Paul Ramsey on the Church and the Magistrate

One of the inspirations for my little book, Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church’s Social Witness, was the incisive and insightful critique of the ecumenical movement from the Princeton theological ethicist Paul Ramsey. Continue Reading...

Dehumanization and Punishment

Two of the things I’ve paid some attention to, one more recently and the other as an ongoing area of interest, came together in an Instapundit update yesterday. Glenn Reynolds linked to a video of a NYC cop who “threatens a man taking cell phone video with arrest.” This picks up the attention given here and here to the question of law enforcement and ‘citizen photojournalism.’ But what really struck me about this story was the threat attributed to the (apparent) cop, who said, “Guys in jail are going to rape you.” This is beyond the pale in myriad ways. Continue Reading...

Advising the Poor to Do Less With Less

On his recently launched Ambiguorum Blogis site, Fr. Michael Butler is reviewing Elizabeth Theokritoff’s Living in God’s Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009). Fr. Michael, who joined us for Acton University 2010, examines the author’s exhausted earth meme, beginning with this quote from the book: It is hard to escape the conclusion that with an ever-growing human population, it is not enough for humanity as a whole to do more with less; individually, we must also learn to do less with less (Theokritoff, p. Continue Reading...

Audio: Subsidiarity Over Social Justice

In an audio commentary produced for Ave Maria Radio and Catholic Exchange, Paul Kengor says it is “incumbent among Catholics to learn more about this blessed concept of subsidiarity.” As part of this education, he recommends “The Principle of Subsidiarity” by David A. Continue Reading...

The Ecumenical Movement and the Nuclear Question

It’s worth noting that the original context of engagement of the ecumenical movement by figures like Paul Ramsey and Ernest Lefever (two voices that figure prominently in my book, Ecumenical Babel) had much to do with foreign policy and the Cold War, and specifically the question of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Continue Reading...

Salary and Significance

During a recent conversation, a Chinese friend of mine commented on the lack of political involvement that she has observed in her peers, especially in comparison to American college students. She attributes this lack of involvement to the fact that the Chinese do not believe that political action can change the policies or even the identities of their leaders. Continue Reading...

DeKoster on Work and Food

I mentioned Lester DeKoster’s little classic, Work: The Meaning of Your Life—A Christian Perspective, in the context of the Lutheran World Federation’s General Assembly and the theme, “Give us today our daily bread.” In this book, DeKoster makes a pointed connection between work and food: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” The Lord is saying that where humans are hungry, there he too chooses to hunger. Continue Reading...

Work, Globalization, and Civilization

In this week’s Acton Commentary, “Lutheran World Federation Misses the Mark on Work and Wealth,” I reflect on the recently concluded general assembly of the Lutheran World Federation, held in Stuttgart. Continue Reading...

Humans are not Economic Automata

Courtesy Evangelical Outpost and the always-interesting 33 Things, here’s a video on the strangeness of the economics of incentives and punishments: The lesson here is that people in real life, body and soul, are not simple rational economic actors who respond only to material realities. Continue Reading...