Last Sunday, an average summer day, I was driving with my family from Florence to the Tyrrhenian sea, in the beautiful Tuscany landscape. My thoughts were absorbed in organizing my weekly schedule when suddenly Daniel, my oldest son, put music on for his submissive audience in the car. It was Dream Theather's song, “Peruvian Skies”. Similar to E.
Our church has had some major disagreements. We've disagreed on the bounds of academic freedom, had vigorous debates on the role of women, had protracted discourses about race relations, and fervent volleys regarding homosexuality. There have been heated and passionate pleas among all those involved in these conversations. People quote texts and cite personal experience. People get upset, some cry, or even leave. Some become persuaded, some have changes of heart, some become champions for positions they previously disdained.
From the time I first heard the then-newly-popular explanation of spiritual gifts back in the 80’s, I’ve had my reservations about it. It just seemed entirely too convenient that you could distill out of the Pauline epistles a checklist of Divinely-supplied skills so tidy that you could make them into a vocational aptitude test and assign every member his place in the whole.
To be clear, this is not an endorsement of one position over another. This isn't even a statement of what I might have voted. There are many things, such as location of my hypothetical residence and my perception of how I'd be affected, that I would have to consider. As it is, in reality, I don't live in the UK and I am not a UK citizen. Be that as it may, I can sympathize with those who voted in favor of Brexit.
Some of the weird, angering, funny things that have happened to me religiously have led me to ask the question, “Why do people even have a church?” It seems I am not the only one asking this question. A relatively recent survey found that Millenials are leaving the church at rate greater than their similarly situated generations in the past. 26% of Millennials claim no religious affiliation. This is six percent more than my generation at that time and 13% more than the generation before mine.
I cannot write a column about bioethics, Adventism, and Adventist healthcare this week without referring to the massacre in Orlando, Florida. I have often said I can find an ethics issue behind every bush. It is not hard to find one here. Fear and hatred appear to have taken hold in my United States in ways that I do not recall as a youngster. The demonization of Others is so prevalent and acceptable that national leaders gain followers by appealing to it. The embrace of violence in American culture combines with a supposed liberty to own any gun we wish, to deadly effect.
Johan Cruyff, “In Memoriam” (1947-2016)
Johan Cruyff, the worldwide prophet of modern soccer, died some weeks ago leaving behind a particular ludic and anthropological legacy. Applying Max Weber’s sociological ideal-type classification, he showed persuasively that discipline and tactics are blind without beauty and elegance, as much as pleasure and creativity are empty without rigour and hard work.