Some interesting recent news and commentary
Yet I still run across interesting news and commentary that hits on the major themes discussed on this blog (theology, paleo-orthodox church-renewal, political philosophy, religious freedom, etc.). So I just thought I'd share a few things that I've been reading recently.
1) One is "Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed" by Austin Fischer at the Patheos blog. He discusses the relationship between truth and beauty and God (an important topic to "catholic" Christians of all stripes) and why he is no longer a Calvinist.
2) Another that I recently read was at NPR, "Attracted to Men, Pastor feels called to Marriage with a Woman." Many Christians who experience attraction to members of the same sex (or ambiguous attractions that are hard to label) have been arguing for years that they have some very real and Biblical lifestyle options, such as holy celibacy. Another option that has perhaps been getting more attention lately is entering into the Biblical marriage covenant (one man + one woman) and settling down in a traditional family. Some might see this as some kind of betrayal of the true meaning of marriage - but I suspect that is because our culture has so romanticized marriage that we have forgotten the very down-to-earth reasons for which it was created (so eloquently rehearsed toward the beginning of the traditional Anglican wedding liturgy).
It seems to me that liberals in the various Christian churches who constantly argue that we must change our historic teachings on sexuality and marriage to include gay individuals have been systematically ignoring the voices of these self-identified gay Christians who themselves are also committed to historic and Biblical orthodoxy when it comes to sexual morality and marriage. There are actually quite a few of them and their experiences also need to be accounted for in our conversations.
3) I've been very interested in numerous pieces written since the Muslim radicals rampages in France last month on questions of secularism, multiculturalism, cultural integration, and religious freedom/persecution in Europe. The BBC has run several stories - such as this one - suggesting that most European Jews are seriously considering relocating (either to the USA or Israel or elsewhere) because they feel their communities and values are endangered by secularism on the one side and Antisemitism (of the old neo-nazi kind and now the newer Islamic kind) on the other.
4) Some other good pieces - such as this one - have asked whether Islam, a fundamentally public religion, is even capable of conforming to the expectations of European secularism, which developed in connection not with "religion" in the abstract but with Christianity in particular. It is a question worth asking.
5) Personally I'd like to see a more informed debate about the relationship between Islam and violence. Many political leaders simply shut down the conversation by asserting that "Islam is a religion of peace" yet studies show that the most violent and intolerant places on earth also tend to be Muslim-majority places as well - as even some Muslim writers have recently pointed out who are willing to have an honest discussion about the good AND the evil of contemporary Islam. I think that discussion is worth having without the conversation being shut down by platitudes that are politically correct but practically useless if we want to understand what feeds extremist Islam and how it might be countered.