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When religions marry

As one might expect, there are many reasons for the rise of interfaith marriage. They range from the ever-greater frequency of children going off to college—an experience that brings Americans from diverse backgrounds together—to the growing power of American individualism, which puts a premium on choice over collective identity. In recent years, Ms. Riley notes, what might be called the “soul mate” model of marriage has grown more popular as well, increasing the possibility of people from different faiths choosing to make a life together. According to this model, marriage is primarily an expressive connection rather than an institution that bundles romantic love, children, religious faith and mutual aid (material and social).

Basketball Theology

I’m sorely tempted to draw a parallel between Smart/his coaching and ministry/the Christian life. (Basketball connection to theology in 3…2…1…) We can’t expect to thrive spiritually if we don’t possess “gospel discipline,” our own version of “frenetic discipline.” We have two problems in this area of theology today: 1) we think discipline equals legalism, and 2) we expect God to zap us and make us holy. Frankly speaking, this is nonsense. In reality, we are profoundly empowered by the gospel of grace in order to be disciplined in holiness (read 1 Timothy 4:7 if you don’t believe me). That’s what the gospel does. It doesn’t save us to sit on the couch and expect mystical transformation.

Biblical vs. cultural forgiveness

Note that the simple process of church discipline is enough to contradict the common misconception that forgiveness is a subjective psychological exercise by which one merely releases hurt or “chang[es] old beliefs and patterns and actions that are driven by our bitterness.” If forgiveness were so easily accomplished, there would be no need for a command to confront the offending brother (Matt. 18:15), no need to involve the church (vv. 16-17), and certainly no need to remove the offender from the local fellowship (v. 17). The believer simply could subjectively “forgive” or “release his hurt” and walk away. But genuine forgiveness is not a subjective experience related to mental health. It is an objective transaction in which one party accepts responsibility for wrongdoing and another party willingly reconciles despite the harm suffered (vv. 15–17). It is the objective reality of healing relationships in such a way as to demonstrate the mercy and love of God to others by modeling His willingness to forgive us despite the infinite harm caused to His glory by man’s sin (Matt. 18:23–35). Therefore, if forgiveness is either sought or offered and the other party refuses to respond appropriately, such failure to accomplish the objectively measurable transaction of repentance followed by forgiveness and reconciliation demands that church discipline be enforced.

Will the real C.S. Lewis stand up

C. S. Lewis is chiefly remembered because he told great stories. He was the creator of worlds and realms outside of our own that taught us more about the one in which we live. He produced good art, first and foremost. He didn’t set out to create an alternate “religious version” of something secular artists were doing. He told stories that he felt compelled to tell. These stories began in his creative mind–a mind fueled and informed by his love of things like medieval literature and history, as well as his Christian faith.

Let women be priests

Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest comes from God. As a young priest, I began to ask myself and my fellow priests: “Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?” Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest? Let’s face it. The problem is not with God, but with an all-male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Though I am not optimistic, I pray that the newly elected Pope Francis will rethink this antiquated and unholy doctrine.

Evangelism in the Roman church

An interview with George Weigel on his book Evangelical Catholicism. From a review of his book in The Weekly Standard: “Weigel believes that understanding our cultural moment will prompt reforms within the church, and he outlines a detailed plan of action for renewal: (1) Priests, bishops, and popes should more fully embrace their identity as alteri Christi and their role as heirs to the apostles to teach, govern, and sanctify; (2) Catholic liturgy should form a sacred space in a counter-cultural time, allowing beauty to serve as a special on-ramp to friendship with Christ; (3) lay Catholics should embrace vocations in the world but not of it, joyously live out Christian marriages, and “take possession of their unique responsibility as lay agents of the church’s mission to the world”; (4) Catholic scholars should embrace the symphony of truths of faith and reason, to think with the church; and (5) Catholic public officials should allow these saving truths about God and man to guide their policy decisions, remaining sensitive to the difference between first principles and prudential considerations.”

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