Archived Posts 2005 - Page 2 of 88 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
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In the latest issue of Touchstone, Acton senior fellow Jennifer Roback Morse examines the issues of procreation and property in contemporary society, and the seemingly growing opinion anyone can be a parent if they so choose. In “First Comes Marriage” Morse contends, “There is no right to a child, because a child is not an object to which other people have rights.”

She goes on to make a clarification about meanings of “rights” language that are often conflated:

We must distinguish between “the right to have a child” in the sense of possession and the “right to have a child” in the sense of procreation. There is one coherent way to imagine a right to procreate. Two people of the opposite sex can come together to conceive a child, without permission from the state or anyone else. People do it all the time.

To put it another way: Every individual is sterile. No one can have a baby by himself. Each human infant has two parents, one male and one female. Therefore, any right to have a child should be held by a couple, not by an individual who wishes to be a parent.

Read the whole thing and subscribe to Touchstone here.

Blog author: kschmiesing
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
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More evidence surfaces of the necessity of using discretion when giving charitably. Not too many readers of this blog will be surprised that the United Nations is not the most efficient entity in the world. It seems that overhead gobbled up a third of the funds the U.N. raised for tsunami relief last year.

But private charities aren’t immune to problems. Fifty people have been indicted in a scandal at the Red Cross. Employees were directing Katrina-victim funds to “needy” friends and family.

Maybe there’s a lesson here about giving to smaller, less bureaucratic organizations. Definitely there’s proof that lack of personal integrity is a problem that extends beyond the world of for-profit business. And definitely there’s affirmation of the need to give wisely.

Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
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The NYT’s John Leland has an excellent article on the engagement of culturally conservative Christians and popular movies. In “New Cultural Approach for Conservative Christians: Reviews, Not Protests,” (login required) Leland writes about the shift in attitude, from one of abstention and withdrawal to critical engagement.

Professor Robert Johnston of Fuller Theological Seminary says that “evangelicals as a group are becoming more sophisticated in their interaction with popular culture. There’s been a recognition within the evangelical community that movies have become a primary means, perhaps the primary means, of telling our culture’s stories. For this reason, evangelicals have become much more open to good stories, artfully told, but they also want stories whose values they can affirm or understand.”

The latest issue of Religion & Liberty has a number of articles dealing with movies and morality, including an interview with Ralph Winter, producer of Fantastic Four, X-Men, and a number of the Star Trek films, as well as an article by Michael Medved.

For more reading on Christian engagement of the culture of Hollywood, check out “Would C.S. Lewis Have Risked a Disney ‘Nightmare’?” and “The Culture’s Animating Values.”

And here are a few sources for Christian reviews of current and past films: Christianity Today Movies, Decent Films Guide, and World Magazine’s Cinema Veritas.

Blog author: jballor
Friday, December 23, 2005
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Before we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this weekend, take a moment to look at some information about the state of Christianity in the Middle East, the area containing the Lord’s birthplace in Bethlehem. The BBC provides a country-by-country overview of Christians in the Mideast, as part of their ongoing series.

For example, in Iraq, the home of Christians since the 2nd century, “A rise in attacks on Christians since the US-led invasion in 2003 has prompted many to leave, although estimates that some 40,000 – 60,000 have left cannot be confirmed.” For more about how Middle Eastern Christians, who make up 70% of immigrations to the United States from that area, live in this country, check out this CT article, “Lost in America: Arab Christians in the U.S. have a rich heritage and a shaky future,” by Elesha Coffman.

Blog author: jballor
Friday, December 23, 2005
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O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–U.S. Book of Common Prayer, “Of the Incarnation,” (1979), p. 200

Karen Woods, Director of Acton’s Center for Effective Compassion, reminds us to be wise as we engage in charity:

Good intentions are not enough. The most significant giving season of the year is no time to relent in our vigilance to avoid the unintended consequences of hurricane recovery (or in any other social need area either). From the smallest, personal kindness extended to an individual hurricane victim, to the most generous in-kind and cash donations of corporate America, due diligence remains important.

Read the full article at National Review Online.

Blog author: jcouretas
Thursday, December 22, 2005
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Icon of the Nativity

From the Orthros service (Tone 4) which precedes the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox churches on December 25, the Nativity of Christ.

Come, ye believers, let us see where Christ was born. Let us follow the star whither it goeth with the Magi, kings of the east; for there angels praise him ceaselessly, and shepherds raise their voices in a worthy song of praise, saying, Glory in the highest to the One born today in a cave from the virgin Theotokos in Bethlehem of Judaea.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Why wonderest thou, O Mary; and why art thou astonished in thy inner self? And she respondeth, saying, Because I have given birth in time to a Son unbound by time; nor do I comprehend the manner of conception of him that is born. I have known no man; how then give I birth to a son? For who hath yet seen a birth without seed? But since God willeth, the order of nature is overcome, as it hath been written, Christ hath been born of the Virgin in Bethlehem of Judaea.

Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

He that all containeth not, how was he contained in the womb? And he that is in the bosom of the Father, how shall he be carried in the arms of his Mother? Verily, all this hath been fulfilled as he himself knew and willed and was pleased to do; for he that is not carnal hath become incarnate by his own choice; and he that is hath turned for our sakes to that which he was not, sharing our creation, yet inseparable from his essence, Verily, Christ hath been born with two Natures, desiring to perfect the heavenly world.