Thinking Out Loud

November 16, 2015

When Things Start to Implode

Filed under: current events — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 1:46 pm
Sometimes, often unexpectedly, the dynamics of a situation cause things to implode, unravel, or crack under pressure.

Sometimes, often unexpectedly, the dynamics of a situation causes things to implode, unravel, or crack under pressure.

Over the past few days, I’ve witnessed two completely, totally unrelated situations where things have begun to unravel.

The first concerns the marriage of Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini. We’ve written about U.S. pastor Saeed’s imprisonment in Iran here before and I have devoted other blog posts, links and Tweets to continuing to both bring his story and his wife’s advocacy to the forefront.

But this week Christianity Today reported:

For the past three years Naghmeh Abedini has publicly battled her husband’s captors, advocating for his release from an Iranian jail.

Behind the scenes, she also struggled with his inner demons.

Last week, the emotional distress of doing both finally proved too much, she said.

In two emails to supporters, Abedini revealed details of her troubled marriage to Saeed Abedini, an American citizen and pastor imprisoned in Iran since September 2012…

…Touring the country to advocate for Saeed’s release while coping with marital conflict proved too much, she wrote. She told supporters she’s withdrawing from public life for a time of prayer and rest…

…He has been repeatedly beaten and denied medical care at times, said his attorney, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

In September, Abedini’s lawyers learned that his eight-year prison term might be extended.

Sekulow told CT that Saeed was beaten again this week and that his life remains in danger…

click the link above to read the full story at CT

The other item is the story of the decision of the LDS Church (Mormon) to not baptize or confer any of the church’s other sacraments including ordination for ministry on the children of same-sex couples. An exemption would only occur if (a) the child turned 18 and also (b) moved out of the house and also (c) renounced his/her parents lifestyle.

Now many members are resigning their membership. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

More than 1,000 inactive and active Mormons — along with their backers — rallied in City Creek Park on Saturday to protest the LDS Church’s recent policy decisions involving same-sex couples and their children.

Many who attended the Salt Lake City event brought rainbow flags in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They also hoisted signs with slogans such as “LDS: Love Doesn’t Separate.”

At one of several tables, attorney Mark Naugle helped Mormons expedite their paperwork to resign their memberships in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their forms were then dropped into a file box, which was rapidly filling 90 minutes after the event began, for mailing to nearby LDS Church headquarters to have those members’ names removed from the faith’s rolls…

…”We may have even reached 2,000.”

click the link above to continue reading at the Tribune

Is this the beginning of a movement? I’ve always felt that the LDS Church seems to have had an inordinate number of gay supporters, and was possibly a haven for some who wanted a worship life that was gay-friendly. Perhaps this stems from a disproportionate number of gay LDS bloggers that I’ve run into in the context of compiling weekly news feeds. Apparently the head office is putting an end to that perception with this announcement. 

As to the other story, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) will continue to advocate for Saeed’s release even as his wife and family step out of the media spotlight.

 

 

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April 2, 2014

Wednesday Link List

Irresistible Grace

After falling for an April Fool’s Day prank yesterday — hope you enjoyed yesterday’s here — you may be overly cautious today, but as far as we know, everything below is legit.

Despite a submission guide at PARSE that allows writers to post additionally at their own sites, our Leadership Today overlords want you clicking from their site, thereby depriving me of stats. So if you see something you liked, leave a comment here or there; it’s the only way I know. Clicking anything below will take you first to PARSE.

While leaving no Christian internet news stone unturned, Paul Wilkinson also writes at Thinking Out Loud, Christianity 201, and Twitter.

Devouring God's Word

August 7, 2013

Wednesday Link List

Darwin - Cats

Is it Wednesday already? Time for another list of links of interest to people like you from blogs and websites great and small. But wait! None of the links below actually work; you need to click through to the Wednesday Link List’s new home at Out of Ur, the blog of Leadership Journal.

  • How about a 19-second video to kick things off? (Apologies to those who clicked!)
  • Frank Viola offers a completely different take on the spiritual life of John Lennon.
  • What did the Pope really say in that in-flight news conference? One writer thinks it’s not exactly what was reported.
  • You thought there were fewer this year and you were right. Stats on why not as many churches are doing VBS.
  • Got the standard 2.3 kids? John Wesley would not approve. I suppose you could call this an article about being procreative.
  • A UK church organist, 68, was walking to a midnight Christmas Eve service as he had done for 40 years when two men, both 22, beat him to death in a motiveless attack. Now, his widow offers a message of forgiveness.
  • Essay of the Month for June (but you may not like it): The atheist daughter of a noted Christian apologist shares her story so far.
  • Related: An Atheism, Theism, Agnosticism, Gnosticism infographic.
  • Essay of the Week: Ten things church worship leaders want the rest of us to understand.
  • Related: What if we looked at our church’s corporate worship time as a spiritual discipline?
  • The year isn’t even over and already we have a winner for the worst reporting of a religious story in 2013.
  • I’ll let Michael Frost Tweet this intro: “The conservative journal Christianity Today makes the case for welcoming same-sex couples to church.”
  • A blog to know about: Jesus I Will Follow You is a tumblr that answers questions from young readers on tough subjects.
  • From my own blog this week: A blog summary on the Presbyterian Church USA’s “In Christ Alone” hymnbook controversy and a look at same sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • It’s easy to deal with what’s appropriate beachwear for women when you’re on a Christian radio show. It’s harder when it’s your own 13-year old daughter.
  • Rob Bell is offering two more of his 2-day conferences in September and October that are already renowned for their lunch break to go surfing.
  • Music to brighten your day: Shine Bright Baby’s song from their new album Dreamers; enjoy Beautiful Love.
  • A link that takes you to more links: An Arizona pastors offers a 6-part blog series on the sins pastors commit including letting their wives manage everything on the homefront.
  • Here’s a March post which is a link to ten articles at the blog “Canon Fodder” by the author of The Question of Canon on — wait for it — ten things you should know about the New Testament canon.
  • In searching through blogs I had bookmarked months earlier, I landed on this very succinct post which I offer for your prayer consideration.
  • Before you hit the FWD button next time, here’s four reasons that Christians need to stop forwarding hoax emails.
  • A historic Roman Catholic Church that is already a shrine to a saint whose legacy is devotion to animals plans to set aside a memorial space for Fido and Fluffy.
  • Your assignment: Write a modern worship chorus utilizing the titles of television soap operas. [Warning: Consumes 4.5 valuable minutes]
  • Finally, a reminder for the end of the week, end of the month, end of the summer, or anytime you need a reminder.

I have no idea where the first graphic — the premise of which I’m not sure I agree with — originated; but the comic books below are purported to be real.  For additional wit and wisdom, follow me (please!) on Twitter. And one last time, here’s the link to today’s Wednesday Link List without the Linkectomy.

the-pat-robertson-and-friends-coloring-book-9781891053955Christian Conservative Coloring Book

August 1, 2013

Gay Marriage: Where Society is Headed

Same Sex Marriage - Roseanne KyddLast week I was given a copy of a Canadian study on the history of the same-sex marriage debate as it pertains to the Anglican Church of Canada. Same Sex Marriage: Is There a Leg to Stand On? by Roseanne Kydd is probably the most comprehensive synopsis of the topic available.  Though the topic is not of interest to everyone, the author provides a chronology of events and definitions of terms that ought to satisfy anyone coming late to the discussion. While some of this is old news to people who have followed the debate, it’s presented in a well-written succinct manner and is written according to high academic standards.

The heart of the book is that for the Anglican Church — Canada’s equivalent of The Episcopal Church — church policy has always been guided by the “three legged stool” of Scripture, Tradition and Reason, and that this has provided the denomination with a firm equilibrium. It is the author’s view that the present direction of the church is not consistent with following those guiding principles.

The first chapter traces a history of the gay rights movement back to the mid-1950s, and the implications of homosexuality’s inclusion in the original edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM) and the efforts that were made to overturn this inclusion. This chapter probably has the most Canadian content, but overall, the book has implications for readers on both side of the border. The second chapter clarifies the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender,’ and why activists want to move from the former to the latter, and why it’s important for LGBT individuals to want to drop terms like ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in favor of the more generic ‘queer.’

91 of the book’s 136 pages (including extensive footnotes) form the core text, and of those, chapter four, ‘Same Sex Marriage and the Anglican Church’ represents the heart of the book. Kydd fine tunes the distinction, for example, between the ‘blessing’ of same sex marriage, and actually having ‘rites’ for the institution of such (p.67) and also deconstructs the notion that the encounter between the Apostle Peter and Cornelius qualifies as a precedent for the ushering in as acceptable things that were formerly forbidden (pp 74-75). [We discussed that passage here at Thinking Out Loud just one week ago.]

The author extrapolates from recent headlines where the broader society is headed, what she calls the “unintended consequences” of successive liberalizations of law and societal norms resulting from increased activism, or what some would call the ‘slippery slope.’ Polyamory is the example most cited, while the consequences for things such as Pederasty, incest or other such variations considered by other writers, are omitted here, perhaps to avoid sensationalist rhetoric.  Here the greatest fear is that when the activists win battle after battle, we begin a descent into a destabilized state of anomie (p. 91).

In Canada in general, and the Anglican Church in particular, conservative voices are often perceived as a small minority. Clearly the more liberal views occupy the most space in books, periodicals and online; and right-wing writers are seen as representing an antiquated or quaint fringe. Books like this one are necessary to allow a balanced debate to take place, and while this is highly charged, emotional issue, and one which will trigger knee-jerk reactions, I would commend the book to readers on both sides of the divide.

Same Sex Marriage: Is There a Leg to Stand On? by Roseanne Kydd is published by the Anglican Communion Alliance and is available for purchase at www.essencebookstore.com or on Kindle or Kobo.

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