The God's Politics blog seeks to run a variety of opinions on important issues of faith, politics, and culture. Unlike pieces by Jim Wallis and Sojourners staff, other opinions expressed on this blog do not necessarily represent the position of Sojourners.
Rohingya camps near the capital Sittwe in Arakan state, Bangladesh. Photo: RNS courtesy Mathias Eick, EU/ECHO via Flickr
At the end of a three-day tour, the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation told Buddhist-majority Myanmar to repeal “laws restricting fundamental freedoms” after more than 240 Muslims were killed by Buddhist mobs during the past year.
Before the OIC delegates left Myanmar on Saturday, they visited minority ethnic Rohingya Muslims who fled the violence and are now living in squalid camps along the border with Bangladesh in Myanmar’s Arakan state, also known as Rakhine.
Headed by Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC delegation called on the government to continue legal reforms, The New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
Macy's decided to open its doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 p.m. Time magazine reports that people are denouncing the move as “greedy, misguided, and unfair to the employees being forced to work on a day traditionally reserved for family.”So how is Thanksgiving doing? Is it deceased, or has its death been greatly exaggerated?
The apostle Paul must have wondered about this when he wrote his letter to the Colossians, a group of Christians living along a main roadway in Asia Minor — what is now modern Turkey. They were pulled between the values of their faith and the values of their culture, much as we are today. Paul warned them, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
These words ring true today, don’t they? We know the philosophy of trying to spend ourselves out of economic troubles. The empty deceit of a sales pitch. The human tradition of making the holidays an orgy of consumption. The elemental spirits of the universe that lure us away from Jesus Christ.
Paul asked the Colossians, and he asks us, “Why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” (2:20). It’s a good question, one that we should ask ourselves on Thanksgiving Day, and every day.
Despite what R.U. Dateable says, it’s okay for a girl to ask a boy out. Ammentorp Photography
A school assembly speaker is gaining national attention. In Richardson, Texas, a high school brought in “motivational speaker and dating expert” Justin Lookadoo to speak to the students about relationships and dating. Lookadoo traverses the country speaking to students about the ins and outs, the perils and pitfalls of dating. Lookadoo gives teens a definitive answer on their status in the realm of dating. His quiz parallels with his “Dateable Rules,” some of which are textbook gender stereotypes and Christian theological distortions.
To be honest, I think his “rules” are bogus. They come from a place where boys and girls are divided into classes and in the end boys win. Making girls out to be “damsels in distress” and boys are “heroic warriors looking for an adventure” doesn't equate a relationship.
Relationships are built upon respect and mutuality not antiquated thinking when it comes to gender roles.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, U.K. minister for faith. Photo: Kaveh Sardari/Council on Foreign Relations. Via RNS.
The highest-ranking Muslim in the British government on Friday called on Western governments to do more to protect besieged Christian minorities across the world, particularly in the Holy Land where they are now seen as “outsiders.”
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the government’s minister for faith and the first Muslim member of a British cabinet, said religious freedom is a proxy for human rights and must not be an “add-on” to foreign policy.
“A mass exodus is taking place, on a biblical scale,” she said in a speech at Georgetown University. “In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.”
For years filmmakers had sought the rights to capture the city from the air, but never before had permission been granted, in part because the holy city is a no-fly zone.
Still, before filming began in 2010, producer Taran Davies came up with an extensive wish list of all the sites and rituals he wanted in the film, and presented it to advisers familiar with the spectrum of religious and secular officials who would have to approve.
“They all laughed and said forget about it,” Davies said. “They said, ‘It’s impossible and you’re not going to get half of what you’re looking for.’”
Amy Graham, with her husband, Aaron, and their children, Natalie and Elijah. Photo courtesy Amy Graham
When people first see our family, they often do a bit of a double take. At first glance, we don’t necessarily look like we go together. My husband and I are both Caucasian, with a quarter Cherokee in me that gives me a little bit of color. Our children are both beautiful African Americans of different shades. When we’re out in public and my son calls out to me, “Mom!” or our daughter calls to my husband, “Dad?” it just doesn’t look “normal.”
The interesting thing that I have learned through being an adoptive parent, especially in a transracial adoption, is that we are a visual testimony to the Kingdom of God. Not everyone might receive us or see us in this way, but the reality is that as Christians, we have all been adopted by God to be a part of his family. Galatians 4:4-6 says this: “But when the right time came, God sent his son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’”
As in football, go for the long ball in life. Bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock
In football, if the defensive players have no fear of your going long, they stack up against you and the shorter plays become incredibly hard and frustrating. It's as if the defense can predict what you're going to do and outnumber you.
Many people live their lives, and some nonprofits run their organizations, this way —never going for the long ball.
'We are living in the dark days before the Advent.' mdgn / shutterstock
I must use the adverb “almost” because there is a necessary distinction between all and some. It is the difference between mighty and almighty.
But we must never forget that whatever is mighty can harness the power to destroy lives, families, communities, institutions, and nations. This is what racism does on a daily basis.
We have, to some degree, lost the will and/or the capacity to identify and challenge this destructive and powerful force in our culture and institutions.
This Advent season presents the church with a great moment — an opportunity — to sharpen its discernment. It is an opportunity for the church and the world to experience a new birth in love, racial justice, and reconciliation.
“Lord, when were you in prison?” we’ll ask of you one day; And when did we go visit you, and listen well, and pray? And when did we show mercy there (as we need mercy, too)? As we love those in prison, Lord, we show our love to you!
When you taught love of neighbor, had you heard in your time Of one who lay beside the road, a victim of a crime? The neighbor that you said was good brought help and wholeness, too; May we help those who hurt so much from crimes that others do.