John Piper, Doug Pagitt, and a Lame Duck

John Piper (StarTribune/Bruce Bispring)

Some interesting items in the news last Sunday. Rose French wrote a profile of the semi-retiring John Piper, in which Your Favorite Blogger was quoted:

Tony Jones, a theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch church in Minneapolis, is one of Piper’s frequent critics.

“I don’t think the fundamental nature of God is wrath at human sin,” Jones said. “I’m not going to say God isn’t disappointed by human sin … but at the very core of Piper’s theological vision is that God’s wrath burns white-hot at your sin and my sin. When I read the Bible, that’s not the God I find.”

Piper offers no apologies for his theology.

“If you try to throw away a wrathful God, nothing in Christianity makes sense. The cross certainly doesn’t make sense anymore, where [Jesus] died for sinners.”* His views of the tornado and bridge collapse, he said, “are rooted in the sovereignty of God. Even though people see them as harsh, negative, wrathful, whatever, they are good news.”

He said he considers himself a “happy Calvinist — which is an oxymoron. I’m on a crusade to make that not an oxymoron.”

Over in the New York Times, Doug Pagitt rated a quote in a story about church planting:

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My Black Brother, Part Two

A while back, I wrote about Cavonte Johnson, who was taken in by my parents a few years ago. Today, Cavonte will give the speech at his high school commencement, graduating with honors from Edina High School. He’s also been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship and several other scholarships, meaning that his education will be fully funded all the way through a Ph.D., should he choose to pursue one.

Over the weekend, the StarTribune published a wonderful article on Cavonte and my parents, and a truly moving video. If you need a day brightener, I encourage you to watch it.

Cavonte Johnson walked into Sarah and Doug Jones’ Edina home and flopped on to their couch, an arm draped across his forehead and eyes closed.

“I want to go home,” the fourth-grader thought, ignoring the Christmas party going on around him.

Home had been a moving target for Cavonte, who’d been shuffled among foster homes and relatives since he was 2.

But Sarah Jones saw potential in the struggling, sullen boy who was barely able to read. Years later, he moved in with the couple, who nurtured his impressive math talents.

On Monday, Cavonte will graduate from Edina High School as an award-winning top scholar with a chance to play college football next year.

His transition from troubled kid to superstar student wasn’t easy, but Cavonte never thought about giving up. “I don’t make excuses,” said Cavonte, 18, one of two students chosen to speak at commencement.

“That’s the motto I try to live by. No excuses.”

via Edina teen triumphs over trouble with graduation |

Rejected Anti-Gay Ad

David Brauer reports that the Minneapolis StarTribune has rejected an ad placed by the Presbyterian Lay Committee, a conservative group within the Presbyterian Church (USA):

According to Committee president Carmen Fowler LaBerge, “The Strib indicated that if we would scrub the reference in our ad to sex within marriage and scrub the reference to the Bible, they would reconsider running it. Those edits would have so substantively changed the ad as to render it meaningless.”

LaBerge says the ad ran in big-city papers such as the Los Angeles Times (right), Wall Street Journal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Charlotte Observer, Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronicle, Richmond Times-Dispatch and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here’s the ad in question:

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Katherine Kersten's Many Fallacies

Katherine Kersten, MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley

Katherine Kersten is the often-mocked conservative columnist at the Minneapolis StarTribune.  Often mocked because her columns regularly sound like she’s Michelle Bachman’s a-little-bit-less-stupid big sister.  Mainly, she touts reactionary talking points and far-fetched anecdotes as her arguments.

Yesterday, her column was so cloddish that I thought I’d break it down, paragraph-by-paragraph.  She wrote about same sex marriage and the death of all that’s holy.

Is same-sex marriage just over the horizon in Minnesota? Many say yes. A suit to legalize it has been filed in Hennepin County, and a slew of bills on the subject were introduced in the last legislative session. All the Democratic candidates for governor — along with Independent Tom Horner — endorse gay marriage.

Yes, indeed, same sex marriage will likely be legalized in Minnesota rather soon.  Why?  Because most people are coming around to the realization that it is not only harmless, but actually good for the stability of society.

At the national level, a federal judge in Massachusetts recently ruled unconstitutional the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Any day now, a federal judge in California is expected to strike down Proposition 8, which was endorsed in 2008 by California voters and defined marriage as a male-female institution in the state’s constitution.

Same-sex marriage supporters assure us that redefining marriage is no big deal. “How will my same-sex marriage hurt you?” they ask, expecting the answer to be “it doesn’t.”

Don’t believe it.

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