Archived Posts November 2005 - Page 5 of 8 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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The church thought of this first, but better late than never, I suppose: 10 over 100 is an effort to encourage people who make over $100,000 per year to donate 10% to charity.

Here’s the pledge: I, [type your name here] , hereby make a personal promise to give 10% of whatever I make over $100,000 each year to charity. I will donate money directly to organizations of MY choosing, including charities, relief funds, schools, churches, etc. I understand that this promise is morally, not legally, binding.

HT: Fast Company Now

Update: FWIW, under a “graduated tithe” of the type advocated by Ron Sider, with a scale of, say, $10,000, and basic expenses set at $40,000, you would be giving 60% per $10k once you reached $100,000 in income. So at the $100,000 level, you’d be giving a total of $25,000 or 25%. Beyond this, you increase gradually until you would be giving 100% of the money earned past $140,000. A PDF scale version of a type of graduated tithe is available here.

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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The AP reports that a deal has been struck to continue primary management of the Internet by the United States, following weeks and months of controversy. The EU had been pushing for control of the web to be turned over to a supra-national body, such as the UN.

The accord was accomplished at The World Summit on the Information Society, an international gathering to examine the “digital divide” between developed and developing nations. While “the summit was originally conceived to address the digital divide–the gap between information haves and have-nots–by raising both consciousness and funds for projects,” the meeting provided a forum to discuss and come to a resolution: “Instead, it has centered largely around Internet governance: oversight of the main computers that control traffic on the Internet by acting as its master directories so Web browsers and e-mail programs can find other computers.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael D. Gallagher said that the new agreement means that the onus now lies with the developing world to bring in not just opinions, but investment to expand the Internet to their benefit.

The fundamental basis for the agreement is the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum, a non-binding advisory body that would bring “its stakeholders to the table to discuss the issues affecting the Internet, and its use.” The formation of the forum essentially follows the recommendations of the UN’s Working Group on Internet Governance made in this past June.

For more on the issue of Internet governance, check out the Internet Governance Project, “an interdisciplinary consortium of academics with scholarly and practical expertise in international governance, Internet policy, and information and communication technology.”

A paper issued earlier this year by the project focuses on “the six factors that need to be taken into account in working out the details of a forum mechanism” (Download PDF here).

Well, maybe not exactly. But apparently not every European nation has decided to turn its back on Christianity.

The EUObserver reports that Slovaks are voting this week on their national euro coin design – and some notably Christian images are leading. (Click here to see the images.)

coin

It’s quite noteworthy that the Christian images are popular rather than dictated by the government. Not surprisingly, many Poles are pushing for the image of Pope John Paul II on their euro. Now if only the people of Europe could decide on other matters directly affecting them….

Blog author: jballor
Monday, November 14, 2005
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By now most everyone has heard about Pat Robertson’s warning to a Pennsylvania town that voted out their school board. The move seemed to be in response to the board’s attempt to introduce curriculum including “intelligent design” theory. In an announcement to the people of Dover, PA, Robertson said: “if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God — you just rejected Him from your city.”

Robertson advised the city’s residents to seek assistance from someone other than God if trouble were to overtake them: “God is tolerant and loving, but we can’t keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them.”

No one ever accused Robertson of a lack of rhetorical flourish. But beyond where his point may be legitimate, that intelligent design should not be banned from public schools, Robertson makes the mistake of confusing belief in a generic “intelligent designer” with belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

It’s one thing to argue for the possible supernatural origins of the universe. It’s quite another to identify those origins with the God of the Bible. This is a point that seems to largely be lost on the evangelical world, even among those who are somewhat more circumpsect and thoughtful that Pat Robertson. I wonder, in fact, whether it would be much more palatable for Robertson if the people of Dover prayed to the “unknown god” of intelligent design rather than Charles Darwin.

Supernatural theism in general is closer to Christian belief than naturalistic atheism. But supernatural theism isn’t identical with Christian belief; it’s merely compatible with it. It’s also compatible with a host of other religious views. For more on this, read Hugh Ross on why Christians should be concerned about “More Than Intelligent Design.”

Blog author: dphelps
Monday, November 14, 2005
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The separation of church and state–that slippery topic–was dealt with recently with simplicity by the Holy Father. In speaking to the US Ambassador to the Vatican regarding ethics in politics, he said:

“The disturbing spread of social disorder, war, injustice and violence in our world can ultimately be countered only by renewed appreciation and respect for the universal moral law whose principles derive from the Creator himself.”

For the state to counter social ills, it must understand that societal problems are not primarily policy-oriented problems, simply a matter of the wrong combination of legislative forces. The problem is a problem in the human heart, a disconnect between the sinful creation and the holy Creator, that can be treated (if not cured) by acting in accordance to the Creator’s moral law.

Those were the words of a German-born businessman in New York, quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by Daniel Henninger.

This lucky German continues:

“A European at the age of 25, with little money but a lot of ambition and ideas, could not expect to move outside his own country–move to say the center of France, or the center of Italy, Belgium or any other country–and have much prospect of succeeding. He would remain an outsider.”

In the wake of the riots in France, there’s been a lot written about the Islamist influences, the lack of assimilation into French life, the stagnant economy – all of which show the worst sides of both religious and economic life as its now exists in Europe. The litany of European woes is just too long to list.

There is no doubt that America, as a nation of immigrants, assimilites foreigners much easier than European countries do; I never expect to pass for an Italian, no matter how long I live here. The problems France and other European nations are facing should teach us just how exceptional America really is, and how thankful we should be for our blessings, despite our own gathering problems of national identity and multiculturalism. (On these, see Charles Kesler’s recent Heritage Foundation lecture.)

In another post next week, I’ll try to show you how just how absurdly difficult it is to reform European ways…but I don’t want to ruin my weekend.

An interesing piece in the new New Atlantis, The Moral Education of Doctors.

…the transformation of doctoring in the image of science may also obscure, in important ways, the real character of the medical vocation. If we educate doctors solely or largely as mechanics of the body, we may leave them unprepared for the human encounter with the sick and desperate, the brave and dying, the healed and grateful.

The point in a nutshell (with apologies to the author): there is a human person here; act accordingly. This seems to me to be something we might all remind ourselves of, no matter what our profession. To remind ourselves of the human element of our work–that somehow what we are doing is benefiting and serving another human person–this reminds us of the dignity of human work and of its reality to the truth of the human person. To paraphrase John Paul the Great, we become most human when we make of ourselves a gift to others. We ought to view our work, therefore, as a way we realize the truth about ourselves as gifts to others. What a fine way to see ourselves and our work, whether we be doctors or trash collectors, teachers or machinists.