February 28, 2005

Brian McLaren's Call to Make Christ Our Lord

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 2:53 pm

I have been accused of being an emergent Christian, and since I don’t understand what that means, I don’t know whether to be offended or flattered. Hence, I’m reading A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren to learn about post-modern emergent Christian theology.

Early in the book, McLaren makes some statements that go to the heart of the Lordship of Jesus Christ (or lack thereof) among American Christians. Here are a couple excerpts, beginning with some statements that McLaren says could be made today (pages 79-80):
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February 25, 2005

Bono for President of the World Bank

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 4:39 pm

The Los Angeles Times has an editorial proposing Bono as the next President for the World Bank.

Bono, the U2 rock star, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and he is a credible candidate. But we have a better idea on how best to recognize his effective lobbying on behalf of African development — Bono should be named the next president of the World Bank.
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February 23, 2005

Wallis is Mobilizing a Movement

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:18 pm

I had the pleasure of hearing Jim Wallis speak at an event on his book tour for God’s Politics. The event was held at a church next door to an evangelical seminary, so much of the audience were seminary students and faculty. However, judging by the attendees who introduced themselves during the Q&A, there were also mainline Christians like me, and even a few agnostic social activists.

I was expecting a typical book tour speech. Instead, I sat enthralled through a one-hour sermon, and not a polite mainline protestant sermon, but a rousing revival-meeting sermon. The audience interrupted Wallis repeatedly with enthusiastic applause, cheers and amens as he spoke about a Christianity that is “personal but never private”, with moral values that address far more than just abortion and gay marriage, and that is called by Christ to fulfill the commission of Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, care for the sick and comfort the oppressed. While much of what he said is contained in God’s Politics, Wallis is not about selling books, but about mobilizing a movement to combat poverty, hunger and war.
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February 22, 2005

God Bless America…and the Whole World

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 1:29 pm

This past Sunday, Pastor Tony Auer gave a sermon on the gospel text from the lectionary, which included the well-known John 3:16 verse. I found his sermon prophetic, and would like to share an excerpt that particularly moved me:

“For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, so that all those who believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We have all seen, and maybe we have on our car, a bumper sticker that says, “God Bless America”. What does that mean? America already has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. We have one of the highest standards of living in the world, we already consume two-thirds of the world’s natural resources. What does “God Bless America” mean? Bless us with more?

Yes, 3,000 Americans died in the World Trade Center and another 1400 have died in Iraq, and that is a tragedy. But that many people die in a week in Africa due to genocide, AIDS and starvation. Over 250,000 persons died because of the tsunami. When we say “God Bless America”, are we being exclusive? Wouldn’t we like God to bless Africa, and bring an end to genocide, war and starvation? Wouldn’t we like God to bless the survivors and the victims of the tsunami? Wouldn’t we like God to bless the Iraqi people who have suffered far greater loss than we have? If God so loved the world, wouldn’t we want God to bless the whole world, with no exceptions?

Keep your God Bless America bumper sticker, but maybe you should add to it: God Bless America…and the whole world, no exceptions.

For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that through him all people of the world might have life and salvation. The Son is sent out of love. The purpose of the Son’s mission is not condemnation of those outside the “club”, but salvation for all the people of the world. God comes to us to bring us life not death. To bring us life now and in the future.

February 19, 2005

Blogophilia

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:45 pm

Some new (to me) progressive Christian blogs this week:

  • The Grace Pages has a post about the imminent return of heresy trials in the Church of England for, among other things, preaching a liberal doctrine regarding gays. Hopefully they won’t be bringing back the stake as well.
  • I just discovered The Feminarian, who happens to live in the same suburb of a major US city as I do, and is apparently attending seminary with several friends of mine. Regardless of the its-a-small-blogosphere set of coincidences, she has an engrossing series on Christian sex (!!), starting with this post.
  • A new progressive Lutheran blog, FaithandPolicy, has a post with a quote from Ann Coulter, refuting which is the entire purpose of my blog and many like it. David counters with quotes from Luke and Martin Luther, both a bit more knowledgeable than Ann.
  • From the Parish, a concept for a Christian magazine that I would not only read, but pay money for. As for a title, how about Progressive Christian: the magazine of the Progressive Christian Bloggers Network. Joking, but only kind of.

February 18, 2005

Griping About Blog Storms

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 11:50 am

By now you’ve probably seen the Gary Brolsma Numa Numa video, and either found it hilarious (me) or just shrugged (my brother.) Apart from the comic value of lip-synching to Hungarian techno pop, what fascinates me is the nature of this blog storm. Think of this from poor Gary’s point of view: he makes a video and puts it on his blog for the amusement of a close circle of friends and visitors to his blog; the video sweeps exponentially through the blogosphere for reasons that are hard to pin down, other than its funny (kind of); Gary (I’m guessing) sees his web hosting bandwidth cap obliterated, and has to turn off his blog to avoid paying huge overage charges; NBC Today picks it up, and he is on national television, reaching people that have never heard of a blog, don’t know what techno is, and can’t find Hungary on a map. The sad thing is that, most likely, this 19 year-old has already peaked. His 15 minutes are over, and he will never again experience anything quite like this again. Ten, twenty years from now, his video will get 15 seconds in a VH1 nostalgia retrospective.
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February 17, 2005

Borowitz: Bush Reaffirms Support for Global Warming

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 12:33 pm

From the Borowitz Report:

BUSH REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR GLOBAL WARMING
Makes Earth a ‘Homier’ Place, President Says

On the day that the U.N. Kyoto Protocol finally went into effect, President George W. Bush reaffirmed his strong support for global warming, arguing that the phenomenon helps to make the world a “toastier, homier” place.

“Right now, Hawaii has a climate that is the envy of the world,” Mr. Bush said at a White House briefing. “If global warming continues at its current pace, by 2050 the whole world will be as hot as Hawaii, if not hotter.”

President Bush added that global warming – far from being the threat to the world’s eco-system that many experts say it is — may actually be the best long-term solution to the world’s energy problems.

“If the world got a few degrees warmer every year, we wouldn’t have to turn up the darned thermostat so much,” Mr. Bush said. “Thanks to global warming, the world will be a toastier, homier place.”

Mr. Bush said that each and every American can do his or her part to help increase global warming, adding, “Instead of walking to the corner, drive your SUV.”

“A lot of folks think they can’t do much to produce greenhouse gasses, but that’s just not true,” Mr. Bush said. “Every little bit helps.”

February 16, 2005

Global Campaign Against Poverty

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 5:56 pm

You may have noticed the white banners with the slogan “MakePovertyHistory.org” on some of your favorite blogs. Richard and Mike at connexions cleared up the mystery. It turns out that MakePovertyHistory.org is a UK-based campaign affiliated with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, or GCAP. GCAP is supported by a long list of international NGOs including World Vision, the Micah Challenge and Oxfam, and is an umbrella group for various national campaigns against poverty.

The US national campaign is called The ONE Campaign. From its website:

What is The ONE Campaign?
ONE is a new effort by Americans to rally Americans ONE by ONE to fight the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. The ONE Campaign is engaging Americans through a diverse coalition of faith-based and anti-poverty organizers to show the steps people can take, ONE by ONE, to fight global AIDS and poverty. (more…)

February 14, 2005

Bush's Immoral Budget

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:21 pm

Some expressions of moral outrage at Bush’s spending priorities:

A Washington Post editorial calls the budget “breathtaking”.

To meet its claimed target of cutting the deficit in half by 2009, the new budget omits the cost of the war in Iraq; the cost of the president’s proposed private accounts for Social Security; and the cost of correcting the alternative minimum tax, which is hitting growing numbers of middle-class taxpayers rather than the rich it is intended for.

To make its already unaffordable tax cuts permanent, the administration wants to change the budget-scoring rules so that the cuts show up on the score card as cost-free. In fact, making them permanent would cost $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years… (more…)

Garrison Keillor on the ELCA Sexuality Task Force

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 9:35 am

From the January 22nd show of A Prairie Home Companion, courtesy of Tony.

“Pastor Ingqvist was so glad about the snow. He was thinking he might have to do a sermon on the Lutheran church, its announcement of its commission on its position on same-sex relationships and the ordination of same-sex people. But then he thought, “No, I don’t really need to do that. People are thinking about snow.” Nobody had really asked him about this commission report, which was a masterpiece of muddling through – just a masterpiece. It was a beautiful piece of writing. It’s a case where you establish a commission to take up a question that militants on either side are waving their bright shining swords, and (more…)

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