Archives For C.S. Lewis

The_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | A new survey shows 21% of same-sex couples in Illinois have opted to wed since it became legal in the state June 1, but a second survey asks how long those marriages will last. And two more new polls cast doubt on the percentage of homosexuals in the U.S.

Equality Illinois, a group that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Illinois, surveyed the state’s 102 counties and found at least 3,274 marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples and 1,694 civil unions have been converted to marriages. According to the most recent U.S. Census, 23,409 same-sex couples reside in Illinois. Using this data, 21.2% of same-sex couples in the state have married or plan to marry.

The group stated the exact number of licenses issued or civil union conversions is difficult to determine because not all of the state’s county clerks recorded whether licenses were issued to same-sex couples, while others recorded conversions together with licenses, not separately.

Nine counties reported no licenses issued to same-sex couples or civil union conversions and five counties did not respond to the survey.

What might the future hold for these couples? The National Review’s online blog, The Corner, reported this month in a new Scandinavian study of civil unions (more heavily equated to marriage than in the U.S.) over the nearly two decades that they have been legal in that region of the world. The study reported male couples were 35% more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples, and female couples were over 200% more likely to divorce. It also found, whether or not the couples had children made little difference in the divorce rate.

Gay, more or less

In related news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported July 15 that less than 3% of the U.S. population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual. It’s the first time the government has measured American’s sexual orientation through the National Health Interview Survey.

According to the 2013 survey just out, 1.6% of adults self-identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% consider themselves bisexual.

And these findings conflict with a new Pew Research Center survey that says there are more homosexuals in the United States than previously reported. The figure cited for years was 10%, based mostly on the Kinsey Report of 1948. Critics called Kinsey’s methods flawed, and said the number was more like 4% to 8%.

Pew used two survey methods, allowing for indirect responses. While the “direct report” method shows 11% of U.S. adults “do not consider themselves heterosexual,” the “veiled report” showed considerably higher numbers: 19% of U.S. adults said they “do not consider themselves heterosexual.” That’s 15% of men and 22% of women.

Using the “veiled method,” Pew also found that 27% of U.S. adults admitted having a sexual experience with someone of the same sex.

Overall, the public perception of the number of homosexuals in the U.S. has grown as same-sex marriage has dominated the news. A 2013 Gallup poll that found Americans believe 25% of the population is gay, lesbian or transgendered.

-Reported by Lisa Sergent for the Illinois Baptist

Other stories:

SBC leaders tour Texas border shelters
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and ethicist Russell Moore will today visit two border facilities tending to the needs of children detained after attempting to cross into the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security reports 57,000 such kids have been detained in the last nine months. The children “need immediate attention that elevates their health and safety above all,” Floyd wrote for Baptist Press last week. “From my point of view, the children must become our number one priority.” Read more at BPNews.net

Research guages ‘religious temperatures’
Americans view Jews, Catholics and evangelical Christians warmly, according to a new study from Pew Research that measures perceptions about different religious groups. Respondents ranked groups on a “feeling thermometer” of 0 to 100. The “warm” groups all received average rankings in the low 60s, while atheists (41) and Muslims (40) received the lowest numbers. Read more at PewForum.org.

Baptist school gets partial win in court
A California Superior Court ruled in July that a Southern Baptist university had the right to expel a transgender student for violating its code of conduct. Domaine Javier, a former California Baptist University nursing student who identifies as a female, sued the school for gender discrimination after being expelled for claiming to be female on his application.

Judge Gloria Connor Trask ruled the school didn’t violate the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act because its on-campus activities do not constitute a “business enterprise.” But Trask did award attorney’s fees and $4,000 in damages to Javier because he was excluded from off-campus enterprises open to the public. Read more at BPNews.net.

Movies to explore Tolkien/Lewis friendship
Christianity Today reports on two upcoming movies that will look at the relationship between beloved Christian authors C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The films “Tolkien and Lewis” and “Jack and Tollers” are expected in 2015, and another movie about Tolkien’s life also is in the works.

 

Disaster Relief volunteer Dave Weger from Sullivan, Ill., clears debris from a backyard in Washington.

Disaster Relief volunteer Dave Weger from Sullivan, Ill., clears debris from a backyard in Washington.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

In Washington, Ill., Disaster Relief chaplains were struggling to know exactly how to minister to residents digging their homes out of the devastation left by an EF-4 tornado Nov. 17.

Until someone thought of Twinkies.

“By faith we sent a team of chaplains to walk the streets and try to engage people in conversations and prayer,” Illinois Disaster Relief coordinator Rex Alexander wrote in an e-mail update. “They quickly found that homeowners were not really in the mood to talk because they were busy with their work and very cold.”

But the chaplains broke the ice with a surprising treat, Alexander added.

“They first offered water and were usually turned down. Then they followed up with the question, ‘Would you like a Twinkie?’ Repeatedly the homeowners replied with, ‘Twinkies! You really have Twinkies!’”

Washington, which had been closed for security reasons, opened Nov. 23 to volunteer agencies like Disaster Relief. Braving daytime temperatures in the 20’s, chainsaw teams worked there and in East Peoria over the weekend. A childcare team also served at the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) set up by the Red Cross. The volunteers minded kids while their parents signed up for recovery assistance.

A feeding team at Woodland Baptist in Peoria continued to prepare 1,700 meals a day for storm victims and responders.

Disaster Relief also staffed a table at the MARC, where they took orders for jobs over the next several days. The areas that sustained the heaviest damage were closed again Monday and Tuesday for debris removal.

Alexander said Disaster Relief is currently planning for an active response in the area through Dec. 7. If the work slows, teams could be told to stand down. “Right now, we still think there’s going to be quite a bit of work in Washington and even the outlying areas for the next two weeks,” he said.

Additional volunteers are welcome to join with the teams currently on the schedule. Contact Rex Alexander at (217) 391-3134 or RexAlexander@IBSA.org.

Disaster Relief volunteers and local churches also responded in other parts of the state affected by severe weather in mid-November. For more on the recovery efforts in Brookport and other areas, read the new issue of the Illinois Baptist, online here.

Other news:

Poll: Pastors favor immigration reform
A new poll finds 58% of Protestant pastors favor immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for people who currently are in the U.S. illegally, but far fewer – only 15% – say their churches are hurt by the current system. The LifeWay Research study also says 51% of pastors believe immigration reform will help their church, denomination or movement reach Hispanic Americans. Read more at LifeWayResearch.com.

Mind your manners when talking Calvinism, leaders on both sides say
Two Southern Baptist leaders on opposite sides of the Calvinism debate sat down this month to demonstrate good “table manners” to seminary students. Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler and Mississippi pastor Eric Hankins engaged in a public discussion on Calvinism before students and faculty, modeling how people who disagree on the topic can still work together.

“We have to learn the table manners of denominational life,” Mohler said. “There is a certain etiquette and kindness that is required, just like in the family reunion.” Read the full story from Towers, the news service of Southern Seminary.

Are we having the wrong conversation?
Caleb Kaltenbach, the California pastor who found Bibles labeled as fiction in Costco, tells his side of the story on Ed Stetzer’s blog. He writes that he wanted to start conversations about the Bible; read why he says most of the outraged posters missed the point.

Pen pals with C.S. Lewis
As a child, Kathy Keller exchanged letters with C.S. Lewis, who died 50 years ago this month. Christianity Today interviewed Keller, wife of Redeemer Presbyterian Church Pastor Tim Keller, about how she remembers the author.

November 22, 1963

Meredith Flynn —  November 22, 2013
Not actual wardrobe (from http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter).

(Not actual wardrobe) http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter

C.S. Lewis also died 50 years ago today. Taking nothing from the other observations occurring now, let us remember the man who gave us “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” “The Screwtape Letters,” and “Mere Christianity.”

If you’re in the Wheaton, Illinois area, visit the Wade Center on the campus of Wheaton College. There you can see the actual “wardrobe.” (Actually, it’s said to be one of several owned by Lewis.) But don’t venture inside. You may never come back.

(Not actual lion)

(Not actual lion)

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

The North American Mission Board has coordinated a clean-up effort in the Northeast for almost one full year, since the super storm swept through New Jersey and New York. Watch the video below for how Southern Baptist volunteers have helped in the region, and click here for more information about how to help, including Christmas and Spring Break opportunities for college students.

Mohler bridges divide at BYU
Christians and Mormons “inhabit separate and irreconcilable theological worlds,” Al Mohler told an audience at Brigham Young University. But the Southern Seminary president added the two groups should work together to address threats to religious liberty, Baptist Press reports.

“I do not mean to exaggerate, but we are living in the shadow of a great moral revolution that we commonly believe will have grave and devastating human consequences,” Mohler said in his lecture, part of the Mormon university’s “Faith, Family and Society” series. Christians and Mormons must together “push back against this age as hard as it is pressing against us,” Mohler said. “We had better press hard, for this age is pressing ever harder against us.” Read the full story at BPNews.net.

Life is complicated, most say
Two-thirds of all adults say life is getting more complicated, and 71% of evangelicals agree. The findings by Barna may indicate evangelicals and Catholics – 71% of whom also agreed – are recognizing “a growing disparity between the rhythms and values of their faith and the demands of a rapidly changing culture,” the researchers analyzed. Read more about Barna’s “three trends redefining the information age” here.

Conference examines C.S. Lewis’ popularity in America
Author C.S. Lewis was more celebrated here than in his own country, say the organizers of a one-day conference at Wheaton College. To mark the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, the college is hosting “C.S. Lewis and American Culture,” a one-day seminar featuring speakers on a variety of Lewis-related topics. For more information about the conference, click here. And ChristianityToday.com recently published a really interesting profile of Lewis’ wife marriage to Joy Davidman. Read it here.