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Starbucks Christmas cups, the difference between suicide bombers and martyrs + more

Saturday 14 November 2015

Starbucks has been in the news this week after one Christian man waged war against their new Christmas cups, saying, “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus.” In the National Review, one woman responded by saying, “Look, there is no doubt that Christians face horrifying persecution around the world – especially in the Middle East, where the consequences of your faith could range from losing your children to losing your head. But please, for the love of God, notice how these scenarios are a little bit worse than having to drink your overpriced coffee out of a cup you don’t like.”

Here’s an interview with Ebony Birchall, a young Aussie lawyer who is representing the asylum seekers detained on Manus Island in a class action against the Government, Transfield and G4S. She says, “There have been days where I have sat in my office and cried at the stories I have read and the lives I can see so obviously in torture […] One of the most empowering verses for me is in Mark 14, when Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane before going to the cross. In a display of His extreme distress but His extreme faith, He says ‘Yet not what I will, but what you will.’ I long to have a faith as strong as Jesus’.”

This article from The Atlantic on the value of studying theology took us by surprise! The author, not a believer, says, “If history and comparative religion alike offer us perspective on world events from the “outside,” the study of theology offers us a chance to study those same events “from within”: an opportunity to get inside the heads of those whose beliefs and choices shaped so much of our history, and who—in the world outside the ivory tower—still shape plenty of the world today. That such avenues of inquiry have virtually vanished from many of the institutions where they were once best explored is hardly a triumph of progress or of secularism. Instead, the absence of theology in our universities is an unfortunate example of blindness—willful or no—to the fact that engagement with the past requires more than mere objective or comparative analysis. It requires a willingness to look outside our own perspectives in order engage with the great questions—and questioners—of history on their own terms. Even Dawkins might well agree with that.”

Over on the ABC, Michael Jensen tries to unpick the differences between martyrs and suicide bombers. “The idea of martyrdom – as it is understood in the Christian tradition, at least – is that a person who dedicates her life to the service of others, in the name of God, will meet with opposition. That opposition will sometimes result in violent death. That’s the nature of the world, it seems. But the response to that opposition is not to oppose it in kind. It turns the other cheek, as Christ taught in the Sermon on the Mount.”

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