Evangeline!

I have a new granddaughter! Evangeline Christi Moerbe. Isn’t that a great name?

The Re-Churched

Let’s make up our own word and our own new category. We’ve had the un-churched (people with no church connection). Yesterday we considered the de-churched (people who used to go to church but now don’t). How about the re-churched, which we can define as people who didn’t go to church but now do.

Are any of you re-churched? What was it that brought you back?

The depravity game

A French TV show has replicated a 1960s experiment that demonstrates just how sinful we really are:

Eighty people who thought they were participating in the shooting of a pilot for a French reality series were willing to deliver potentially lethal electric shocks to a contestant who had incorrectly answered knowledge questions, according to the documentary, “The Game of Death,” airing on French TV on Wednesday night.

“Zone Xtreme” seemed to have a pretty standard game-show format, complete with wildly enthusiastic studio audience, a glam well-known TV weatherwoman hostess, gaudy lighting, etc., said the French press reports.

In truth, the would-be reality series participants were part of an experiment that was turned into the documentary.

In “Zone Xtreme,” the faux contestants who gave all the wrong answers were actually actors. Each “contestant” was strapped into an electric chair. The 80 wannabe famesters were each asked to punish the contestant, when a wrong answer was given, by administering up to 460 volts of electricity. The majority of them ignored the contestant’s screams and obeyed the orders of the weather-chick hostess to ratchet up the jolt. They also obeyed the chant of “Punishment!” from the studio audience — which did not know the game show was a fake — until the contestant fell silent and appeared to have died. Only 16 contestants walked away, according to press reports.

The idea for the show came from the work of psychologist Stanley Milgram, who conducted the experiment at Yale University in the 1960s. Milgram found that most people, if pushed by an authority figure, would administer ostensibly dangerous electric shocks to another person.

via Lisa de Moraes – Reality show contestants willing to kill in French experiment – washingtonpost.com.

The De-Churched

We have the Un-Churched, those who are unaffiliated with any church.  Skye Jethani at Christianity Today starts a series on another category of people who don’t go to church:  the De-Churched.  Those who used to go to church, but, for one reason or another, don’t any longer.  Read the whole thing, but note what he has to say about that other category:

In days gone by, missional efforts were focused on presenting and demonstrating the love of Christ to non-Christians. But in the 1980s a new term was coined to describe the growing number of North Americans without any significant church background. They were called the unchurched. Untold numbers of books were written about them. Ministry conferences discussed them. Church leaders orchestrated worship services to attract them.

The shift from “evangelizing non-Christians” to “reaching the unchurched” was perceived as benign at the time, but it represented an important shift in our understanding of mission. The church was no longer just a means by which Christ’s mission would advance in the world, it was also the end of that mission. The goal wasn’t simply to introduce the unchurched to Christ, but—as the term reveals—to engage them in a relationship with the institutional church. This paved the way for the ubiquitous (but flawed) belief today that “mission” is synonymous with “church growth.” (Another post for another day.)

Well, another new term is on the rise and gaining attention among evangelicals in North America. Those without a past relationship to the church are called unchurched, but there are many with significant past church involvement who are exiting. They are the de-churched.

via Who Are the De-Churched? (Part 1) | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders.

Are any of you de-churched? Why?

How might churches get the de-churched back?

Episcopalians choose a second gay bishop

The Episcopal Church in the USA, despite opposition from worldwide Anglicanism, has consecrated yet another homosexual bishop.  This one is a lesbian.

A majority of bishops and dioceses of the Episcopal Church have approved the election of the church’s second openly gay bishop, the Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, a decision likely to increase the tension with fellow Anglican churches around the world that do not approve of homosexuality. . . .

Bishop Glasspool, 56, is to be consecrated as one of two new assistant bishops, known as suffragan bishops, in Los Angeles on May 15. Both elected suffragan bishops are women — the first ever to serve in the diocese.

Both were elected at a convention of the diocese in December, but according to church rules had to win the approval of a majority of the bishops and standing committees (made up of clergy and laypeople) of the church’s 110 dioceses. Bishop Glasspool’s confirmation was never certain.

via Episcopalians Confirm Mary Glasspool as a Second Openly Gay Bishop – NYTimes.com.

So this is not just the action of one diocese. The whole church body, in effect, had to vote to approve it, and did.

Our foreign policy is also a mess

It isn’t just our economy and Congress that are out of whack. Robert Kagan of the Washington Post cites the ways President Obama is botching our foreign policy:

The contretemps between President Obama and Israel needs to be seen in a broader global context. The president who ran against “unilateralism” in the 2008 campaign has worse relations overall with American allies than George W. Bush did in his second term.

Israelis shouldn’t feel that they have been singled out. In Britain, people are talking about the end of the “special relationship” with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security. Among top E.U. officials there is consternation that neither the president nor even his Cabinet seems to have time for the European Union’s new president, Herman Van Rompuy, who, while less than scintillating, is nevertheless the chosen representative of the post-Lisbon Treaty continent. Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them — despite his six trips to Europe — and is more of an Asian president.

The Asians, however, are not so sure. Relations with Japan are rocky, mostly because of the actions of the new government in Tokyo but partly because of a perception that the United States can't be counted on for the long term. In India, there are worries that the burgeoning strategic partnership forged in the Bush years has been demoted in the interest of better relations with China. Although the Obama administration promised to demonstrate that the United States “is back” in Asia after the alleged neglect of the Bush years, it has not yet convinced allies that they are the focus of American attention. . . .

Who has attracted attention in the Obama administration? The answer, so far, seems to be not America’s allies but its competitors, and in some cases its adversaries. If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy, the meter would show the greatest concentration of energy, beyond the war in Afghanistan, has been devoted to four endeavors: the failed first-year attempt to improve relations with Iran; the ongoing attempt to improve relations with Russia; the stalled effort to improve cooperation with China; and the effort — fruitless so far — to prove to the Arab states that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to further the peace process. Add to these the efforts to improve relations with Syria, engage Burma and everything with Af-Pak, and not much has been left for the concerns of our allies.This is bad enough, but compounding the problem has been the administration’s evident impatience with allies who don’t do as they are told. Europeans get spanked for a pallid commitment to NATO defense spending even as they contribute 30,000 troops to a distant war that European publics mostly don’t believe in. Japan gets spanked when its new government insists on rethinking some recent agreements. In both cases, the administration has a point, but it’s always easier to hammer allies when they misbehave than to hammer tough competitors such as Russia or China.