Extremists – both kinds – UPDATED

I have just received from a friend the following comics and I wanted to share them with you, because I find them very relevant for the times we live.

(Source: HERE)

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Martin Marty – Franklin Graham on Islam and Violence

I don’t think it will be a surprise for anybody if I said I do not like Franklin Graham.  Nor do I think he cares much. Worse for him though is that, the saying goes, his father, Billy Graham, does not like him too much either. And how could one like such a big mouth that, more often than not, speaks before his mind starts running and the two catch up when the damage is already done? Billy Graham, who, in spite of his human mistakes, was a world level diplomat, knows better than that.

Franklin, like many American fundamentalist Evangelicals today, picks regularly on the Muslims. Since  everything is, supposedly, perfect with their own religion, they are now on a… crusade? (good heavens) to sort out the religions of others. At any price, as long as they are not the ones paying for it.

It seems that Franklin has done it again, in the context of the Koran burning rage, and, thus, he became, again, the topic of Martin Marty’s musings in the latest issue of Sightings. Here it is, fully deserved. As Kate Moos, from Speaking of Faith, says here, ‘Martin Marty rarely swings for the fences, but when he does, he knocks it out of the park’.

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Martin Marty – On Romanticising Church Growth in Africa

Sightings 7/5/10

Christianity Going South

— Martin E. Marty

Sightings authors often comment on religion in the United States rather than “the rest of the world,” but through the years have shown regularly how artificial or at least permeable such geographical distinctions are when it comes to religion.  Philip Jenkins, Mark Noll, Lamin Sanneh, and others reveal the same, with important books on what Jenkins calls “The Next Christendom” and Noll describes as “The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith.”  They see the Christian population “going South.”  In American slang, “going south” means going down to an inferior position.  But in demographic terms, the capital “S” signals going up, as the masses of Christians are doing, while Christian power slides from Europe and North America to Africa, Latin America, and other points South.

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Martin Marty – Martyrdom

Paolo Sabbatini Rancidoro – Crucifixion

Sightings 5/17/10

Almost always Sightings takes off from a current text or image lifted from news and opinion sources. This week our “current” text is 1900 years old. It happened that Sunday I was to engage in a moonlighting vocation, namely preaching a sermon, something I’ve enjoyed doing for sixty-two years. To some, this activity in a sanctuary may seem to occur in a polar-opposite locale from the “Public Religion” sites that we ordinarily visit. However, sanctuary acts are to relate to the public, and public acts have or can have anchors in community and personal life. Those of us who are called to preach on Lectionary – ecumenically-chosen biblical – texts often have to take their chances. This week the seasonal text was from John 15:20-27, read as farewell words of Jesus to disciples. Preachers everywhere are in trouble almost right off. Jesus: “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” While I have preached among the poor and suffering, few were persecuted. More often the words fall on the ears of comfortable, middle-class persons, or in the academies, people with pensions, good names, often tenure, honorary degrees, “Good Citizen” awards. Now what? “They” did persecute Jesus back then, and he promised like treatment for his followers. Here the contortions begin.

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Martin Marty – Israel’s Holy War

In eleven years of weekly Sightings I can’t find that I ever commented on “public religion” in Israel.  The U. S. is usually in our sights, and we are aware of participation in or leadership of holy wars by Hindu militants, Muslim extremists, Buddhist monks, and Christian forces around the world.  Israel, a close ally and, religiously, a kin, must have flown under the radar here, because it is on page one or in prime time almost daily, and religious themes – for example, Gush Emunim in support of illegal settlements – are prominent. Continue reading “Martin Marty – Israel’s Holy War”

Sexuality and Religion 2020

New Report Outlines Vision for 2020, Builds on Milestones of Last Decade

In the summer of 2009, the Religious Institute convened the 2020 Colloquium, calling together 23 clergy, theologians and religious leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian Universalist traditions.  Colloquium participants established an overarching vision – that by the year 2020, all faith communities will be sexually healthy, just and prophetic. Continue reading “Sexuality and Religion 2020”

Martin Marty – Jim Wallis on Values and Morals

In 1957, young Harvard-bred historian Timothy Smith, of the Church of the Nazarene, knocked a lot of us budding ordinary historians – secular, “mainstream,” and whatnot – off our library stools with his book Revivalism and Social Reform. We had been trained to look for the roots of American social Christianity in the liberal Protestant Social Gospel (post-1907) and progressive Catholicism (post-1919).  Smith back-dated such movements by a half-century, to revivals around 1857, which, he argued, added concern for morality and ethics in the social order to the private-and-personal moral agenda of older evangelicalism.  Having fought against dueling, profanity, Sunday mails, et cetera, these revivalists found new ways to address slavery, poverty, and inequality.  Imperfect, they did chart a course. Continue reading “Martin Marty – Jim Wallis on Values and Morals”

Martin Marty – No Easy Predictions for Baptists’ Next 400 Years

WACO, Texas (ABP) — Nobody can predict with certainty what the next 400 years hold for Baptists — or for any religious denomination — church historian Martin Marty told a recent gathering at Baylor University. Continue reading “Martin Marty – No Easy Predictions for Baptists’ Next 400 Years”

True Stories

The last issue of Sightings deals, how else, with Robertson’s thoughtless statements on Haiti. Here is what Martin Marty writes about this:

You know the old joke:  When someone absolutely diabolical died, the rabbi asked if anyone wanted to say anything about him at the funeral.  No one dared, as there was nothing nice to say.  Eventually one stood up and said, “His brother was even worse.”  Was anyone worse than Pat Robertson, who credited the earthquake in Haiti to “true story” of the Haitians having “made a pact with the devil”?  Say something nice about Robertson now? Continue reading “True Stories”

Decline in Conservative Churches

Until recently, the vulgata of those on the right side of the theological spectrum was that conservative churches are growing numerically (precisely because of their conservative stance), while the moderate or liberally inclined churches decline steadily (precisely and simply because of their more  liberal stance. Never mind the numerical growth of some cults or of those streams of the charismatic movement promoting the heretical ‘prosperity gospel’. As the saying goes, ‘don’t bother me with facts; I have already made up my mind’.

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Grupul Batrinilor – doi ani de activitate

The Elders1

La 17 iulie s-au împlinit doi ani de la formarea grupului independent numit The Elders [Bătrânii], despre care am mai scris pe acest blog (vezi AICI). Formarea grupului a fost anunţată de Nelson Mandela la Johannesburg, cu ocazia sărbătoririi celei de a 89-a zile de naştere. Mandela a declarat atunci despre această iniţiativă:

The Elders can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes. They will reach out to those who most need their help. They will support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair.

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Crestinism hipermuscular

mark-driscoll justin_fatica

Mark Driscoll                                              Justin Fatica

Newsletter-ul săptămânal Sightings, editat sub autoritatea cunoscutului sociolog creştin Martin Marty de la University of Chicago Divinity School, tratează de această dată, sub “pana” (aş fi spus “tastatură”, dar este lipsit de poezie) lui Joseph Laycock, student la Boston University, un text în care analizează două încercări de emancipare a creştinismului american de sub efeminarea care-l domină în ultimele decenii.

Cei doi protagonişti sunt cunoscutul (şi controversatul) pastor evanghelic de la Mars Hill Church din Seattle, Wa, Mark Driscoll, şi Justin Fatica, un lider laic catolic, fundator al organizaţiei Hard as Nails.

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Martin E. Marty – Politics and Inerrancy


Sightings 11/24/08

Politics and Inerrancy

by Martin E. Marty

“From a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God,” the biweekly glossy World (November 15/22) asks at almost issue-length what went wrong with the Republicans in the recent elections.  To the editors’ credit, they do not spend much space in a blame game on what went wrong because of Democrats and liberals, but instead in self-examination of Republican faults.  Decades ago wags said that the Episcopal Church was “the Republican Party at prayer,” but in elections in our time it has been said that “inerrant Word of God” factions tended to find Republicans to be inerrant.  No more.  Let’s look at World.

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