Monday, July 31, 2006

Funny, but some of the arguments against this sound kind of familiar.

Interesting article in Salon about the ongoing movement to ordain women as Catholic priests, regardless of what the leadership says. (You have to watch an ad to read the article, but it's free.)

SDA MIA

Ran into an old friend who pastors in Fayetteville, North Carolina -- the closest church to Camp Bragg, i.e. the Army's home for the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Forces, and Delta Force.

His best guess is there's roughly 500 SDAs in uniform on that base. Roughly half are "hiding out," while the other half eventually show up in church.

So let's help him out -- if you have a church member (or know of a church member) who's stationed at Fort Bragg (or nearby Pope Air Force Base), send his or her name to me, and I'll forward it to my friend.

Yes, and this is exactly the kind of article you'd expect to find in the Washington Post

Ever wonder how those morons who disagree with you can actually believe all that drivel the idiots on their side keep churning out?

It turns out that the human brain is extraordinarily good at spotting the speck in other people's eyes, but ignoring the beam in our own. Click on the title of this post for an interesting article on the neuro-anatomy of hypocrisy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The problem with "rendering unto Caesar" is that Caesar wants it all

Interesting article in The New York Times on Gregory Boyd -- a megachurch pastor in Minnesota who told his people that being a good Christian isn't necessarily the same thing as being a good Republican.

The immediate results?
  • His church lost 1,000 of its 5,000 members (mainly white, middle-class professionals).
  • He had to lay off seven of its fifty staff members.
  • His church's drive to raise $7 million stalled out at $4 million.

Then again, his church has picked up members from the Black, Hispanic, and Hmong communities.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I thought the Blues Brothers had dealt with this problem?

Just last year, the Catholic church closed 170 schools.

Stop and read that sentence again; read it and think about what this means. 170 schools -- the heart and soul of at least 170 parishes -- are gone forever . . . and that was just last year!

And in the past two decades, the Catholic Church has been forced to close 1600 schools!

If you'd like to know one man's opinion on the impact this will have on American cities, click on the title for a link to an op-ed piece in USA Today.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

An elephant in sheep's clothing

Click on the title of this post for a really irritating article from the Reuters News Service about one megachurch that blends religion with politics.

Why is it so irritating? Number one: the article itself is a essentially a profile of one congregation -- the Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster, Ohio -- that the author has "puffed" into a trend, i.e. "Evangelical Christian megachurches have become little more than the Republican Party at prayer." Yes, that's true of some megachurches It may even be true of many megachurches. But if you've been following Rick Warren's career lately, then you know the true is far more complex (and far more interesting).

The second reason why this article irritates me is the behavior of that church's members. The pastor is under investigation by the IRS for alleged violations of the law that prohibits non-profit groups from backing political candidates. And then you have this quote from one of the members:

"Christians stepped back too far. I prayed in school but my kids can't pray in school," said volunteer Lisa Sexton, 42, a Bible school volunteer. "I should have spoken up earlier."

Well . . . no. Do the math, and you'll see that Lisa was born in 1964. The Supreme Court banned government-mandated prayers in school back in 1962 -- two years before she was born.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hmmm . . . seems to me the Bible also forbids us to charge interest

Should Christians ever declare bankrupcy? A number of conservative Christians say, "no." Others aren't so sure. Click on the title for the article in the Christian Science Monitor.

Yes, the famous "MicroSoft Blue Screen of Death" is a lot like the Judgement, i.e. you never know when it might happen.

Okay, I admit that I'm a little wary of a church service going high-tech. Number one, as this article in the Christian Science Monitor makes plain, the stuff has a way of crashing on you. Then too, I'm old enough to remember when overhead projectors first came out -- and suddenly, too many pastors were using them to illustrate sermons that shouldn't have been preached in the first place.

My advice? Don't use technology as a substitute for clarity or meaning. No, get the bones of worship right, then add technology to make it better. Meanwhile, click on the title for the article.