Evangelizing the Powers

As one might infer from Lord Acton’s maxim, the question has been raised: Did proximity to political power corrupt Billy Graham’s chaplaincy to the presidency? GetReligion’s Douglas LeBlanc surveys the recent attention paid by the mainstream media to this part of Graham’s pastoral mission, and concludes in concord with Randall Balmer, “The gospel is better served when religious leaders keep a healthy distance from political power. Continue Reading...

Sicko and the Sick Man of the Great White North

Time sure does fly. It’s been almost two years since I called Canada’s government-run health care system “The Sick Man of the Great White North” and wrote: Canada’s system may be the gold standard for government-run health care, but only if you’re looking for a system that can’t provide essential medical services in a timely manner. Continue Reading...

Marketing is the New Finance

No doubt feeding the fears of those who believe that global corporations pose the greatest threat to the future flourishing of humanity, such multi-nationals are beginning to hire their own economists, much like governments have their own financial and economic experts. Continue Reading...

The New Martyrs

People light candles below a wooden cross at a site south of Moscow where at the height of Josef Stalin’s political purges 70 years ago firing squads executed thousands of people perceived as enemies of communism. Continue Reading...

Book Review Roundup

Here are some book reviews of note from recent weeks that you may find to be of interest: Charles H. Parker. The Reformation of Community: Social Welfare and Calvinist Charity in Holland, 1572-1620. Continue Reading...

Baxter, How to Do Good to Many, Part 3

Readings in Social Ethics: Richard Baxter, How to Do Good to Many (London, 1682; repr. 1830), part 3 of 3. References below are to page numbers. Concluding Consectaries: These consectaries are aimed at Baxter’s audience, wealthy Christian merchants. Continue Reading...

T.S. Eliot & Ritualistic Nihilism

Lately, I’ve heard one too many emo kids misread T.S. Eliot as being one of their own. In Russell Kirk’s words, it is easy for the “rootless and aimless” of the new generation to over-identify with Eliot, seeing him as a spokesman “for the futility and fatuity of the modern era, all whimper and no bang — a kind of Anglo-American ritualistic nihilism.” And whining, pining, Anglo-American ritualistic nihilism is the cultural trend of the day, whether you look at the musically and lyrically directionless music that tops current charts, the shapelessness and androgyny seeping into high fashion, or the melodramatic and attention-seeking ways teenagers and college students spend their social time (not the least of which takes place on the Internet, through personal blogs, Facebook, and chatting). Continue Reading...

In Service with and for Others

While I was in seminary in Kentucky, students were required to complete a relatively extensive service project that assisted and helped the poor and marginalized in our community. My group volunteered at a teen pregnancy center, others at nursing homes, or with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Continue Reading...

Baxter, How to Do Good to Many, Part 2

Readings in Social Ethics: Richard Baxter, How to Do Good to Many (London, 1682; repr. 1830), part 2 of 3. References below are to page numbers. On Motives: Human works are God’s appointed means of grace: “It is God’s great mercy to mankind, that he will use us all in doing good to one another; and it is a great part of his wise government of the world, that in societies men should be tied to it by the sense of every particular man’s necessity; and it is a great honour to those that he maketh his almoners, or servants, to convey his gifts to others; God bids you give nothing but what is his, and no otherwise your own but as his stewards. Continue Reading...