From the state of Paraiba, in the northeast, missionary Joseph McKinney writes today on the government approval of homosexual marriage and how that complicates life in Brazil.

Yes, homo-affective relationships – that is how same sex couples are being described in the new Brazilian law that gives their relationships legitimacy. The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court has determined that marriage goes beyond just a man and woman, giving homosexuals the legal rights to marital status: inheritance, pensions, child custody, health insurance benefits, the ability to open joint bank accounts, etc.
According to the president of the Transvestites Association of Paraiba, Fernanda Bevenutty, this was a victory for Brazilian homosexuals, but most will continue in anonymity for fear of the social reaction. The census counted 800 same sex couples in Paraiba, but Bevenutty said that in reality there are a lot more.
The next step the GLBT (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transvestites) movement will push is the controversial PLN 122 law, that purposes to add sexual discrimination to the law that punishes racial discrimination, making any type of opposition to this lifestyle a crime. That could mean that a homosexual could sue a church if banished for his or her practices, or a elementary school if rejected as a kindergarten teacher. Preachers could be jailed for repeating what the Bible says about homosexuality. So things could get interesting here in Brazil…

Read the rest of his article here. The people generally don’t support this, but like many politicians and activist judges, when in office they do what they want to.

• This email came in just this morning. “Randal, a book has been donated to the Overton Memorial Library in your honor by Friends of Overton Memorial Library. The book will be available for viewing, and you will be specially recognized, at Honors Evening on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. Please join us in the McMeans Family Reading Area within the Overton Memorial Library 3625 Helton Drive, Florence, Alabama.” I felt honored on receiving the news. I have an idea of who might have put my name in the pot, but I guess that’s supposed to remain anonymous. Anybody willing to stand in for me on Honors Evening?

• On FMag today, my editorial, “The Christian Offering and the Ordinances of God,” centers on 1 Cor. 16:1 to consider the importance of God’s commandments and how they contribute to unity. I used today’s Portuguese meditation and developed that further for the article.

• We pray for the victims’ families in Joplin, Mo. So far, 89 lives lost amid tremendous destruction. I have a second cousin who was living there last I recall, but I saw her online this morning. Apparently, their “old house” was destroyed. Update: She and her family have moved back to Arkansas.

• The Christian Chronicle’s story about the “Restoration Movement college spared” in Joplin, headlines the non-event of the Christian Church’s Ozark Christian College not being hit by the tornado, with an interview by the college president. It gave the number of instrumental churches and a cappella churches. Since it talked about the Restoration Movement churches, why didn’t it include the Disciples of Christ in Joplin? There’s at least one. Why the discrimination? Does the Chronicle consider itself in fellowship with the Christian Church, but not the Disciples? Evidently, the Chronicle is reporting news of the former group with no apologies. Perhaps it should consider changing the plug on the website: “Official news blog of the international newspaper for Churches of Christ.”

• Speaking of media, catch these articles: first, from BNc, a TV station found a person’s objection to a Bible verse on a church sign newsworthy; then, my take on why the May 21 prophecy of the world’s end was hyped by the mainstream media.

• Saturday we had 20 people here at the house for study and fellowship. I mentioned that earlier on The Fellowship Room. See the fuller description of the moment there, along with a link of pictures. I also mentioned a bit of our day yesterday as well.

 

From afar, I’ve followed the homosexual controversy at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. Seems to be a non-story to me, or at least, an internal affair, if it weren’t for the reaction of outsiders. Harding appears to have done the right thing, since (1) homosexuality (the self-styled gays don’t call it “gayness”) is sin, like all immorality; and (2) as a private institution, Harding can make its own rules.

I’ve seen brethren fawn over news from outsiders when it was complimentary. Some of our folk puff out their chest when the world gets chummy and full of praise for our virtues. Now let’s man up and say, this is what God’s people usually get from the world. (But we think the USA ought to be Christian!)

Speaking of Harding, I hear tell the university is changing the name of the Memphis-based “Harding University Graduate School of Religion” for the third time, to Harding School of Theology. When I attended it was known as Harding Graduate School of Religion, but apparently the head chiefs in Searcy wanted it identified clearly that it belonged to them. (Calling it a school of religion always left me curious, yea, perplexed.) Now, back to mere Harding (are they spinning it off on its own?) and a shorter, more accurate moniker. Well, closer to accurate, since our schools, many of them, ought really to be called Schools of Clergy.

Way back when, the brotherhood had a hissy about theology, because it represented the barn door through which denominational doctrine and liberal theories were spread. Graduate courses, even at ACU in 1982-1983, called their NT and OT theology courses “The Message of …”( I know, I took them both, under Olbricht, and with the exception of a few squeamish moments, they were superb.) With so many of our finest finishing up at denominational institutions, however, breathing the air of seminaries and schools of theology and salivating at the feet of theologians, we’ve lost our mettle against the idea of theology.

Makes one wonder as well if we’ve lost our mettle against the doctrines that some theologies bring in.

Used to, we breathed fire about having doctors of theology, too.

Today, in a more mellow era, if someone as conservative as Rex A. Turner, Sr., can write a tome entitled Systematic Theology, I suppose it’s now OK for one of our universities to come out of the closet and tell us what they’re really doing: teaching theology.

Somehow, however, methinks something got lost in the shuffle. At least, we’re still strong against the gays. In some spots.