Why Vikings Pillaged Churches

When the Vikings landed at the holy island of Lindisfarne in 793AD, it marked the beginning of hundreds of years of terrifying raids, which would earn the Norsemen a fearsome reputation as murderers and pillagers throughout Europe.

CHR Comment: Some historians argue that the Vikings pillaged churches to gain the wealth needed for marriage in their culture. Although Christians experienced the attacks as persecution, the Vikings likely acted with non-religious motives.

Source: Viking raiders were only trying to win their future wives’ hearts


Tim Kaine, Devout Catholic

The Virginia senator, who previously served as mayor of Richmond, talks with the Monitor about how his faith shapes his politics – and motivates him to address social and racial injustice.

CHR Comment: Two articles about the religious views of Vice Presidential nominee, Tim Kaine. Kaine represents many values appreciated by American Catholics while also distinguishing his personal views about right and wrong from those passed into law (e.g., on topics such as abortion and gay marriage). Like Methodist Hilary Clinton, Kaine emphasizes social justice.

Source: Clinton picks Tim Kaine, devout Catholic and bridge-builder (+video) – CSMonitor.com


Updated: Pope Francis on Marriage

Pope Francis said Thursday that the great majority of sacramental marriages today are not valid, because couples do not enter into them with a proper understanding of permanence and commitment.

CHR Comment: I waited to collect this story because it seemed incredible when I first read about it. I was sure there would be a follow up story. Now it is available. Pope Francis initially said that “the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null.” He has officially changed the transcript of his comments to say that “a portion of our sacramental marriages are null.” The article includes further comments about waiting to get married until couples have matured. However, the practice he describes in Argentina seems to assume that pre-marital sex is a given and not much of an issue. So where do Roman Catholic Christians go from here?

The second link below is to commentary from an American professor of canon law. Stay tuned on this issue.

Source: Updated: Most marriages today are invalid, Pope Francis suggests :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Drop-In Sacraments: Desperation or Renewal?

Many parishes of the church now offer drop-in weddings, including a 20-minute service complete with hymns, musicians, and witnesses.

CHR Comment: The Church of Sweden, a historically Lutheran state church, has rapidly lost members and witnessed a drop in church involvement. Pastor Jerker Alsterlund’s solution has been to offer short-order arrangements for marriages and Baptisms, which other churches have adopted. Supporters argue that this is an avenue for renewal in the churches, stripping away the cultural trappings that make arrangements for church services awkward.

Source: In a rush and need a wedding? Try the Church of Sweden. – CSMonitor.com

Rescued Schoolgirl Enslaved by Boko Haram

The first of the over 200 Christian schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria, kidnapped by terror group Boko Haram nearly two years ago, has been found with a baby and reunited with her family, igniting hope for the parents of the other girls as well.

CHR Comment: The Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014. The young mother pictured above is the first to appear out of the Sambisa Forest where the girls were taken, though she reported that the others were still there except those who had died. The man who appeared with the Chibok schoolgirl claimed to be her husband. It is believed that kidnapped and enslaved Christian girls were taken as brides for the militants.

Many news organizations carried this story but did not report that the girls were Christians.

Source: First Christian Chibok Schoolgirl Rescued After 2 Years of Being Enslaved by Boko Haram

Americans and Europeans on Adultery

Whereas 84 percent of all Americans believe such behavior would be unacceptable, only 47 percent of all French and 60 percent of all Germans think so.

CHR Comment: The study reveals surprising differences in the views of Americans and Europeans on the topic of adultery. However, as the final story in the article reveals, a complicating factor is that Europeans increasingly do not marry but live together. Without the bond of marriage, opinions about what constitutes adultery may have changed. In America, churches still strongly oppose adultery while liberal churches are changing other moral standards regarding sex.

Source: Americans condemn adultery, but many Europeans don’t — and probably never will – The Washington Post

Wife of Pastor Freed from Iran Details Marriage Conflict

Pastor Saeed Abedini was imprisoned in Iran for 3 ½ years.

CHR Comment: The unusual running story of Saeed Abedini, who was arrested and held in Iraq for proselytizing, continues to be confusing and unclear. Pastor Abedini was released in the prisoner exchange between Iran and the U.S. but is returning home to a household in distress since his wife has describe him as abusive. I usually do not post about stories like this but it keeps appearing in the news so I decided to record it. Lord, have mercy.

Source: Wife of pastor freed from Iran details marriage conflict

Unmarried Couples Today Need No Nups Agreements

Couples who won’t say ‘I do’ to marriage need to say ‘I will’ to financial planning, or they could find themselves in legal, and financial, trouble.

CHR Comment: Financial issues naturally arise when there is no legal basis for two persons living together. Marriage and sex are automatically about family and property rights. As long as those rights are unclear, individuals and households are at risk. A good illustration of why the Bible teaches marriage as the blessed estate.

Source: Forget prenups: Unmarried couples today need ‘no nups’