Archive - May 2006
From an article of the same title by Caryle Murphy and Alan Cooperman in the Washington Post:
Long overshadowed by the Christian right, religious liberals across a wide swath of denominations are engaged today in their most intensive bout of political organizing and alliance-building since the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s, according to scholars, politicians and clergy members.
In large part, the revival of the religious left is a reaction against conservatives' success in the 2004 elections in equating moral values with opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.
Religious liberals say their faith compels them to emphasize such issues as poverty, affordable health care and global warming. Disillusionment with the war in Iraq and opposition to Bush administration policies on secret prisons and torture have also fueled the movement...
Conservative Christian activist Gary L. Bauer said the religious left "is getting more media attention" but "it's not clear" that it is getting more organized.
"My reaction is 'Come on in, the water's fine' . . . but I think that when you look at frequent church attenders in America, they tend to be pro-life and support marriage as one man and one woman, and so I think the religious left is going to have a hard time making any significant progress" with those voters, he said.
I think Bauer missed the point. Most may be pro-life and not support gay marriage, but a big chunk of them also base their votes on a bunch of other issues on which the Democrats can make "signifcant progress."
Via kendallball.net, another article questioning the value of short-term missions, this one titled "Rise of sunshine Samaritans: on a mission or holiday?" by G. Jeffrey MacDonald in The Christian Science Monitor:
By the millions, Americans are jumping at the chance to become missionaries - with one key stipulation of the 21st century: They expect to get their comfortable lives back a few days later.
Evangelicals often build homes or visit orphanages, then explain the roots of their faith to new friends. Mainline Christians tend to focus on providing relief from poverty. This year, tens of thousands of short-term missionaries plan to storm the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast in visible witness to their savior's love for humankind...
As these missions flourish, however, the faithful are debating the wisdom of tailoring outreach programs to suit the needs and wants of missionaries in search of a peak, transformational experience.
Critics say impoverished people, especially overseas, often end up pandering to cash-wielding, untrained missionaries who leave a bad impression and don't make meaningful lifestyle changes upon return...
Short-term trips, lasting two weeks or less, drew about 1.6 million Americans to foreign mission fields last year, according to a survey by Robert Wuthnow, a sociologist of religion at Princeton University. Others who study Christian missions, such as Todd Johnson of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, say brief domestic mission trips draw even more participants than international ones...
Short-term mission trips date back to the 1960s when air travel first became accessible to religiously passionate pockets of the middle class, according to Dr. Johnson. But only since the mid-1990s, with the rise of Internet-savvy megachurches, have local congregations attained the tools necessary to bypass denominations and forge their own ties on the ground as far away as Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
From my old blog that I haven't yet merged into this one:
Something on the order of 1 to 4 million North Americans participate in a short term mission trips, at a cost of a few billion dollars a year. Conventional wisdom says these activities make a long-lasting positive impact on both the missionaries and the people they visit. Recent research by Kurt Ver Beek (his website is here and some discussion is here) argues that neither group is significantly affected in the long run.
Some comments from my friend Chris are here.
More wierdness from Pat...from an AP article on MSNBC.com:
Robertson has made the predictions at least four times in the past two weeks on his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded.
Robertson said the revelations about this year's weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.
"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."
A reverend who introduced Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist during a breakfast with other pastors Monday said the Lord came to him in a dream two years ago and told him Crist would be the state's next governor.
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier said that before the dream he did not know Crist, nor had Crist made known his plans to run for governor.
"The Lord Jesus spoke to me and he said 'There's something I want you to know,'" said Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach. "'Charlie Crist will be the next governor of the state of Florida.'"
Since then, Dozier has spent time with Crist and talked with him at length about policy. He told the group that Crist would be uncompromising in his Christian faith.
"I introduce to you, as the Lord Jesus has said, the next governor of the state of Florida, Charlie Crist," Dozier said.