The largest Protestant denominations

New statistics have been released giving the largest Protestant denominations.  We Missouri Synod Lutherans are #11 with 2.3 million members.  That’s more than the Episcopalians (#12 with 2 milllion), though they get all the attention.  If you add up the two biggest Lutheran groups (the ELCA being #5 with 4.5 million), we’d come in at #3.  That’s lots more than explicitly Calvinist groups, though they have seem to have the most influence.  Then again, the denomination of not having a denomination has some 12.2 million members, which would make it #2.

See the list of the top 15 after the jump.  What can we conclude from this list, if anything? [Read more…]

A politician’s second chance?

Remember Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina?  Disappeared in 2009?  Released story that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail?  Was really in Argentina with his mistress?  Finished his term in disgrace?

Well, he just won the Republican primary for his old seat in the House of Representatives, an office he held before he was elected governor.  Now divorced from his wife, he is engaged to his Argentinian flame.  As if this isn’t fodder enough for political satirists, he will be running against Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch.  The sister of political satirist Stephen Colbert. [Read more…]

North Korea threatens war, maybe today or tomorrow

North Korea has threatened to nuke Hawaii, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.  Now the Stalinist regime is saying that war could break out “today or tomorrow.”  We have heard threats from North Korea before–though not like these–and we always dismiss them on the grounds that North Korea’s leadership is certifiably insane.  That’s supposed to make us feel better?  A lunatic with nuclear weapons is the worst kind.  “Mutually-assured destruction” is not a deterrent for a lunatic.  Another reason not to worry is that North Korea is a failed state in desperate poverty.  That an adversary is “desperate” is no consolation, since there is always the option of going out in a blaze of glory.  There is also that whole face-saving thing so important, I am told, to Koreans that makes it harder to back down.

We can feel better knowing that experts say the country does not have the technical capability to launch missiles that will reach all that far.  Let’s hope the experts are right this time.  We have sent ships and anti-missile technology to our allies and  military bases in the region.  China is even moving military units to its borders with North Korea, not knowing what the new “dear leader” Kim Jong-Un might do. [Read more…]

Why do the Orthodox ally with liberal Protestants?

One of the mysteries of the American religious scene is why all but one of the Eastern Orthodox church bodies in this country are members of the National Council of Churches, the mouthpiece for liberal Protestant denominations.  Not only that, the NCC consistently promotes abortion, homosexuality, a leftist social gospel, and a whole array of doctrines opposed to the traditional theology the Orthodox claim to champion.  And it isn’t like the Orthodox representatives are speaking up all that much against the NCC’s anti-orthodoxy.  John Lomperis of the Institute for Religion and Democracy asks some pointed questions. [Read more…]

The vocation of garbage collectors

I have always admired garbage collectors.  Their work is hard and dirty, but essential, and yet they do not get the respect they so richly deserve.  They too are masks of God and without them, as Luther said in another context, we would perish in our filth. Now there is a book about them by anthropologist Robin Nagle: Picking Up: On the Streets and Behind the Trucks with the Sanitation Workers of New York City.  These city workers have twice the fatality rate of police officers and seven times that of firemen.  [Read more…]

How today’s Republicans are like 1980s Democrats

Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.  Demographics, geography, and the trends of the day are working against them.  Just like the Democrats in the 1980s.  See Dan Balz in Republicans today can learn lessons from the Democrats’ past. But will they? – The Washington Post.