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.
To point out instances where we human beings don’t practice consistent values is easy. Things that should be important aren’t, and things that aren’t important get elevated to the status of “central to life”.
On Monday, President Barack Obama was publicly sworn in for his second term as president of the United States. Every inauguration is celebrated as a testament to the peaceful transition (or in this case continuation) of power and to the democratic system. For me and many others, the luster of the festivities was tarnished by a tweet from Pastor Mark Driscoll, a Calvinist pastor who is popular in conservative evangelical circles.
Christians in general, and Adventists in particular, often have contentious discussions on how to understand scripture as it relates to the physical and interpersonal world. Within Adventism prominent hot button issues are: homosexuality, role of women and faith & science. The positions we form depend, at minimum, on two general categories: evidence and argumentative method (how we reason out the argument). Both can have problems independent of each other.