Church bulletin announcements

Church bulletin announcements November 30, 2011

The ‘homogeneous unit principle’ in action

Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples

A small church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities “to promote greater unity among the church body.”

Melvin Thompson, former pastor of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, proposed the ban after Stella Harville brought her fiance, Ticha Chikuni, to services in June. Harville, who goes by the name Suzie, played the piano while Chikuni sang.

Before stepping down as pastor in August, Thompson told Harville that her fiance could not sing at the church again. Harville is white and Chikuni, a native of Zimbabwe, is black.

Last Sunday, church members voted 9-6 in favor of Thompson’s proposed ban. Others attending the church business meeting declined to take a stand on the issue.

So, OK, let’s be generous and assume that as many members abstained from the vote as participated in it. That would mean the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church has 30 members.

“It sure ain’t Christian,” Suzie Harville said of the vote. Her parents — both longtime members of the church — agree, and they say they’ll find a new church if the ban isn’t overturned.

That will leave the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church with only 28 members.

Here again we see the effectiveness of the “homogeneous unit principle” of church growth.

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Common English Bible soon to be banned in Alabama

New Bible Includes the Word ‘Immigrant,’ Brings Moral Clarity

The Common English Bible results from a collaborative effort among mainline Protestant denominations that cost some $3.5 million and involved 700 people. …

Explaining the switch from stranger to immigrant, Paul Franklyn, associate publisher, wrote: “The Hebrew word ger has several meanings in the Old Testament. In some contexts it is translated as foreigner or stranger or exile. In many contexts the translations from the mid-twentieth century used the word alien. The Common English Bible will often translate this word as immigrant, which is the most up-to-date meaning of gur or ger in the English language.”

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How to appeal to Iowa evangelicals

Christianity Today: “For Herman Cain, Alleged Affair Could Prove More Damaging than Harassment Claims

Allegations of an extramarital affair by Republican candidate and former lobbyist Herman Cain may cost him votes among born-again Christians.

Cain previously was quite popular among evangelical Republican voters — and became even more popular following allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women. After the harassment allegations, Christianity Today reports:

Among likely Republican caucus goers, there was a drop in the support for Cain among Catholics and Mainline Protestants (those who did not say they are “born again”). Among evangelical, born-again voters, however, there was an increase in support for Cain after the harassment claims.

An increase. Harassment claims gave Cain a boost in support from evangelical voters. This was the news that caused evangelical voters to rally around Herman Cain:

Bialek alleges that Cain put his hand under her skirt and reached for her genitals and also pushed her head toward his crotch while they were in a car.

She recalls saying: “This isn’t what I came here for, Mr. Cain.”

The now-GOP presidential candidate responded, according to Bialek, “You want a job, right?”

Let me put that together in an effort to understand.

Bialek alleges that Cain put his hand under her skirt …

Among evangelical voters, there was an increase in support for Cain.

… and reached for her genitals …

Among evangelical voters, there was an increase in support for Cain.

… and also pushed her head toward his crotch while they were in a car.

Among evangelical voters, there was an increase in support for Cain.

She recalls saying: “This isn’t what I came here for, Mr. Cain.”

The now-GOP presidential candidate responded, according to Bialek, “You want a job, right?”

Among evangelical voters, there was an increase in support for Cain.

These words — “born-again,” “evangelical” and “Christian” — seem to have some strange and unsavory meaning among Iowa Republicans. I do not think I want my daughters to go anywhere near a born-again, evangelical Christian Republican from Iowa.

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“Find beauty in the other so as to develop ‘holy envy'”

Somehow, I managed not to have encountered Krister Stendahl’s three rules for interfaith understanding until Kurt Frederickson discussed them on the Burner blog:

Swedish Lutheran theologian Krister Stendhal offers us three guidelines for broader religious understanding. He says: (1) When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its critics. (2) Don’t compare the best of your faith to the worst of another’s. (3) Leave room for “holy envy.” Recognize elements in the other religious tradition that you admire and wish could, in some way, be reflected in your own. These suggestions change the conversation. It enhances the dialogue and our lives.

I like these very much. The first two seem like matters of justice — rules that follow from the Golden Rule. The third one, I think, reaches for more than that, not only for justice but for magnanimity.

Here’s another summary of those rules in Stendahl’s own words:

Let the other define herself (“Don’t think you know the other without listening”); compare equal to equal (not my positive qualities to the negative ones of the other); and find beauty in the other so as to develop “holy envy.”

 


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