The Erie Canal turned 200 years old on July 4th. Construction for the canal began on July 4th, 1817. In addition to serving as an effective means of transportation and commerce, it aided the spread of religious movements—not all of them good.
President Kennedy faced criticism and supspicion about his Catholic faith when he ran for the presidency. In a speech to Protestant ministers, JFK warned that if prejudice towards Catholics was tolerated it would lead to an undermining of religious freedom for other groups. “For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed,” Kennedy said, “in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist.”
This last week the Southern Baptist Convention created a media storm over confusion regarding a resolution renouncing the white supremacy of the alt right movement. For those of you who don’t know too much about how the SBC works, the convention publishes a list of resolutions every year. These are items of concern the SBC wants to communicate to the broader culture.
Not long ago I preached a sermon that dealt with a Christian view of what it means to be human. Two of my main points of application were related to racism and abortion, issues that are incompatible with a biblical understanding of intrinsic human worth. After the service I was asked to speak to a young couple who were visibly upset at my sermon. What I heard surprised me.
Once a week I begin my theology class with a time of Q&A. For me, this is just applied theology, a chance to show how the Bible relates to what’s going on in the lives and minds of my students. The most frequently asked questions almost all relate to God’s providence.
Stephen Hawking’s recent comments about the need to evacuate earth are akin to the shot heard ’round the world, or in this case the voice heard ’round the universe. If you buy the purely materialistic outlook, like he does, then this makes perfect sense. Predictions about the end of earth, rooted in scientific theories, should be taken seriously. But the Christian believes we have more to go on than just science.
Racial equality has mattered to me for about as long as I can remember but not in ways that I ever thought about or could articulate as a kid or a young teenager. But somehow it still mattered and I can look back and remember that it was important in ubiquitous ways.
There are two perennial truths that humans, try as we may, cannot avoid. One, this world cannot satisfy us. It was never meant to. Two, we can’t fix us. We were never meant to.
If you talk about evidence at Easter you don’t really trust the Bible or the work of the Holy Spirit. Why act as though evidence is at all necessary for talking about our risen Lord. This is the Christian FAITH we are talking about, after all.