“Odds and Ends” are the letters covering some important topics that do not necessarily require a whole article.
MEN & WOMEN – SPIRITUALITY
“For decades, we’ve thought of women as more religious than men.
Survey results, conventional wisdom, and anecdotal glimpses across our own congregations have shown us how women care more about their faith, though researchers haven’t been able to fully untangle the underlying causes for the gender gap across religious traditions and across the globe.
Now, recent data shows the long-held trend may finally be flipping: In the United States, young women are less likely to identify with religion than young men.
The findings could have a profound impact on the future of the American church” (christianitytoday.com).
WHAT IS A WOMAN?
“Matt Walsh’s new documentary, What Is a Woman? is built on a simple premise: Ask the academics, pediatricians, and politicians who promote transgender ideology to define their terms. The result is a documentary that is engaging, depressing, and infuriating all at the same time. In the end, Walsh demonstrates how bankrupt and damaging transgender ideology is, and how even its most vocal supporters cannot prove otherwise…
“When Walsh asks an exasperated professor of gender studies at the University of Tennessee to define a woman, the reply is, ‘A person who identifies as a woman.’ To which Walsh responds, ‘But what are they identifying as?’
“The resulting silence is painful enough, as both viewers and, presumably, the professor realize his definition is circular. Could it be that this professor knows that what he is saying is nonsense? The irony is all the more tragic because it’s a definition so many are now willing to enforce and act upon…
“Yet, no one can smile when a victim of these bad ideas tells her story. Scott Newgent, once known as Kellie King, is a biological female who underwent so-called gender-affirming surgery. She now spends her life warning others of the unrelenting medical and psychological complications and damage it has caused.
“Then, we hear, painfully, from a Canadian father, who tried to intervene in his 13-year-old daughter’s trans conversion. In the documentary, he remains anonymous because, after he referred to his daughter as “she,” he was thrown into a Canadian jail…
“Transgender ideology is a set of lies, and it’s claiming millions of victims. People who identify as transgender are broken and hurting victims of these bad ideas. People who impose these bad ideas on others, especially children, may be sincere, but they’re making victims of others” (breakpoint.org).
AN ATHEIST CHAPLAIN?
“Harvard University, a school that was established four centuries ago to educate the ministry and that adopted the motto “Truth for Christ and the Church,” has done the unthinkable: It has elected an atheist as its chief chaplain, media outlets have reported.
“Chosen by Harvard’s organization of chaplains, Greg Epstein, 44, took on the position last week, dnyuz.com reported. The university was named after a pastor, John Harvard, and ‘it would be more than 70 years before the school had a president who was not a clergyman….’
“‘There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life,’ Epstein told The New York Times. ‘We don’t look to a god for answers. We are each other’s answers'” (charismanews.com).
“Recently, Stanford Center on Longevity announced a project called the ‘New Map of Life.’ ‘In the United States,’ the authors write, ‘as many as half of today’s 5-year-olds can expect to live to the age of 100, and this once unattainable milestone may become the norm for newborns by 2050.’
“The problem, the authors admit, is that we don’t know what to do with an extra 30 years: The “narrative of an ‘aging society’ seems to convey only a crisis.”
“Reaching this 100-years-of-life milestone is, as one researcher put it, a ‘[breathtaking] package of human potential the world has never seen, unprecedented numbers of people with unprecedented capabilities, and significant desire to give back and leave the world better.’
“Scripture agrees, calling old age ‘a crown of glory.’ But that’s not because of how long it lasts or what is accomplished. It’s because there’s a “why” behind it all. As Stanford looks for technological and sociological benefits to longer lives, Christians can point to the source of meaning for all of life, who faced and defeated death” (breakpoint.org).
MEASURING COVID’S EFFECT ON CHURCHES
“Southern Baptists report 19% attendance drop. Anecdotally, clergy have talked about the disruption in worship attendance in this pandemic age. Now, Southern Baptists have statistics to prove it” (religionnews.com).
“Conversations between pastors and their congregants used to take place in church lobbies, around potluck tables, or in passing outside of Sunday school classrooms. Now, these connections regularly occur in digital spaces” (christianitytoday.com).
“Now there are two congregations, one that comes in person and one that watches the service online. This resulted in the development of new ways to give involving giving online. In turn, some church heads may feel overwhelmed by it all. Subsequently, new church management systems have evolved, such as ‘Pushpay,’ which empowers church leaders to Shepherd their in-person and online congregants with great effectiveness” (religionnews.com).
CHURCHES EXITING THE METHODIST DENOMINATION
“Florida Churches among First to Begin Exit from UMC to New, Conservative Denomination… 107 Florida Methodist Churches Depart United Methodist Church” (ministrywatch.com).
“A new conservative Methodist denomination, called the Global Methodist Church, has been formed” (ministrywatch.com).
CATHOLIC AUTHOR BARRED FROM SPEAKING AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
“The college republicans chapter at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, had been working since March with the conservative youth organization Young America’s Foundation to host Knowles, a Catholic, for a lecture on campus.
“But on Wednesday, the club announced that the university and the student government had informed it that the event would not be permitted to go forward because Knowles had made comments on transgender issues that the university deemed were in violation of their “commitment to ‘dignity’ and ‘diversity.'”
“The club was quick to note that Knowles’s opinions on transgender issues are in line with those of the Catholic Church” (msn.com).
“The widespread view that fossil fuels are ‘dirty’ and renewables such as wind and solar energy and electric vehicles are ‘clean;’ has become a fixture of mainstream media and policy assumptions across the political spectrum in developed countries, perhaps with the exception of the Trump-led US administration. Indeed the ultimate question we are led to believe is how quickly can enlightened Western governments, led by an alleged scientific consensus, “decarbonize” with clean energy in a race to save the world from impending climate catastrophe. The ‘net zero by 2050’ mantra, calling for carbon emissions to be completely mitigated within three decades, is now the clarion call by governments and intergovernmental agencies around the developed world, ranging from several EU member states and the UK, to the International Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund” (forbes.com).
“Without going into all the details, it is clear that the “clean” electric cars have their own dirty secrets. These include issues like the fact that, “The most important component in the EV is the lithium-ion rechargeable battery which relies on critical mineral commodities such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, and manganese. Tracing the source of these minerals, in what is called ‘full-cycle economics’, it becomes apparent that EVs create a trail of dirt from the mining and processing of minerals upstream” (forbes.com).
The majority of “the raw materials used in electric car batteries are highly concentrated in a small number of countries where environmental and labour regulations are weak or non-existent” (forbes.com).
For more details, see Forbes.com “The Dirty Secrets of ‘Clean’ Electric Vehicles”