Pope and Trump get into a fight

Pope Francis tore into Donald Trump, saying that anyone who is all about building walls instead of building bridges is “not a Christian.”  Trump responded in kind, saying that it’s “disgraceful” for a religious leader to “question a person’s faith.”

In a statement, Trump went further, saying “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”  Have the right?  So much for the pastoral office.

If that was bizarre, it’s also bizarre for the pontiff to interfere in an American election.  This is just a bizarre election. [Read more…]

Lutheran tribute to the 21 Coptic Martyrs

A year ago this week, ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya. I’m pleased that the president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod issued this video tribute to these martyrs of the Christian faith.  (Note the new icon that commemorates the martyrdom.) But aren’t the Copts heretics?  Read my discussion after the jump.

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Unintended consequences of megachurches

The larger the group, the less the individual involvement.  That’s a long-established finding of social science.  So what does that mean for very large churches?  New research has shown that those who attend megachurches are less involved in their congregation than those who attend smaller churches.  That may be obvious, but the researcher then raises a disturbing question:  Has the rise of the megachurch thus contributed to the overall decline of religion in the United States?

I am not attacking big churches.  It’s natural for a congregation to want to become as big as possible, and many large congregations are quite orthodox.  But churches need to face up to this data.  Are there other unintended consequences of megachurches?  Is there a way to counter them?  How might a big congregation increase individual involvement?  Or should big churches split into smaller congregations, once they reach a particular size?

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A fine video on “What Is Lent?”

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President of Concordia-Edmonton responds

We blogged about how Concordia University Edmonton repudiated its Christian identity.  Now the president of that institution, Dr. Gerald Krispin, has written an open letter to the Lutheran Church of Canada, explaining why this action was taken and repenting for the way he handled it.

The letter is open, honest, and full of grief, but he said that the college had to take that step to keep up its government funding, which they had become dependent upon due to the church’s lack of financial support.  But he admits that now Concordia-Edmonton will go the way of so many other formerly Christian institutions.  After the jump, I excerpt the letter and give my own opinion about how this action is unlikely to save the school. [Read more…]

Giving up something for Lent

There is a great piece on Lent in the Federalist by my friend Todd Peperkorn. He makes an excellent case for the helpfulness of giving stuff up during Lent, especially in this day and age.  He does more than that, though, so read it all, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more…]