Daily Trinity: Scottish Pipes, Jobs Down, Atlanta Cheating Up, Robert Schuller, and C. J. Mahaney

Morning Palate Cleanser: 14-year-old Brendan MacFarlane, Scottish boy with pipes, sings Gospel and Country.  Here he is wowing a guitar shop owner:

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In the News:
  1. In June, non-farm payrolls added a measly 18,000 jobs, far below what is needed (due to the number who enter into the workforce on any given month) even to maintain the present level of employment.  So the unemployment figure ticked up to 9.2%.  Worse, the report reveals that 44,000 fewer jobs were created in previous months than they had estimated.  Obama’s senior political advisor, David Plouffe, predicts that jobs won’t be a big issue in the 2012 election.  He’s wrong.
  2. If you haven’t been following the story of the Atlanta Public Schools’ cheating scandal, you’re missing out on an amazing tale of corruption, deception and greed.  I’m sure the guilty parties are angling right now: How can we blame the No Child Left Behind Act?  Here’s hoping the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which has done Pulitzer-worthy work on this story, doesn’t let them get away with it.
  3. A forthcoming book, Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion, sounds like fascinating reading.  Time interviewed the author.  Relatedly, although this is a year-old piece, I came across this article that gives insight into the Sea Org and how it pressured women in the order to have abortions in order to continue their work on behalf of the ‘Church’.
In the Pews:
  1. Do yourself a favor and read this great piece at GetReligion about Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral.  While you’re there, read Mollie Hemingway’s piece on Dan Savage, who is arguing that the ideal of marital monogamy should be abandoned.
  2. The Gospel Coalition is staging a worthwhile conversation on “Should Churches Spend Money on Nice Buildings?”
  3. I don’t know the backstory here, so I cannot judge the merits of the response more generally, but this is how to write a confession letter.  C. J. Mahaney is a popular pastor and speaker in Reformed circles.  In this letter, he makes no attempt to justify, no attempt to minimize the offense, no attempt to clear his name even while ostensibly confessing, and yet neither does he congratulate himself for his confession.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • http://www.ikdg.wordpress.com Steve240

    I am not sure I would agree with you opinion on Mahaney’s confession letter. If you read about what has been revealed in the “leaked” documents why is Mahaney assuming he will return?

    Why didn’t he address the regular members he has grieved.

    Here are some interesting blogs with comments about this:

    http://www.sgmsurvivors.com

    http://www.sgmrefuge.com

    http://www.wartburgwatch.com

    Here is where the documents are that someone posted. If you read the documents it is quite shocking:

    http://www.scribd.com/sgmwikileaks

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      You know, Steve, I wondered if I would regret praising the letter when the circumstances became more fully known. I’m not sure yet that I disagree with my earlier sentiments that this was a confession letter to emulate, but I’m definitely wishing I had waited until I knew more before dipping my toe into these waters. As far as the letter itself goes, it’s a much better confession letter than 99% than I’ve seen. But a letter like this cannot be judged absent context. So I should retract my earlier statement — not because I’m certain that those sentiments were wrong, but because I should have waited until more context was known.
      Thanks,
      Tim

  • Phoenix

    I appreciate your integrity; both in citing your limited knowledge of the context in your initial review of CJ’s letter and in acknowledging within the comments section that you reviewed it prematurely. Please post your retraction on your front page — this is important! That said, you were absolutely correct about the letter being a textbook example of a confession. You did miss one very important point. Don’t be specific and then your repentance/restoration can be driven by generalities. The problem with that is that within SGM (as experienced by many and documented in the SGM wikileaks docs) everyone else has always been required to be very, very specific in confession. That’s what CH has always taught.


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