A few weeks back, influential New York minister Tim Keller spoke at a forum run by the US Ethics and Public Policy Centre, during which he made some comments on the issue of gay marriage. What he said attracted a lot of discussion, but was apparently misunderstood by some, and he subsequently issued an explanation.
Christianity is changing. Of course it has always been changing – I read once that christianity owes a lot of its success to its adaptability to circumstances and culture. But like most other things, it seems to be changing faster these days.
Regular readers will know that one of my ’causes’ is ethical chocolate – chocolate that is grown by free farmers who are paid a fair wage, and not by trafficked children working more or less as slaves. (For background, see Ethical chocolate update.)
So it was with great delight that I received a weighty package in the mail recently and discovered a story of dark criminality and desperate legal actions.
Many people have commented these past few weeks on gun ownership in the US. As an Australian, I hesitate to enter into the debate, so I won’t discuss either of the key questions – whether a high level of gun ownership reduces or increases gun deaths, and whether the laws in the US should be changed.
But I think there are other questions that christians, at least, should ponder.
I haven’t posted on pacifism and war, but I believe Jesus teaches non-violence, which would make him very opposed to war. Until I do write on the topic, this blog by New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, The Long Journey of a Christian Pacifist, is well worth reading.
When countries are in turmoil or their people are impoverished, many choose, or are forced, to look for a better life, and so become refugees. Australia is an attractive place to seek refuge. Because we are an island nation, many refugees make the often dangerous journey by boat, and increasingly, many perish in the attempt. When they arrive, they can spend years in detention before being allowed to stay or being sent back.
The Anabaptist are a often forgotten part of the christian church. We know about the split which separated the eastern Orthodox churches from the Roman church. In the west we are more familiar with the Reformation, where the Protestant churches split from the Roman Catholic church. But there was a third group in the Reformation, persecuted and maligned by both sides, but growing in influence today – the Anabaptists.
This book outlines what Anabaptists believe, and why they are coming into greater prominence.
Chick-fil-a is apparently a chain of about 1600 chicken fast food stores in the US. Being an Aussie, I wouldn’t know. But apparently the chain has been in the news recently because of an allegedly anti-gay stance, mainly, as far as I can tell, seen through large donations to christian anti-gay causes. Recently protests by gays were answered with a “Chick-fil-a appreciation day”. I’m not really concerned about the details, just setting the scene.
I mention all this simply to link to this post, The morning after Chick-fil-A day. The author, Mike Patz, is a pastor, and offers some very sensible thoughts about how christians relate to non-believers. It is probably most relevant in the US, but I think we all need to learn.
With the London Olympic Games about to begin, now is a good time to remember one of my ‘heroes’.
He was probably Australia’s greatest male sprint athlete, a silver medallist at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. This is the best an Australian male sprinter has ever finished, and in a time that, amazingly, is still the Australian record. He is almost forgotten in his own country, yet famous in the US for something more important than running fast.
This is the story of Peter Norman – a story that deserves to be remembered.