Monday, November 17, 2014

An Emergent Episcopalian Shares Some Thoughts; India: Christians Beaten, Jailed; ISIS threatens attacks on US streets...more

Here's What Jonathan Gruber Got Right ...In this view, elites must redeem the country by sinning against democracy. Since politicians are always at least half the creatures of voter stupidity, they must be ruled by an outside, privileged form of knowledge. That’s where Gruber and company come in. In a superficial sense, they are the humble servants of elected officials, merely advising them as to the most likely consequence of their actions. In a deeper, truer sense, they are the real officials, able to exert decisive influence whether Mitt Romney’s or Barack Obama’s name is attached to a policy.

Yet the populist impulse to attack Gruber must be tempered by recognizing he has told us all something we don’t want to hear. If we obscure the significance of Gruber’s remarks in the name of public policy or of social science, we won’t understand how the world that produced him has gone so wrong. To grasp why Gruber is wrong, we must grasp what he gets right.

Although Gruber’s conclusion is unwarranted, his premise is correct: too many Americans are too uneducated, formally and informally, to govern well. Rather than some vague multitude, Gruber suggests two particular kinds of “idiots:” the kind conservatives are more likely to rail against, and the kind liberals are. Both are a problem for anyone who does not subscribe to the kind of abstract faith in democracy that would excuse so much “stupidity.”...

ISIS threatens attacks on US streets in Peter Kassig beheading video Islamic State militants have beheaded another American hostage, Peter Kassig, issuing a video claiming the killing on Sunday and warning the United States they would kill other US citizens "on your streets."...

DEA launches surprise investigation into NFL prescription drug use

India: Christians Beaten, Jailed in Hindu Extremist Attack Four Christians in Maharashtra state, one 70 years old, were released on bail today after more than two weeks in jail, accused of “rioting” when Hindu extremists attacked them and damaged two of their homes.

The incident in Kamseth village, Nasik District in western India began on Oct. 28 when the Hindu extremists told Christians to remit 300 rupees (US$5) for the celebration of the Hindu festival of lights, or Diwali. The Christians submitted half the amount, which the Hindus later angrily returned to them, area church leader Prem Barnabas told Morning Star News...

Albert Mohler: Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ   I recently addressed a major national conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” held by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. As expected, the conference was one of the most responsible and edifying meetings yet held of Christians concerned about these issues. This is exactly what would be expected of the ERLC and its leadership. The conference was both helpful and historic. I had the honor of delivering the opening keynote address entitled “Aftermath: Ministering in a Post-Marriage Culture.” The full text of my address will be posted here shortly. Subsequent to the conference, it became clear that the vast coverage of the conference in the national press raised some issues that need to be considered further.

One of these issues is sexual orientation. As I explained in my address, I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction. Biblical Christians properly resist any suggestion that our will can be totally separated from sexual desire, but we really do understand that the will is not a sufficient explanation for a pattern of sexual attraction. Put simply, most people experiencing a same-sex attraction tell of discovering it within themselves at a very early age, certainly within early puberty. As they experience it, a sexual attraction or interest simply “happens,” and they come to know it...

Not That Kind of Homosexuality?
...Revisionist arguments in favor of same-sex unions do not rest on gay affirming exegetical conclusions as much as they try to show that traditional interpretations of Scripture are unwarranted. That is to say, the only way revisionist arguments make sense is if they can show that there is an impassable distance between the world of the Bible and our world.

Of all the arguments in favor of same-sex behavior, the cultural distance argument is the most foundational and the most common (at least among those for whom biblical authority is still important). Although the Mosaic Law and Paul’s letter to the Romans and the vice lists of the New Testament speak uniformly against same-sex behavior, these texts (it is said) were addressing a different kind of same-sex behavior. The ancient world had no concept of sexual orientation, no understanding of egalitarian, loving, committed, monogamous, covenantal same-sex unions...

Female clerics lined up for bishop selection as Church of England prepares for historic change   A string of senior female priests have been given special training to put them in prime position to become bishops in the Church of England when a historic change in canon law comes into force, the cleric who oversaw the process has disclosed.

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, said there had been a major push to ensure that any female candidates interviewed for vacant sees in the coming months have the same chance as their male counterparts, some of whom may have been preparing for the process for years...

An Emergent Episcopalian Shares Some Thoughts about the Church  Many of us in the emergent conversation have left institutional Christianity. We do not trust institutions and are suspicious of hierarchies. Our personal histories and experiences of Christianity are filled with the frustration caused by the disconnect between the truth claims of our religious Christian institutions and their actual lived existence. We have seen how much energy and money is spent in the maintenance of our institutions, instead of the mission of Jesus. Some of us have been traumatized by the church. These reasons, among many others, have caused many of us to leave institutional Christianity. But some of us in the emerging conversation have decided to stay.

I am what has been referred to as a hyphenated Christian, a person who has emerging sensibilities who remains part of the existing institutional church during this cultural upheaval known as the Great Emergence. I have found my spiritual home in the Episcopal Church, and as such, I can be labeled an “Angli-mergent.” Let me be the first to say that my experience isn’t normative. I have friends who have been so traumatized by their church experience that they may never return to the Christian faith let alone any community of Christians. I understand. And besides issues of trauma, some of us will (many already are) strike out and explore the Christian faith outside of any thing resembling established denominations. I have been on a similar trajectory before, and I want to share some thoughts from the hyphenated perspective with the hope that it could further the emerging conversation, while also helping those who are still looking for a spiritual home...sigh


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