If a billion stars don’t convince you, baby

If a billion stars don’t convince you, baby February 18, 2014

Scot McKnight shares a post worrying about PKs — or pastor’s kids — that starts with this hook: “Katy Perry is currently the highest-profile pastor’s kid (PK) that has walked away from her faith.”

Yeah, OK — Katy Perry is a PK who grew up, changed her name and shocked the easily shockable by incorporating horror-movie tropes into her stagecraft. Relax, folks —  we’ve seen this story before.

Some pastor’s kids grow up to be grotesque caricatures of their parents, embodying the horrifying, soulless opposite of all that was good about the faith of their childhood. Others, like Alice Cooper, turn out OK.

• Speaking of musical acts that aren’t really my type of thing: Well-played Skinny Puppy. The Canadian industrial band learned that their music was being used to torment prisoners in the American gulag at Guantanamo Bay, and so, founder cEvin Key said, “We thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the U.S. government for musical services.”

• Charles Reid says the arguments against same-sex marriage by 13th-century canon lawyer Hostiensis have not aged well. But despite having 800 years to come up with something better, his arguments have yet to be replaced with anything more compelling.

• Here’s another reason to cherish and protect the separation of church and state: “Why Jerusalem renters are wary of the Messiah’s arrival“:

In apartment contracts around the city, there are clauses stipulating what will happen to the apartment if or when the Jewish Messiah, or mashiach, comes. The owners, generally religious Jews living abroad, are concerned that he will arrive, build a third temple, and turn Israel into paradise – and they will be stuck waiting for their apartment tenants’ contracts to run out before they can move back.

These Messiah clauses often require the tenants to vacate the apartment upon the Messiah’s arrival — meaning that the landlord “gives notice due to the Messiah coming.” But while “Opinion among the property managers and real estate lawyers was unanimous that their clients would know the Messiah when they saw him,” it seems unfair to renters that landlords’ judgment in this matter is definitive. Without more legal precision in such contracts, after all, it seems like an unscrupulous landlord could terminate any such lease at any time just by declaring himself to be the Messiah.

If I were a tenant, though, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Yes, if the Messiah arrives, I’ll be out on the street temporarily — but if Isaiah was right about the world to come then nobody is going to remain homeless for long. Losing your lease but gaining the Messiah still seems like a net win.

• “Hill seems to be painfully moderate, which is to be expected of someone writing for Christianity Today about a survey sponsored by BioLogos.” Vorjack takes a smart look at some of the tools of extremist moderates — from the “pox on both houses” of Hegel’s Bluff to the appeal to agree to disagree. These are why moderate extremism can be an even bigger obstacle to peace, justice and having nice things than plain old extremist extremism is.

Emma Frances Bloomfield discusses why education and facts aren’t enough when challenging creationists, anti-vaxxers or climate denialists:

Skeptics do not “ignore the facts”; they simply do not respect the facts lauded by scientific frameworks. Instead, they replace those facts with their own facts such as the importance of God’s role in human origins, the autonomy of parents over children, and the benefits of short term party loyalty over long term environmental protection. The issue is not ignorance, then, but the warring frameworks that are currently empowered by a skeptical culture to reject scientific authority. The focus should be on separating what is science and what is not, giving skeptics a voice, but not allowing that voice to be labeled “scientific.”

• Postmodern Jukebox and Miche Braden travel back in time to reinvent “Sweet Child ‘o Mine“:

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