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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Some (especially the younger generation of) Christian Evangelicals are embracing new causes. This makes perfect sense. After all, the old ones have been exhausted and we’re not converting anyone by continuing to have them with ever-increasing shrill tones. Those have reached such a high dB level that we are causing people to have tinnitis. Yes, we still believe in abolishing abortion and we still frown on an unrepentant gay lifestyle, but everybody knows that already, so why do we have to keep harping on it? It’s counterproductive and we come across as fanatical bores, so shuddup about that already! Here is Tom Krattenmaker’s take on it:

This younger wave will not stick to the narrow old script — abortion, gays, the erosion of Christian prerogatives in the public square — that has governed publicly applied evangelicalism since the ’70s.

These modern-day abolitionists, along with growing ranks of faith-fueled activists in the fight against global poverty, disease and other forms of human degradation, might not see themselves as political. Even so, intentionally or not, they could end up changing the meaning of a political movement and idea — “pro life” — that has been at the center of one of the most rancorous political arguments of our time.

Here are some more details about the new conversation, some of which might be a bit troubling to old-school evangelicals:

Also finding room on a more broadly defined “pro-life” movement are poverty, torture, immigration, health care, disease prevention and climate change. With that has come more talk of respecting the humanity of gay men and lesbians and new interest in cooperating with progressives and non-evangelicals (including the new president) on strategies to reduce the incidence of abortion.

“Respecting the humanity” of homosexuals might  be code for conceding the gay marriage debate. “Reduc[ing] the incidence of abortion” means no longer insisting that abortion be completely eliminated. Those two issues might be deal killers. Of course, nobody seems to be dealing with the Christian Right right now anyway, so it might be a moot point.

All in all, though, having this conversation makes much more sense than continuing to have the old one. After all, the objective is to bring more people around to our way of thinking, perhaps to save some souls and, as a bonus, win some voters, too! The key to winning the libertarians’ vote will be to show how we can take up these causes without involving the government. The key to winning back the Hispanic vote will be to show that we value them as partners in embracing causes like these, causes with which they naturally tend to gravitate. Add those two groups to the existing base and that sounds like a majority coalition to me.

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The Birth of Jesus

If ever there was an opportunity for God to enact his plan with a majestic flourish, it was at Jesus’ birth. But God did not presume upon humanity when he stepped in to redeem it. There was no pretense in this arrival. Rather, God chose to identify in the humblest way with those made in his image. The story of Jesus’ birth in Luke mixes praise with simplicity. Its contrast to the birth of John the Baptist is remarkable. John’s birth was announced in the capital, at the temple, in the center of the Jewish nation. But Jesus arrives in rural anonymity. John is the child of a priest and his righteous wife; Jesus belongs to Jews of average social status. [More]

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:14 (NASB)

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Just In Time For Christmas

A new Gallup poll reveals that Republicans aren’t the only ones lost in the wilderness. Now most Americans seem to be lost in a spiritual one:

galluppollgraph1

At the close of 2008, few Americans perceive that religion is thriving in U.S. society, and a relatively small majority believe religion is relevant to solving today’s problems. These perceptions may stem in part from the political climate — characterized by a weakened Republican Party and the incoming Democratic administration — as well as from the overwhelming consensus that the main problems facing the country today are economic.

I’m hoping and praying that all these hapless Americans are simply confused and are, in their desperation, differentiating between Religion and God. After all, nothing less than eternity is at stake here. My advice would be to read one of the Gospels this Christmas instead of the financial pages and see if it all starts making sense to you:

Matthew | Mark | Luke | John

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This quote got under my skin today:

“[A]ny attacks have to conform to existing public narratives of Obama.”
—Patrick Ruffini

I happen to agree with the author’s excellent general premise (that “our hits against him have to be clean hits, or they will blow up in our face”) but where’s the creativity in conforming to “existing public narratives” which, as of today, have swept Democrats into power, have banished the GOP to the wilderness and have painted conservative Christians as sanctimonious, hypocritical liars?

Those same narratives have cast Obama in such a favorable light that using the word “savior” in describing the man has become all too common and has taken society’s focus off the real savior, Jesus Christ. The current narratives aren’t going to get us anywhere.

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Apparently the Male-Rights Movement doesn’t think the GOP is giving them enough freedom to have promiscuous, accountability-free sex. Because of that perceived slight, they’ve left the Republican Party in droves. Here’s a taste of the story:

From interviews I conducted on many young American backpackers who traveled Europe this summer, the #1, #2 and #3 reasons why single male Americans said they liked Obama was because they were sick and tired of the ‘religion as politics agenda’ of the right and the not-so-hidden agenda of wanting people punished for having sex.

(more…)

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