- I recommend reading this series of blog posts by David Gushee a Baptist ethics professor at Mercer University in GA. Gushee is an evangelical who formerly held the opinion that homosexual acts were sinful and same gender marriage was a distortion of God's plan. Gushee has thankfully changed his mind and has written a detailed analysis of the biblical passages in question and the issues surrounding the Bible's presentation of heterosexual relationships as normative. He is an evangelical writing to evangelicals, so his view of the Bible is different than many in my church, however his analysis is detailed because he maintains a high view of scripture.
- CCCUCC's own political scientist Michael Smith has done research on how Kansas Secretary of State Kobach's "Voter ID" policies suppress the vote of low-income people rather than fraud. His column on the subject in the Wichita Eagle got national attention on The Daily Kos.
- In situations like Ferguson, the common explanation by the oppression of protesters by authority figures is that those doing the oppression fail to recognize the common humanity of those whom they are oppressing. I found enlightening the argument of philosophy professor, Kate Manne, in the New York Times, who says such is not the case. In places like Ferguson, she offers, the humanity of the oppressed is recognized by the oppressor, but the oppressor happens to just resent and/or feel threatened by the marginalized group.
- "Did Jesus Save the Klingons?" This is the question posed by a new book written by a noted astronomer. He discusses how the inevitable discovery of extraterrestrial life would be received by various religious groups. No surprise those with more literalistic interpretations of scripture and strict dogma are most averse to the idea that alien life can be saved.
- One of my favorite authors, Marilynne Robinson, has a new book out titled Lila, a National Book Award nominee. Here she is being interviewed by Bill Moyers. (She's a member of a UCC church in Iowa.) Here's another interview with her: "Marilyn Robinson: My Prayer Turns Into Thinking."
- I've had to preach sermons to kids getting confirmed who I knew were never going to come back to church, so I was gratified by Lutheran minister Erik Parker's sermon: "A Sermon for a Confirmation Class That Isn't Coming Back to Church." It's a good read for everyone who cares about kids of the church who grow up and leave church behind--many do so before they finish growing up.
- Speaking of whether or not kids stay in church, The Atlantic published a brief story about recent studies that ask whether things like your birth order or education impact whether or not you stay with church.
- One of my favorite shows is The Walking Dead (not for people with weak stomachs), so I was fascinated with this lecture on why our "Post-Christian" culture is seemingly obsessed with zombies in particular and apocalyptic narratives in general.
- It's been a few weeks since comedian Bill Maher made his ignorant rant about Islam, but I still think religion scholar Reza Aslan's response is worth reading.
- On the lighter side, here's the satirical newspaper The Onion with an article titled "Pastor Always Knew Agnostic Would Come Crawling Back to Church for Wedding"--this is some satire pretty darn close to real life based on my experience.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Recommended Reading: 10-22-14 edition
Each week (more or less) I send out an e-mail to my congregation with my thoughts including stuff I've read over the past week that I want to pass along. Here's what I sent out on Oct. 22.