News round-up: June 3
Are “worship” songs too happy?
No-one can deny that Christian music has changed. But are the most popular forms of God-and-Jesus songs running the risk of lacking reality? A survey of the past five years of the Top 50 Christian songs (as listed on the US Billboard charts) reveals a huge difference in lyrical content between what’s being sung now … and what past Christian ditties used to be all about.
The myth of the “hateful Christian”
Have you ever heard Christians described as bigoted, narrow-minded or just plain hateful? Perhaps you have made those remarks yourself. Leading Christian academic and social commentator John Dickson (from the Centre for Public Christianity) has written a provocative piece this week about why he believes Christian “haters” aren’t actually as widespread as some people suggest. Instead, he challenges whether the Western World’s detachment from Christianity has made it more distant from a “culture of grace” than Christians themselves.
Almost 46 million people trapped in slavery
Sadly, that shocking headline is true. According to the latest Global Slavery Index (backed by Australian-based human rights group Walk Free Foundation), North Korea, India, China and Pakistan were among the worst-offending nations. Apart from the mind-boggling amount of people forced into slavery worldwide, perhaps the most disturbing information revealed by the Index is that the number of slaves has increased by 28 per cent in two years.
What to avoid when you’re Christian AND single
Impressively, an American Christian writer has had her column published by world-renowned news site The Huffington Post — even though it is entirely (and clearly) about providing some theological guidance to Christian singles. Hardly a piece targeted at a mainstream audience. But Jessica Kastner’s four-point article is a refreshingly bold statement about Christian standards, proclaimed loudly for all to read. While you might not agree with all of it, chances are you will salute her pubic witness.