Century Marks

Century Marks

Hawaii igloos

The First Assembly of God in Honolulu thinks it has a partial solution to the homelessness crisis in Hawaii, which has the highest per capita homeless rate in the country. The church is putting up dome-shaped buildings that look like igloos, using land it had once reserved to build retreat cabins. The structures can each house four people, and they keep the temperature ten to 15 degrees cooler than outside. They are made of 21 fiberglass panels that overlap like fish scales and can fit into the back of a pickup truck. The 314-square-foot structures cost the church about $9,500 each, not including a floor or base and shipping costs (AP).

Voyage of the ark

A Dutch Christian organization is planning to sail a replica of the biblical ark to Brazil in time for the Summer Olympics and the Paralympic games to follow. Longer than a soccer field, the ark is built according the instructions of Genesis 6:15. It spans five floors, can hold more than 5,000 people, and weighs about 2,500 tons. The builder was inspired to recreate the ark after having a dream about an intense storm in his Nether­lands town. Completed in 2012, it has been built to house an interactive exhibit about the Bible (Times of Israel, April 28).

God and country

John Fea, historian of American religion, argues that conservative evangelicals who support Cruz and those who support Trump are two sides of the same coin. On one side are the “God” voters who have drawn a line in the sand on social issues—abortion, the definition of marriage, and religious liberty. They lean toward Cruz. On the other side are the “country” voters, who place a high priority on the “greatness” of America, because it is a new Israel, a chosen people, a “city on a hill.” They lean toward Trump. If Trump is God’s instrument for making America great again, then these voters are more than willing to overlook much of his decidedly anti-Christian language and the crudeness that drives his campaign (RNS).

Just said no I

Ägidius Zsifkokvics, a Roman Catholic bishop in Austria, is refusing to allow an anti-immigrant fence to be built on church property. The Austrian government is building a fence along its southern border to prevent immigrants from entering from Hungary, maintaining it is already overwhelmed with an influx of 90,000 immigrants last year. Part of the fence is projected to cross land owned by the Catholic Church. Bishop Zsifkokvics said he grew up with the iron curtain and remembers his relief when it came down. “A fence would be contrary to the spirit of the gospel and Pope Francis’s clear message to Europe,” he said. The church’s refusal means there will be a gap in the fence (Telegraph, April 22).

True identity

A recent paternity test has revealed that Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, is the illegitimate son of Anthony Montague Brown, Winston Churchill’s last private secretary. The archbishop had thought his father was Gavin Welby, a whiskey salesman and son of a Jewish immigrant, who was briefly married to his mother. His mother has acknowledged she had had a liaison with Brown shortly before marrying Welby, whom she had believed was Justin’s father. Archbishop Welby says he’s not upset by this news, nor does it change his relationship with his mother, an alcoholic who has been dry for 48 years. “There is no existential crisis, and no resentment against anyone. My identity is founded in who I am in Christ,” he said (Telegraph, April 8).