This video immediately made me think about how Jesus describes the type of people who inherit the Kingdom of God (from Matthew 5):
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.Â Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I don’t think that there is any greater display of empathy in human history than that of Jesus, who demonstrates joining in human suffering through his death on the cross and who eliminates our need to be utilitarian survivalists by conquering death; the Good News.
Jim Wallis has 5 critiques of the Libertarian philosophy based on Christian principles as he sees it.
The Libertarian enshrinement of individual choice is not the pre-eminent Christian virtue. Emphasizing individual rights at the expense of others violates the common good, a central Christian teaching and tradition. The Christian answer to the question “Are we our brother’s keeper?” is decidedly “Yes.”
Walton hopes the debate pushes Christians to find common ground. “We have to start thinking more about values that we must affirmâ€”biblical valuesâ€”rather than conclusions [about how God created].”
I’m not surprised to hear that the Evolution debate is becoming a hot topic at Christian schools. Hopefully this will lead to better scholarship on this issue within the church and not just an entrenchment to bad explanations of why the scientific method is a big lie.
One of the things that I find interesting in current American Politics is the shift that has happened within the Conservative movement in the last two years toward a Libertarian world view; especially within the Tea Party movement. Â I’m definitely not surprised that people would gravitate toward the idea that the Federal Government should stay out of people’s private interests, especially after seeing an increase in government involvement in our economy during the current recession. Â What does interest me, however, is how these ideals in practice will play out within the social issues that have driven much of the Conservative base for the past decade or so.
For example, the two big issues that have constantly been able to turn out Conservative voters are issues of abortion and gay marriage. Â On both of these issues I see Conservatives generally wanting the government to be involved in dictating what people can and cannot do in their private lives, and are both issues where the Libertarian and Republican parties have generally disagreed. Â I would be surprised to hear many Conservatives argue in favor of abortion or gay marriage rights, but there sure is a bit of paradox happening there.
Brian McLaren addresses several interesting questions that he believes the church should be asking in his new book, A New Kind of Christianity. Â At the crux of his book is a question about how we view the overall narrative of the Bible.
Here’s a video about that idea in the book that was created with theooze.tv.
A Quick Note: One of the topics that I will probably be writing a lot about on this blog is changing dynamics that I see happening in young Evangelical Christians in America. Â It’s a topic that interests me for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I was raised Evangelical and have worked in an Evangelical church for the past six years (i.e. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the topic).
One of the interesting shifts that I see happening within Evangelicalism is a cultural divide starting to open up between those prefer to take the Bible literally to those who believe that the Bible, while still authoritative, is best understood through non-literal interpretations. Â A common example of where this debate shows up is in people’s view of creation vs. evolution. Â Many Evangelicals act as if believing that an evolutionary process exists is a full-on rejection of God, where others can accept scientific evidence of evolution without rejecting God by interpreting Genesis in non-literal ways.
Recently I ran across an interesting report from the PEW research center that shows that while younger generations are generally more accepting of a non-literal view of the Bible:
Overall, young people are slightly less inclined than those in older age groups to view the Bible as the literal word of God. Interestingly, age differences on this item are most dramatic among young evangelicals and are virtually nonexistent in other groups. Although younger evangelicals are just as likely as older evangelicals (and more likely than people in most other religious groups) to see the Bible as the word of God, they are less likely than older evangelicals to see it as the literal word of God. Less than half of young evangelicals interpret the Bible literally (47%), compared with 61% of evangelicals 30 and older.