News of Note

Two items have caught my attention in the past couple of days:

1. The State of California has rewritten some language in an education bill that threatened to greatly infringe on religious liberty in that state. Had the bill passed unchanged, the only students that could receive any type of religious education would have been those training for a career in ministry. It would have effectively outlawed Christian colleges and universities, reserving religious studies to seminary students only. More here.

2. Target is about to spend $2 million on individual use bathroom stalls in all of their stores. Many stores already have such facilities, in addition to men’s and women’s restrooms, and soon all loctions will. Target denies the changes have anything to do with the boycotts and petitions generated by their bathroom policy announcement. I saw this headline in the Washington Post of all places.

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Sermon…

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 6.27.46 AMAfter the 9/11 attacks on New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spoke at a live taping of Saturday Night Live. The show has always been distinctly New York and he spoke very frankly with the cast, audience and show creator Lorne Michaels. He wanted the show the go on and encouraged them to do it. Michaels asked “Can we be funny?” And with a straight face Giuliani wryly replied “Why start now?” Continue reading

Meanwhile in California…

Screenshot 2016-07-01 at 11.29.59 AMEarlier this week, The Christian Index hosted a discussion of sorts about America being a “Christian nation.” Christians who responded were split over whether America used to be a Christian nation and no longer is vs. those who felt America never was a Christian nation to begin with. Very few argued that it still is today.

Meanwhile, California is about to become the first state to do away with religious/ faith-based education at the college level. If passed as is, SB 1146 would limit religious education to seminaries. Church affiliated schools, or colleges and universities that apply Christian principles to all areas of life, would be restricted from doing so with all students except those preparing for vocational ministry.

Please read this article by Ed Stetzer and Marty Duren via Christianity Today. This is one of those issues that could drag on through the court system for years to come, but we currently have an aging Supreme Court that’s already short one member and a presidential election coming up that could dramatically alter its balance of power. Who knows what the long term implications of this state legislation could be?

Two Sermons and an Editorial

Screenshot 2016-02-11 at 9.39.22 AMFor those of you looking at the website, you know that lots of stuff hangs out in the sidebars. Some of that content is updated daily. I don’t post as often to the blog as I used to because much of what I write is on my church website. The Unity Baptist RSS feed shows links to recent posts at the top of the left-hand sidebar. You see those links if you visit The Master’s Table. I also realize many followers subscribe using feed readers or through email. Those folks will never see any content that is not posted.

So this is kind of like a Read & Share File for my own stuff. These links are to the two most recent Sunday sermons and a newspaper editorial from about a week and a half ago. If you have read them already or follow both blogs, great. If not, just FYI.

The Heart of Man, Feb. 7th sermon 

The Heart of God, Feb. 14th sermon

God’s Great Love, newspaper article, Feb. 6th 

SCOTUS, Where the Rubber Meets the… Playground

 

Screenshot 2016-01-29 at 9.33.33 AM

Baptist Press reports that the Supreme Court will hear an argument in March or April that may set precedents for future church/state decisions. From the article:

Missouri nonprofits can apply to the state for scrap tires to use for rubber playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which has a daycare called the Learning Center, applied to receive the ground-up tires for its playground. The state ranked the church’s application highly, but refused the grant based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches. About 35 states have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

The implications of the high court’s decision will go far beyond playground equipment. Continue reading Church-state case goes to Supreme Court via bpnews.net.

Everything that has Breath…

Screenshot 2016-01-12 at 7.27.59 PMThe 150th Psalm lists several musical instruments then declares “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” But are drums welcome in your sanctuary, or what about that kid that thinks he can play the tambourine? People are still entitled to their opinion, and Thom Rainer has poked the hornet’s nest. His post Five Favorite and Five Least Favorite Musical Instruments Used in Worship Services is exactly what it sounds like. Continue reading