Deafening Silence – Public Orthodoxy

Source: Deafening Silence – Public Orthodoxy

Inga Leonova, editor of The Wheel, a quarterly journal of Orthodoxy and culture, writes on the ugly face of deadly fascist (supposedly Orthodox) ideolofy of the Iron Guard in Romania and the role it played in the violent recent events oon Charlottesville, Va.

Russell Moore: White supremacy angers Jesus, but does it anger his church? – The Washington Post

Source: Russell Moore: White supremacy angers Jesus, but does it anger his church? – The Washington Post

I would have never imagined I will one day be so enthusiastic after reading a text written by a Southern Baptist. But here it is. Yes! Well done, Russell Moore!

What I Saw in Charlottesville – Brian McLaren

Source: What I Saw in Charlottesville – Brian McLaren

Here is an eye witness report. Really worth reading.

Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

Source: Race, the Gospel, and the Moment

A good word, from a man of God.

Evangelicals, Trump and the politics of redemption | Religion News Service

Source: Evangelicals, Trump and the politics of redemption | Religion News Service

An American evangelical says ‘enough is enough’:
The evangelical Christian movement in America is being compromised and discredited by the way prominent leaders have associated themselves with, first, the Donald J. Trump campaign and now, the Trump presidency. If this is allowed to define evangelical attitudes toward political power, the public witness of Christianity will be undermined in durable ways.

Pe intelesul tuturor: initiativa si referendumul privind casatoria

Explicatii juridice clare, pentru cei cu mintea lipede, despre o initiativa legislativa inutila si cu rol pur propagandistic, dar care a dat prilej celor mai josnice atitudini homofobe si extremiste, in special in comunitatile religioase fundamentaliste – ortodoxee, catolice si protestant-evanghelice – din Romania.

CRISTI DANILEŢ - judecător

Familia și căsătoria: Constituția consacră două drepturi distincte: dreptul la viață familială (art. 26) și dreptul la căsătorie (art.48). Aceleași drepturi distincte sunt consacrate de Convenția Europeană a Drepturilor Omului care are prioritate în dreptul nostru dacă ar veni în contradicție cu legislația României: dreptul la respectarea vieții private și de familie (art. 8) și dreptul la căsătorie (art. 12). Cu alte cuvinte: prin căsătorie se naște o familie, dar o familie nu este neaparat rezultatul unei căsătorii.

Tipuri de familii: Este important să facem această distincție de la bun început, întrucât „noțiunea de viaţă de familie este complexă, cuprinzând inclusiv raporturile de familie de fapt, distinct de relaţiile de familie rezultând din căsătorie” (para. 40 din Decizia CCR 580/2016).

Așa cum am arătat și cu alt prilej, există mai multe tipuri de familie: familia nucleară (alcătuită din bărbat, femeie și copil) care…

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5. Iașul – un pod prea îndepărtat

Source: 5. Iașul – un pod prea îndepărtat

Al cincilea episod din amintirile lui Daniel Branzai. Aici mai ales despre Iasi.

Roger Olson – What is Fundamentalism?

Here are, according tto Roger Olson, the ‘symptoms’ of the spiritual disease called ‘fundamentalism’:

1) A tendency to elevate doctrines historically considered “secondary” (non-essentials) to the status of dogmas such that anyone who questions them questions the gospel itself.

2) A tendency to eschew “Christian fellowship” with fellow evangelical Christians considered doctrinally “impure” along with a tendency to misrepresent them in order to influence others to avoid them.

3) A tendency to “hunt” for “heresies” among fellow evangelical Christians and to reward fellow fundamentalists who “find” and “expose” them—even where said “heresies” are not truly heresies by any major confessional standards shared among evangelical Protestants.

4) A tendency to place doctrinal “truth” above ethics such that misrepresenting others’ views in order to exclude or marginalize them, if not get them fired, is considered justified.

5) A tendency to be obsessed with “liberal theological thinking” that leads to seeing it where it does not exist along with a tendency to be averse to all ambiguity or uncertainty about doctrinal and biblical matters.

(Source, ‘What Is “Fundamentalism?”’)

NOTE: In case you wonder if you are a fundamentalist.

 

 

 

Roger Olson – What is Liberal Theology?

Here are, according to Roger Olson, the ‘hallmarks’ of modern liberal theology:

1) A tendency to reduce the Bible to “the Christian classic” that is “inspired” insofar as it is inspiring;

2) A tendency to reduce Christianity itself to ethics such that doctrine is an expression of collective opinion always open to revision in light of changing cultural conditions;

3) A tendency to embrace and promote individualism in spirituality and doctrine while insisting on certain controversial ethical positions as matters of justice and therefore beyond debate;Read More »

Marching for Science | Vinoth Ramachandra

Source: Marching for Science | Vinoth Ramachandra

Dr Ramachandra, prophetically again, about how science undermines itself these days, by becoming a servant of Big Business.

Warning: This Post Could Be Hazardous to Your Paralysis | UnTangled

Source: Warning: This Post Could Be Hazardous to Your Paralysis | UnTangled

Kelly Flanagan on digital detox. NOT A SAFE POST! 🙂

Richard Rohr Meditation: Saved by the Cross

Source: Richard Rohr Meditation: Saved by the Cross

In case you wondered what Fr Rohr thinks about the Cross (I know my dear friend Eugen Matei does). This spells it out a bit.

A New Reformation | Vinoth Ramachandra

Source: A New Reformation | Vinoth Ramachandra

My precious virtual friend Vinoth Ramachandra, the IFES Secretary for Dialogue & Social Engagement, wrote today in an email:

Dear friends,
Karin and I are often asked about the biggest ministry challenges we face. We have no hesitation in saying that the biggest challenges come from Christians: how to address the rampant mindlessness, divisiveness and lack of integrity that we find (not only here in Sri Lanka but in many other countries that we visit) and to model a different way of following Jesus.
I’ve written about this on my Blog (“A New Reformation?”)
Please pass on the link to any pastors, students or academics/ professionals whom you think should read this. If they disagree or are “offended”, please invite them to engage with me on my Blog.
warm regards,

Vinoth

_____
So, here it is, for your consideration. And, if you disagree, write to Vinoth on his blog. He will certainly respond.
_____

The American (Eastern Orthodox) theologian David Bentley Hart raises some thought-provoking questions about the American church that if raised by others would immediately be brushed aside as symptomatic of “anti-Americanism”. In an article (“The Angels of Sacré-Coeur”) first published in 2011, Hart writes:

“It is very much an open and troubling question whether American religiosity has the resources to help sustain a culture as a culture- whether, that is, it can create a meaningful future, or whether it can only prepare for the end times. Is the American religious temperament so apocalyptic as to be incapable of culture in any but the most local and ephemeral sense? Does it know of any city other than Babylon the Great or the New Jerusalem? For all the moral will it engenders in persons and communities, can it cultivate the kind of moral intelligence necessary to live in eternity and in historical time simultaneously, without contradiction?”

And he ends with the sober judgment: “European Christendom has at least left a singularly presentable corpse behind. If the American religion were to evaporate tomorrow, it would leave behind little more than the brutal banality of late modernity.”

Harsh words, perhaps, but they stem from a passion to see the Lordship of Christ embracing and permeating every area of the church’s life and engagement with the world. The apostle Paul too used harsh language in denouncing the way the face of Christ was distorted by both false teaching and behaviour inconsistent with the Gospel.

American Christian Fundamentalism (ACF) has made deep inroads into churches all over the world since the Second World War, and its influence has been magnified with the rise of satellite TV and the Internet. I have often said that, with the decline of old-style European theological liberalism, ACF poses a far bigger threat to the global church than Islamist fundamentalism. Why? Because the biggest threats arise not from those who can only kill the body but from those who kill our souls in the name of religion.

Here are four reasons, among others, for my concern:

 

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Richard Rohr – Love at the Core of the Gospel

Franciscans never believed that “blood atonement” was required for God to love us. We believed that Christ was Plan A from the very beginning (Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:1-18). Christ wasn’t a Plan B after the first humans sinned, which is the way most people seem to understand the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Great Mystery of Incarnation could not be a mere mop-up exercise, a problem-solving technique, or dependent on human beings messing up.  The Incarnation was not motivated by a problem but by love.

Did God intend no meaning or purpose for creation during the first 13.8 billion years? Did the sun, moon, and galaxies have no divine significance? The fish, the birds, the animals were just waiting for humans to appear? Was there no Divine Blueprint (“Logos”) from the beginning? This thinking reveals the hubris of the human species and our tendency to anthropomorphize the whole story around ourselves.Read More »

Richard Rohr – A Nonviolent Atonement

Note: See how similar is the Franciscan view of salvation as a nonviolent process to the Orthodox view, and how radically diferent from the juridical emphasis that dominates mainline Catholicand almost all Protestant and Evangelical atonement theories (based on the view of an angry God – as opposed to a loving one, who had to punish his Son in order to be able to, again, reluctanty, love his human creatures).

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Reading Wars – Philip Yancey

Source: Reading Wars – Philip Yancey

Don’t you love the always candid Philip Yancey? I really do.

This is an article everybody should read. Please find below a few excerpts:

‘ I used to read three books a week. One year I devoted an evening each week to read all of Shakespeare’s plays (OK, due to interruptions it actually took me two years). Another year I read the major works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. But I am reading many fewer books these days, and even fewer of the kinds of books that require hard work.

The internet and social media have trained my brain to read a paragraph or two, and then start looking around.  When I read an online article from The Atlantic or The New Yorker, after a few paragraphs I glance over at the slide bar to judge the article’s length. My mind strays, and I find myself clicking on the sidebars and the underlined links. Soon I’m over at CNN.com reading Donald Trump’s latest Tweets and details of the latest terrorist attack, or perhaps checking tomorrow’s weather.’

‘Neuroscientists have an explanation for this phenomenon. When we learn something quick and new, we get a dopamine rush; functional-MRI brain scans show the brain’s pleasure centers lighting up. In a famous experiment, rats keep pressing a lever to get that dopamine rush, choosing it over food or sex. In humans, emails also satisfy that pleasure center, as do Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat.

Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows analyzes the phenomenon, and its subtitle says it all: “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” Carr spells out that most Americans, and young people especially, are showing a precipitous decline in the amount of time spent reading. He says, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” A 2016 Nielsen report calculates that the average American devotes more than ten hours per day to consuming media—including radio, TV, and all electronic devices. That constitutes 65 percent of waking hours, leaving little time for the much harder work of focused concentration on reading.’

‘I’ve concluded that a commitment to reading is an ongoing battle, somewhat like the battle against the seduction of internet pornography. We have to build a fortress with walls strong enough to withstand the temptations of that powerful dopamine rush while also providing shelter for an environment that allows deep reading to flourish. Christians especially need that sheltering space, for quiet meditation is one of the most important spiritual disciplines.’

‘Boredom, say the researchers, is when creativity happens. A wandering mind wanders into new, unexpected places. When I retire to the mountains and unplug for a few days, something magical takes place. I’ll go to bed puzzling over a roadblock in my writing, and the next morning wake up with the solution crystal-clear—something that never happens when I spend my spare time cruising social media and the internet.

I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.

For deep reading, I’m searching for an hour a day when mental energy is at a peak, not a scrap of time salvaged from other tasks. I put on headphones and listen to soothing music, shutting out distractions.’

‘We’re engaged in a war, and technology wields the heavy weapons. Rod Dreher published a bestseller called The Benedict Option, in which he urged people of faith to retreat behind monastic walls as the Benedictines did—after all, they preserved literacy and culture during one of the darkest eras of human history. I don’t completely agree with Dreher, though I’m convinced that the preservation of reading will require something akin to the Benedict option.

I’m still working on that fortress of habit, trying to resurrect the rich nourishment that reading has long provided for me.’

Reflections on Fear and Faith – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Source: Reflections on Fear and Faith – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Arthur Brown on fear & faith, a constant topic of conversation for Christians living in the Middle East.

În ce cred… – Perfectio in Spiritu

Source: În ce cred… – Perfectio in Spiritu

Liviu Horvath s-a aapucat iarasi sa sape prin teologie si nu iarta nimic.

Da-i ‘nainte, prietene, ca inapoi e jale.

What I Will Miss When They Are Gone | UnTangled

Source: What I Will Miss When They Are Gone | UnTangled

In celebration of grandfathers.

A Brief but Deep Thought on Defending the Christian Faith (or not) – Pete Enns

Source: A Brief but Deep Thought on Defending the Christian Faith (or not) – Pete Enns

I just love Peeter Enns and I fully agree with him o his view of apologetics.

We are the apologetic, and that is much harder than crafting arguments.’ I could not say that better. Thanks, Peter Enns.

Hospitality in an Age of Terror – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Source: Hospitality in an Age of Terror – The Institute of Middle East Studies

Sousie Lahoud of hospitality as a Christian virtue in the age of terror

What Everyone Desperately Wishes You’d Stop Doing, Based On Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type | Thought Catalog

Source: What Everyone Desperately Wishes You’d Stop Doing, Based On Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type | Thought Catalog

This is very interesting.

So, here is, according to Joshua Forte, What I (an INFP type) Desperately Wish I’d Stop Doing, Based On My Myers-Briggs Personality Type:

Acting like your dark, brooding thoughts make you superior to other people because you’re deeper and more complex than they are.

Lord, have mercy! 🙂

Women should not teach men what? 1 Timothy 2 in context – Reenacting the Way

Source: Women should not teach men what? 1 Timothy 2 in context – Reenacting the Way

Here is some solid biblical teaching on a topic that continues to divide evangelicalism, mostly because of ignorance, patriarchy and ‘holy’ misogyny.

A Blog Post in which I Get Belligerent about Theological Belligerence – Pete Enns

Source: A Blog Post in which I Get Belligerent about Theological Belligerence – Pete Enns

Something worth pondering. I am sure you are not guity of this, but I am, so this is promarily for me.

The Gift of Awakening | Dr David G Benner

Source: The Gift of Awakening | Dr David G Benner

Awakening is a call we find in all religious traditions.
Did you ever receive this call? And, if you did, how di you respond to it, if, indeed, you did respond?

How Should Arab Christians React to Persecution?

Martin Accad presents in this blog post 3 possible response to persecution. The first, revenge, is incompatible with Christ’s gospel of love. The second, self-victimization and demonization of others, equally incompatible with the Christian vision, seems to be the preferred option of many conservative American Christians.
The third option, active forgiveness and reconciliaation is the only option that fully represents the vision of the Kingdom of God, inaugurated by Christ. May we all choose this path, by God’s grace.

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Martin Accad

The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary has just completed its fourteenth Middle East Conference/Consultation, organized by its Institute of Middle East Studies, the highlights of which were presented last week through our blog. Under the overarching concept of “disorienting times,” we explored the four themes of “Persecution and Suffering,” “Emigration,” “Hopelessness and Despair,” and “Minoritization.” The four themes were well integrated and tied together through a specific logical framework: The persecution that the MENA church has suffered historically has driven it to a sense that its status as minority was not simply a matter of numbers, but that it has been subjected to a process of subjugation which we referred to as “minoritization.” This process, which has led many to despair and to a general sense of hopelessness, continues to drive many to the search for new hope through emigration.

The bombing of two churches in Egypt on…

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“There are no women on my theology bookshelf…”

In case you wondered about women theologians.
This is effective cure for theological misogyny.

maggi dawn

Last year on Twitter, someone wrote to me “there are no women on my theology bookshelf. Who should I read?”.

I followed up with a blog list, and was pleased to discover that without even looking up from my screen I could easily think of well over a hundred female theologians, ecclesiastical historians, biblical scholars, sociologists of religion, and others who figure on the theological landscape. More names appeared when I actually looked at my own bookshelf.

Replies flooded in through the comments, adding many more names of women authors – both academic and devotional, theoretical and practical, in every area of the theological landscape. Now the academic year is about to begin again, one or two people have mentioned the post again as a resource – so, incomplete though it is, here is the updated blog post with names added from the comments section.

10897776_469733266514841_7639664988515007378_nWhen people ask about “women…

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The Welcome of Tiger the Cat in Glasgow

The arrival of the Romanian kitty Tiger in the house of the McArdeleanu clan in Glasgow

The Benedict of History versus The Benedict Option – Public Orthodoxy

Source: The Benedict of History versus The Benedict Option – Public Orthodoxy

Here is an Orthodox author who agrees on my evaluation that Dreher (an Orthodox himself) misreads Benedict in his defetist approach to the American ‘cultural wars’ madness.

Acceptance of the Other: How Interfaith Dialogue Has Helped One Community Come to Life Again

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Kathryn Kraft

When she stood up from the little stool on which she had been perched throughout our interview, I saw that she was indeed pregnant. I’d guess about seven months. But, I thought, she already had seven children, a sunken eye, and a lost home!

I wondered if she wanted this baby or if her husband wanted this baby or if she was unfamiliar with the concept of contraception. My mind wandered to my London existence, where the norm is to choose if and when to become pregnant and where few people have more than three kids. And in London we can access free prenatal, neonatal and paediatric care, assistance with childcare and then free primary education.

This woman had none of these things, and the contrast between her existence and mine somehow to me summarised so well the stark reality of her story and that of her…

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