Archived Posts 2013 - Page 31 of 167 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jcarter
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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Russia’s “protectorate” over Middle Eastern Christians
Gianni Valente, Vatican Insider

Defending Middle Eastern Christians has become a strategic asset for Putin and is in perfect harmony with the Patriarchate of Moscow’s mission.

Anti-Christian terror is everyone’s concern
Steven B. Nasatir, OCP News

The persecution of any religious minority anywhere by anyone is an evil injustice. It requires all persons of conscience to speak out and, when possible, take action.

Religious Freedom and the Need for Transcendently Based Law
Rick Plasterer, Juicy Ecumenism

The doctrine of “separation of church and state” is in fact Biblical and constitutional, Crumbly said, but its point is “the church being protected from the state, not the state being protected from the church.”

The Church’s Role in Poverty Alleviation
Walter Kaiser, Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics

The “Robin Hood” approach to solving the problem of poverty has never proven consistently effective. In all economies where such forceful redistribution of wealth has occurred, the standard of living for all has dropped.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 28, 2013
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Children-in-PovertyDuring the late 1970s and early 1980s I spent two extended periods living below the poverty line. The first experience came as I entered the first grade. My father was a chronically unhappy man who was skillful and ambitious, yet prone to wanderlust. Every few months we would move to a new city so that he could try his hand at a new occupation—a truck driver in Arkansas, a cop in West Texas, a bouncer at a honky-tonk near Louisiana. We were always on the move, always a few weeks away from the next paycheck. At the lowest point we had nothing to eat but a half-loaf of Wonder Bread, a five-gallon bucket of unshelled peanuts, and tap water. That lasted for a two-week period in August that stretched across my seventh birthday.

Eventually my father settled down, found steady work, and we inched our way slowly toward the lower rungs of the working class. This period of financial tranquility lasted until I was eleven, when my father walked out on my mother, my younger brother, and me. Brokenhearted and dead broke, we packed the car and moved again, my mother having acquired the nomadic tendency to run away from adversity. (By the time I graduated high school, I had changed schools thirteen times.) Single parenthood tipped the scales and we slipped, once again, beneath the poverty threshold. We survived with the aid of food stamps and government housing until my sophomore year, when my mother remarried and our lives returned to a level of economic normalcy.

I’m always hesitant to share this story because we in America tend to have a knee-jerk sympathy for the “down-and-out.” There are, however, many times, as in my family’s case, when pity is completely unwarranted. A lifetime of foolish decisions by my parents, rather than a dismal economy or lack of opportunity, led to our being poor. We reaped what they had sown.
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iraq persecutionWhile Christians in the West are often faced with moral temptations and dilemmas regarding our faith life, we do not – for the most part – know the persecution faced by our brothers and sisters in places such as Syria, Iran, Pakistan and other countries where Christians are openly persecuted. Archbishop Amel Shamon Nona heads the Chaldean Catholic eparchy of Mosul, Iraq, and knows just this type of persecution. He writes at National Review Online that there is a way for Christians to face these very difficult times: (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 28, 2013
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pp2my3Want to be canonized as a saint? Then you should probably move to Italy: 46.7 percent of saints lived in that country at the time of their deaths.

That is just one of the many interesting tidbits to be gleaned from a 2010 paper by Barro, McCleary, and McQuoid titled, The Economics of Sainthood (a preliminary investigation):

Saint-making has been a major activity of the Catholic Church for centuries. The pace of sanctifications has picked up noticeably in the last several decades under the last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Our goal is to apply social-science reasoning to understand the Church’s choices on numbers and characteristics of saints, gauged by location and socioeconomic attributes of the persons designated as blessed.

Another interesting fact is that after years of service, popes apparently get tired of saint-making:
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Pastor Christopher Brooks, Campus Dean at Moody Theological Seminary in Detroit, Mich., gave the opening remarks and blessing at Acton’s 23rd Annual Dinner on October 24, 2013. As a graduate of Acton University, Pastor Brooks shared the things he has learned from the Acton Institute and how those apply to the people he serves.

Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching

Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching

This book offers pastors who minister to urban congregations ways to connect the Word of God to the urban experience.

Tea-Party-Catholic-196x300Fr. John Flynn, LC, has reviewed Tea Party Catholic: The Case for Limited Government, A Free Economy And Human Flourishing at Zenit. Flynn notes that the book is not about the current Tea Party political movement, but is tied to American history:

In his introduction Gregg explained that the book is not about the Tea Party movement or any particular group, but refers to the many millions of Americans who favor limited government.

Flynn also takes a look at what Gregg means by “limited government:”

The Catholic case for limited government does not mean being against all government, and it also does not mean that it is an endorsement of libertarianism or an Ayn Rand type philosophy, he stressed. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 28, 2013
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Russell Moore Clarifies Misleading WSJ Article, Praises Predecessor’s ‘Prophetic Voice’
Napp Nazworth, Christian Post

Moore clarified, though, that he thinks Christians should be more involved, not less involved, in politics, and he is also concerned with how they are involved.

Soros Has Donated More than $100M to ‘Immigrant Rights’ Groups
Breitbart News

Soros has poured in millions to groups like La Raza and Evangelical front groups that advocate for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship to all of the country’s illegal immigrants.

An Eclectic Inheritance: Kuyper’s Politics Today
Tracy Kuperus, Comment

Kuyper’s understanding of gender and racial dynamics are sorely lacking. Yet his views on political engagement, his appreciation for religious pluralism, and his commentary on globalization are still prescient.

Avarice: Desiring more Wealth than one’s Soul can Support
Russell Kirk, Imaginative Conservative

Avarice sometimes produces present poverty: the miser, proverbially, is ragged and lean.

strategyThe American Principles Project (APP) released a new report yesterday that marshals data showing a majority of Americans support policies held by social conservatives. The document challenges the existing “truce model” and puts forward a case for integrated conservatism. APP argues that social issues are winning issues, and that a winning economic message must address the concerns of middle-class voters.

It’s not only a winning strategy for conservatives, but as Ryan Anderson says, advancing such a unified governing agenda is the principled thing for Americans to do:
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1-TrillionIf you are looking for good data to provide a reminder that America has lost the “War On Poverty,” Michael Tanner has compiled helpful information explaining the current state of the union in the study titled, “The American Welfare State: How We Spend Nearly $1 Trillion a Year Fighting Poverty — And Fail.” Tanner begins by noting that we are now at a point where annually,

[T]he federal government will spend more than $668 billion on at least 126 different programs to fight poverty. And that does not even begin to count welfare spending by state and local governments, which adds $284 billion to that figure. In total, the United States spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty. That amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.

While welfare spending has continued to increase, poverty rates in America have basically remained the same as they were 40 years ago. In fact, though we as a nation have spent nearly $15 trillion in total welfare spending since Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964, several families in rural and inner-city America continue to be trapped in generational cycles of dependency. Something is not working.
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Professor Oliver O'Donovan

In a recent event co-sponsored by Christian’s Library Press, professor Oliver O’Donovan engaged in a robust conversation with Matthew Lee Anderson and Ken Myers on the topic of the Gospel and public engagement. The audio is now available via Mars Hill Audio. Sign-up is required, but is both simple and free.

Anyone who has read O’Donovan is familiar with the weight and depth he brings to such matters. As was to be expected, this is a conversation filled with richness, nuance, and the types of rabbit trails that, to one’s great delight, end up not being rabbit trails after all.

The discussion is worth listening to in full, but O’Donovan’s kick-off discussion of “the secular” is of particular relevance to our discussions about economic, cultural, and political transformation. For O’Donovan, modernity has wielded a peculiar influence on the way Christians view “common life” in the “common world” — one that has led to a problematic approach to what we now think of as “the secular.”

It used to mean something quite different:

Historically, the word secular meant to do with the affairs of this world – i.e., it was the life of creation extended into history as distinct from the intervention into this world and the work in this world of redeeming it and saving it. So every Christian lived a secular life and a spiritual life, in that a Christian is engaged, has tasks, has a life to live within the common terms of a common world, and at the same time an awareness and response to the work of God in saving it. (more…)