The congregation of the First Baptist Church of Jefferson City Tennessee has broken away from the Tennessee Baptist Convention because they have appointed a woman as pastor [Religion News Service [15/11/17].
While those of us who rejoice in the ministry of women may want to decry the misogyny and patriarchal attitudes that lie behind the split, it should also not be surprising. Purity cults are always doing that sort thing.
The Brexit Secretary, David Davis MP, has offered the House of Commons a vote on the Brexit deal (should one ever appear) on the basis that ‘you can take it or leave it’.
If Parliament doesn’t approve it, we leave any way: it’s ‘my deal or no deal’; Brexit my way or no way. There are some within the Christian churches who treat Christian unity in that way too: we can be united on my terms or not at all.
On Saturday we visited the Acropolis Museum in Athens. It is beautifully laid out, and naturally its artistic merit is unmistakeable. But there is more to it. It was not built to be art for art’s sake. Just as Plato and Aristotle have become philosophical icons not just for Greeks but for the whole western world, so also the Parthenon is iconic for western culture and architecture.
The theologian in me asks what it means. What does this icon affirm? There in the museum I felt a juxtaposition of two stories expressing radically different values.
Interfaith Week (12-19 November 2017) presents many kinds of opportunities for individuals and communities to work together for the common good, shared understanding and overcoming fears associated with being different.
An American professor of religion once said that ‘the rightness of our religion is among the most intransigent and incorrigible of our cherished convictions; so much so that anyone who believes, thinks and acts differently is wrong. As a result, the experience of religious difference can evoke discomforting anxiety, if not full-blown fear.’ Interfaith Week is designed to overcome such fear.
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