Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - June 20, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Professor Points To Dilemma For Christians Regarding Embryonic Research
  • Presbyterians Consider Gender-Inclusive Language
  • Cardinal Warns against Partisan Politics within Catholic Church
  • Move To Make Churches More Attractive To Men

Professor Points To Dilemma For Christians Regarding Embryonic Research

Christians expecting to find answers in the Bible to the question of the status of the embryo will not find them there, New Zealand neuroscientist Professor Gareth Jones points out. Biblical writers did not know there was such a thing as an embryo, he says. ASSIST News Service reports that Jones said most societies are “pluralist” and therefore there exists a great variety of views on the moral status of the human embryo. “Consequently, societies have to decide how best to live with this diversity of views. It is inevitable that attempts will be made to find compromise positions that will be acceptable to the bulk of the people. There is no one Christian position on the moral status of the embryo, and therefore no one position on embryo research or embryonic stem cells. In spite of what some Christians claim, all Christians are not opposed to every form of embryo research under all circumstances.”

Presbyterians Consider Gender-Inclusive Language

A story in The Christian Post reports that delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to tackle whether to adopt gender-inclusive language for worship of the divine Trinity along with the traditional ''Father, Son and Holy Spirit.'' A study panel said the classical language for the Trinity shouldn't be diminished, but advocated "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder." One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said. Conservatives object that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible.

Cardinal Warns against Partisan Politics within Catholic Church

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick warned U.S. bishops June 15 that "the intense polarization and bitter battles of partisan politics may be seeping into (the) broader ecclesial life of our Catholic people... We are called to teach the truth, to correct errors and to call one another to greater faithfulness. However, there should be no place in the body of Christ for the brutality of partisan politics, the impugning of motives, or turning differences in pastoral judgment into fundamental disagreements on principle. Civility and mutual respect which we must witness are not signs of weakness or lack of commitment, but solid virtues which reflect confidence and faith. We don't fit the partisan categories." Catholic News Sesrvice reports the cardinal made his comment at the end of his final report on the work of the bishops' Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, which he headed for the past three years. He noted that it would likely be his last talk to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in an official capacity, since Pope Benedict XVI recently accepted his resignation as archbishop of Washington.

Move To Make Churches More Attractive To Men

Is Jesus more like Mother Teresa or William Wallace? That is the question asked by John Eldredge in Wild at Heart, his popular book for men. Eldredge suggests that the answer depends on what you need from Jesus right now. If you’re a leper, an outcast, a pariah of society whom no-one will touch, then you’d probably want Jesus to be like the saintly nun who ministered in the streets of Calcutta. However, if you’re more concerned with how we tackle the moral challenges of society and advance the values of the kingdom of God, then he suggests we need Jesus to be more like the liberator of Scotland, made famous by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart. At the heart of this question is how the Church ministers to men. One organization that has successfully turned the spotlight on men’s issues in the church is Promise Keepers. After 12 years of running large Events for Men, Promise Keepers is sharpening its focus on ministry with men at a local church level. National director of Promise Keepers, Paul Subritzky, says “We are convinced that if men are to be reached in ever-increasing numbers, we have to do all we can to support the churches."