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Friday’s religion wrap

The Journey team selects stories that got us talking this week.  

Yoga: healthy pursuit with a demonic route?

Christian Examiner has news of a Missouri megachurch pastor and his warnings about yoga, specifically that “positions associated with exercise and meditation activity were designed to ‘open you up to demonic power’”. Pastor John Lindell told his 10 000 member congregation in a sermon, “Pursuing the Paranormal”, that there are demonic influences in elements of Eastern mysticism such as yoga.

“Earlier, it would have been a given that yoga is a form of Eastern mysticism that Christians should absolutely avoid but that is no longer the case,” said Lindell. “Participating at any level is potentiative the opening of your life, your home, your situation to the demonic.”

He also made the point that Yoga is inseparable from its “Hindu roots”.

Activist’s scorn for pastor going pro-porn

The Christian Post reports on an anti-pornography activist’s opposition to an American pastor’s support for “ethically sourced porn” and the “removal of shame from the sex entertainment industry”.

Peggy Cairns—Education Chairperson for the Maryland Coalition Against Pornography—says, “It’s hard to follow Christ and yet show sympathy for an industry whose product has, in my opinion, no redeeming virtues and numberless damaging aspects.

“Ethically-sourced porn … sounds like an oxymoron to me.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church’s pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber recently stated that “there should be no shame in consuming pornography, especially if it is ‘ethically sourced’”. Speaking to an LGBT publication, Bolz-Weber said she believed pornography consumption should not be shamed.

“There is ethically sourced porn,” said Bolz-Weber. “There are people who consume pornography in a shame based way … That’s a lonely place to exist, let’s take that part out of it. I’m not going to shame people when they already feel ashamed.”  

Nepal-ling treatment for spreading the faith?

SBS News reports that an Australian woman in Nepal has been arrested alongside four other Nepali citizens for allegedly visiting locals with the aim of converting them to Christianity. If found guilty Katiya Graham could be deported and unable to return for a specified period.

“Nepalese law strictly prohibits such acts,” said Department of Immigration Director Bishnu Hari Upadhaya. “Currently we are investigating whether the charges filed against her are true.”

Graham has allegedly been in Nepal on a tourist visa and authorities claimed that bibles, diaries, pamphlets and videos relating to Christianity were found on her and the Nepali citizens.

What Christians can learn from the God of Comics

Patheos has an opinion piece by Christian author Paul Asay on comic book legend Stan Lee’s recent passing and what Christians can learn from the Marvel legend. Lee was the co-creator of pop culture icons such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four, and was instrumental in leading Marvel Comics to the forefront of the comics industry.

Asay writes that Lee’s Marvel “emphasised the human” in superhuman characters and in doing so enabled readers to relate to superheroes.

“The contribution I’m most grateful for is how he [Lee] helped make the superhero a little less super, a little more human,” says Asay. “It reminds us that, even with our own imperfections (and our frustrating lack of superpowers), maybe we can still be heroes to someone, too.”


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