I'm almost a week behind on this, but the 53rd Christian Carnival is at Sidesspot. (Well, the carnival itself was late, so that's not quite as bad.)
The Bible Archive has some biblical reflections on suffering persecution, focusing on Daniel 3. There's lots of stuff in there, and it's hard to summarize, so I'll just quote my favorite line from the passage: O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3:16b-18, ESV)
Apparently there's been a debate in the blogosphere that I've completely missed, over whether Western civilization is superior because of how it's responded to the tsunami. I know about lots of bickering about how much is not enough for a president to promise of other people's money, but I hadn't seen anything like this. Well, Allthings2all is on top of it, showing how the assumptions behind the very question are contrary to Christian teaching.
On the same note, the bloke in the outer has some choice words for those who would take pride in western superiority because of our generosity toward tsunami relief, and I'd extend this to those prideful about American generosity. His reflections on James 2 are on point and lead to a reconceiving of what generosity even is. I'm not sure I'd go as far as saying that these attiudes nullfy anyone's generosity, but they certainly undermine what good might be said about it.
Rodney Olsen has some choice words for those who would put Jesus to a political cause as many in his day would have done. I can't say it better than he did, so I'll give an excerpt: I've been deeply saddened by the lack of compassion shown by Christians in recent debates on political issues. I can't believe some of the hate that was pouring out of some so called Christian blogs during the US election campaign. I've seen a distinct lack of compassion for a harassed world in the Letters to the Editor pages of our local paper recently. Those of us who call ourselves Christian should remember what that means. It means that we are followers of Jesus Christ; the same Jesus who saw the harassed and helpless crowds and had compassion on them. He saw the crowds as sheep without a shepherd. Are we following Jesus' example and helping to lead people toward the shepherd or will we keep trying to beat them with the shepherds crook?
Rebecca Writes looks at how the image of God relates to the institution of capital punishment in Genesis 9. I think the most important thing she says is that most people like to reduce the image of God to some set of features we have, which actually defeats the point in Genesis 9, because you can always find a human being without that feature. Interestingly, her commenters proceed to identify God's image with some feature not every human being has.
Viewpoint posts an excellent discussion from Christian-friendly philosopher Quentin Smith about the resurgence of theism among younger philosophers. I'm extremely hesitant to accept his claim that theists are a quarter or a third of professional philosophers now. Even in Christian-friendly departments like Syracuse University has historically been, it's not that high. I'd guess maybe 10%. Still, the resurgence is there, and there are Christians among the very top philosophers in many sub-fields of analytic philosophy, something that would have been unheard of 50 years ago. The Christians in philosophy then were all stealth Christians whose views relate in almost no ways to their Christianity. The Searle quote a good way in is indicative of how most philosophers in my experience still view Christians, so this resurgence is not accepted or even noticed by many philosophers. The last paragraph in the quote of Smith is an especially noteworthy concession to the ground Christians have taken in terms of argumentation and responsible scholarship. Now I have to go read the whole Smith discussion.