Must Read Monday 3-18-2019
New Zealand…As we weep with those who weep following the mass murder at 2 mosques, let us consider the overwhelming secularizing trend in the island nation in just the past twenty years. According to the 2013 NZ Census, four out of every ten New Zealanders are no longer affiliated with an organised religious group. And that rejection of religious identity happened rapidly. In 1991, Christians made up 69% of the population. In 2013, the percentage of New Zealand’s citizens who identified as Christian had dropped to 48%. If that secularizing trend has continued over the past five years, what percentage of today’s Kiwi’s are practicing people of Christian faith?
Taking a look specifically at the city of Christchurch – which makes me pause every time I read, hear or say it – as New Zealand’s 3rd largest city and the largest city on the south island, Christchurch’s population is 21% foreign born. Those who have migrated to Christchurch include refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Bhutan. While Kiwi’s pride themselves on being hospitable and benevolent, the reality of religious pluralism requires genuine acceptance of people of other faiths, not simple tolerance. Pray that Christians in New Zealand might find an authentic voice in the midst of the current travail.
Secularists recognize the the power and importance of community even if possess no substantial basis for the values of common unity. As you read this piece, consider the setting of the service, the song and the emotions referenced – and then the description of the life of the deceased. Did you note the church and yet the absence of an authentically Christian witness to the Resurrection as this family and this “packed” church faced death? The one giving testimony talks about her brother in a eulogy – but did no one bear witness to the reality that death is not the victor nor the grave the end? There is no doubt that the writer of this piece feels the genuine aching need for real community. It just makes me sad that she thinks it can be constructed without any reference to God. She concludes, “I think community is also an insurance policy against life’s cruelty; a kind of immunity against loss and disappointment and rage. My community will be here for my family if I cannot be. And if I die, my kids will be surrounded people who know and love them, quirks and warts and oddities and all.” That’s all good, but not sufficient to address the existential angst which remains palpable.
On the brighter side, read this! If you’ve ever wondered can you be a scientist and a Christian? The joyful answer is a resounding, YES!
Now for a few headlines…(I’ll be addressing these throughout the week here at ReconnectwithCarmen.com and on air at Mornings with Carmen)
Religious freedom reads:
Supreme Court denies cert in Hawaii B&B case where a private property owner denied a same-sex couple lodging based on her religious convictions that marriage is exclusively the union of a man and a woman.
On the other end of life, several states are considering the legalization of assisted suicide. See my comments here.