The Purpose of Imaginative Fiction – written by Elena Shalneva

When I learned that the 2020 International Booker Prize was going ahead in spite of London’s lockdown, I rejoiced at the organisers’ resourcefulness and resilience. But then I began reading the posts about this year’s prize on the Booker website and my enthusiasm dwindled. Surveying press responses to publication of the shortlist, the organisers spotlighted the Guardian‘s observation that nominee Marieke Lucas Rijneveld is only 28 years old, “identifies as male and uses the pronouns they/them.” The New York Times, we are told, had noted that four of the six shortlisted nominees are women, and the Sydney Morning Herald had informed its readers that one of these women is a refugee who fled to Australia from Iran. A separate post made mention of “such enormous themes as intellectual freedom, sexual identity, political unrest, and loss.” I find it unfortunate that the literary industry, eager to advertise its diversity credentials, panders to the media’s obsession with secondary considerations such as choice of subject matter and author identity, rather than focusing on essential considerations such as talent …

Source: The Purpose of Imaginative Fiction – Quillette

The End of Big Churches? | Gene Veith

Already, megachurches are being hit the hardest by the COVID-19 shutdown.  Though they often have sophisticated studio facilities, making for polished online services, the central large-church experience of worshipping as part of a gigantic crowd–with the emotional experience that fosters–is no longer possible.  The effect of the technology is to break down the mass experience.

Source: The End of Big Churches? | Gene Veith

C.S.Lewis Addresses our Current Malaise— in 1942 | Ben Witherington

Satan: “I will cause anxiety, fear, and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil.”

Jesus: “I will bring together neighbours I will Restore the family unit I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives, and will appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me, and not their money and material resources.”

Source: C.S.Lewis Addresses our Current Malaise— in 1942 | Ben Witherington

Coronavirus ‘Effectively Eliminated’ in New Zealand Following Comprehensive Approach of Jacinda Ardern’s Government | Common Dreams News

The country boosted healthcare spending to allow for contact tracing and enforced a nationwide lockdown in late March.

Source: Coronavirus ‘Effectively Eliminated’ in New Zealand Following Comprehensive Approach of Jacinda Ardern’s Government | Common Dreams News

A Ministry of Disruption — CATE VOSE

We have sanitized Jesus the embodied Cosmic Christ Consciousness using our post-enlightenment, post-modern filters to make him palatable for the masses, to make his life and witness ‘preach’. White men made made Jesus look white in scripture illustrations. Rich folks attribute our material comforts to his “blessings,” which are in turn a direct correlation to our “personal salvation.” Many of us invoke what amounts to the Christian version of superstition and imagine our vengeful, wrathful God ‘needs’ a payment of blood to atone for our sins. We have taken what is good and true and holy and mysterious and tried to pin it down so that we can wrap our minds around it; because what we can understand and intellectualize, we can control.

Source: A Ministry of Disruption — CATE VOSE

Pandemic removes Dead Sea Scrolls from exhibition – The Forward

For most of their 2,000 year history, the scrolls were hidden in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea. Since their discovery in the 1940s and 50s, they have been on a steady path to celebrity. Before the pandemic, up to 3,000 people visited the Shrine of the Book every day. Now, no one knows exactly when the public will see the scrolls in person again. The museum’s entire trove has returned to indefinite hiding.

Source: Pandemic removes Dead Sea Scrolls from exhibition – The Forward

The Miserable People by JOHN PAVLOVITZ

These are the wildest of ironies: Their President is in the White House, their politicians commandeer the House and Senate, the Supreme Court is tilted in their favor—and yet they still manage to feel themselves oppressed, still picture the world unfair, still rage against a machine they’ve made and are part of. So many of them claim faith in Jesus, and yet live in almost polar opposition to his example.

Source: The Miserable People

The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart/Matthew 25:31-46

St. John One: One

Matthew 25:31 And when the Son of Man comes in his
glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his throne of glory; 32And
all the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate them from
one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the kid goats, 33And
will set the sheep to his right, but the kid goats to the left. 34Then
the King will say to those to his right, ‘Come, you blessed by my Father,
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the cosmos. 35For
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me
drink, I was a stranger and you gave me hospitality, 36Naked and you
clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came…

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We Are Sheep-We Are Goats | Darrell Lackey

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.”Those on the right, the sheep, are told to come and inherit the Kingdom. Those on the left do not fare as well. Or, at least this is the common understanding of these verses.  The sheep are bound for heaven, while the goats to eternal perdition.  One is either a sheep or a goat, there is no in-between. Two groups. Very simple. Very black and white.  You know, the way most of us like our theology.And yet, I wonder. So too did Sergius Bulgakov. There are alternative readings to what we call the “final judgment,” or the end times.  Bulgakov offered such a reading, which I find compelling and closer to the over-all sweep of Scripture, the Christian narrative, and of the God portrayed therein.What partly formed his reading of Matthew 25 and the sheep and the goats, was his view of what “judgment” entailed and meant.  We normally view judgment as something happening outside ourselves. We stand before an external judge who makes a decision regarding our lives, our souls.  It is something handed down to us, rendered or decreed.  It is separate from our own judgment, reflection, or internal calculus.

Source: We Are Sheep-We Are Goats | Darrell Lackey