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Church bulletin announcements

Church bulletin announcements December 16, 2011

Religion News Service reports that:

The Southern Baptist Convention is again considering changing its name, after a national survey found 40 percent of Americans hold an unfavorable view of the denomination. Somewhat surprisingly, the SBC’s negatives were highest in the South.

It’s not surprising. To paraphrase Ed Koch, in the South, people know the SBC.

Those negatives probably aren’t helped by Southern Baptist bookstores taking a firm stance in favor of breast cancer.

Lifeway Christian Bookstores, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention … is making news again for having pulled from its stores pink Bibles that were designed to promote awareness of breast cancer, with proceeds going the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation for breast cancer screenings.  It turns out that some Komen funding had gone to Planned Parenthood for exams and mammograms in the past.

In response to this sort of thing, Wonkette usually provides the best headlines: “Wingnuts Refuse to Sell Breast Cancer-Fighting Bibles, Out of Love for Cancer.”

Timothy Kincaid writes:

Although Komen’s funding of specific Planned Parenthood programs paid for 139,000 breast exams and about 5,000 mammograms, detecting 177 cases of cancer in the past five years, the lives of those 177 women are immaterial. They are just collateral damage in a Culture War.

* * * * * * * * *

Christianity Today:Yet Another College Investigates InterVarsity Christian Fellowship“:

The [University of Buffalo’s] Student Association issued the suspension after campus newspaper The Spectrum reported that the IVCF chapter’s treasurer Steven Jackson was pressured to resign from his leadership role because of his sexual orientation. IVCF requires its student leaders to sign a statement affirming several basic Christian beliefs, including the authority of the Bible.

Both IVCF and CT are engaged in a bit of question-begging there. I think they’re both genuinely bewildered by the idea that “the authority of the Bible” doesn’t simply and obviously entail all of the cultural assumptions they mean by it. Those who are not deeply immersed in the American evangelical subculture don’t appreciate that “the authority of the Bible” here is a synonym for “God says the treasurer of your club can’t be gay.”

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I managed to quote Warren Throckmorton on the subject of the Golden Rule without linking to one of his favorite projects: The Golden Rule Pledge.

The pledge is a Christian anti-bullying effort that started on the Day of Silence in 2008.

GLBT students and peers as well as other who appear different have been the target of harassment, violence and scorn. We believe this is wrong. The church should lead the way in combatting violence and harassment in schools. … One way to live out our faith is to treat others fairly and with respect.

They’re promoting this pledge among Christian students:

I pledge to treat others the way I want to be treated.

This is a Good Thing.

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Mike Todd points us toward John Cusack’s description of Jesus:

Who are your heroes in real life?

Let’s go with Jesus. Not the gay-hating, war-making political tool of the right, but the outcast, subversive, supreme adept who preferred the freaks and lepers and despised and doomed to the rich and powerful. The man Garry Wills describes “with the future in his eyes … paradoxically calming and provoking,” and whom Flannery O’Connor saw as “the ragged figure who moves from tree to tree in the back of [one’s] mind.”

Garry Wills’ What Jesus Meant is, again, a book I highly recommend. And apparently so does Lloyd Dobler.

As Satanic as a silkworm …” Helen Walne enjoys a yoga class on Monday nights. Despite what Fr. Gabriele Amorth and Fraternity Brother Mark Driscoll say, Walne says she doesn’t feel like a Satanist.

At Adventus, RMJ shares an astonishing story about Oscar Romero in which the martyred archbishop gives a wrong answer, and then a proper response.

Stephanie Simon offers a generous, insightful profile of an earnest experiment in “New Monasticism”: “What chores would Jesus do?

NOM — the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage — sings another chorus of “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Venomous Spite and Spittle-Flecked Resentment of Others.”

J.G.C. Wise of The Curator celebrates the many, diverse roots of Christmas and criticizes the corporatism of it — in verse: “The Devolution of Christmas.”

For Advent, the writers of the Empire Remixed blog are asking us to imagine. You may say they’re just dreamers, but they’re not the only ones.

And finally, a little while back I joked that Louis Menand’s discussion of George F. Kennan accidentally provided a perfect one-sentence summary of Reinhold Niebuhr’s theology: “We need to be realists because we cannot trust ourselves to be moralists.” Since then I’ve been musing about other such one-sentence summaries.

So here’s my attempt at Dietrich Bonhoeffer in one sentence: “I’m walking away from Omelas, but I’m not leaving without that kid.

(Would that John Cusack joke above have been funnier if I’d said Lane Meyer? Martin Blank? Hoops McCann?)

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