Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In other news...

According to a recent survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the public's impression of the Democratic Party has changed in the last year.

Only 29 percent of respondents said they viewed Democrats as being "friendly toward religion," down from 40 percent in August of 2004. Meanwhile, 55 percent said the Republican Party was friendly toward religion.

The poll of 2,000 adults was conducted July 7-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Well, I'll be darned...

interesting...creationism is quite popular

In a poll conducted last month by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, nearly two-thirds of Americans say that creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools, while 38 percent favored replacing evolution altogether with creationism.

I will admit - this is a surprise...even to me.

Read the NYTimes article here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

das evangelische kirke?

Anyone who has studied American Religious History knows that defining "evangelical" is a particularly tricky business. Fortunately, Wheaton College's Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals provides an especially useful way of delineating references to contemporary American Evangelicalism.

According to the ISAE, there are three senses in which the term "evangelical" is used today:
  1. All Christians who affirm a few key doctrines and practical emphases. From British historian David Bebbington, a more concise (and probably accurate) rendering of Alister McGrath's six points: conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
  2. An organic group of movements denoting a "style" as much as a set of beliefs. Groups as disparate as black Baptists and Dutch Reformed Churches, Mennonites and Pentecostals, Catholic charismatics and Southern Baptists all come under the evangelical umbrella.<
  3. The self-ascribed label for a coalition that arose during the Second World War. This group came into being as a reaction against the perceived anti-intellectual, separates and belligerent nature of the fundamentalist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. Importantly, its core personalities (like Carl Henry and Billy Graham), institutions (Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College), and organizations (such as the National Association of Evangelicals and Youth for Christ) have played a pivotal role in giving the wider movement a sense of cohesion that extends beyond "card-carrying" evangelicals.
As the coordinator for the YDS Evangelical Fellowship, I wonder which of these elements I am supposed to represent. Certainly there is some overlap, but our mission statement is heavy on definition one, and this seems to encourage certain people (particularly theological conservatives at odds with their denomiation) to get involved. However, midwestern and western evangelicals at YDS are often more interested in things like praise-and-worship nights, which seems to emphasize definition two. This, of course, makes all the evangelical Anglican's roll their's a difficult balancing act.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Really? (Part II)

In the business of the summer, I never recounted the content of my conversation in which I noted a striking connection between Christianity and sex. Actually, in retrospect, I should note that the connection is more between the Christian Life and sex than with Christianity per se.

The controlling metaphor that links the two is the recognition that while both are beneficial/pleasurable for the individual, the moment that it becomes "all about you," you miss the best of what they have to offer.

The Christian life and sex are ultimately 'other centered' least, in their best moments. Both can (and often are) pursued for personal or selfish reasons, but doing so misses out on the true and lasting benefits inherent in each. The more other-focued we become, the more we recognize that extravagent love stems not from our own pleasure/benefit, but in the recognition of the other as a worthy participant in the same.

Grace & Peace

Sunday, August 21, 2005

What is it all for?

The end of another summer - 2005 - and the start of yet another academic year, and I'm following the trend of 'taking stock of my life.' Not in the grand, existential sense, though I just realized that I have been preparing for school every Fall for the past 21 years of my life save 3 (Falls of '01, '03 and technically '04). I am simply thinking about what this blog is 'for,' and why I should keep it around.

I've been at this for nearly a year (with some admittedly extended gaps), and my life has changed pretty dramatically in that time (see posts here and here). Now, a few of my friends are considering dropping off the blog bandwagon (here), leaving our little corner of the blogosphere, but I don't think I am ready to do that just yet. Part of my determination to stick it out, as it were, is the desire to not be a "bandwagon" person. I don't need to enjoy the 'flavor of the month' because that is what everyone else is doing, and then move on the next month. I have no need for podcast and no interest in starting one...

Frankly, my blog has always been (or should have been) more about me than about readers (not that there ever were many). Blogs have many stiles, purposes and intended audiences. For some, it's all about the 'dialogue,' and success or interest is measured in the amount of comments and heated exchanges that a post generates. I'll admit I never get many comments. But as I stated in my very first post, this space is meant to be something of an 'intellectual diary' for me, a place to vent the thoughts in my head and see how they look on paper. Less personal than a diary, but requiring less editing than a 'paper.' In the end, this blog should serve as something of an intellectual timetable for the ideas that I wrestle with. Going back through it as I have this morning, it does a pretty good job of that.

I know that I have not posted in a long time...but that's the way diaries are sometimes. This summer has been amazing and challenging and has blessed me in many ways. For those that actually read this or care, I hope to share that with you soon. But working at a camp 14 hours a day, 6 1/2 days a week with limited internet access made the time, energy and means for blogging difficult. Introspective and ongoing works are all about second chances. And third chances...and fourth. So, with a renewed sense of I go again...

"It's never too late to be what you might. have been." —George Eliot, British novelist (1819-1880)