Jan 10, 2006
After 9/11, a New Yorker might take comfort in the thought, “The terrorists will now pick some other city.” But like San Francisco, New York remains a handy port city for smugglers of nuclear bombs. It’s said that al-Qaeda has been working on the idea for ten years. If you were a terrorist, would not that weapon appeal to you as the way to trump 9/11?
The First Amendment protects religious freedom in two ways: by prohibiting the government from interfering with citizens’ religious exercise and by barring the state from promoting faith. Judging from his record, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito seems apt to uphold the first safeguard but inclined to erode the second.
Tsunami survivor Marzuki Arsyad, 34, was luckier than some in Banda Aceh—his wife was unharmed because she was working outside the city. Even so, on December 26, 2004, this pedicab driver and fisherman lost 13 relatives as well as his home. The death toll in Indonesia’s Aceh province was 170,000; 500,000 became homeless.
David Hart’s 2003 book The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (Eerdmans) was widely touted as a theological tour de force. He offers in that book a powerful and deeply learned statement of Christian truth that draws on the Eastern Orthodox tradition while engaging modern and postmodern critics of Christianity. After the tsunami in 2004 he wrote several commentaries in response to what he regarded as unhelpful attempts to understand that catastrophe theologically.
In antiquity China acquired a beautiful name, Shen-zhou, which literally means “state of God.” Unfortunately, the title probably was used as a political term meaning that God had given the elite the divine right to rule rather than that Yahweh claimed China as the chosen land and the Chinese as a chosen people. From its seventh-century beginnings, Chinese Christianity has never been able to detach itself from its political context.
If you grew up on C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books, you won’t be disappointed in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first in a projected series. It’s visually rich and imaginative, and emotionally stirring. Director Andrew Adamson and his co-writers (Ann Peacock, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) have hewn closely to Lewis’s 1950 children’s novel, yet the movie never feels like a slavish adaptation, as some of the Harry Potter movies do.
Terrence Malick’s The New World is not your father’s historical adventure film. Though purported to be an epic treatment of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, complete with Indian attacks and the heated love affair between Captain John Smith (Irish actor Colin Farrell) and the Indian princess Pocahontas (newcomer Q’orianka Kilcher), such elements form little more than a gilded frame for the picture that Malick puts on display.
Does life have any direction or purpose, any telos? A significant part of the popularity of Rick Warren’s “purpose-driven” books is his strong conviction that God provides direction and purpose for each of our lives, as well as for the church and local congregations. Many of us are uncomfortable with Warren’s specific formulation of God’s purpose or plan for people. But he is clearly on to something. His argument responds to the deep yearnings in American culture for some sense of direction—for a guiding light.
American Jewish groups, irate over comments by Iran’s president that the Nazi Holocaust was a myth, are stepping up pressure on the international community to punish Iran for the remarks.
Methodists may accept pope's offer to join statement on salvation: Salvation through grace, reflected in works
Did you know? National Public Radio has been under pressure from conservatives for its alleged liberal bias, but Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, NPR ombudsman, notes that NPR draws on many think tanks for its commentary. A tally of commentaries by think tank experts in 2005 indicates that interviewees more often came from the right than the left: 239 from the right, 141 from the left (www.npr.org, December 14).
In a direct action by church progressives who have repeatedly decried the federal spending cuts affecting the poor, more than 100 activists were arrested for blocking an entrance to a congressional office building during a frigid, pre-Christmas confrontation.
In the closely watched Dover, Pennsylvania, case over whether intelligent design theory may be taught in science classrooms, a federal judge has ruled that ID instruction, because of its creationist roots, would violate the First Amendment ban on promoting religious beliefs.
The violence of nature in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, appears to have stemmed a 30-year civil conflict that had made the area one of the most militarized places on earth.
Three of the largest Baptist universities in the U.S. have each chosen a different strategy in selecting the president who will shape the school’s future.