Dutch Evangelicals Find US Inspiration

I’ve mentioned before in this space the fascinating evangelical outliers to the usual crowd of stolidly-secular European on-line newspapers, the Dutch publications Nederlands Dagblad (“Christianly engaged”) and Reformatorisch Dagblad. Damn (- whoops! Sorry . . .): two of them, even, and in a country of only 16 million souls!

At least these papers definitely provide an alternative take on happenings in the public sphere, both national and international. For instance, the dilemma the Nederlands Dagblad finds itself in with its coverage of the “Pray at the Pump” movement in America (Supplicants see lower gas prices as answered prayers) is particularly delicious. At bottom, you realize that they must be sympathetic to folks like Rock Twyman, discussed in the article, who is so confident in the power of mass public prayer that he began “Pray at the Pump” last April to get Christians to assemble at gas stations all over the U.S. of A. to join hands and pray aloud for lower prices. And what do you know: gas prices have recently headed downwards. “There is no one else for us to turn to than God,” Twyman is glad to tell journalists. That flaming secularist, Jay Leno (not called such in this article: that’s my own ironic characterization) had the gall to pick out Twyman’s movement as the butt of jokes, but not only has the latter been proved right, he also has shown himself willing to include Leno in his prayers at his home-base Shell station in Northwest Washington, DC.

On the other hand: Perhaps the very idea of praying to lower prices is absurd on its face, regardless of whether subsequent developments seem to justify it or not. Indeed, whoever is the Nederlands Dagblad writer here (the attribution is only to the paper’s “church editor”), s/he is willing to raise some pointed questions. Perhaps some people pray the opposite way, i.e. for higher gas prices, for the sake of the environment: which way would God rule on this one? And if you want to pray, aren’t there rather more-deserving causes to pray for, like for the hungry, the war refugees, etc.?

Then sometimes these Dutch evangelical publications really amaze with the sensitivity of their antennae to obscure doings by their American counterparts. How about the medical journal Archives of Surgery, for example? Ordinarily this sort of journal publishes articles with sexy titles like Evaluating the Degree of Difficulty of Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgery, but the Reformatorisch Dagblad somehow recently picked up something in its pages rather out of the ordinary (Americans trust God more than the doctor). This has to do with the recently publication in Archives of Surgery of an article, Trauma Death, that reveals that 57.4% of people (and even 19.5% of medical professionals) “believe that divine intervention could save a person when physicians believe treatment is futile.” Again, it probably took an explictly Christian newspaper like this one to be looking for news like this in the first place, but it’s also true that it’s this sort of publication where you can usually detect between the lines something of an approving attitude towards attitudes and behaviors that many others (certainly most Europeans) would find rather bewildering.

UPDATE:Whoops, here’s another one – that is, a Christian-oriented national newspaper – but it’s Danish: Kristeligt Dagblad, or “Christian Daily.” Let’s see if I can remind myself to check whether it, too, goes off-line on the Sabbath. Anyway, I’ve got it covered for you.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Comments are closed.