Archive for Category: christianity
UK Government Minister Slams ‘Militant Secularism’
LONDON (AP) — When it comes to religion, British politicians tend to heed the famous advice of Tony Blair’s spin doctor, Alastair Campbell — “We don’t do God.” In contrast to the United States, the deity is rarely invoked on the campaign trail or in political speeches.
But a Muslim Cabinet minister has become the latest member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to urge the country to embrace its Christian heritage. Sayeeda Warsi also said that “militant” secularism poses a threat to Europe, a comment that has angered atheists and highlighted the divisive political potential of religion.
Her views will strike a chord with some religious Britons who feel threatened by growing secularization and by recent anti-discrimination cases, including one that saw Christian hoteliers fined for refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room.
In an article published Tuesday in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Warsi urged Europe “to become more confident in its Christianity.”
“You cannot and should not extract (the) Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you can or should erase the spires from our landscapes,” she wrote.
“My fear today is that a militant secularization is taking hold of our societies,” she added, accusing some atheists of having the same intolerant instincts as authoritarian regimes.
Warsi, a prominent member of Cameron’s Conservative Party, is leading a delegation of British government ministers to the Vatican, where they are due to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday.
In a speech in Rome, Warsi said that “too often there is a suspicion of faith in our continent.” She said in Britain religion has been “sidelined, marginalized and downgraded” and “faith is looked down on as the hobby of ‘oddities, foreigners and minorities.’”
It’s been really bad before, y’all. Going way back hundreds of years prior to the days of Jesus:
Jeremiah 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit
And even after Jesus and the apostles showed us the true way:
Revelation 2:1-5 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know your works, and your labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hasve found them liars: And have borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Brothers and sisters, let us not be weary in well doing. Rather, let us exalt and obey our King in everything.
The darker the hour, the brighter the Light shines.
Church traditions are often lumped together and denounced. I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Paul, in fact, wrote in favor of keeping certain traditions:
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 2 Thess. 3:6
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 2 Thess. 2:15
So, we must ask: Are these merely traditions of men, traditions of the elders, or did they originate with the Almighty? If the latter, we need not fear them but rather enjoy them to His glory.
One in three young people in England have become heavy drinkers. Surely this fact factors into the recent riots across the United Kingdom.
Just how do we reach these? Surely we can pray. Surely we can support those who are holding up Christ among them already. And just who might that be, btw? Any contacts known to you? Might alternative churches have a role where the institutional churches are so mired down?
The problems among American youth are just as serious, we freely acknowledge.
A commentator writes on the site of a major UK newspaper:
It’s not just Labour’s relaxed attitude to alcohol that is the problem, it is the entire culture that Labour creates: a lack of responsibility, a lack of morality, a lack of dignity, a lack of discipline and a lack of reality. The fact is there must be a lot of miserable people inhabiting this country to create so many alcoholics. Where is pride and respect? How awful to lead a country into this mire… we used to be so proud. People used to have manners, they used to have loyalty, they used to have values – they used to feel shame when they behaved badly. This shows a sad deterioration of society and the individual; a sense of loss and a growing feeling of self-loathing. An unhappy country. How can we get people to acknowledge and recognise that this isn’t what they want? How can we bring them back to be the wonderful, happy, caring and loving individuals they should be? How can we rekindle that sense of self-worth and motivate them to act responsibly and kindly?
- Ollie, London, UK, 23/10/2006 15:41
Is it not fascinating to see what now passes for a “house church” according to this short CNN video?
Such a thing doesn’t disturb me though as I am not of the “house church only” school of thought.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The one Lord is more interested in hearts than in locations, I do believe.
Can you believe that I once lived in the same town as Franklin Graham? But I don’t remember much about Montreat as we moved from Western NC when I was about 3 years old.
The drama that unfolded in Beijing began when police evicted an unregistered “house church” from its usual meeting place. The police arrived again when this same flock tried to gather in a public place last Sunday. A church member who escaped told the Associated Press that about 200 were arrested.
This kind of persecution is old news for those concerned about the 60 million or so Christians in China’s “underground” churches. The crackdowns have become so common that they rarely inspire protests from human rights activists.
Bob Dylan, however, is another matter. His first-ever concert in China opened with an edgy gospel rocker that slipped past the Ministry of Culture officials who allegedly screened the April 6 set list to make sure it was safe.
“Change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules. … Gonna put my best foot forward, stop being influenced by fools,” sang Bob Dylan, performing a classic from the “Slow Train Coming” album that opened his “born again” era.
So who might the “fools” be in this context?
Seconds later, Dylan veered into alternative lyrics for “Gonna Change My Way of Thinkin’,” written for a duet with gospel star Mavis Staples. These lyrics added a clear reference to “end times” doctrines and the second coming of Jesus — subjects Chinese authorities have tried to curb in sermons, music and religious education.
“Jesus is calling,” he sang. “He’s coming back to gather his jewels.
… Well, we live by the golden rule, whoever’s got the gold rules.”
Many critics noted that the set list omitted Dylan’s most famous anthems of political protest, such as “The Times They Are A-Changin’ ” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” The Washington Post coverage claimed that the set was “devoid of any numbers that might carry even the whiff of anti-government overtones.”
Then again, maybe the mainstream writers who voiced similar sentiments about this historic concert in the Worker’s Gymnasium in Beijing were only listening for messages about politics, as opposed to messages about religious freedom.
Many years ago, commentator Bill Moyers told me that the reason so many journalists struggle to cover religion news is that they are “tone deaf” to the music of faith in public life. That image still rings true for me, after 23 years of writing this column for the Scripps Howard News Service and more than three decades of research into life on the religion beat.
more here: http://therepublic.com/view/story/religion-faith041311/religion-faith041311/
Typically Dylanesque. Say, what about these house churches with 200 attendees?
There exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.
George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
The relationship of obedience and blessing is, I believe, eternally true concerning nations but also concerning individuals. If individuals ignore the “eternal rules of order and right” we do so at our own peril. And we will eventually hurt ourselves and others.
So, let us walk in love – which is itself a commandment or rule – and thereby bring honor to our heavenly King and, as God wills, blessings to our own selves and to our loved ones.
How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24
Do you see our Heavenly Father when you peer into the eyes of another person who is made in his image? How about your pets and even your houseplants? These things are from his loving hand of bounty and should direct us to thoughts of Him. Reader, may I inquire, is that the case with you?
About 500 years ago a Christian writer made the following observation:
“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” John Calvin
May the creation lead us to the Creator and not become a substitute for Him. And may this perspective cause you to rejoice in this unhappy age.
NARRATOR: Hutchinson’s story electrified her listeners. They gathered at her house to hear about her revelation from God, just yards from where the governor lived.
JOHN WINTHROP: She keeps open house for all comers, three score, four score people. She comments upon the doctrines, interprets all passages at her pleasure and expounds dark passages of Scripture.
NARRATOR: As much as Winthrop disliked her talk of messages from God, Hutchinson was a good Puritan and had broken no law.
STEPHEN PROTHERO: This is what makes her so dangerous is because she is speaking the language of Puritanism itself- “The drama is happening inside each of us. God is speaking to each of us. We need to listen to that voice of God inside us.”
NARRATOR: And as Hutchinson’s popularity grew, Winthrop feared for the future of his colony.
JOHN WINTHROP: Her doctrine appeals to many profane people because it is a very easy and an acceptable way to Heaven, to see nothing, to have to do nothing but wait for Christ to do all.
NARRATOR: Hutchinson’s easy path to heaven undermined Winthrop’s orderly society. He needed his people to struggle with their salvation.
STEPHEN MARINI, Historian of Religion, Wellesley College: It is relentless, difficult, arduous on the individual level. But it is fantastic social glue if everyone is doing this. Everyone notices everything. Everyone has an opinion and a moral judgment on everybody else, on the criteria of what God’s law says. It will hold together church, family, state.
NARRATOR: Hutchinson’s challenge to official doctrine threatened to destroy Winthrop’s fledgling colony.
STEPHEN PROTHERO: What happens if you start to lose control of your society and you’re John Winthrop, right? You need to be able to say, “No, no no, that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says such and so. This is how we should run our society.”
NARRATOR: Anxious ministers visited Winthrop. John Eliot from Roxbury, and from Salem, Hugh Peters, reported that some members of their congregations preferred to listen to Hutchinson’s biblical interpretations to theirs.
STEPHEN PROTHERO: Why listen to the black-coated minister read a dry, boring sermon when you can go to Anne Hutchinson’s house and hear this heartfelt, real thing?
NARRATOR: And Hutchinson was gaining powerful allies who were attracted to her message- the minister John Wheelwright and Henry Vane, a fierce political adversary of John Winthrop’s.
JOHN WINTHROP: I observe first her success. She had in a short time insinuated herself into the hearts of much of the people, who grew into so reverent an esteem of her godliness and spiritual gifts, as look at her as a prophetess.
Hmmmm, most of the same issues concerning church dynamics and protocols then are still very much under discussion today.
And no, I don’t endorse everything in this fascinating PBS documentary.
John McCain’s grandfather and father would become the first father-son team to reach the rank of four-star admiral.“My father spoke of him to me often, as an example of what kind of man I should aspire to be,” John McCain recalled.Halsey biographer Potter wrote that “there were few wiser or more competent officers in the Navy than Slew McCain.” The Navy honored him in 1953 by naming a new destroyer the USS John S. McCain. Slew McCain is buried next to his brother, William Alexander McCain, a cavalry officer known as “Wild Bill.”Bill McCain, who graduated from West Point, chased Mexican insurgent Pancho Villa with Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, served as an artillery officer during World War I and attained the rank of brigadier general.In his 1999 book, Faith of My Fathers, McCain details his Scotch-Irish roots, noting that his great-aunt was a descendant of Robert the Bruce, an early Scottish king. On this continent, McCain’s roots date to the American Revolution.An early ancestor, John Young, served on Gen. George Washington’s staff. After the family moved to Mississippi, a number of McCain’s ancestors fought in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy.source: azcentral.com