Tag Archives: Protestantism

Gentrification and the Church: A Case

2 Jan

The skyline of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A few Sundays ago, at the first weekly service of New City Church in Minneapolis, the Bible wasn’t the only book Reverend Tyler Sit used to preach his sermon. The other text was How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood.

So begins a Pacific Standard story by Serena Solomon. You may read the rest of the story here.

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There is a history to “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”

22 Dec

It’s the most wonderful fight of the year: the annual tussle between Christians who bravely defend “Merry Christmas” and the godless liberals who want to impose “Happy Holidays” on all of us. Or so the story goes on talk radio. But while President Trump promises to restore “Merry Christmas” to American life, those who insist on using the phrase as a sort of flag for conservative Christian culture misunderstand its history. Rather than religious, its origins are secular and commercial, even profane.

So begins historian Neil J. Young ‘s historical recounting of some of the history of “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” in America. You can read his entire Los Angeles Times op-ed here.

 

LAMENTING THE LOST HOPE OF ADVENT

13 Dec

Advent is the season of hope, the season of waiting for the coming of Christ. As Christians we believe that our hope is found in Christ, and that the church, the body of Christ, is God’s chosen instrument of revelation.

But how do you offer hope when the Church itself is the oppressor?  When the Church has committed countless violations in the name of Jesus?

So begins Mark Charles’ (Navajo Christian) advent reflections. You can read them in their entirety at Native News Online here.

Reevaluating the Longterm Effects of Protestant Missions

11 Dec

Our association of Christian missionaries with the monstrous colonial past is so absolute that we can be taken aback to find them still popping up in the occasional news report today – in relation to the fight against Ebola in West Africa, for example, or when Australian missionaries Ken and Jocelyn Elliott were kidnapped by an Islamist group in Burkina Faso last year. Journalist Brian Palmer, in an article written at the peak of the Ebola crisis in 2014, voiced a discomfort many readers no doubt share with the ongoing presence of missionaries on the frontlines of healthcare in Africa and elsewhere. “It’s great that these people are doing God’s work,” he wrote, “but do they have to talk about Him so much?”

Sociologist Robert Woodberry has been working on the global impact of missionaries for more than fifteen years, from the time he was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. And the results of his research have been shocking, even to him. He says:

“If on average missionaries were like the people in The Poisonwood Bible, for example – just very destructive of the cultures where they went – we would expect to find the places where there were more missionaries per capita, where missionaries had a longer period of service, and places where they were more free to do whatever they wanted to be worse. But we don’t find that. We find exactly the opposite.”

Statistical modelling and deep-dive historical analysis together suggest a robust causal link between the presence of – particularly Protestant – missionaries during the colonial period and the health of nations today. The more missionaries that came, the longer they stayed, and the more freedom they had, the better the outcomes, even a century or two on. Woodberry checks these off: longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, higher literacy and educational enrolment, more political democracy, lower corruption, higher newspaper circulation, higher civic participation, and on and on.

So writes Dr. Natasha Moore in her account of sociologist Robert Woodberry’s research on the ongoing effects of Christian mission work. For her entire post at the Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Religion & Ethics site, click here.

The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too

1 Nov

The protest movement Luther launched 500 years ago revamped not only how Europe worshipped but how it drank. We’d call him the patron saint of beer except, well, he wouldn’t like the “saint” part.

Source: The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too : The Salt : NPR

How the Protestant Reformation led to Martin Luther King, Jr.

31 Oct

His father changed the name of the famed civil rights leader after a visit to Germany. Read Mika Edmundson’s fascinating story about this here: How the Protestant Reformation led to Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Washington Post

The Reformation and the Rise of Science

30 Oct

There was nothing inevitable about the emergence and consolidation of Western science. Part of the explanation for science turning out the way it did has to do with the religious reformations of the sixteenth century. Read Peter Harrison’s fascinating essay on this here: The Reformation and the Rise of Science – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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