27 April 2012

Colson eulogies

Michael Gerson is thankful for Chuck Colson's life and example: In Memoriam: Charles W. Colson, A Life Well-Lived (1931-2012). Writes Gerson:
I saw Chuck’s character close up.  Chuck gave me my first job, as a research assistant working at Prison Fellowship.  He also gave me a lifelong example of leadership. 
Following Chuck’s conversion, God took hold of a set of extraordinary skills. Christian belief did not make Chuck mild or retiring. He remained driven. He demanded much of those around him, but was quick to praise every success and achievement. He thought the standards and professionalism we bring to the Kingdom of God should be at least as high as those he brought to the Marines or the White House. Faith was never an excuse for mediocrity.

In the meantime, author Frank Schaeffer offers only a qualified appreciation for Chuck: Colson: An Evangelical Homophobic Anti-Woman Leader Passes On. In the comments under his post, Schaeffer gives his readers this bit of insight:

The Bible is a book filled with good things and lots of nonsense too. God -- if there is one -- is the creator of everything you see in the Hubble plus more. What some collection of Bronze Age mythology says and what is really out there (and in us) isn't the same thing. Don't blame the creator for religion or religious books.

I myself will have more to say about Colson's legacy in the near future. Stay tuned.

15 April 2012

A Judahite rewrite of Samaritan history?

The German weekly Der Spiegel carries a fascinating article: Israel's Other Temple: Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy, by Matthias Schulz. The charge that Jews revised the biblical narrative at the expense of the Samaritans is not new, but this article claims that archaeological evidence has now been uncovered to support the charge. For example: "Not a single shred of archaeological evidence has ever been found to confirm the existence of Solomon's Temple." How might Christians with a high view of biblical authority respond to this article?

09 April 2012

Self-Referential Incoherence 101: introductory lecture

Odd. This sounds like an authoritative statement to me:

While we're at it, stop using the imperative mood! I wouldn't use the conditional mood either. And may you never have use for the optative mood.

03 April 2012

Christians and marriage

Here is good news for those of us who have been continually told that divorce rates amongst Christians are comparable to those of the general population: The Christian Divorce Rate Myth.

W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans . . . .

The divorce rates of Christian believers are not identical to the general population — not even close. Being a committed, faithful believer makes a measurable difference in marriage.

Saying you believe something or merely belonging to a church, unsurprisingly, does little for marriage. But the more you are involved in the actual practice of your faith in real ways — through submitting yourself to a serious body of believers, learning regularly from Scripture, being in communion with God though prayer individually and with your spouse and children, and having friends and family around you who challenge you to take [your marriage] seriously — the greater difference this makes in strengthening both the quality and longevity of our marriages. Faith does matter and the leading sociologists of family and religion tell us so.


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