Tag Archives: Religion news

Vladimir Putin and strict pacifism’s false comfort

March 25, 2014

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It’s suddenly clear. We now see why Eastern European countries hustled in their NATO applications after the Berlin Wall tumbled: Mother Russia is a brooding matriarch coveting the children she once kidnapped, and Vladimir Putin stands in the tsarist lineage of thuggish, self-appointed successors of the Byzantine Caesars. Bare your chest and steal Crimea — and throw in that 97 percent vote as homage to yesteryear’s Soviet elections.

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Stop the press: Nature-lovers can love humans

November 25, 2013

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Leah Kostamo has liberated me. I can now face my dark side: I love everything from sloths to moss and serve on three eco-friendly boards, but most environmental literature reminds me of toothpaste-flavored herbal tea – with no sweeteners allowed (carcinogens, you know). Guilt is slung like linguini. Humor and joy are banned, and bang the drumbeat of shame on Christians, who supposedly believe in the biosphere’s annihilation.

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What to do with pesky Scriptures when you play the “God card”?

October 2, 2013

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Thanks.  I’m grateful – obliged, even. Representatives of the supposedly more religion-friendly political party have deepened our understanding of the Bible and clarified the need for its amendment, contextualization and application.  We can be relevant now.  For starters, they’ve finally tidied up chaotic Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be […]

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Can the National Association of Evangelicals make a stand for the truth?

September 22, 2013

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Think of it as the gentleman in the tweed cap or the lady in horse riding apparel. The National Association of Evangelicals has exemplified dignity and poise since its 1942 inception. Perhaps its first president, the late Harold Ockenga, branded it with his personality when he — along with Edward J. Carnell, Carl Henry, Daniel […]

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A book that (unintentionally) makes me proud to be an evangelical

September 5, 2013

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I almost want to send Reza Aslan a thank-you note. His book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, made me laud my professors once more.

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A time for the strong voice

July 15, 2013

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There it was, in my inbox, the cautionary and age-old question from a fellow veteran in the war against climate-change denial: Should evangelicals promoting the scientific consensus favor diplomatic gentility or prophetic indignation? Do we follow John the Baptist (“You brood of vipers!”) or Titus 3:2 (“be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle […]

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A case of sliced and diced minds and climate change

June 13, 2013

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Someone picked up scissors and snipped our mentalities. Our thoughts lay like scraps on the floor: thinking is severed from doing; spirituality is cut from its heritage and theological reflection mutates into one-liners from an adolescent-like preacher in an empty comedy club. Such imagery comes in the wake of recent events on humanity’s most dire […]

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Holy Week’s Dangerous Messiah

March 24, 2013

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By Charles Redfern, first published on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-redfern/. Imagine my shock when I saw how my childhood’s domesticated Palm Sunday steered me into a domesticated Holy Week with a domesticated Jesus and a domesticated faith. It was a coloring-book Palm Sunday, a Palm Sunday of the early ’60s suburban, mainline church — before the assassinations and Vietnam and […]

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When the past strangles us

February 22, 2013

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Gaze through civil religion’s in-creeping fog: Halos blink on over sweltering men with wigs. They’re now immaculate secular apostles; they kneel on a mountain top beside their polished spittoons while awaiting their Constitution’s arrival. They never haggled, never referred to their honored but maddening mother country, and never debated behind closed doors in a muggy city in defiance of their original commission. So dare not think the heretical thought: “Maybe the Second Amendment has outlived its usefulness.”

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De-mangling political religion, Part One

November 25, 2012

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We’re beyond the mere need for civil discourse. Our minds are askew. We actually believe our own rhetoric as an article of faith. We no longer know how to talk because we no longer know how to think. We’re thrusting religious categories onto politics, and that’s true of both pious and secular fundamentalists. Classical politicians are pragmatists in their heart of hearts. They’ve wended their way through local and state governments, where the grand debates center around zoning regulations, potholes, sewer lines, schools and budgets. Old school city pols made sure Mrs. O’Leary got her groceries and medicine. It was practical vs. impractical and useful vs. unworkable, all under the umbrella of the law and agreed-upon values. We’ll compromise with our opposing “friends” because the people elected them as well. Sure we have ideals, and we’ll salute Old Glory with relish, but that’s because Old Glory symbolizes our practical approach. Political ideals serve people, not vice versa.

No longer. We’ve forgotten something subtle and yet crucial, articulated well by Dutch theologian/statesman Abraham Kuyper: Politics and religion occupy two distinct, although sometimes overlapping, spheres. Our religion can and should inform our political beliefs (remember Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi and Martin Luther King: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”), but the two categories cannot be confused. They’re linked but not enmeshed. Otherwise, we view fundamentally practical questions (should we repair that bridge?) through a spiritual grid. Everything is moral vs. immoral and evil vs. good. We demand Messiahs, not effective representatives and administrators. We insist our presidents become pastors.

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