Archive for the ‘New York Times’ Category

The Bible as graphic novel

February 11, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/us/10manga.html

A quote:

Abraham rides a horse out of an explosion to save Lot. Og, king of Bashan, looms like an early Darth Vader. The Sermon on the Mount did not make the book, though, because there was not enough action to it.

People will misuse any edition of the Bible, but I wonder if this book has an introduction explaining that it’s “just the action scenes”? [Update: Just saw that the Manga Bible comes in a full-text edition as well as an “action highlights” version.] I am not a big fan of the idea of the Bible as a graphic novel, but I do think that it argues for the continued power of the Bible as a living book to inspire people.

When I went to the http://www.themangabible.com/ and clicked on “Downloads” I was surprised to see that the section at the top of the “page spreads” section was the Gospel reading for yesterday, the first Sunday in Lent (Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness). Coincidence, or does the webmaster update the sample based on the liturgical calendar?

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Canterbury calls for Sharia

February 8, 2008

Okay kids, time for bed. It’s been a fun 475-odd years, but now you’re just getting silly:

NY Times:

The archbishop of Canterbury called Thursday for Britain to adopt aspects of Islamic Shariah law alongside the existing legal system. His speech set off a storm of opposition among politicians, lawyers and others, including some Muslims.

Legal recognition of Shariah has been a longstanding demand among some Muslim groups in Britain, and their spokesmen endorsed the archbishop’s proposals. Faisal Siddiqui, a lawyer, told the BBC that “sensational stories” about extreme punishments had distorted the benefits of Islamic law. “The reality is that it has enriched civilization and humanity for 1,400 years,” he said.

Right. With the last 200 or so years being especially rich in Muslim contributions to world civ . . . science, government, etc.

Blu-ray wins?

February 3, 2008

NY Times: “Warner Backs Blu-ray, Tilting DVD Battle

The high-definition DVD war is all but over.

True?

San Joaquin diocese leaves Episcopal Church

December 9, 2007

You knew it was coming; now we know when. The NY Times has a story on the split of the first full diocese to leave the Episcopal Church. Previous defections have been at the parish level.

One quotation caught my eye:

“It will be a huge, huge legal battle,” said the Rev. Ephraim Radner, a leading Episcopal conservative and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto. “The costs involved will bleed the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church, and it will lead only to bad press. You have to wonder why people are wasting money doing this and yet claiming to be Christians.”

Indeed, Rev. Radner. Fighting to keep one’s church following God’s word is “wasting money,” and “bad press” indicates unchristian conduct by those subject to the bad press—regardless whether the argument needs to be had and regardless of the actions that prompted the argument in the first place (e.g., consecrating an openly gay bishop). You have to wonder why other people are openly rejecting the Bible and yet claiming to be Christians . . .

Note, too, that Radner is described as a “conservative.” Fiscal conservative, maybe, since he shudders to think of all that money getting spent on something as immaterial as theology . . . but I have to wonder about the depth of his conservative credentials, if he’s trying to trivialize the ECUSA’s apostasy in order to make San Joaquin look like the bad guys.

NY Times on contemporary Christian music

November 6, 2007

There’s a decent article on the NY Times site talking about the growth of High Desert Church in Victorville, CA. It focuses particularly on the music ministry there, which to my mind seems simultaneously gigantic and sophisticated. I thought the writer was fair, and that the subjects came off very well; though you know the “typical” Times reader (if such a creature exists) will be expected to shudder after reading that the church was able to collect $20 million in member donations for a new building project. (I.e., with that kind of money, what CAN’T they do?)

I’d just like to comment on two parts of the article. The senior pastor says:
(more…)

Contraception no longer a “non-negotiable” for Catholic bishops

October 31, 2007

This is what one Jerome Donnelly claims in a letter written to the NY Times. He is commenting on an article by Peter Steinfels that talks about the upcoming voter guide being prepared by the US Catholic Bishops.

Donnelly writes that contraception used to be denounced from pulpits as a non-negotiable, but now the bishops seem fixated on abortion:

Catholic practices have apparently led the bishops to become more reticent in denouncing artificial birth control; perhaps a comparable prudence should now be exercised in the case of abortion.

Two problems here: (more…)

Bobby Jindal: “born-again Roman Catholic”

October 21, 2007

Thus is he dubbed by Adam Nossiter of the NY Times.

I am wondering what exactly a “born-again Roman Catholic” is, since I’ve not heard that term applied to Catholics. In my experience, it’s most strongly associated with Baptists. Does he mean he’s a Baptist-like Catholic? And if so, what does that mean? That he disobeys his bishop, and calls his own shots? (A Baptist friend tells me that this is an accurate description of Baptist thinking: the individual is best suited to determine and work toward his/her own spiritual good, and is thus not likely to listen to the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Baptist readers can correct her if this is wrong.)

For those who don’t click the link (i.e., everybody reading this), Jindal is the new governor of Louisiana. He’s a Republican and a Catholic convert, so hey, he’s okay in my book.

Commentary on Al Gore’s Nobel

October 12, 2007

“We face a true planetary emergency,” Mr. Gore said in his statement. “The climate crisis is not a political issue; it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.”

Gag . . .

What a string of debatable claims.

Microsoft’s “Halo” used to get kids an eternal halo

October 8, 2007

Interesting article in the NY Times about the phenomenon of Protestant churches using the video game Halo—in which the goal is to kill as much as possible—as an evangelization tool. At first I thought, why not? They already have the jumbotron TVs in every church. May as well use them on weekdays, too.

But seriously, as the article notes, this does seem to raise a legitimate question. How far is it advisable for a church to go to be considered “relevant” to youth (or to adults, for that matter)? Must they find exactly the same thing in church they find in the world at large? Someone in the article says that just because something draws teens into church doesn’t automatically mean it’s a good idea—and cites booze and porn as examples. Another claims that Halo is a necessary tool, because kids don’t play sports as much anymore. Perhaps, though, video games are more a cause of this, than a consequence? Maybe? I remember going to mid-week youth night at Concordia Lutheran. I was the biggest video game fan on earth, but still loved running around outside, going crazy. Might it be that the current crop of youth pastors have a Halo addiction? And are simply making a virtue of necessity? “Let’s see . . . gotta work at church on Wednesday night, which will cut into my Halo time—I know! Let’s bring Halo to church!”

Oh—and one guy is quoted as saying that playing Halo at church is “no different than camping.” Uh huh. Except for with Halo, you’re indoors rather than outdoors; Halo requires electricity and camping doesn’t; pizza places don’t deliver to campsites; and so forth. They’re virtually identical! What he means is that getting together with friends is getting together with friends, no matter what the place or circumstances. But this is really lame. A better analogy is that, if you are under 17, playing Halo at church is like getting someone to buy you and your friends beer. If you’re under 17 you are too young to legally purchase Halo or beer. (Problems with this analogy, of course, but it holds up better than the “camping” one.)

I’m not against Halo (I’m kinda hoping Joe rigs another Halo Nite!) but my gut feeling is that church is not the right place for that kind of entertainment. I wonder whether the Jews, Muslims, or Orthodox or Catholic Christians are doing anything similar. Or, if not, why this is a peculiarly Protestant trend.

More on marriage

September 30, 2007

An op-ed in the NY Times criticizes the Times’s piece on marriage that ran a few days ago. They say that, contrary to the dire note struck by that article, in reality marriages are more stable, percentagewise, than any time since 1979. (But fewer people get married, which they also note.)

I had to pause when reading this paragraph, though:

Why has the great divorce myth persisted so powerfully? Reporting on our families is a lot like reporting on the economy: statistical tales of woe provide the foundation for reform proposals. The only difference is that conservatives use these data to make the case for greater government intervention in the marriage market, while liberals use them to promote deregulation of marriage.

This seems to reverse the conventional wisdom about conservatives and liberals: namely, that conservatives favor less “government intervention”, and liberals more.

“Deregulation” in the manner meant by the op-ed writers must mean increased government involvement in the lives of many people “unmarried” in the traditional sense, since the whole push is for the state to recognize and reward their various nontraditional household arrangements. And though conservatives here are depicted as wanting “government intervention” in marriage, it seems to me that as good a case (if not better) can be made that they want to limit government intervention: if the definition of marriage is thrown wide open, all manner of legal tangles are born.

I can also see, though, how the original paragraph might make sense: conservatives want the government to intrude into our bedrooms, whereas liberals want it to leave us alone, to do as we see fit. I don’t favor that characterization of the issue, but that seems to be the essence of it.