Lauren Artress in Houston

Lauren Artress, the guru of the modern Labyrinth, was in Houston recently, this blog notes. For background on the history of this practice, see this article by Lee Penn. See also Lee’s book, False Dawn.

Herb Douglass, A Fork in the Road

I’m reading Herb Douglass’ new book, A Fork in the Road, about the 1957 publication of Questions on Doctrine and its aftermath. It’s an expanded version of the paper he presented at the 50th Anniversary QOD conference this past October (PDF, mp3). So having read his paper and having heard him give the talk, there’s…

What Is a Blog?

A blog, or “web log,” is, at its most basic, a log of visited webpages, with links to them, and perhaps some brief commentary, arranged in reverse chronological order. For an overview and a history, see the Wikipedia article. A good example (especially since it was the first) is Scripting News, by Dave Winer.  He’s…

Churches Can Host Super Bowl Parties–But Should They?

The NFL has relented–it has said churches can host free Super Bowl parties. But should they? Should a sanctuary devoted to praise and worship of God become a window for viewing a gladiatorial spectacle? What if churches instead reached out to the 2/3 of US residents who don’t watch it?

The Sources of the Qur’an

Christoph Luxenberg, The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran (German original 2000; English translation 2007). Luxenberg (a pseudonym), a philologist, proposes an interesting theory, that much of the Qur’an comes from an early Christian work. If you understand the basis of the text to be…

“The Third Jesus”?

Deepak Chopra is urging people to look for the return of “the third Jesus”–not the Jesus of history, nor the Jesus of Christian faith, but the Jesus of neo-pagan “spirituality,” the kind of Jesus who would be acceptable to liberals and to Hindus. He’s now on a lecture tour promoting his book, The Third Jesus:…

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day this year is in Holy Week, and the Catholic church is reminding the faithful, Irish and otherwise, that the commemoration of St. Patrick has therefore been moved to a different date. Bishops are reminding them that Holy Week is an inappropriate time for parties. Some places are going ahead with parades and…

Fr. John Z. on Catholic Liturgy

One of the most widely read Catholic blogs (What Does the Prayer Really Say?) is by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a liturgical expert who works in Rome. It’s a good place to get a sense of discussions within the Catholic church on worship. Recently, he has taken issue with a James Carroll column in the Boston…

Call for Congressional Inquiry into Corpse Shows

A NJ Congressman has called for the US Attorney General to investigate corpse shows. Lawmakers are calling for Congress to probe bodies shows in the wake of ABC News “20/20” report on the black market of bodies coming from China to be put on display across the United States. “It has every mark of executions…

Freedom of the Press

Can we have freedom of the press if reporters find themselves subject to the full weight of governmental pressure to get them to disclose confidential sources? Case in point. Aren’t such measures intended to inspire fear in the hearts of journalists, to get them to back off stories of importance? Isn’t it a form of…

Some Young Adult Groups I Knew

In the nine years I was director of young adult and campus ministry for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, I encountered a wide variety of young adult groups throughout the city. There were some that were earnest in their faith and enthusiastic in sharing it; I think especially of those young adults associated with Bayou Awakening…

Diminishing Freedom in Favor of the Common Good

Houston Catholic Worker argues on behalf of labor unions, suggesting that you must limit individual freedom in pursuit of the common good. That’s frighteningly similar to arguments made by totalitarian regimes of the left and the right through the ages, and akin to the arguments made by supporters of the “Patriot Act.”

“Intellectual Scandal”?

Liberal German scholar Gerd Ludemann bitterly attacks the recent book on Jesus by Pope Benedict XVI, calling it an “intellectual scandal”–because the pope dares to assert the divinity of Jesus, the inspiration of Scripture, and the reliability of the Gospel accounts. Ludemann is a fan of the “Jesus Seminar,” and his review has been expanded…

Woe unto Me if I Preach not the Gospel

Back in October, 2007, a blogger posted on the Spectrum blog about questionable youth ministry tactics. He was jumping off of a New York Times article about church youth groups using the violent video game, “Halo.” That’s a rather shocking methodology for evangelism. I don’t see how it can be excused. But I don’t see…

Barry Black

The Baltimore Sun profiles Barry Black, the SDA pastor who rose in the ranks of Navy chaplains to be Chief of Chaplains, and is currently Chaplain of the US Senate.

A Platonic Church

Over at SDA to RC, Hugo asserts that the Catholic understanding of the church is platonic–it is an ideal, not realized on this earth. Thus, the church can’t be charged with any sins or errors. By definition, he says, it can do no wrong. If torture is wrong, then the church cannot have tortured. Well,…

60 Years

Suppose they gave a birthday party and no one showed up? Well, some did. But did you know the World Council of Churches has just celebrated its 60th anniversary? I didn’t.

Rob Bell on Prayer

Rob Bell’s latest NOOMA video is on-line, for 48 hours only, at Facebook. It was uploaded yesterday, so that means it is coming down about noon on Wednesday. It’s about prayer, and why it seems that God answers some, and not others. Take a look.

Castro Steps Down

After nearly fifty years, Fidel Castro has stepped down. After fifty years of American hostility and opposition, after failed CIA coup and assassination attempts and blockades and embargoes and boycotts, Fidel Castro has stepped down. He was a survivor. He outlasted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. They all hoped…

QOD Conference Materials On-line

Julius Nam has announced that the audio and written materials from October’s conference at Andrews University on the 50th anniversary of the book, Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, are now on-line. My reflections on the conference.