You need at least TWO religions

This article, Seeking Common Ground in Faith –, is just standard ecumania, but at the end comes a staggering statement: “Intolerance means demanding that people practice only one religion.”

I have heard others express the view that a person in this day and age really needs to practice more than one religion. (Thus we have the female episcopal priest who is also a Muslim.) Only postmodernists, having rejected reason with its sensitivity to contradictions, could think it is possible to assent to the beliefs of two different religions at the same time. But notice how this latest position (to which, according to the article, no one at the ecumaniacal gathering dissented) ups the ante: You are “intolerant”–the postmodernists’ One Deadly Sin– if you do NOT allow for more than one religion.

The old relativism allowed for the diversity of the various religions. The new relativism does not allow the various religions to be diverse, in the sense of their being separate and different, but rather insists that they all be amalgamated into a new polytheistic pantheon.

This is how Rome handled the religious diversity of its empire, bring all of the different deities into one Pantheon and allow all religious practices under the auspices of the Divine Emperor. Religions that would not go along, of course, such as Christianity, had to be exterminated in the name of religious harmony and toleration.

Father’s Day

Oh, yes, it will be Father’s Day on Sunday. If you or your children are among the statistically shrinking demographic that actually has or has had a father in your life, be thankful.

A company town

I’m in St. Louis for the Concordia Publishing House board meeting, and the whole city is in a tizzy over an attempt by a Brazilian-Belgian company named InBev to buy Anheuser-Busch. See Critics of the Bud Buyout Are Frothing. When the South African corporation SAB bought Miller, Milwaukee didn’t get all in an outrage, and many people welcomed it. But St. Louis is worried that their local beer giant under foreign management might cut out all of their civic involvement, shut down the free Grant’s Park, cut jobs, and who knows what all.

The secularists’ last things

ABC is sponsoring a big conclave of scientists who are saying that this might be the last century of our civilization or even of the human race. See ABC News: Earth 2100: This Century Our Last?

At least people don’t believe in progress anymore. Notice how we now have a secular apocalyptic millennialism to go along with the religious kind.

Some scientists think we might survive, though, and keep evolving until we are all connected into a vast sphere surrounding the sun, whereupon we will go from galaxy to galaxy consuming everything we find. See this review of The Year Million. The supermind we will evolve into after a million years is described as being “so vast and unknowable that we might as well call it God.”

We get to be God! That’s been the fantasy ever since the Serpent put it into our minds at the very beginning.

Weather disasters in the midwest

We need to pray for everyone affected by the floods, tornados, and other weather catastrophes in the midwest. See, for example, Cedar Rapids struggles to endure historic flood. Are any of you caught up in this? (I realize that getting on the internet is your last priority, but if possible we’d like to hear how you are doing.)

Ready for a hybrid yet?

Now that gasoline costs upwards of $4, buying a hybrid automobile–which typically costs around $3000 more than the all-gasoline model–makes economic sense. But you would need to keep your Prius for three and a half years to recoup that extra money. There are now many hybrid models from a wide range of manufacturers. The Wall Street Journal has a useful article comparing them, including the chart below. I am astonished, though, to see how little improvement there is in gas mileage from a normal car, except for the Prius and the Civic. Do any of your drive hybrids? Are they worth it?

hybrid chart

Discovery of the first church?

From Jordan archaeologists unearth ‘world’s first church’:

Archaeologists in Jordan have unearthed what they claim is the world’s first church, dating back almost 2,000 years, The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.
“We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD,” the head of Jordan’s Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan, said.

He said it was uncovered under Saint Georgeous Church, which itself dates back to 230 AD, in Rihab in northern Jordan near the Syrian border.

“We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians — the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ,” Husan said.

These Christians, who are described in a mosaic as “the 70 beloved by God and Divine,” are said to have fled persecution in Jerusalem and founded churches in northern Jordan, Husan added.

He cited historical sources which suggest they both lived and practised religious rituals in the underground church and only left it after Christianity was embraced by Roman rulers.

The bishop deputy of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese, Archimandrite Nektarious, described the discovery as an “important milestone for Christians all around the world.”

Researchers recovered pottery dating back to between the 3rd and 7th centuries, which they say suggests these first Christians and their followers lived in the area until late Roman rule.

Inside the cave there are several stone seats which are believed to have been for the clergy and a circular shaped area, thought to be the apse.

There is also a deep tunnel which is believed to have led to a water source, the archaeologist added.

The “seventy” would be Jesus’s followers whom He sent out two by two, as described in Luke 10. I don’t think the 70 made up the congregation of this church, since they would hardly refer to themselves with the veneration reflected in the mosaic inscription. The church, though, was probably dedicated to those very first missionaries and might even have been started by them. The reference to the 70 also confirms a Biblical detail, from before the time the Gospel of Luke was written, an allusion not to a text but to remembered history.

Still, if this is correct, the very first church–and if it is not that, the dating shows it is extremely early, dating from immediately after Christ’s death & resurrection, ca. 33 A.D., to a few decades afterwards, before most of the New Testament had been written–had clergy, ritual (a.k.a., liturgy), art (the mosaics), and considered baptism to be very important (having a water source into the building). This is evidence against the evolutionary assumptions that dominate secular Biblical criticism, that such elaborations developed slowly over time. (It also shows that certain disputed practices we Lutherans have come from the church in Bible times.)

Here is a picture of artifacts–communion ware?– that may have been used by some of our very earliest brethren in the faith:

artifacts from first church?

The way out of Iraq

Read this, about negotiations with the Iraqi government about the terms for our troops being there. We dethroned Saddam Hussein and set up a freely-elected government. That mission actually was accomplished. The way out of Iraq is to leave when that government requests us to. When the government is so unstable that it needs our troops to keep its members alive, it will want us to stay. When it attains a level of stability, which it may have reached, to the point that occupying troops are a political liability, it will request us to leave, which will be our way to do so without surrender. (I actually made this case at the outset of our invasion, and it looks like, as sometimes happens, I may have been right, as far as how things are unfolding.)

Maybe life just seems longer

For all of our obesity, poor exercise habits, bad nutrition, and other woes, Americans keep living longer and longer. From Life Expectancy Hits Record High in America –

The overall U.S. life expectancy of 78.1 years was up 0.3 years from 2005. Life expectancy for women was 80.7 years, and for men, 75.4 years. The disparity between the sexes — 5.3 years — has been declining since it peaked at about 8 years in 1979.

White women had the longest life expectancy, at 81 years, followed by black women (76.9 years), white men (76 years) and black men (70 years). The gap between men and women is markedly greater in blacks (6.9 years) than in whites (5 years).

Cf. Psalm 90:10:

The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength [they be] fourscore years, yet [is] their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Barack Obama as Messiah

I can’t tell if this website is for Obama or against him. I suspect the latter. But it does chronicle all of the fascinating ways that Barack Obama is being thought of in religious terms, as, literally, a Messiah. Read, for an example of the apotheosis [use that word in conversation too!] of Obama, the piece in the California newspaper that presents him as one in a long series of “LightWorkers.”