Mere Links 10.15.14
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 10:00 AM

Can Christians Still Go to Harvard?
Kirsten Powers, The Daily Beast

America’s colleges are increasingly hostile to religion, but Veritas, a Christian organization, has found a way to thrive.

The Solemnization of Marriage
Kevin DeYoung, The Gospel Coalition

If gay marriage is right, then there is almost nothing in the old Book of Common Prayer that is right.

Surrogacy: The Twenty-First Century’s New Baby-Making
Christopher White, The Federalist

Pro-surrogacy groups argue it’s time the law recognizes some women as breeders.

A Pastoral Failure
Matthew Schmitz, First Things

Instead of addressing sin, the document calls for “dialogue and cooperation . . . with the social structures.” The clunkiness of the phrasing makes me very much doubt the prospects of the dialogue (clarity being a prerequisite of conversation), though it is indeed important to address the economic conditions that make married life difficult.

Mere Links 10.14.14
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christianity in elite academia? It’s risky business
Margery Eagan, Crux

“I was a newly appointed associate dean at a dinner party with the sophisticated administrative elite at Berkeley,” Reimer said, “and over cocktails someone made a comment that ‘there were no Christians here at Berkeley.’ Sheepishly, I told the group that this is not so, and that I was a Christian. One of the deans retorted, ‘Well, at least there are no Republicans here.’ ”

Adam, Ralph, Moses and Man
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

With respect to biology, perhaps some attention should be given to a recent theory that interprets the biblical Adam as a literary metaphor for the human race or for some early portion thereof.

Nigeria’s ‘megachurches’: a hidden pillar of Africa’s top economy
Tim Cocks, Reuters

When a guesthouse belonging to one of Nigeria’s leading Christian pastors collapsed last month, killing 115 mostly South African pilgrims, attention focused on the multimillion-dollar “megachurches” that form a huge, untaxed sector of Africa’s top economy.

General Theological Seminary and Progressive Christianity
Frederick Schmidt , Patheos

Reluctantly, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason the faculty has been treated so callously is because our commitment to progressive Christianity is a fragile thing, rooted more in a commitment to progressive political views than it is to views grounded in an understanding of God’s will.

Mere Links 10.13.14
Monday, October 13, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Church of England and Moral Hazard
Betsy Childs, First Things

Certainly, ministers should be allowed to hold political views and to speak about them. But the Church of England needs to give careful thought to the kind of moral hazards that can arise from behavior like Sizer’s.

The Incomprehensibility of Sin: A Problem for Apologetics
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

Following the lead of Holy Scripture, the Church has consistently proclaimed that Christ is victorious over three enemies: Sin, Death, and Satan. All three, alas, pose special difficulties for those outside the Christian faith we are proposing to them.

Africans to Westerners at synod: We’ve got our own problems
Inés San Martín, Crux

During the Oct. 5-19 Synod of Bishops on the family, many of the biggest surprises are coming from the African continent, where the challenges vary greatly from those of Europe and the US.

China’s One-Child Policy: Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Must Work Together to End Forced Abortion and Gendercide
Reggie Littlejohn, Public Discourse

Forced abortion and gendercide are not pro-life or pro-choice issues. They are human rights issues.

Mere Links 10.10.14
Friday, October 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Mercy and Marriage at the Synod
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Since I haven’t written anything new lately on the debate over communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, the highest-profile (or at least most divisive) issue likely to be discussed at the synod of bishops that began meeting this week in Rome, I thought that I should link back to a few of my posts on the subject.

Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?
Damon Linker, The Week

Liberals increasingly want to enforce a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. And they see alternative visions of the good as increasingly intolerable.

The Defense of Marriage Isn’t Over
Ryan T. Anderson, Public Discourse

Monday’s action from the Supreme Court is a setback for sound constitutional self-government and for a healthy marriage culture. So where do we go from here?

Is It Fair To Criticize Missionary Doctors?
Aaron Earls, The Federalist

An atheist provides yet another unintentional compliment to doctors who serve in Christ’s name.

Mere Links 10.09.14
Thursday, October 9, 2014, 10:00 AM

Christians cannot strategize and argue their way into renewed prominence
Michael Brendan Dougherty , The Week

The decline of Christianity will be reversed by attraction. The heart moves first, and then the head follows it.

The preacher refusing to give up the keys to a Yangon church

A recent Magazine article reported on the dwindling number of Armenians in Myanmar, also known as Burma. As Jonah Fisher reports from Yangon, the head of the Armenian Church has been to meet the local congregation and has made some changes.

Once Saul, Always Saul
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

The Bible does not explain why the name of Saul, the early persecutor of Christians, was changed to Paul, but also the Bible does not discourage speculation on the point. Undiscouraged, then, let us speculate.

Anthony Kennedy Halts the Latest Gay-Marriage Advance
Russell Berman, The Atlantic

The Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling striking down same-sex-marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

Mere Links 10.08.14
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

Divine Acquisition
Meara Sharma interviews Anthony Pinn, Guernica

The scholar of African-American religion on black megachurches and the marketability of the American Dream.

How the Russian Orthodox Church answers Putin’s prayers in Ukraine
Gabriela Baczynska and Tom Heneghan, Reuters

Under Putin, the ROC gets support from the state and powerful oligarchs allied to the Kremlin, while Moscow benefits from its public blessing. A recent poll showed 75 percent of Russians approve of the ROC and more than half value its close ties with the state.

Pope Francis: Vatican begins landmark synod to discuss family life
James Reynolds, BBC

Pope Francis has opened a gathering of more than 200 senior Roman Catholic bishops by urging them not to impose what he called “intolerable moral burdens” on believers.

Why you should care about a Muslim inmate’s beard
Emily Hardman, CNN

I’m not a Muslim. I’ve never been imprisoned. And I don’t want to grow a beard. But I’m defending the rights of someone who is and does.

Mere Links 10.07.14
Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 10:00 AM

Pagans and Christians
Ross Douthat, New York Times

Occasionally in the debates about Christianity’s weakened position in American culture, you’ll hear traditionalists and conservatives analogize the Christian situation, now or soon, to the environment the faith faced in its earliest centuries, as an embattled minority in a hostile pagan empire.

The Political God is the Buffoon King
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

The account of Esther commences with an emperor and his empire. This emperor’s original-Persian-name was Xsayarsa.

Same-Sex Marriage and the Supreme Court: What Now for the Church?
Russell Moore, Moore to the Point

The Supreme Court has declined to take up appeals from states in which the courts have found same-sex marriage to be a constitutional right. This paves the way for same-sex marriage in many, perhaps most, places in the United States. Many Christians may be unaware of how momentous this is, since the denial of cases doesn’t come with quite the shock and awe of a ruling handed down. The effect though is wide-ranging. So what should our response be as the church of Jesus Christ?

Denying Review, Justices Clear Way for Gay Marriage in 5 States
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Monday denied review in all five pending same-sex marriage cases, clearing the way for such marriages to proceed in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Mere Links 10.06.14
Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

Where Have All The Irish Priests Gone?
Greg Daly, Aleteia

As the number of clergy in Ireland continues to fall, practical priests look to build a culture of vocation.

When Jews are bigoted against Conservative Christians
Dennis Prager, Jewish Journal

Over the last 20 years, I have probably spent as much time with Evangelical Christians as with fellow Jews — in private settings, speaking at churches, on listener cruises, in my home and in their homes. I have come to admire and in many cases love these people.

Guardian angels exist, pope says

Pope Francis said on Thursday that guardian angels exist and people who listen to their advice are less likely to make the wrong decisions. Read more:

The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week

We no longer talk of “unfit” children, but we’ll still destroy them in the name of quality of life.

Mere Links 10.03.14
Friday, October 3, 2014, 10:00 AM

What is Domestic Violence?
Justin S. Holcomb, Reformation 21

The month of October has been designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to raise public awareness about domestic violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to recognize, prevent, and respond to domestic violence.

Iraq crisis: ‘Every single Christian wants to leave’
Jessica Winch, The Telegraph

Christians in northern Iraq are unable to celebrate communion for the first time in two millennia after Islamic State captured the area, says vicar.

Polygamy: Coming to America?
Rev. Paul Sullins, Aleteia

Our society may be about to take another step in the process of denying these wise words of Jesus on human sexual relations. With widespread divorce, we have long ago moved past the conviction that the two become one flesh.

Whatever happened to the National Council of Churches?

Read more:
Gene Veith, Cranach

The ecumenical organization of liberal mainline Protestants (plus the Orthodox, which I never understood) known as the National Council of Churches used to be enormously influential. But now it has dwindled to insignificance.

Mere Links 10.02.14
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 10:00 AM

Are You Greek?
Andrew Stephen Damick, First Things

Are you Greek?” This is the question I get asked the most when I tell someone that I am an Orthodox Christian. At first, this question rankled, because I am not Greek. (I am, among other things, Lithuanian.) Mind you, I would have no problem being Greek. It’s a wonderful, ancient culture with much to recommend it. But what rankled was the sense that being Orthodox means being Greek.

The World Alexander Made
Philip Jenkins, Aleteia

Early Christianity emerged in a thoroughly Hellenistic context.

California Approves Controversial ‘Yes Means Yes’ Consent Law For College Campuses
Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

Natural Morality, American Exceptionalism, and Race Relations
S. Adam Seagrave , Public Discourse

The anti-slavery arguments of American abolitionists demonstrate the way in which Lockean natural rights and Thomistic natural law can be reconciled.

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