• Via Internet Monk, I learn that R.C. Sproul’s white Reformed Ligonier Ministries is embarking on a new short-term study course on the subject of “Persevering in the Christian Life,” with a focus on “Christ’s call to endure persecution and suffering faithfully.” This study excursion is part of Ligonier’s “2015 Caribbean Study Cruise.” Participants will suffer faithfully for Jesus at stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten before wrapping things up with a “Farewell Reception in Pharaoh’s Palace.”
Alas, that bit about Pharaoh’s Palace doesn’t mean Sproul has suddenly adopted a liberationist theology. That’s just the name of a Vegas-glitz ballroom on the Promenade Deck of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.
• “For five years now, America’s teen birth rate has plummeted at an unprecedented rate, falling faster and faster. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of babies born to teens annually fell by 38.4 percent, according to research firm Demographic Intelligence. This drop occurred in tandem with steep declines in the abortion rate. That suggests that the drop isn’t the product of more teenagers terminating pregnancies. More simply, fewer girls are getting pregnant.”
• “People need to be alarmed,” says Travis Weber of the Family Research Council. The larger context of that statement had something or other to do with marriage equality, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, etc. But that sentence also stands alone as a summary of the mission, agenda and philosophy of FRC and the rest of the religious right: “People need to be alarmed.” Perpetually.
• Luxury cruises on which the elect savor their pretend persecution are one example of the church. The Rev. Margaret Kelly and the church of Shobi’s Temple provides another example:
“This is where everybody’s at,” said Shobi’s Table volunteer Maurice Tribbett. “I come from the same place these people do. I used to be a gang member. I used to be a drug addict. I used to be homeless.”
“We come to them. It’s kind of meeting people where they’re at, spiritually, physically and emotionally,” said Tribbett’s wife, Mary Magill-Tribbett.
You don’t have to be sober to get a meal at the truck. You don’t have stick around for a service.
“I’m not bothered if people just want to eat and run and don’t want any religion,” Kelly said. “It’s a gift from Christ, but it’s not staring you in the face. This is a free lunch because Jesus is free.”
… But after giving out about 140 calzones, Kelly asks the handful of people still gathered on the sidewalk around the truck, “Shall we do some religion?”
• The West Chester University Golden Rams women’s rugby team begins its season 1-0.