Web Notables (February 2, 2015)

Hipster churches, Thomas Merton, Middle-class families, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 2, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

Hipster churches in Silicon Valley: evangelicalism’s unlikely new home, from the English newspaper the Guardian. In the most unlikely place for new churches, “you’ll notice a bumper crop of newer Christian ministries that, upon superficial glance, could pass for any other Bay Area start-up: glossy web design, well-curated social accounts and yes, free coffee promotions.”

The churches try to reach successful and wealthy young people, most of them single, but the problems are not just how to present their message to such people but where to present it, in an area with skyhigh real estate costs. Their answer, besides hip services, is community. “People are desperate for community,” says one pastor. “Everyone’s moving in, and tech companies are trying to provide that community as much as possible, so that we all never leave work. But there’s a community and relationships that people are looking for outside—for doing life, and going beyond just attending a service.”

Why My Generation Loves Thomas Merton, from the Catholic website Aleteia. “Thomas Merton, better perhaps than any other writer of the 20th century, conveyed the romance of Christianity. If God can be known in this life, in a personal and transformative way, what other possibility could be as compelling? What other love affair as attractive?” writes Harold Fickett, American editor of the website (and, in full disclosure, my editor there).

How Many Families Would Be Left Out by Obama’s Tax Plan?, from the blog Family Studies. President Obama’s plan to aid two-earner families “leaves out six million families,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. It

overlooks not only families who currently have a stay-at-home parent and would like to keep it that way but also the substantial share of dual-earner families who would like to have a parent at home but feel they cannot afford to do so. In addition, it discounts the important caregiving, domestic work, and civic contributions that these stay-at-home parents make, benefitting the economy as well as the commonweal.

There are better and fairer policies available, Wilcox notes.

To Overcome Distrust, Renew Friendship, also from the blog Family Studies. Having moved to a small town in southwest Ohio to interview young adults for the Love and Marriage in Middle America Project, David and Amber Lapp were surprised at how alienated and distrustful many of the young people were.

Given that for many working-class young adults, the formative experiences of their lives have involved communities breaking down — fragmented families, unstable relationships, falling-apart neighborhoods — it makes sense that the path to healing might lie in a group experience that is an avenue to a better experience of community.

I am a Conservative Western Christian, from Grove City College’s Center for Vision & Values.  “We are not Charlie Hebdo,” writes Gary L. Welton, an assistant dean at the college. “The current disagreement is not a disagreement between Christianity and Islam. Charlie Hebdo was not reflecting the dominant Christian view of freedom and respect. Charlie Hebdo, rather, was reflecting the secular view against Islam (and, to some extent, against Christianity).”

Because people in the Muslim world identify the West with Christianity, Christians in many countries are being persecuted and attacked in retaliation for the acts of very secular people.

“Christianophobia,” Anti-Christian Hostility Infects Powerful Elite Subculture, from the Canadian newspaper the Christian Post. One group of progressives think “Christians are ignorant, intolerant and stupid individuals who are unable to think for themselves,” says sociologist George Yancey, co-author of a new book, So Many Christians, So Few Lions. Worse, these people—who are “mostly white, wealthy, well-educated and non-religious” — think that ordinary Christians have

been manipulated by evil Christian leaders and will vote in whatever way those leaders want. They believe that those leaders are trying to set up a theocracy to force everybody to accept their Christian beliefs. So, for some with Christianophobia, this is a struggle for our society and our ability to move toward a progressive society. Christians are often seen as the great evil force that blocks our society from achieving this progressive paradise.

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