Sacred-Secular, Miscellaneous, July 2011 (2/2)

August 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Freedom of Religion Has to Be Freedom for Everyone As the views of evangelicals become increasingly distasteful to many in prevailing culture, some may use these same arguments when they ban your building. How you treat our Muslim minority may very well point to how the majority culture will treat Christians one day.

Scripps: Religion: U.S. evangelicals see secularism as a threat In fact, 92 percent of evangelical leaders from the United States who took part in a new Pew Forum survey said they are convinced that secularism is a “major threat” to the health of evangelical Christianity in their land, a threat even greater than materialism, consumerism and the rising tide of sex and violence in popular culture.

Secular Extremism, Evangelicals, and Rick Perry’s “Response” Perry’s announcement of the meeting was followed by the predictable news that secularists at the Freedom from Religion Foundation have sued him, trying to have a federal court forbid the rally as a violation of the First Amendment’s ban on an establishment of religion.

Ed Stetzer – Nomadic Churches in USAToday Churches without buildings are in the news– on the front page of USA Today, no less. There are obviously some legal issues here. I am not a lawyer and have never played one on television, but I think the problem with the NYC school ruling is that it is discriminating on the basis of the “content of the speech.” In other words, they rent to other groups, but want to ban churches because churches talk about God.

Week 1 – religious communities of practice at different scales Through Putnam’s eyes, we looked at one meeting on one morning of one of a Saddleback Church’s morning prayer breakfasts. Over oatmeal, omelets, and French toast 10 professionals enlist each other’s help in prayer and offer support and sympathy in dealing with everything from the challenge of a new client to grief over recent bereavement. Caren Levine sums it up: I am particularly struck by the intimacy of the group, the lay facilitation and distributed leadership, and how they create sacred space together in a public venue which in itself seems to communicate that sacred community can be found anywhere.

Christian festivals: A broader church AT LEAST 25 Christian music festivals are held each summer in America, but they have never catered for theological liberals. Until this year, that is, when the Wild Goose Festival—named after a Celtic symbol for the Holy Spirit—kicked off on June 23rd on 72 wooded acres in eastern North Carolina, not so far from the intellectual hub of Raleigh-Durham.

Sacred-Secular, Miscellaneous, July 2011 (1/2)

August 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ever Hear of the First Amendment? An Argument to Watch Monday’s edition of USA Today included an opinion column by a Muslim woman that argued–quite straightforwardly–that the United States government should force a nondiscrimination policy on gender in all places of worship. Asra Q. Nomani, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, argues that the Internal Revenue Service should move to deny tax-exempt status to any place of worship that holds to different roles for men and women.

 

Anti-Bias Rules Upheld A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that San Diego State University had the right to enforce anti-bias rules when deciding whether to recognize religious student groups. At the same time, the court found that there may be evidence that the university applied those rules inconsistently, which would be unconstitutional

 

The State v. Religious Freedom The ACLU has filed suit against a Vermont inn over the decision of its Catholic proprietors not to host a lesbian wedding. The suit is filed under Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which predated the state legislature’s approval of same-sex marriage in 2009.

 

News: Church, State and a University Hospital A proposal to merge the University of Louisville’s teaching hospital with a Roman Catholic health system — which would prohibit the hospital from providing sterilizations, abortions and other procedures that go against Catholic beliefs — has provoked an uproar in Kentucky, where residents and lawmakers are questioning the role of religiously affiliated health providers in public medical education and health care.

 

Modernizing Secular Addiction Recovery Men and women of all ethnic backgrounds and religious or nonreligious affiliations suffer from debilitating addictions, which have detrimental effects on millions of lives. Addiction recovery treatments shouldn’t discriminate either, but Alcoholics Anonymous does. AA’s Toronto administration recently removed two of its affiliate groups in the area for not holding to its religious standards, which include a belief in God, as stated in the organization’s “Twelve Steps” to recovery.

 

Islam’s philosophical divide: Dreaming of a caliphate Of the 50-plus countries where Muslims are in the majority, only two (Indonesia and Mali) enjoy political liberty as defined by Freedom House, a New York-based monitor of human rights and democracy.

 

A tale of two flotillas Due to severe restrictions on Islamist political parties throughout most of Turkey’s history, charitable foundations and organizations have taken on a particularly important role in developing and defining Islamic politics in a country that is constitutionally secular, but, at least nominally, 99.9 percent Muslim.

The Providence of God in Organization: Solidarity of the Sacred and Secular

August 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

In 1905 Weber argued that Puritan ethics and ideas influenced the growth of capitalism. Weber clarified the paradox that religious devotion generally came with a rejection of wealth and possessions by defining spirit of capitalism as the idea that certain types of Protestantism favored rational pursuit of economic gain and that worldly activities had been given positive spiritual and moral meaning. Weber traced origins of the Protestant ethic to the Reformation, though he acknowledged respect for secular everyday labor as early as the Middle Ages. Durkheim (1915) deemed the boundary between sacred and the profane to be the fundamental distinctive of religion: “religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden.” The profane, in contrast, involved commonplace individual concerns. Durkheim explicitly stated that both sacred and profane could be either good or evil. Weber lamented the loss of religious underpinning to capitalism’s spirit led to an involuntary servitude of man to mechanized industry. It is within this context in which I see a need to position a research program. There is a huge need to use sociology of religion and organization theory to study the tensions between the sacred and secular, church and business.

The reason for an investigation is that the church fails to improve the business community’s gift of engaging with the sacred in daily business. The Church should be the best resource we have for leading an integrated and balanced business life; however competitive dynamics between the sacred and secular have led the church and business to separation. There needs to be a research program seeks to discover how church and business can work together for the profit of people both inside and outside the church.

Reference:

Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, (1912, English translation by Joseph Swain: 1915) The Free Press, 1965., new translation by Karen E. Fields 1995

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and “The Spirit of Capitalism” (Penguin Books, 2002) translated by Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells, pp.9-12


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