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Showing posts from July, 2012

Religion and Violence?

One of the marvellous things about the world wide web is the plethora of information on almost anything. Recently I stumbled across one of the many atheist blogs on the web (Daylight Atheism cohabiting with “Big Think”) and a post called “People of Darkness and Light”. Fine, God bless them… or whatever blessing atheists believe in. But I’ll to admit I was taken aback by this paragraph in particular:
“religion is as strong and dangerous as ever. Granted, there are many nominally religious people who are humanists in all but name: people who practice an enlightened and rational morality, who don't interpret the fairytales of scripture as literal truth, people whose notion of God is sufficiently amorphous to accommodate any scientific discovery. But there are at least as many people who proudly uphold the banner of ignorance; people whose god is small and ignorant, and who want to keep him that way; people who persecute to the limit of their power to do so, and who'd gladly use f…

It’s all over bar the shouting… so why are we still discussing it?

It seems from various discussions I’ve had recently, the debate about women in ministry is still raging.
I thought I’d do a bit of a survey on this issue of serious theologians (the ones that write books other working theologians footnote, not the ones who write popular books for Word). If that sounds snobby, so be it.
Theological luminaries such as Jurgen Moltmann,  NT Wright,  and important writers like Scot McKnight, Craig Keener, Thomas C Oden, Walter Liefeld, Gordon Fee, FF Bruce  Stanley J Grenz, Ben Witherington, William J Webb… indeed virtually all important living theologians…. are egalitarian. It seems to me the one working theologian of any note is Wayne Grudem: other voices for the Complementarian cause are mostly local church pastors who are also populist writers.
I was told recently the World Council of Churches commissioned their best theological minds onto the subject of women in ministry, and came to the conclusion that the grounds for excluding women from ministry …

Much ado about Manners

When I was in Vietnam recently, Fiona Briers told me that saying “please, thank you, and I’m sorry” aren’t part of traditional Vietnamese culture (although doubtless such things are taught to people working in the tourism industry). She has been insisting on such courtesies in her business, and has felt like this is not only changing communication routines, but shifting attitudes in significant ways.
This got me thinking about the words we teach small children. Perhaps most parents who teach “please, thank you, and I’m sorry”, if they think this through at all, are doing it to help their children become socially acceptable in a wide a range of settings as possible. This is a laudable aim: no one would want their child to become isolated because they behave in socially unacceptable ways.
I wonder whether they are also helping to shape the soul of a child in positive ways?
Not that such courtesies are “magic words”: ever one has met someone who may be scrupulously polite externally, but w…