- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2008

Emergent church

“There is a coming dramatic shift in what it means to be Christian. … Emergent Christianity has taken root, and it’s growing like a weed — a lot of different weeds, actually.

“Young evangelicals are forsaking their suburban birthright and moving into America’s toughest cities to found ‘new monastic communities.’ Young theologians are rejecting the siren song of academic tenure for the pioneering life on the emergent frontier. And young pastors are snubbing the safety net of denominations for the adventure of church planting among the relational networks of the emergent church.

“The conversation among people who think of themselves as emergent is robust, and it’s taking place in books and blogs and conferences and spontaneous ‘meet-ups.’ ”

Tony Jones, writing in his book “The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier”

‘Spiderwick’ divorce

“Beneath its entertaining plot, its mix of humorous and scary magical creatures, and its message about overcoming familial conflict, ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ is a troubling film about divorce and its impact on children. It is always dangerous to read too much metaphorical depth into popular films, but it does not take much effort to see that many films featuring divorced families highlight the need for children to forge their own paths in the face of conflicting, immature parental models.

“Indeed, in the dominant culture, the quest of the child of divorce has become the normative quest for children. What is disturbing in ‘Spiderwick’ is its manner of resolving conflict, exemplified in the final confrontation between a son and the evil creatures threatening his family — a resolution that registers as legitimate, if only for a moment, a homicidal rage at the absent father.”

Thomas S. Hibbs, writing on “Divorced from Reality,” Feb. 22 at National Review Online

Case for Obama?

“So, while I don’t agree [abortion is] all about the courts, even on that one issue, the most probable outcome [of a John McCain victory] is McCain naming more [Anthony M.] Kennedy or [David H.] Souter types … Yes, I hear you saying, ‘but wouldn’t that happen with [Barack] Obama or [Hillary Rodham] Clinton?’ Yes it would. ‘So what’s the difference?’

“The difference, dear reader, is that pro-lifers and other concerned folks could, at least with Obama, make good come of it. It would be very hard to get GOP senators to vote against a McCain-named justice; but far easier against an Obama appointee; indeed, the McCain appointee would come wrapped up to look like a ‘[John G.] Roberts [Jr.] or [Samuel L.] Alito [Jr.]’ and they might just pull it off until the key vote comes several years down the road. …

“But all Obama’s stirring rhetorical gifts will not convince a single pro-lifer that he’s naming another [Antonin] Scalia. And a President Hillary would be a gift that would keep on giving: she would, almost single-handedly, revive and rebuild the conservative movement nationwide; state legislatures would go GOP from coast to coast, along with the Congress, and they’d actually start doing useful things — just as happened under Bill Clinton, if you recall.”

The Rev. Martin Fox, writing on “The Problem with McCain,” Feb. 20 at his blog Bonfire of the Vanities (https:// frmartinfox.blogspot.com)

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