Top news stories of 2013

The Associated Press released its list of the top 10 news stories of 2013, based on polls of American editors and news directors.  See the list after the jump.  What would you add?  What do you think was the most important news event of 2013? [Read more…]

Harold Camping dies

Radio evangelist Harold Camping has died at the age of 92.  Best known for predicting that on May 21, 2011, Jesus would come back, Camping’s most harmful teaching was that all church bodies were heretical and that people should just listen to his radio broadcasts instead of going to church.

Longtime readers of this blog might recall some good discussions we had about Mr. Camping’s predictions and his theology, including with one of his followers.  (See, for example,  here, here and here.)

[Read more…]

Sex and freedom in ancient Rome

Classical scholar Peter Brown has published in the New York Review of Books an excited review of Kyle Harper’s From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press).  The book, which is said to break new ground in the scholarship of ancient Rome, shows that the vaunted sexual permissiveness of ancient Rome was inextricably linked to the practice of slavery, with slave boys and girls being the primary sex objects who could not object to how they were used.  He also shows how the early Church, which decisively challenged and successfully changed this  brutal and hypersexualized culture, connected sexual morality with freedom.

After the jump, an excerpt from the review with a link to the book.  Question:  Could Christianity transform sexual morality once again? [Read more…]

Who else should be Person of the Year?

Time Magazine announced its Person of the Year for 2013:  Pope Francis.  That’s a good and fitting choice.  But it is the custom of this blog for you the readers to nominate who you think should be Person of the Year.  So who else should it be?  (We will adopt Time Magazine rules, according to which the Person of the Year doesn’t actually have to be a person, as when The Computer won it in 1982. [See the list of previous winners.]  So feel free to nominate the Drone.) [Read more…]

An Easter sermon by Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.  He exemplifed an unusual kind of political power.  He spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activism in South Africa.  Whereupon he built up so much moral authority that the apartheid government, with its overtly racist system in which whites ruled over blacks,  ended up dismantling itself.  When he emerged from prison to become president of the new government, he led the newly-empowered black majority away from revenge to reconciliation with their former oppressors.

Mandel was a Christian, as the post below recounts.  After the jump, an excerpt from a quite powerful sermon he gave on the risen Messiah. [Read more…]

The Christianity of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa out of racial apartheid, was a Christian, whose faith shaped his activism.  So reports British journalist Michael Trimmer after the jump. [Read more…]


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