The Measure of Christ’s Gift

Draughting Theology

Paul is careful, very careful, to make sure the Ephesian Christians know from whence their help has come.  As he lays out before them the various gifts of the Spirit, he is sure to mention that these are not merited or earned, but are given through grace by the measure of Christ’s gift.  It is a somewhat archaic turn of phrase, which the New Living Translation tries to make more understandable by rendering it, “he has given each one of us a special gift according to the generosity of Christ.”

The Church, to her credit, has continued to try to remind Christians, especially those who are called to leadership, that the gifts they will utilize in their ministries are precisely that: gifts.  In the Examination of a soon-to-be-ordained Priest, the Bishop, finishes the prologue with these words, “In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ’s people from the…

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Why you may want to check your beliefs

Ben Irwin

"For centuries, gay people  were thrown out of their families, thrown out of their churches. We were jailed. We had hormones inflicted on us. We went through unbelievable trauma in the 80s and 90s, in which 300,000 young people died. Where was the church?" –Andrew Sullivan

Evangelicals are starting to acknowledge the harm they’ve done to the LGBT community.

For example, at this year’s Q conference in Boston, Gabe Lyons told those gathered that the church ought to repent for how it’s treated gays and lesbians. Then he went a step further, offering a public apology to Andrew Sullivan (in response to the above quote).

Megachurch pastor David Whiting began a recent sermon on homosexuality apologizing for the “hatred, anger, dislike, and disdain” churches have shown to gay people. With visible remorse, he acknowledged that “Christians have gotten a reputation for being homophobic because many Christians are homophobic.”

Reflecting on the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, Christianity Today editor Mark Galli called on evangelicals to repent of homophobia, fear, and prejudice.

Atlanta pastor Dewey Smith took heat for a recent sermon in which he compared the dehumanization of gays to the experience of blacks at the height of the slave trade. “We have done what…

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Shout for Joy

The Daily Cup

“For you have made me glad by your acts, O LORD; *
and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.”

Psalm 92:4

Today is the Feast of William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836.  The verse above comes from the set of readings appointed for his feast day.

This verse from Psalm 92 can be read in a couple of different ways… First, the joy-filled acclamation of one who firmly believes in the power and righteousness of God.  And I believe that most Christians find it easy to rejoice when things are going great–when God seems to be “on our side,” and in our estimation everything is, “as it should be,” in our lives.

But, what about the times when God seems to be against us–and we all have those times in our lives when things come undone.  Those are most easily identified when the issue…

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Calling

The Daily Cup

The term “call” is often used in the church, and even sometimes outside of church, as a suggestion that God is talking directly to us, informing an action or direction in life. People are called to service of all kinds – service to God, to the poor, to country. While I’ve always been taught to walk carefully away from anyone who actually claims out loud to hear the voice of God, I can only believe that God’s “voice” takes many different forms, and it’s good to be always listening.

George Herbert seems to have another kind of “call” in mind though in his poem from 1633. The Call, one of the poems in his collection The Temple, seems to be a calling out to God, rather than a listening for God’s instructions. These are words of invitation, not command. Please come my way, my truth, my life, my…

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Putin pushes ‘Straight Pride’ as a geopolitical power play

76 CRIMES

Activist Kyle James Rohrich analyzes the geopolitical tactics behind Russian President Vladimir Putin’s so-called “straight pride” initiative. Excerpts from his article “The Geopolitics of Intolerance: Putin’s ‘Straight Pride’ “:

By Kyle James Rohrich

The five figures on the Russian "straight pride" flag are labeled "A Real Family." The five figures on the Russian “straight pride” flag are labeled “A Real Family.”

In response to the United States’ recent Supreme Court ruling to make marriage equality law of the land, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “United Russia” party offered their rebuttal by unveiling a so-called “straight pride” flag depicting a man and a woman with three children. Per this “traditional values” ideology, the very existence of sexual minorities is a threat to what social conservatives depict as the Russian “traditional” family.

“Straight pride” is a new element of Putin’s increasingly prominent “traditional values” narrative, a conservative credo that Putin seeks to establish as his government’s new ideology aiming at both the Russians and anti-Western or…

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Relationship problems: Topic of Nigerian LGBTIQ podcast

76 CRIMES

Promo for the No Strings podcast titled "Why you may not find him." (To listen to the podcast, click on the image.) Promo for the No Strings podcast titled “Why you may not find him.” (To listen to the podcast, click on the image.)

In this very age where image and looks matters a whole lot, it is increasingly becoming very difficult for one to kick-start and sustain a meaningful and healthy relationship,” says Mike Daemon, the host of the No Strings podcasts, which provide a voice for the LGBTIQ community in  Nigeria.

In the latest podcast, titled “Why you may not find him,” Daemon discusses the problems of establishing healthy relationships, especially among LGBTIQ people of Nigeria, where such relationships are outlawed.

“Especially in Nigeria,” he says, “many within the LGBTIQ community think that it is completely useless to have something tagged as a relationship; this is because many believe that gay relationships do not amount to anything meaningful, as marriage is usually not in the picture, and…

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Obama: one of many opposed to Kenya’s anti-gay policies

76 CRIMES

Billboard in Nairobi shows Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama on the occasion of Obama's visit to Kenya. (Ben Curtis photo courtesy of AP) Billboard in Nairobi shows Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama on the occasion of Obama’s visit to Kenya. (Ben Curtis photo courtesy of AP)

Repression of LGBTI people in Kenya and Guinea has come under fire from abroad as part of the past year’s United Nations review of countries’ human rights records.

U.S. President Barack Obama, currently visiting the East African nation of Kenya, is not the only defender of human rights for LGBTI people who is displeased with Kenya’s record on LGBTI rights. During January’s examination of human rights in Kenya, six countries challenged Kenya to improve its treatment of sexual minorities.

The reviews of human rights in Kenya and Guinea were among dozens of similar reviews of countries in the U.N.’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which scrutinizes each country’s human rights record every four years.

Excerpts below focus on to human rights for…

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