Presbyterians (USA) vote to allow gay marriages

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to revise its Book of Order to redefine marriage as being between “two persons” rather than between a man and a woman, thereby fully sanctioning gay marriages and gay weddings.  The revision must be approved by a majority of presbyteries, but congregations in states that have legalized gay marriage may now perform them. [Read more...]

Pastoral care for the transgendered?

The latest Time Magazine cover story announces  that “another social movement is poised to challenge deeply held cultural beliefs”; namely, that of  the transgendered (men who feel they are women, and women who feel like men, often undergoing surgery accordingly).

A few years ago, seminary professor and now head of the Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission talked about how to minister to a transgendered convert or member of your congregation.  I’m curious if you agree or have a better idea.  But is it the pastor’s job to try to “fix” a particular kind of sinner, or is it sufficient to preach the Word in law and gospel, employ confession and absolution, and administer Baptism and Holy Communion, leaving the outcome to God as with everyone else in the congregation?

[Read more...]

Hollywood, desire, & the Santa Barbara murders

Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday on the Santa Barbara murders:

As deranged manifestos go, the final YouTube video made by suspected Isla Vista, Calif., mass murderer Elliot Rodger was remarkably well-made. Filmed by Rodger in his black BMW, with palm trees in the background and his face bathed in magic-hour key light, the six-minute diatribe — during which he vows revenge on all the women who rejected him and men who were enjoying fun and sex while he was “rotting in loneliness” — might easily have been mistaken for a scene from one of the movies Rodger’s father, Peter Rodger, worked on as a director and cinematographer. [Read more...]

Pope calls conclave to re-examine sexual teachings

At this rate, maybe Pope Francis will be the last pope!

Contraception, cohabitation, divorce, remarriage and same-sex unions: They’re issues that pain and puzzle Roman Catholics who want to be true to both their church and themselves.

Now those issues are about to be put up for debate by their leader, a man who appears determined to push boundaries and effect change.

On Pope Francis’ orders, the Vatican will convene an urgent meeting of senior clerics this fall to reexamine church teachings that touch the most intimate aspects of people’s lives. Billed as an “extraordinary” assembly of bishops, the gathering could herald a new approach by the church to the sensitive topics. [Read more...]

“Coming out” as a Christian

In her memoir Dancing Through It, ballerina Jenifer Ringer tells about her Christian faith.  I was struck by this line from Washington Post reviewer Rebecca Ritzel:  “Coming out in a dance memoir as an evangelical Christian is nearly as rare as coming out as gay in the NFL.”

Back in 2012, we posted about the apotheosis of homosexuality and the demonization of Christians, asking whether Christians might someday become “the new gays.”  That is, whether being a Christian might be seen as socially shameful as homosexuality once was, that Christians would become “closeted,” keeping their faith secret from the public, except for those brave enough to “come out.”

Now we have a major media outlet using that kind of language for Christians.  Some will say, “That’s justice!  Now you Christians will know how it feels.”  Maybe so.  I can imagine the comments:  “They should not be allowed to get married!”  Certainly there is still stigma against homosexuality among the masses, if not in the media and elite circles.  I am not saying that Christians are treated worse than gays, which is obviously not true (nor am I saying those are  mutually exclusive categories), and I don’t want Christians to develop a persecution complex.  I am just wondering if we Christians are ready for the possibility of there someday being a severe  social stigma against our faith.  [Read more...]

World Vision takes back plan to hire married gays

The evangelical disaster relief organization World Vision created a stir with its announcement that it would hire homosexuals as long as they are married.  This would preserve the Christian principle of “no sex outside of marriage.”  But World Vision then reversed that decision, going back to its former policy requiring abstinence except for men and women married to each other. [Read more...]


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