Stories I’ve Found, 8/31/2012

Interesting stories I’ve found lately, and some are very interesting:

Timothy Dalrymple’s confession, I Am A Hate Filled Christian,  is a powerful self-examination. I could say a lot of this about myself, even though I’m not an Evangelical Christian any longer.

A late addition Friday morning after posting this column: an interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on the state of Islam and the U.S. is absolutely worth reading.  His last statement is a revelation about Muslims being more free to practice their religion in the United States than in their homelands.

Bill Tammeus surfaces some interesting thoughts on the nature of forgiveness from a Jewish perspective. The teaching that one must forgive someone who’s wronged us so that God may forgive them is a thought worth pondering, provided we don’t use it as a means of forcing God to avenge our pain by withholding forgiveness.

At last, an adult thinker makes some good observations about politics. Tim Suttle’s column Conservative/Liberal Hatred is a Sign of Immaturity  is spot on. A similar approach to the article I referred to last week about the Catholic Both/And. American progress has always been in the Middle of the political spectrum.

The Ground Zero Cross: An Open Letter to Atheists by Frederick Schmidt presents a criticism of a technique used far too frequently in our society today: playing the Victim Card. Someone who is truly a victim of an definite act of premeditated evil has a right to play this card, but how far does that go with acts that aren’t?

Every now and then a non-canonical Gospel is brought up as adding something essential that’s been missing to Christianity since the beginning. Philip Jenkins has some good background on why the four Gospels were included as Divinely Inspired and the others weren’t and aren’t. Although he does a good job outlining why some made it and some didn’t, Jenkins misses a point almost everyone misses: the Canon of the Bible wasn’t officially set by any Christian Church before the Reformation. There was a consensus of what belonged by the time St. Jerome translated the Vulgate, the 4th Century, that pretty much included both the Eastern and Western Churches, and we can track how that consensus developed and who accepted which disputed books when, but there was no council in Antiquity where each book of the Bible was voted in or out.

Mehdi Hasan has written an impassioned plea to release a 11 year old Pakistani girl held for burning pages of the Koran. Hasan is a practicing Muslim, and his critique of the misapplication of religious principles is powerful.

Robert Hunt is spot on when he answers the question: “Jesus the CEO?” I don’t think any Church is really a business, and if thinks it is, it’s wrong.

Can Muslims dance?  This article gives a good perspective in response to the reports the Taliban are killing people for dancing in Afghanistan. I would think the Mevlevi, who are an ascetic order within Islam, would be evidence in favor of dancing in general.

Boy, I knew this kind of thing was going on, but it pops up in the news so rarely. Some Jews in the Holy Land are using part of a traditional Holy Day prayer to seek the destruction of Iran and Hezbollah. I understand why people would pray for a curse on their enemies, but not the expectation that an infinitely merciful and loving God would consider a human request to carry it out seriously.

If you wanted to know everything that’s going on in the Vatican City in English, here’s a place to go. Good to know they took care of the porcupines in the catacombs, and hope they can do in the red weevils in the palm trees.

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