Christian and secular news and commentary that one Christian found important or entertaining today:
1. A CHRISTIAN HERO. Today is the 65th anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s execution.
2. R.C.C. WITH T.L.C. FROM YOUR S.O. At First Things: “What Can the Catholic Church Learn from a Married Priest?” By a married man who as a Lutheran pastor before he became one of the RCC’s few married priests. One paragraph:
“The Long Lent of 2002, now dawning afresh in Ireland and Western Europe, has also led many to wonder anew about the wisdom of celibacy. While a celibate community does provide concealment for offenders and has contributed to the formation of dark networks of abusers, ending celibacy would not end human sinfulness. Celibacy does not cause abuse any more than marriage causes adultery. A married clergy and the ordination of women have hardly ended violations of the sixth commandment and pastoral trust in Protestantism. Protestantism endures the scandal of divorced and remarried clergy, sexual abuse in all forms, and in the mainline the increasingly successful effort to normalize homosexual liaisons. The Protestant experience ought to warn any thoughtful person off the notion that celibacy causes sexual misconduct.”
Also, as Newsweek makes clear today, RCC priests abuse children at the same rate as other men. Of course, they should abuse children at a lower rate, and much of the crisis concerns the cover-up efforts rather than the abuse in the first place. Also, the fact that priest-child abuse is 80% of boys while child abuse among non-priests is overwhelmingly of girls does cry out for some kind of explanation. But the point is important — not to absolve the Catholic church of its very real responsibility to clean house, but to remind the rest of us that we too have to deal with this problem. There is sexual abuse that takes place in Protestant churches as well as Catholic, in Jewish synagogues as well as Christian, in non-religious school and sports settings as much as well as in religious settings. In any setting where men are trusting to be alone with children for extended periods of time, there will be some degree of abuse.
My question: will it take some sort of crisis within their own denominations before, say, Baptists take strong measures against child sexual abuse in their own ranks? Have Protestant denominations or church planting organizations or para-church organizations taken care to address this issue? It’s all too easy to sit back and let the Catholic Church take all the heat. But we have this problem as well, and it has to be addressed.
3. SOME SORT OF SORTING. Scot McKnight continues his series critiquing Brian McLaren’s “soul-sort narrative” argument. Well worth reading.
4. CHURCH FATIGUE. Kevin DeYoung offers a very strong series on dealing with disappointment in the church. I wish that everyone would read this who has felt burned, burned out, or turned off by a church. (H/t Justin Taylor)
5. LOOKING UP? An optimistic take on the American economy.
6. COVERING UP. Major banks, sensitive to the concerns of investors who so recently saw over-leveraged firms crash when their riskiest bets lost, are masking their levels of debt and risk by cutting down their risk right before they send out their reports. After a report is sent out, the firms (including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and the like) take on more debt in order to make more bets, and then cut back on the debt again before the next report is due.
7. SUPPLY LINES. There’s trouble in Kyrgyzstan, and it could cause problems for America and its efforts in Afghanistan.
8. NO AIR. Three new species have been found – over 2 miles beneath the surface of the Mediterranean – that require no oxygen to survive. As the report notes, “further research into animals that can live without oxygen could help scientists examining the possibility of alien life existing on other planets.” In other words, some contend that one of the primary constraints on life-sustaining planets is that they must have a sufficiently oxygen-rich atmosphere. But if we can understand how creatures might survive without oxygen, then we may be able to look elsewhere for life in the universe.
9. HATE CRIME? New York City is seeing a rash of attacks on Asian women.
10. OLD MAN. More information on the 2-million-year-old hominid skeletons discovered recently in South Africa. This is not at all a profound observation, but it’s just amazing to imagine human-like creatures living, loving and carrying on the stream of generations for millions of years.
11. PRO-LIFE. Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Michigan) has announced that he will not seek reelection. Stupak’s decision to vote for the health care reform legislation, given his concerns regarding abortion, was one of the major turning points in getting the legislation made into law.
12. MEGAN FOX FOR TEACHERS. Don’t let your friends become celebrities and try to make political commentary.