Christmas by the Numbers

As the most widely observed cultural holiday in the world, Christmas is a time of produces many things — joy, happiness, gratitude, reverence. And numbers. Lots of peculiar, often large, numbers. Continue Reading...

Power Tends to Corrupt Theologians Too

John Howard YoderPhoto Credit: New York Times Today at Ethika Politika, in my essay “Prefacing Yoder: On Preaching and Practice,” I look at the recent decision of MennoMedia to preface all of Mennonite theologian John Howard Yoder’s works with a disclaimer about his legacy of sexually abusive behavior: Whatever one thinks of MennoMedia’s new policy or Yoder’s theology in particular (being Orthodox and not a pacifist I am relatively uninterested myself), this nevertheless raises an interesting concern: To what extent ought the character of a theologian matter to their readers and students? Continue Reading...

Alms and Homage

In my Acton Commentary today, “The Great Exchange of the Magi,” I reflect on the fact that, due to the material poverty of the holy family, the gifts of the magi can be considered alms in addition to homage: The magi set forth an example of the heart that all of us need to have when it comes to stewardship of our material blessings. Continue Reading...

PowerLinks 12.23.13

Don’t Be a Scrooge This Christmas R.C. Sproul, Ligonier Ministries The high degree of commerce at Christmas is driven by one thing: the buying of gifts for others. To present our friends and families with gifts is not an ugly, ignoble vice. Continue Reading...

ICCR’s 2013 Proxy Follies

As 2013 draws to a close, it’s time to inventory the year’s proxy resolutions introduced by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR, a group purportedly acting on religious principles and faith, is actually nothing more than a shareholder activist group engaged in the advancement of leftist causes at the expense of their fellow shareholders and the world’s poorest. Continue Reading...

The Fountainhead of Bedford Falls

[Note: A version of this article ran last year around Christmastime. I’m posting it again because I love talking about Frank Capra and everyone else seems to love talking about Ayn Rand.] Frank Capra and Ayn Rand are two names not often mentioned together. Continue Reading...

O Tannenbaum and Fair Trade

A couple of further points in reply to Micah Mattix’s response on buying Christmas trees, based on his original post here. 1) I think Mattix’s characterization of the buyer as “selfish” goes a bit too far, and is not an accurate characterization of a good deal of market activity. Continue Reading...

5 Minute Explainer: Competitive Federalism

Concepts you should know about explained in five minutes (or less). Leo Linbeck III, President and CEO of Aquinas Companies, provides an explanation of competitive federalism and how competition and governance relate in society. Continue Reading...

A Living Wage for a Living Tree?

The Ballors went with a live tree this year. We bought it at Flowerland and I do not know the name of the farm whence it came. Over at the American Conservative, Micah Mattix reflects on the Christmas tree market, which in his neck of the woods is “notoriously unstable.” In Ashe County, North Carolina, says Mattix, a dilemma faces the small tree farmer: “It is not sell or starve, but it is sell or go without a new septic tank, a repaired roof, a mended this or that.” Although not specifically about Christmas trees, the difficult choice faced by the poet in the Robert Frost poem Mattix engages at length is also reminiscent of the dynamic of poverty in Winter’s Bone. Continue Reading...