Good lines on Baptism

The current issue of For the Life of the World, the magazine of Concordia Theological Seminary, has some great articles by its faculty on Baptism.  I’ll give you some samples of what they had to say:

No more than a husband or wife would say “I was married” with the day of the wedding in mind should a Christian say “I was baptized.”  The married man or woman quite naturally answers the question “Are you married?” in the present tense, “I am married.”  If a married person answered this question in the past tense, “I was married,” one would assume that they are now widowed or divorced.  Just so the Christian confesses “I am baptized.”  That is the abiding comfort of Baptism.  The liturgical rite is quickly done with and the water dries but the gift of Baptism does not evaporate.

–Prof. John T. Pless

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The qualities of gay & lesbian marriages

Sociologist Mark Regnerus discusses what we are learning about homosexual marriages, based on studies of countries that have had those arrangements for some time. [Read more…]

“The least untruthful manner”

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, had been asked in a Congressional committee if the U.S. government was collecting data on millions of Americans.  He said, no.  But now with news about PRISM and other data mining programs, he is being accused of perjury.  But what I want to draw attention to is his defense and a great phrase he has entered into the English lexicon:

“I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”

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Luther on Learning

Thanks to Prof. Scott Ashmon of Concordia University Irvine for yet another great quote, this one from Martin Luther:

“How dare you not know what can be known?”

(Quoted in Robert Benne, “A Lutheran Vision/Version of Christian Humanism” Lutheran Forum 31 (1997): 42.)  [Does anybody know the source in Luther’s Works? Or is this one of those apocryphal sayings of Luther?  Even if so, it’s still a great line, an explosion of Christian anti-intellectualism.]

How might this principle be applied?

Over-the-counter morning-after pill for all ages

Recently, the FDA approved the “morning-after pill,” a contraceptive taken after sex, for sale without a prescription to females over 15 years old.  That created a furor from those who wanted it available to girls even younger.  The government has given up the fight, so now the pill will be sold over-the-counter to children.

Details after the jump, along with a debate over the drug.  Topics include, “does the pill cause abortion?”  (At first, the pill makers said that it stopped the implantation of a fertilized egg.  Now they are saying it simply prevents ovulation, which could take place while sperm are present.  At 89% effectiveness, though, it would seem to be working also after ovulation has taken place.  At any rate, no one seems to know exactly how the pill works or what its effects are, which seems odd in a drug sold over the counter.)  Also, “what will be the moral impact of the pill?”  What do you think? [Read more…]

Defending the Surveillance programs

Most of the discussion on this blog about the government’s program to monitor phone calls and the internet has been against it.  But some pundits, politicians, and security experts are defending the surveillance.

After the jump, I have excerpts from two journalists who defend the programs.  The conservative Charles Lane argues that, despite Rand Paul’s plans to file a lawsuit against the surveillance programs, they are, in fact, constitutional and legal.  The liberal Richard Cohen argues that the surveillance isn’t all that bad.  Safeguards are built in, and, besides, we have already given up our privacy every time we log onto Google and other online sites.

Do these arguments change your mind?  If not, how would you answer them?

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