Category: Faith

The Confederate flag and Christian allegiance

Last week’s racially motivated massacre of nine African-Americans at a South Carolina church has renewed debate over the Confederate flag, which accused killer Dylann Storm Roof can be seen displaying in photos. While some point to this and the flag’s association with groups such as the Ku Klux Klan as evidence that it is an expression of hate, others have argued that it’s simply a symbol of their…  [more]

Dylann Storm Roof and the scandal of forgiveness

During his initial hearing this past Friday, accused murderer Dylann Storm Roof heard words of forgiveness from relatives of those who were killed last week at in Charleston, S.C. Some of the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting, even encouraged him to repent, praying that God would have mercy on him. The reaction, as represented on Twitter, has been a mixture of awe,…  [more]

Where atheistic altruism falls short

In a recent New York Times op-ed titled “Wanted: A Theology of Atheism,” Molly Worthen describes Sunday Gatherings, atheist get-togethers that involve singing “hymns” like “Walking on Sunshine” or “Lean on Me,” followed by a lecture on the tenets of secular humanism. Worthen goes on to defend the movement as more than a materialistic replacement for church. She also…  [more]

American Ninja Warrior and spiritual formation

I’ve developed a bit of an obsession in the last few years with American Ninja Warrior. It also happens to be one of my kids’ favorite family television traditions. The American version of what began as a Japanese program is now in its seventh season. The show takes contestants through a series of obstacle courses, presenting challenges requiring agility, quickness and upper body strength. Each stage gets…  [more]

Cults and Daggers: can you fit God in the machine?

As the author of a book about Christianity and video games, I’m naturally interested in how game makers choose to represent religion. So when I read what was supposedly a review of Cults and Daggers, but was really a poignant, troubling and beautifully written reflection on author Nathan Grayson’s loss of faith, I had to play this game. And now I wish I hadn’t. It’s not because my faith has…  [more]

A word of comfort as American Christianity is in decline

Pew Research released a new demographic study yesterday declaring that in America’s changing religious landscape, the Christian population is declining sharply. This caught the attention of many major news outlets, including the New York Times, which reported that “71 percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults…  [more]

Free speech, hate speech, love speech: responding to AFDI

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer Anyone who has kept up with the news this past…  [more]

Avoiding a mouth like a sailor (or a baseball manager)

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price recently cut loose on a five-minute rant so laden with F-bombs that it might have rivaled The Wolf of Wall Street for sheer rate of delivery. Most observers reacted with an amused “tsk, tsk,” something I found more alarming than the tirade itself. Beyond mere tolerance of the words, it suggests a willingness to accept a deeply negative undercurrent at the heart of…  [more]

Podcasting’s still, small voice

I sing the praise of Ira Glass, Sara Koenig and Jad Abumrad. I tout the triumph of closely produced programming: This American Life, Serial, Radiolab. I hail the voice of the podcast. At Slate, Jonah Weiner extends this paean by suggesting that the podcasting voice can increase the range of what we care for. He refers to the “empathic encounter” of audio fare that “knocks us outside of a blinkered…  [more]

Francis Collins on being a man of science and faith

National Geographic usually likes to stay above the fray, but the magazine dipped its toes into the faith-science debate with a March cover story entitled “Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science?” Encouragingly, part of that package was a brief interview with Francis Collins, a Christian and director of the National Institutes of Health. It’s a fairly surface-level conversation, but it does…  [more]

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