Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Annales Newsbreak

I usuaully spend part of my day reading articles and news stories about things that don't necessarily make it to the front page of CNN.com. One of the best sources for that sort of coverage is Christianity Today, a Christian resource that does a great job of gathering together relevant news.

I don't want to rival them (or supplant them), but here are some comments on the articles I found interesting:

'I BELIEVE ... I'M JUST NOT MAD'

As I commented in an earlier post, I believe the election of dark-horse candidate Dr. Frank Page to the presidency of the Southern Baptist convention is a big deal. And finally, it seems, someone in the mainstream media is noticing it, too. E.J. Dionne, Jr., has this piece in The Washington Post.

ChristianityToday.com's weblog, quotes the article and then worries about its implications:

"The evangelical world is going through a quiet evolution as believers reflect on the perils of partisanship and ideology and their reasons for being Christian. This will probably affect the nation's political life, but it will certainly affect the country's spiritual direction. My hunch is that not only moderates and liberals but also many solid conservatives welcome the departure."

It will be interesting to watch this "departure." How will evangelicals take up the banners of creation care, AIDS, human trafficking, and religious freedom without deemphasizing issues like abortion and sexual morality?

How will evangelicals avoid becoming the mirror image of the mainline? News from this summer's mainline Protestant conventions has focused almost exclusively on political issues: homosexuality, the war in Iraq, Guantanamo, divesting from Israel. At the same time, these denominations are hemorrhaging members and money.

While evangelical leaders craft statements on global warming and torture, hoping that they're finally being listened to in the halls of power, will the temptation to appeal to a broader audience—and to be liked by cultural gatekeepers—cause them to dilute their evangelical message?

With CT, I worry about how Evangelical Christians have been increasingly focused on our political action. Unlike CT, though, I think the election of Dr. Page to lead the SBC represents something of a re-emphasis of our traditional evangelistic fervor: after all, Dr. Page's platform was strongly focused on missions and the Cooperative Program.

There is a good wrap-up summary of the Convention, and out-going President Bobby Welch's farewell sermon, here.

NEW ANTI-INDENCENCY LAW

Oops: there goes that hard-won, newly refocused evangelical emphasis. President Bush laudibly increased the FCC's power to fine companies who break its indencency standards, as discussed here.

I have to ask the obvious question: couldn't the money we spent on trying to get the FCC to police the airwaves have been used, instead, to change hearts in lives through the transforming love of Christ so that it wouldn't be profitable to show indencency in the first place?

SO MUCH FOR FREE SPEECH

The governor of Maryland announced, here, that he had fired a man for that man's statement that "Homosexual behavior is deviant. I'm a Roman Catholic." Isn't anyone else scared by this?

GREAT IS DIANA OF THE PRESBYTERIANS!

Ok, ok, so I copied the sub-head from an Anglican blog who was alluding to Paul's troubles in Ephesus when she was commenting on this bit of news that the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. would allow (and, as of yesterday, now does allow) its congregations to refer to the Trinity as "Mother, Child, and Womb" instead of "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

As a horrible component-part of the repressive socio-religious patriarchy, I suppose that I would be expected to think this was silly (not to mention, as this blogger points out, the step that precedes goddess-worship), but I'm not the only one.

I talked this news over with my fiancee -- a strong, yet God-fearing, feminist -- las night, who agreed with me that efforts to erase gender-bias from religious practice shouldn't go from male-dominated to female-dominated language. Instead, she argued, an alternative formulation of the Trinity could be, "Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter" (all terms which describe the functions of the Persons of the Trinity).

Though I don't agree that the traditional understanding of the Trinity promotes gender bias, I certainly agree with my fiancee that calling the Holy Spirit "the Womb" is ridiculous. And dangerous.

YOU SAY YOU WANT A REVOLUTION...

The Episcopal Church continues to deal with whether they will comply with the demands of the Anglican Communion or whether they will "walk alone." I discuss the issue further in this post.

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