Argentinean born psychiatrist and philosopher Miguel Benasayag, now living and working in Paris, published, few years ago, a little book (“Les passions tristes: Souffrance psychique et crise sociale”) on what could be called “cultural sadness”. Picking up and applying Spinoza’s category of “sad passions” he describes the diffuse psychological pessimism, particularly present today in European young people, but tries to read it on a socio-cultural level.
This year, the prestigious Morehouse College was among the fortunate few to be afforded the privilege of having a sitting president deliver the graduation address. Thousands sat reverently in the open arena as the stubborn drizzle soaked their newly acquired garments. The gray skies and persistent precipitation were not enough to damp the spirits of the graduates and celebrants who were transfixed on the one whose presence transformed a routine event into an unforgettable moment.
Comments on this website frequently involve traditionalist and non-traditionalist Adventists sparring in disagreement over various topics Adventisty. And, on occasion, I’ve noticed a few conservative commenters asking their more liberal counterparts – those who are church members – why they remain Adventists at all? It seems to these enquirers that the views expressed by those liberals are sufficiently heterodox that they have effectively ceased to be SDA. And, if so, why remain members?
In the sports world over the last month, one of the biggest stories in the world of sports was NBA center Jason Collins coming out of the closet and revealing that he is gay. As I reflect on his revelation, and some of the criticism he received, I am reminded of the beginning of the Adventist Church. The SDA Church began as an outgrowth of what is now called The Great Disappointment.
Everything can be an object of theological trial and theological assessment except God. God is, by definition and after a widespread religious understanding, beyond any rational experimental attempt. Everybody who breaks this basic religious rule would immediately incur in a kind of unforgivable theological temerity, into a rough religious insolence and finally into pure blasphemy. Yet, seen from another perspective, trying to think God is the first task of any theology and of any healthy religious experience.
In the spring of 2005, my attention was curiously piqued by two major train wrecks in Asia. The first occurred during rush-hour in Tokyo on Monday, April 25, when an intercity train derailed with such force that it became embedded in the ground floor garage of an apartment complex. Investigators concluded that the crash occurred when the driver attempted to manoeuver a curve at 100km/h at a point on the track when the maximum speed was 70km/h.
170 years ago, Soren Kierkegaard wrote Fear and Trembling. Ten years ago, I read it for the first time and it changed my life. In it Kierkegaard outlines principles for living the life of faith by looking at Abraham, who he deems the knight of faith. Kierkegaard identifies five requirements to be a knight of faith. I do not consider these requirements to be hard and fast rules (in fact I will challenge at least one of them), but I do think that these are good things to think about if we are going to live a life of faith.
This year occurs the 40th anniversary of Gustavo Gutierrez’s English edition ofTeologia de la liberacion. Perspectivas (“A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics and Salvation, 1973).Although the “Theology of Liberation” has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as such within the Catholic Church in Latin-America in the 1960s–1970s. The term, coined in 1971 by Gutierrez himself and in dialogue with L. Boff, J. Sobrino, O. Romero, J.L.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four encompasses powerful social commentary that eerily portrays the reality of contemporary American society. The invisible Big Brother makes his presence felt through the totalitarian Party that is committed to the enforcement of mind control and is quick to criminalize independent thinkers for their thoughtcrimes. In the modern American context, Big Brother’s Party enjoys the support of both donkey and elephant and feels equally at home in a red or blue environment.
Over the last couple of days many around the country have been focused on the arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 (Prop 8) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), taking place in the Supreme Court. It doesn’t make sense in this forum to give a summary or even a major analysis. There are good analyses out there. (I found Mother Jones and SCOTUSblog helpful), but there are some things that I want to highlight in reference to the arguments we have seen this week.
Bob Marley will probably be remembered as one of the greatest social prophets of the twentieth century. As a result of the enduring popularity of his lyrical and musical compositions, many of his moving creations have been embraced as classics that will withstand the whims of popular ditties whose only purpose is to temporarily excite. Those who have studied the lyrics to his socially conscious songs are fully aware that this son of St. Anne, Jamaica was gifted with a unique ability to expose the negative while elevating the positive.
The Barna Group, a non-partisan research group focused on the intersection of religion and culture, recently published some interesting findings on how we perceive the current state of religious liberty in America. Overall, a majority of Americans expressed some level of concern that religious freedom would become more restricted over the next five years.
Recently a friend (who, like me, grew up in an extremely Seventh-day Adventist family) and I were talking about the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, where both of us have lived. Something that was presented to us as instantly life-destroying can now be purchased in a store! The way our parents and teachers had taught us, marijuana wasn’t just something to avoid, but something that if used once would destroy you forever.
Carlos Raphael of Louisville, Kentucky graciously granted me permission to use one of his artistic creations for the cover design of my book, The Faith Factor. Titled “Ms. Rosa in Strength,” the painting depicts the painful struggle for Black liberation in the United States of America during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 60s. At the center of the otherwise somber collage is the profile of a colorful and jovial Rosa Parks who is encircled by strategically placed sepia portrayals of three contemplative religious icons of the movement: Dr.