in the ecumenical sweepstakes, worldwide Lutheranism.
There is one significant exception to that remark, however, and it is massively significant: the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed by Roman Catholics and Lutherans in 1999, and by Methodists in 2006. In the realm of faith and order, this may well be the crowning achievement of the ecumenical movement to date, and it is a far cry from the sort of politically correct bureaucratic exercise Douthat imagines. It is a doctrinal statement, growing out of prolonged encounter between two deeply estranged communities, which identifies the common foundation of their faith and points the way toward a recognition of their unity in Christ. If you are looking for the base upon which to erect a common Christian witness, both against secularism and against Islam, you will find it in JDDJ -- and not in a ham-handed effort to meddle in Anglican affairs.
Douthat wants readers to believe that the "personal ordinariate" is a bold effort by Pope Benedict XVI to clean up the messy house of Western Christianity, and rescue it from threats inside and out. He has no evidence to support this, and the claims he makes are false. If he wants to speak publicly about the complex affairs of the church, he should stop reading First Things and start reading church history.