A la Carte: Crumb and Get It, Your Pastor's Marriage, Tats and Academic Bias against Religion
When referring to a menu, something is a la carte if it is priced and ordered separately from other full menu items. For those of you not familiar, my "a la carte" entries are simply that - unrelated, brief entries that have captured my attention over previous weeks. Normally, I use readitlater.com (now Pocket) to save websites or blog entries for later reflection and reading.
So pull up a chair and peruse these offerings. I encourage you to click through to the original articles for more content and reflection.
Crumb and Get It says "no thanks" to VP Biden
A friend of mine is a bivocational pastor in Radford, Virginia. As pastor of Love Church, Chris McMurray and his wife Kelly knew that their new church plant would not be able to support themselves financially. Like Paul in the New Testament who at times worked to support himself so that a new congregation wouldn't be burdened with that, Chris and Kelly restarted Crumb and Get It. They had opened one in Blacksburg a few years ago, but it was not able to make it when they moved to Alabama to serve in a church there.
This past week, Vice President Joe Biden was touring Virginia on the campaign trail, and Radford was one of his stops. WDBJ 7 in Roanoke first broke the news that Chris had politely told Biden's campaign "no thanks" to a proposed campaign stop in his bakery.
Since that time, business has risen like a muffin on steroids. The company's Facebook page went from about 250 followers to over 10,000 in a few short days.
Regardless of your political position, I hope you are encouraged by someone who makes a difficult decision based on conviction. On the other hand, it's a crazy world we live in which Americans mobilize to support restaurants and bakeries that choose personal conviction over political correctness in a gracious fashion.
Your Pastor's Marriage
Eric Redmond posted about the importance of protecting marriages - specifically that of your church leaders'. When you consider the devastation of marriages cracking on personal and individual family levels, you must magnify that immensely to understand the destructive power unleashed when a pastor's marriage fails. One of the most powerful witnesses a minister can have to a watching world and church is a healthy marriage.
So Redmond offers some practical ideas on how to protect your pastor's marriage.
Again from Redmond. He says he is working through how he feels about tattoos from a theological perspective. Honestly, I am too. He came across a provocative quote by John Piper in a post on from 2007:
“Thirty years from now today’s tattoos will not be marks of freedom, but indelible reminders of conformity.”
Many people I love and respect have tattoos, and I certainly do not condemn them or criticize them at all. I think tattoos - if they are an issue in scripture - are an issue of Christian liberty, wisdom and discernment. While there are Old Testament laws that seem to speak to directly to marking the skin (Leviticus 19:28), arguments are made that we don't live under Old Testament law any longer.
Here are some interesting and provocative lines of thought to digest: 1, 2, 3, 4. The last link has a ton of comments that are entertaining (though sadly judgmental at times) to read.
Academic Bias against religion
It should not surprise you that educational institutions challenge faith. Indeed, much of their purpose is to get you to think, and they consistently - across academic disciplines - employ rationalism as the chief means for examination and research. What may surprise you, however, is that research shows that academia is not content with simply challenging faith. It appears that it judges those who hold faith as unworthy of working in their institutions. Bradley Wright reveals some of the findings here.
Those who work in educational environments are consistently intimidated to keep their views quiet, which seems to fly in the face of open discussion, honest debate and inquiry. This is particularly disconcerting if matters of faith - God, life, relationships - are actually rational.
The 2011 book Compromising Scholarship: Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education by George Yancey details just how deeply this bias is present and presents evidence that it may not just be a bias but the existence of deliberate agendas in some institutions to suppress faculty members who have religious convictions.
What are your thoughts on the issue? If you're currently employed at an educational institution, feel free to comment anonymously. ;)