Judaism and Original Sin

Interesting reflections from my friend, Rabbi Stuart Federow. Another perspective. Here’s a fuller discussion of the Jewish teaching that we have two impulses, the yetzer hara and the yetzer hatov. Judaism 101 on “Human Nature.” The yetzer tov is the moral conscience, the inner voice that reminds you of G-d’s law when you consider doing…

Reflections on the QOD Conference–2

Some further reflection on the questions discussed at the recent conference at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the 50th Anniversary of Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. Adventists leaders published the book in response to conversations with Donald G. Barnhouse and Walter Martin; these answers satisfied the evangelicals, but caused multiple controversies within Adventism…

Richard Rice on QOD

Richard Rice (one of my professors at Loma Linda) blogged daily about the QOD conference at the Spectrum blog (I only learned of this at the end of the conference, as I spent very little time on-line during the week, only enough to check my mail). It’s a good starting place if you want to…

Reflections on the QOD Conference–1

I’m home. I pulled into my driveway after midnight last night, ending a journey that took me through five states in one day (from Michigan, through Indiana, to MDW in Illinois, a short stop in St. Louis, Missouri, and home to Texas). I’m exhausted, and the experiences of the past week will take a long…

The FBI and Torture

Steve Bergstein tells the horrific story of the ordeal suffered by Abdallah Higazy, who was coerced into a false “confession” after 9-11 by an FBI agent who threatened that he would have Egyptian security forces torture his family. The long and the short of it was that an Egpytian national, Abdallah Higazy, was staying in…

“Itching Ears”

2 Timothy 3:1-5–“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers…

Michigan in the Morning

I’m heading off to Berrien Springs, MI, tomorrow for a conference on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. The questions were asked by Walter Martin and Donald Barnhouse. The answers were given by some folks in the Ministerial department of the General Conference. Not everyone was…

Is the President under the Law?

Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld comments on the confirmation testimony of Michael Mukasey. According to Judge Mukasey’s statement, as well as other parts of his testimony, the president’s authority “to defend the nation” trumps his obligation to obey the law. Take the federal statute governing military commissions in Guantánamo Bay. No one, including the…

“Deliverance” and Iraq

Unsettling commentary in Newsweek by Christopher Dickey comparing the movie, “Deliverance” (written by his father), to US involvement in Iraq. It’s Dick Cheney as Lewis Medlock. My hard copy just came in the mail, and I read it over lunch. In the end, though, it is not the übermensch [Lewis, played by Burt Reynolds] who…

The Legionaries of Christ

The Legionaries of Christ are suing a noted critic, former Legionary priest John Paul Lennon (REGAIN), demanding that he return certain secret documents, including the order’s constitution, norms for etiquette, etc. Why these things should be secret in the first place is a mystery. Reportedly, the Vatican has directed the order to get rid of…

Rudy Giuliani and Msgr. Alan Placa

ABC reports: Guiliani Defends, Employs Priest Accused of Molesting Teens. It’s not a new story: AP October 4, CNA June 28, Salon June 22, Blog Feb 25. Giuliani continues to claim his high school pal has been “unjustly accused.” Msgr. Alan Placa was not only accused of molestation as a priest, but was also a…

The Atlanta Drought

Rod Dreher on the drought in Atlanta. He links to a New York Times article on how Atlanta has fiddled while the water supply has dropped. The response to the worst drought on record in the Southeast has unfolded in ultra-slow motion. All summer, more than a year after the drought began, fountains sprayed and…

Moral Equivalency?

Many Catholic apologists are pointing to the recent story about sexual abuse in public schools and crowing–“See, you can’t fault celibacy or anything else unique about the priesthood! Schools have the same problem!” But do they? Is it the same problem? AP reports 2,570 cases of teachers being removed for sex-related problems (out of 3,000,000…

Civil Disobedience …?

UCC Leaders John Thomas and Linda Jaramillo got themselves arrested at the White House last week, as they planned. It wasn’t for trying to deliver a petition, but for protesting in a security zone that was off limits to protesting, “when their request for a meeting with the White House’s public liaison office was refused.”…

On Marriage and Family

Some Seventh-day Adventist statements on marriage and family: From the Fundamental Beliefs: Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered…

Man Cited for Flag Burning in San Antonio

David Bohmfalk was cited for burning a flag–a Mexican flag–in front of the Alamo. Authorities say his actions left some of the Mexican nationals in the Alamo crowd feeling burned. However, Bohmfalk’s attorney, Jason Jakob, says, freedom of speech is Bohmfalk’s constitutional right. “My client felt so strongly, and exercised protest, by burning that flag,”…

“Catholic Fascism: 1930s Austria”

Gerald Augustinus writes about the “clerical fascism” of Austria (which he compares to Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Croatia). He speaks of his family’s own experience, and concludes: While the Church has benefited from the American model of separation of church and state, it had to be dragged there kicking and screaming. … So next time…

Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Schools

Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools; AP Finds 2,500 Teachers Punished in 5 Years. Young people were the victims in at least 1,801 of the cases, and more than 80 percent of those were students. At least half the educators who were punished by their states also were convicted of crimes related to their misconduct. The…

An Invitation

If you are in Houston, I invite you to come to Houston International any evening this week for an evangelistic series, “Now Is the Time … to Come to Jesus.” The evangelist is Cesar Cardenas of Medellin, Colombia. 7:30 p.m. nightly.

Ecclesia Plantanda

Ecclesia Plantanda–“the church must be planted”–was the motto of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of American Lutheranism. I learned it at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary, but that was the only reference to church planting in my seminary career–and it didn’t get that much mention in my undergraduate education at Atlantic Union College. Times have changed. Church…

Harry Potter. Again.

So. While Jo Rowling now is more comfortable talking about her spiritual beliefs as they appear in the books, and has satisfied some Christians, she’s now thrown down the gauntlet in another direction–telling an audience than Dumbledore is gay and had a thing with Grindelwald. I’m just shaking my head wondering why in the world…