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Trump’s summit meeting with evangelical leaders

Donald Trump met with some 1000 evangelical leaders at Trump Tower in New York City yesterday.  He promised them that he would end the ban on politicking for tax-exempt organizations like churches.  He also said that he would appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court justices.  He also said that he would emphasize religious liberty, including allowing government employees to offer sectarian prayer in public and making department store employees say “Merry Christmas.”

The Washington Post said that the attendees were thrilled with Trump, but his critics among evangelicals were not invited.  One of them, recalling the movement’s former insistence on moral character, said that the spectacle marks “the end of the Christian right.”

What do you think about this?

[Read more…]

Bob Dylan’s new album

Bob Dylan has released a new album, Fallen Angels.   (If you have Amazon Prime, you can listen to its various tracks for free.)   This is another set of interpretations of Frank Sinatra-type standards like his previous album Shadows in the Night (also on Prime).

Pete, resident Dylan expert here at the Cranach Institute, put me onto an excellent review of the album from the student newspaper of Cambridge University.  I call it excellent as a music review because of its close attention to the actual music.  Also of interest is how it takes up the charge that “Dylan can’t sing.”  I quote the beginning after the jump, but follow the link and read it all. [Read more…]

Pope gives Mary Magdalene same status as Apostles in church year

Pope Francis has elevated Mary Magdalene’s saint’s day to a “major feast,” putting her on the same level liturgically as Christ’s apostles.  The pope wants Christians to consider Mary, who first told the apostles about Christ’s resurrection, as “a paradigm of the ministry of women in the church.”

Should non-Catholic Christians follow this promotion and make a big deal of Mary Magdalene’s Day on July 22? [Read more…]

Refusing to bake Trump’s cake

BuzzFeed announced that it would not honor a $1.3 million advertising contract with the Republican Party because Donald Trump is going to be the nominee.  I suspect other businesses will have similar qualms, as we are already seeing with some rock musicians not letting Trump’s campaign play their songs.  So how is that any different, asks Mollie Hemingway, from a Christian baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding?

She says that businesses should have the right to express their moral objections by not selling to certain clients, but asks why media corporations–including BuzzFeed–demonize the little guys who do this, while doing it themselves on a much bigger scale?

[Read more…]

“Bring to his work a mighty heart”

In observance of today’s holiday, the Daily Oklahoman printed excerpts of a Memorial Day address by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in 1889, when the memory of the Civil War was still fresh.  You’ve got to read this speech.  It features an eloquence and a depth of sensibility that we almost never hear today, certainly not from politicians or other public figures.

He talks about the honored dead, of course, but he also makes applications about what the generations that follow can learn from them and from observing Memorial Day.

I give a brief sample after the jump, but please click the link and read the whole thing. [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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