- - Friday, March 11, 2016

(1) Republican Bible Belt Governor Bashes Bill Protecting Objectors to ‘Gay Marriage’ as UnChristian (Christian News Network)

(2) Budget shortfalls hamper 3 in 10 churches surveyed (Baptist Press)

(3) Prosperity Preacher Paula White Claims Billy Graham Gave Donald Trump ‘Prophetic Word,’ Signed Bible for 60th Birthday 

(4) The Trolls Are Winning, by Trevin Wax (The Gospel Coalition)

Social media trolls have been nasty this political campaign season. Wax speaks to this issue.

…Alongside programs that filter internet content coming into our phones or computers, we ought to consider an “honor filter” that would help us control what goes out. The world needs the aroma of heaven, not the toxic fumes of our online battles. If it’s true the trolls are winning the web, let’s make sure there are as few Christians as possible among them.

(5) Finding Jesus at Work: Why are more and more companies offering access to chaplains as an employee benefit?, by Emma Green (The Atlantic)

…Work, and life, can be painful. These chaplains may be able to provide much-needed comfort to people who need it and can’t find it elsewhere. But it’s comfort with a trade-off: It means making work an even bigger part of life, and relying even further on an employer with a profit motive as a benevolent provider of meaning. Workplace chaplaincies seem to be a great personnel solution, so long as workers live their lives as personnel, rather than persons.

(6) Post Obergefell America, by the Christian Legal Society

…What we have, from the Court’s point of view, are two vigorous assertions to a substantive right that, when honored, necessarily limits and checks government. Are these two fundamental rights necessarily in conflict? No. The civil law can protect the right of same-sex couples to marry while at the same time safeguard the right of religious persons and organizations not to recognize these marriages.

…In the turmoil after Obergefell, the one optimistic note is the frequent call by Christians to pluralism as an organizing principle.  Pluralism does not see American diversity as a problem.  Rather, it sees diversity as inevitable, as a given, as the human condition.  But the necessary project to educate American citizens in a mature pluralism so as to peacefully govern ourselves is in its infancy.

This will not be easy.  Christians, who understandably feel threatened by what’s coming downstream to Obergefell, will have to come to believe that gays and lesbians will rise in defense of their religious exercise.  In turn, when gays and lesbians are threatened, Christians will have a duty to rally to the defense of their liberty—not a defense of the moral rightness of their sexual practices, but that they have a civil right to engage in their sexual practices even as Christians think their conduct morally wrong.

This is pluralism; radical pluralism.  We are asking Christians to love their neighbors, even those who seek to harm them.  Indeed, especially those who seek, as a matter of pay-back, to harm them.  This will take a maturity in the Christian community that it does not presently have.  And that means civic education in our churches and para-church organizations.  There is work to be done and, to be honest, resistance to overcome within the very ranks of the church.  But, then, as a radical teacher once observed:  “If we do good only to those who do good to us, of what credit is that to us?  Even sinners do that.”  (Luke 6:33).



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