Mere Links 11.21.14
Friday, November 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Will Tear Us Apart
Russell Moore, Time

On more than one occasion, I asked President Obama not to turn immigration reform into a red state/blue state issue. People across the political spectrum support fixing this system, and it shouldn’t be a partisan wedge issue.

Why has Pentecostalism grown so dramatically in Latin America?
David Masci, Pew Research Center

With nearly 300 million followers worldwide, including many in Africa and Latin America, Pentecostalism is now a global phenomenon. But present day Pentecostalism traces its origins to a religious revival movement that began in the early 20th century.

Rabbi Sacks: Family Is Most Humanizing Institution in History
Zenit

Here is the address given Monday by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks at the colloquim underway in the Vatican on the complementarity of man and woman. The rabbi’s address was titled “The Family is the Single Most Humanising Institution in History.”

The poor want ‘dignity, not charity,’ pope says
Inés San Martín, Crux

Pope Francis called hunger and malnutrition a cause of scandal on Thursday, and declared that the poor of the world “ask for dignity, not charity.”



Mere Links 11.20.14
Thursday, November 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

British Rabbi Tells Vatican Conference We Must Defend the Family of “Man, Woman and Child”
Aleteia

Rabbi Lord Sacks blames the breakdown of the traditional family for society’s ills.

Hello ladies, goodbye Communion?
The Economist

If this week is remembered as an important one by church historians, it may be for a different reason: it was the moment when the archbishop of Canterbury finally acknowledged that the Anglican Communion, the global family of churches numbering about 80m of which he is head, may be impossible to hold together.

The Wilberforce Test: Preaching and the Public Square
Owen Strachan, 9Marks

William Wilberforce was born with life laid out like a Persian carpet before him. He was from fantastic wealth, had access to high society whenever he pleased, and had the social graces to charm most anyone he encountered.

How a French Atheist Becomes a Theologian
Guillaume Bignon, Christianity Today

If French atheists rarely become evangelical Christians, how much rarer it is for one to become an evangelical Christian theologian. So what happened? One might argue that with 66 million French people, I’m just a fluke, an anomaly.



Mere Links 11.19.14
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 10:00 AM

Clerical Freedom and Academic Freedom
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

It’s odd to think that all those boys died at Normandy and Iwo Jima so that men of God could have their sermons confiscated by the government, lest they dare to preach against ambiguous bathrooms.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Evangelicals
Warren Cole Smith, OnFaith

A reporter offers his insights on a religious movement everyone talks about but few understand.

Same-Self Marriage
Timothy George, First Things

It’s only a trickle, not yet a trend, but it is out there, and it has a name: sologamy. Sologamy is the marriage of someone to one’s own self—the his- or herness of it is not relevant, although it seems to be mostly women who are doing it.

Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Perspective
Russell Moore, The Gospel Coalition

The sexual revolution cannot keep its promises. People are looking for a cosmic mystery, for a love that is stronger than death. They cannot articulate it, and perhaps would be horrified to know it, but they are looking for God.



Mere Links 11.18.14
Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 10:00 AM

Archbishop Justin’s presidential address to the General Synod
Archbishop of Canterbury

In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin spoke about the issues faced by the Anglican Communion and possible ways forward.

Down syndrome mom: the “death with dignity” debate insults my son’s life
Anne Penniston Grunsted, Quartz

Earlier this month, Brittany Maynard made the much publicized decision to end her life rather than wait for her Stage IV cancer to inevitably kill her instead. Like many people around the world, I felt great sadness and sympathy for the choice she made, a choice I believe she had the right to make.

Pope Francis stands firm on marriage at Humanum Colloquium
Phillip Bethancourt, ERLC

Pope Francis began the Humanum Colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman in marriage by stating that “this complementarity is at the root of marriage and family.” Throughout the message, he was clear about the necessity and value of marriage despite progressive “ideological notions” on the family in our day.

J.S. Mill and the Pro-Life Cause
Christopher O. Tollefsen, Public Discourse

In spite of its many problematic aspects, the political thought of J.S. Mill provides a low but solid foundation for the essential convictions of the pro-life movement: that the unborn, in virtue of their common humanity, deserve the full protection of the law.



Mere Links 11.17.14
Monday, November 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Black Church
Nicole Symmonds, OnFaith

There’s more to the story than soulful music and whooping preachers. Way more.

To Die is Gain, But Most of Us Aren’t in a Hurry to Go
Msgr. Charles Pope

A reflection on the Christian view of death.

Ebola patient Dr. Martin Salia dies in Omaha
Mike Dubose, CBS News

A surgeon who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leone has passed away in a hospital in Nebraska, where he had been flown for treatment, officials announced Monday.

Fake Viral Videos and the Coarsening of the Soul
Dan McConchie, Canon and Culture

Despite the almost immediate rise of email hoaxes, fake content generally did not apply to regular web pages. In the early days of the internet, it was really hard to create a website.



Mere Links 11.14.14
Friday, November 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

Religion in Latin America
Pew Research

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Pope Francis to build showers for homeless in St. Peter’s Square
Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service

In his latest bid to ease the suffering of the poor — and upend the expectations of the papacy — Pope Francis plans to build showers for the homeless under the sweeping white colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

Why Do Pastors Receive a Tax Exemption for Housing?
Joe Carter, Acton Institute

Aside from the question of constitutionality, the clergy exemption raises a question that many people — whether religious or not — are likely to be wondering: Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance?

Not That Kind of Homosexuality?
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

The Bible has nothing good to say about homosexual practice. That may sound like a harsh conclusion, but it’s not all that controversial.



Mere Links 11.13.14
Thursday, November 13, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Pornographic Double-Bind
Mark Regnerus, First Things

Contrary to what is sometimes asserted, women have the right to be annoyed or upset by porn. It’s not a good thing. It’s spiritually draining. But we often overlook another casualty of pornography (and the human reaction to it): relationships that fail to launch

U.S. Bishops Struggle to Follow Lead of Francis
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

It was a hail and farewell moment at a tumultuous time for the Roman Catholic Church. More than 200 bishops rose to their feet Monday and gave a protracted standing ovation to Cardinal Francis George, a former president of the bishops’ conference, who will step down next week as the archbishop of Chicago.

Are We Seeing Another Global Great Awakening?
Donald Devine, The Federalist

A series of books have explored varying reasons why belief in God is high across the globe. Except for a few holdouts.

The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians Can Worship Idols
Andrew Wilson, Think Theology

For many years, I was taught that idolatry was sinful. As a good Christian, I fought the desire to commit idolatry, and repented when I got it wrong. But the desire to worship idols never went away.



Mere Links 11.12.14
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

Designing a Church for the Poor
Duncan G. Stroik, Crisis Magazine

We all know that the poor need food and clothing, decent education and good jobs. But what about their spiritual and cultural needs?

2 Pastors, 90-Year-Old Man Charged With Feeding Homeless
Assoctiated Press

To Arnold Abbott, feeding the homeless in a public park in South Florida was an act of charity. To the city of Fort Lauderdale, the 90-year-old man in white chef’s apron serving up gourmet-styled meals was committing a crime.

Germany’s Pay to Pray Scheme
Rod Dreher, The American Conservative

In Germany, as in a number of other European countries, if you are a member of a church or mainstream religion, you have to pay a pretty significant tax to the government, which distributes the money to the churches.

Why Christian Groups Lead the Biggest Relief Efforts in the World
Christopher Hale, OnFaith

Organizations like World Vision give the lie to negative stereotypes about Christian work in the world.



Mere Links 11.11.14
Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

Why Pro-Family Groups are Losing the Marriage Debate
Austin Ruse, Crisis Magazine

In a recent column published on his website, Camenker offers no quarter to the national pro-family groups that he says have botched the fight against same-sex “marriage.” In fact, he says “the pro-family movement helped spread ‘gay marriage’ across America.”

Stuff First-Century Christians Fought About
Derwin L. Gray, Christianity Today

What we can learn about multiethnic church planting from the first church dispute.

What the Pope could do to defend religious freedom
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

Just by reading the news, one has the impression that religious freedom is under threat today. From the carnage unleashed by the self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to church/state tensions across the West, the picture seems to grow murkier and grimmer by the day.

The fastest-growing new religious movement
Gene Veith, Cranach

One expert says that worship of “Holy Death” is “the fastest-growing new religious movement.” I suppose it is fitting that a culture of death has a religion of death.



Mere Links 11.10.14
Monday, November 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?
Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine

We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians.

A Christian Tightrope Walker?
David Murray,

Can you be a “Christian Tightrope Walker.” Is tightrope-walking a legitimate Christian vocation? Does repeatedly mentioning God sanctify whatever job we do?

Pastors Don’t Need To Enter Politics—They’re Already In It
Peter J. Leithart, First Things

As pastors, pastors command unfathomable spiritual resources, the only resources with potential to transform the world. What Samuel Wells has said about the Church applies to pastors in particular: God gives “boundless gifts,” supplies “everything they need.”

One-fifth of Americans share religious experience online
Sarah Parvini, L.A. Times

One in five Americans share their religious thoughts and experiences on social networks, and nearly half said they saw someone else post “something about their religious faith” on the Internet, according to a Pew Research Center study on religion and electronic media.


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