Category: News and Events

Blog author: jcouretas
Thursday, September 18, 2008
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Frank J. Hanna III, Georgia CEO of Hanna Capital and cofounder of the Solidarity Foundation, is author of the new book What Your Money Means (and How to Use It Well). Hanna, a board member of the Acton Institute, talked to National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez in a Q&A titled “Virtue and Volatility” about earning money, using it well, the market meltdown, and more.

Excerpt:

Lopez: What do love, virtue, and religious faith have to do with money?

Hanna: Money is merely an instrumentality — a tool. It is a tool designed to serve greater ends, like love, virtue, and our faith. However, if we are not thoughtful and deliberate in the way we treat our money, it can work against those ends, rather than for them.

Lopez: Is it fair to say that “non-essential wealth threatens those we love”? Can’t those we love appreciate some luxuries too?

Hanna: Non-essential wealth is a threat — to all of us. A threat is not synonymous with evil, but it is the potential for something evil. When we have non-essential wealth, there is the chance that we spend it unwisely, in ways that can hurt others or ourselves. This possibility does not, however, rule out enjoying life’s legitimate pleasures.

Lopez: Do you feel guilty about being wealthy? Is that a bad thing?

Hanna: Being wealthy is a gift, just like other gifts, and one should no more feel guilty about it than one would feel guilty about being pretty, or playing an instrument well, or being a great athlete. It is how we treat the gift we have received that determines whether we should have guilt.

Lopez: “Money is good” but not greed? A little revision on Michael Douglas?

Hanna: Greed is an unhealthy attachment to money, and is always bad. It is very similar to an unhealthy attachment to food, which we know as the sin of gluttony, or the unhealthy attachment to one’s appearance, which we know as the sin of vanity. Food is good, good grooming is good, and money is good; the unhealthy attachment to any of these things is not good.

Last week I told PowerBlog readers that we were working on a special event for the upcoming GodblogCon 2008. We’re announcing here that we will be holding an exclusive premiere of Acton Media’s newest documentary, The Birth of Freedom, at GodblogCon 2008.

The film will be shown at the opening of the third day of the conference, on Sunday morning at 10:00am, September 21, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’re excited about this opportunity that is available to GodblogCon participants as well as to attendees of the BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

Earlier in the conference, Mark Joseph, a multi-media producer, columnist and author who blogs at the Huffington Post, will be discussing, “Godbloggers & Hollywood: The role of Godbloggers in the Entertainment Industry and Why They Should Care.” The exclusive premiere of The Birth of Freedom at GBC 2008 will provide a nice complement to Joseph’s talk, and introduce the Godblogging community to the vision of Acton Media.

You can view a trailer for the film below, and check out more details about upcoming premieres, as well as the ongoing Birth of Freedom Video Shorts series, at the film’s website.

If you have been considering coming to GodblogCon 2008 but haven’t yet registered, the opportunity to be among the first in the world to see The Birth of Freedom should be incentive enough to make the commitment to come, fellowship, and learn with others in the world of new media.

In this, the third video in Acton Media’s series of shorts accompanying its latest documentary The Birth of Freedom, Glenn Sunshine demonstrates how belief in human dignity spurred invention and innovation during the middle ages.

Acton Media’s video shorts from The Birth of Freedom are designed to provide additional insight into key issues and ideas in the film. A new short is released each Monday. Check out the rest of the series, learn about premieres in your area, and discover more background information at www.thebirthoffreedom.com.

There’s a good read from a state politician familiar with Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Detroit mayor accused of all manner of illicit activity, in the Sep. 12 newsletter (PDF) from Michigan state senator Mickey Switalski (D-Roseville). Switalski’s newsletter is one of the best and is atypical among state politicians, because he writes the content himself.

Before his current run as a state senator, Switalski was a state representative during Kilpatrick’s tenure as Democratic Floor Leader, the #2 position in the Democratic caucus. In his piece on Kilpatrick, Switalski offers what you might expect to be a sympathetic perspective, given their time spent as colleagues and their shared party affiliation (I spent a semester as a legislative intern for then-Representative Switalski in the spring of 2000). Yet Switalski offers what I think is a fair and balanced assessment, based on his judgment that Kilpatrick “is a complex person with many strengths and some tragic weaknesses.”

“The Rise and Fall of Kwame Kilpatrick” is a narrative embodying the wisdom of Lord Acton’s dictum that “power tends to corrupt.” Switalski gives us an inside look at state politics, describing the legislature as “an insane asylum,” given the turbulent dynamics at the time. But Kilpatrick was a voice of reason and stability during the ravages of partisan bickering.

Ultimately Switalski judges that Kilpatrick “had too much power too early. He indulged his prodigious appetites and lacked the maturity and judgment to control his desires and became corrupt.”

Switalski wonders, “Were these faults always there?”

“I suppose they were,” he answers.

But how could a man who saw public service with such clarity in 2000 become so blind and ethically lost just a few years later? It is a sad tale, both for him and for the City. Unlike many people I know, who seemed to relish in his failure, I took no joy in watching him self-destruct. It was an awful waste of talent and opportunity. It was a tragedy for the City and the Region.

I pray his successors will not let power lead them into temptation, and so avoid a similar fate.

Switalski is correct to point to the tragedy of the demise of Kwame Kilpatrick, and that we should always realize the danger that power presents and the responsibility that it entails.

Even those who recognize, as Kwame did, that politicians have a duty to their constituents and “doing good policy for the people we serve” can be corrupted by the illusions of power and the delusions of privilege.

Blog author: jballor
Friday, September 12, 2008
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We are one week away from the beginning of GodblogCon 2008. For the second year in a row the Acton Institute is a sponsor of the event, and we’re proud be be a part of the premier gathering of bloggers and new media connoisseurs. Other sponsors include the founding institutions behind GBC, Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute. Crossway Books & Bibles, which is publishing the forthcoming Stewardship Resource Bible, is also a sponsor of the event (Acton research scholar Stephen Grabill is general editor of the Stewardship Resource Bible).

Part of our task as a sponsor of the event is to come up with an ad for the attendee booklet, which will go out to all GBC participants. As a PowerBlog exclusive, we’re unveiling this ad here today, inspired by the LOLord Acton Quote Generator.


We’re also working on some exciting last minute plans with the GBC team, so keep the PowerBlog bookmarked for the latest news on GodblogCon 2008. Check out the GBC schedule and speaker list, and register now to attend this dynamic gathering.

The Acton Institute is co-sponsoring a symposium hosted by The Heritage Foundation at the University of Michigan’s campus. The event will take place:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Michigan Union Building
530 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan

The future of liberty depends on reclaiming America’s first principles. What are those principles, and what do they mean for today? The First Principles Initiative is one of the 10 Transformational Initiatives making up The Heritage Foundation’s Leadership for America campaign. The publications and programs of this Initiative seek to provide a much-needed education for students, policymakers, and citizens about the ideas of liberty and constitutional self-government, with the objective of reorienting our politics and public policy to the principles of the American Founding.

Director of Acton Media and Research Fellow, Jay W. Richards, will speak on the topic of Conservative Answers to Environmental Questions at 2:15PM

For more information, please contact Emily Sankot Kayrish at (202) 608-6266 or e-mail: specialevents@heritage.org

Mark your calendar! The Fox Business Channel is featuring The Call of the Entrepreneur at the following times:

· Saturday, September 27 5:00 – 6:00 PM EST / 2:00 – 3:00 PM PST

· Sunday, September 28 12:00 – 1:00 AM EST / 9:00 – 10:00 PM PST

To find your local station visit the FOX channel finder. To find out more about the movie, discover related materials, and learn how to host your own screening, visit The Call of the Entrepreneur website.

The second in Acton Media’s series of shorts accompanying its latest documentary The Birth of Freedom, this new video asks the question, “How has Judaism contributed to human rights?” In the video, John Witte Jr. demonstrates how the teachings of Judaism significantly impacted the western understanding of human rights, contributing the foundations for concepts such as human dignity, due process, and covenantal agreements.

Acton Media’s video shorts from The Birth of Freedom are designed to provide additional insight into key issues and ideas in the film. A new short is released each Monday. Check out the rest of the series, learn about premieres in your area, and discover more background information at www.thebirthoffreedom.com.

The Associated Press has an article reporting on controversial statements made by Governor Sarah Palin at the Wasilla Assemby of God church in Wasilla, Alaska. Governor Palin makes an appeal for prayer about troops in Iraq declaring, “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.” She also made an appeal for students to pray for the implementation of a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state. The short impromptu address was given to graduating students at the Assembly of God church in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla.

Governor Palin attended Wasilla Assembly of God from the time she was a teenager until 2002, according to the AP article. The Wall Street Journal reports that Palin attends Juneau Christian Center, also an Assemblies of God church, when the state government is in session. Another AP article refers to her current church as a non-denominational church, Wasilla Bible Church.

The earliest denunciation of Palin’s talk was highlighted by the Huffington Post on September 2. Their site also has the full video of Palin’s words to the students, and concerned readers should shape their own viewpoint from watching the video. The intention of the piece at the Huffington Post is to clearly link together similarities between the questions and concerns laid on Barack Obama for his long-time attendance at Trinity United Church of Christ, and his strong association with his former preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The Huffington Post declares:

And if the political storm over Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright is any indication, Palin may face some political fallout over the more controversial teachings of Wasilla Assembly of God.

You can read the Huffington Post for a highlight of the “controversial” teachings they mention. My thoughts on the prayer differ from some of the critiques I have read. For those who have attended charismatic services, her language will certainly not seem unfamiliar.

Conversationalist prayer style, and petitionary prayer is delivered in a style that assumes submission to God’s will or Divine Providence. There is also a strong evangelical note where she emphasizes the importance of regeneration when she says, “All of that stuff doesn’t really matter if the people of Alaska’s heart isn’t right with God.”

It’s ludicrous to suggest that God can’t be present or desire transformation in Iraq just because the U.S. military is present. The religious left and its sympathizers cannot unconditionally identify the will of God with an American defeat. Does that necessarily imply God endorses this conflict? Of course not. At the same time it certainly doesn’t excuse mistakes that were made in the conflict from a political perspective. But God can certainly support justice for those who were persecuted and still persecuted, and deliverance for those who suffered and suffer under tyrants. Certainly many military chaplains can greatly attest and testify well to the presence of God in Iraq, as well as the protection for our soldiers, airmen, and Marines.

Palin’s prayer certainly falls within those parameters. It’s far too easy for those who hold a secular worldview to simply scoff at the prayer appeal. It also may be easy for some who hold a theological degree or advanced seminary training to find fault with some of the language. But it is still true that this is how most people pray in their congregations and in their own personal prayer life, especially those who attend churches outside of traditional Christianity or a church that has little or no liturgical makeup.

Possibly the most famous member of the Assembly of God denomination who was in public service was former senator and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Ashcroft was unfairly demonized as a puritanical fundamentalist Christian, who supposedly ordered a bare-breasted statue at the Justice Department covered.

However, attempts to tie Palin to Ashcroft or other perceived stodgy Christians of the “religious right” should fail miserably. Sally Quinn has tried to drive a wedge between “value voters” and Governor Palin, as if conservative Christians were ready to pounce on her family with a scarlet “A.” The criticisms of Quinn and her ilk tell us more about how much these critics don’t know about the Gospel story than they do about Christians with a conservative worldview.

GodblogCon 2008 is two weeks away. The Acton Institute is a proud sponsor of this event, held in conjunction with the BlogWorld & New Media Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, September 20-21.

The conference will be a great opportunity to connect with bloggers and internet figures you’ve only read about or corresponded with in a virtual environment. You’ll also have the opportunity to attend valuable sessions and learn the basics of blogging, vcasting, and how social networks work.

I found last year’s event to be really stimulating and it energized me for weeks and months afterward. If it fits into your schedule, you should really consider attending. Check out the website for more details about the schedule of events and roster of speakers.

Next week, in anticipation of the event, the PowerBlog will unveil its conference program ad…try to maintain your composure as the excitement builds.