Representations of Christian life that are sympathetic, plausible, and interesting are rare enough in popular media to deserve notice. That’s one reason to be a fan of the British series Call the Midwife, now in its third season on public television.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came shortly after one of the first worship services I led as a pastor. One of the parish members came up to me after worship one week and said, "You didn't leave enough room."
"What do you mean?" I asked. I had no idea what she was talking about.
Over the last few months, I’ve been following a blog by former Seventh-day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell. The blog is called Year Without God, and chronicles Bell’s decision to take a break from God, walk away from the church, and try living like an atheist for a year.
The shooting that rocked California last week raised questions about treating the mentally ill and why there are so many semi-automatic weapons on our streets. But what caught the nation's eye this time around was that the shooter made clear his motives: Twenty-two-year-old Elliot Rodger hated women. He wrote a manifesto announcing his intention to reap vengeance on women for denying him the sexual attention he believed was his entitlement.
This month, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open debate on new rules regarding net neutrality, the idea that Internet service providers (Verizon, Comcast, etc.) should treat all data equally, regardless of its source or destination. Net neutrality advocates argue that the Internet is best when it operates on a simple first-come, first-served basis.
The FCC's proposal, however, includes provisions for ISPs to allow "paid prioritization," otherwise known as an Internet "fast lane," when such service meets a threshold of "commercial reasonableness." This means that ISPs can negotiate massive payments from large-scale purveyors of online bandwidth.
Living in San Diego and having family in Norfolk, Virginia, I probably hear more sermons that involve military life than most Americans. I thought little of it this past Sunday when a video of a naval officer's account of war and call for church members to help those in combat and their families ran across the church televisions. But then we prayed for service women and men. And the pastor had all "retired and active" service people stand. It seemed a bit excessive. Then I realized it was Memorial Day weekend.
It reminded me of the sermons of Gilded Age evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody.