Lutheran school investigated for LGBT discrimination

St. John’s Lutheran School in Baraboo, Wisconsin, is under federal investigation for discriminating against gay or transgender children.  Not that it discriminated against any of its students but because the principal sent a letter to parents asking them to affirm that they and their child support the school’s handbook when it comes to sinful behavior and to send a copy of the child’s birth certificate to show his or her gender.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a complaint against the Wisconsin Synod school, arguing that since it accepts some federal funding (for school lunches, busing, and a No Child Left Behind program), it is subject to the civil rights provisions of Title IX and so is guilty of discrimination.

[Read more…]

Correlation is not causation in study of ELCA racial diversity

More evidence that scientists–especially social scientists–need to study philosophy, particularly the complicated question of what constitutes causality:  A study of ELCA congregations has found that the more racially diverse  a congregation is, the more it has declined in attendance.  The implication being that white people leave when minority races show up.  This effect is especially evident, the study says, in older congregations.

But there are lots of reasons that ELCA congregations have been declining in membership!  The study says nothing about the theological shift leftward that has caused so many members to leave.  Or, even more to the point, neighborhood demographics.  “Older congregations” originally started in big cities are nearly always in decline as assimilated immigrants and young families move to the suburbs.  These congregations do pick up some racially diverse members from the neighborhood, but since African-Americans don’t have a tradition of becoming ELCA Lutherans (though they could well be Missouri Synod Lutherans, which has a long tradition of black membership), there will be a net loss.  But to interpret this as racism is grossly inaccurate.  To use statistical terms, correlation is not causation. [Read more…]

Britain now has more “nones” than Christians

Great Britain now has more people who say they have “no religion” (48%) than say they are Christians (44%).  (Other religions such as Islam constitute 8%.)  And this happened fast.  Fifteen years ago, around 75% said they were Christians.  Five years ago, only 25% said they have “no religion.”  After the jump, a story about this from the London Spectator.

For a long time, most Brits still considered themselves Christians, while hardly ever attending services.  Staying Christian requires going to church.  Then again, when the churches themselves, as a whole, become so theologically liberal they stop teaching anything that could be recognized as Christianity, then of course Christianity will, apart from divine intervention, be extinguished.

Could such a religious shift happen in the USA?  Or is it already happening? [Read more…]

More on Muslim conversions in Europe

As we’ve blogged about (see here and here and here), large numbers of Muslim immigrants are converting to Christianity.  There is an article about the phenomenon in the Daily Beast, no less, which estimates that the numbers may be in the tens of thousands.
In addition to Germany, France, and Denmark, it is now happening in the Netherlands.  The Daily Beast story takes up the question of whether some are converting to gain asylum–it does help in Germany, which recognizes what the converts’ fate would be if they were sent home, but it is actually a hindrance to asylum in the Netherlands–and cites how the liberal state churches are opposing conversions.  But it also gives some touching testimonies from Muslims about their new faith.  Like this:
One young Iranian woman convert told the German news magazine Stern, “I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found them,” Another convert told Stern he had found in Christianity an element—love—that was missing from the faith he was brought up in. “In Islam, we always lived in fear,” he said. “Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. But Christ is a God of love.”

[Read more…]

Classical Lutheran Education

The Lutheran educational tradition, according to Thomas Korcok, is classical liberal arts education + catechesis.  In his book Lutheran Education, Dr. Korcok, now a professor at Concordia Chicago, shows how the enthusiasts just wanted Bible-reading schools; the humanists just wanted classical education; the pietists just wanted vocational training; the Enlightenment just wanted science education–but orthodox Lutherans at every stage insisted on classical education + catechesis.  More and more Lutheran schools are returning to that double emphasis.

The 16th annual conference of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education will be held at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN, July 19-21.  The theme will be “A Pedagogy of Goodness” (the last two years featuring the other absolutes of truth and beauty).  Dr. Korcok will be one of our speakers.  I’ll be leading a series of workshops on Moral Education and Literature.  See the other speakers and topics after the jump.

As well as teachers, principals, and pastors, we welcome homeschoolers, future teachers, students, and anybody just interested in the Lutheran approach to classical Christian education.

Go here  for details and registration information.  I’d love to see you there and meet you in person! [Read more…]

You’ve got to read “Being Lutheran”

There is a new book out from CPH that is very much worth reading:  Being Lutheran by A. Trevor Sutton, a young pastor in Michigan. In the vein of my Spirituality of the Cross, this book explains in an utterly fresh way not only what Lutherans believe but also what it feels like to “be” Lutheran.  This is a book for life-long Lutherans, confirmation drop-outs, “seekers,” interested fellow-travellers, non-Christians, millennials, and “nones” who are “spiritual but not religious.”   I wrote the foreword.  An excerpt from that, plus a link to Amazon, after the jump. [Read more…]


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