The Family & the Market, an Acton University lecture by Jennifer Roback Morse, uses Christian theology and logic to illustrate unique connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of society, at least to the secular world. Morse is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, where she discovered that the economy depends on the intact family raising children. This Institute has a dream: that every child is welcomed into a loving home with a married mother and father. Their goal is to create a lasting and Christ-like social movement, and to clean up the consequences of the Sexual Revolution.
Students in this course learn the importance of both parents raising their own children together, as opposed to divorcing, sharing custody, or placing children in foster care. This is vital in order to “respect, honor, and preserve” the genetic identity and cultural heritage of every adult, without exception. Morse emphasizes that when this practice is violated, it gives way to structural injustice and the political correctness of “Alternative Family Forms.” These terms, such as multi-partner fertility, are indicators of our broken reality, and of life problems for children in these environments, mainly, stirring up feelings of resentment in an unloved child. (more…)
“It doesn’t matter how talented, how anointed, how gifted, how passionate, or how willing you are if you’re not fit to do the things that God has called you to do.” –Candace Payne
Having now broken multiple records for online views, Candace is now appearing on talk shows and at media venues across the nation, spreading her contagious joy to everyone she encounters (including Chewbacca himself).
For some, this newfound voice would be the beginning of what we commonly call influence or platform or brand. But for Candace, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom and worship leader, her calling and influence began long ago, starting as a teenager, and proceeding with faithfulness to God in her daily life.
“When I was 16, I had a vision and dream from the Lord about my future about being used for His glory,” she said in an interview at a Regional Fine Arts Festival. “…That dream has never left my heart, nor my mind, nor the way that I walk and follow Jesus.” (more…)
Yesterday was both Star Wars Day (May the Fourth) and the day that Donald Trump became the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican party. I reflected on the confluence of these two phenomena in a short essay on what Mr. Trump might learn from Emperor Palpatine. It is not well-known, perhaps, but Palpatine was instrumental in creating the so-called Book of Sith, which includes a treatise by him on “Absolute Power.” I draw a couple of lessons for Mr. Trump from Darth Sidious’ work, but there’s another element that I want to highlight briefly as well.
At one point Sidious reflects on his rise to prominence, his control of the Galactic Senate, and eventual consolidation of power under the Empire. “Fear is the spark that drove my march to power. Even now it fuels the engine of my Empire,” he writes. “The weak must be trained to fear the consequences of betrayal. They must dread that their neighbor’s loyalty is greater than their own. The anxious will whip themselves into hysterical nationalism without further prompting” (emphasis added).
Here Sidious provides a key insight into the nature of despotic tyranny and it’s corruption of human relationships. Such tyranny isolates individuals from one another, making sure that they no longer relate to anyone except as mediated by the despot or his machinery. Or as Tocqueville put it, “A despot readily pardons the governed for not loving him, provided that they do not love each other.” Love having been excluded, fear is left alone to reign.
Over the last century, Christianity has declined in social influence across much of the Western world, leading many to believe it has little place or purpose in public life.
In response, Christian reactions have varied, with the more typical approaches being fortification (“hide!”), domination (“fight!”), or accommodation (“blend in!”). In each case, the response takes the shape of heavy-handed strategery or top-down mobilization, whether to or from the hills.
And yet the cultural witness of the church ought to flow (or overflow) a bit differently. For Greg Forster, it has less to do with “cultural lever-pulling,” and a whole lot more to do with joy.
“Christianity is losing its influence in contemporary America because people outside the church just don’t encounter the joy of God as much as they used to,” Forster writes in his latest book, Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It. “…The joy of God can do what cultural lever-pulling can’t do.”
As we experience the joy of God in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, our attitudes and activities are transformed. As Christians, our primary task is not to take that transformation and funnel it toward end-game tactics, but to faithfully embody it across culture: blessing our neighbors and cultivating civilization, whether in the family, our work and the economy, or citizenship and community (Forster’s three main categories). (more…)
The BBC reported today that China is ending its one-child policy, providing the following overview:
- Introduced in 1979, the policy meant that many Chinese citizens – around a third, China claimed in 2007 – could not have a second child without incurring a fine
- In rural areas, families were allowed to have two children if the first was a girl
- Other exceptions included ethnic minorities and – since 2013 – couples where at least one was a single child
- Campaigners say the policy led to forced abortions, female infanticide, and the under-reporting of female births
- It was also implicated as a cause of China’s gender imbalance
Before everyone celebrates, China did not, however, eliminate all limits but changed the limit to two children. Certainly this is a huge improvement and a step in the right direction, but it is not without its own economic, ethical, and political problems. (more…)
As Christianity loses influence in the West, and as culture corresponds by taking its cues from the idols of hedonism, it can be easy to forget that most of these challenges are not new.
In an article for Leadership Journal, Ryan Hoselton highlights these recurring “crises,” pondering what lessons we might learn from Christian responses of ages past.
On the topic of family, and more specifically, family in decline, Hoselton points to Herman Bavinck’s The Christian Family, which takes aim at the range of threats to the family and how we (the church) might counteract the social drift. “There has never been a time when the family faced so severe a crisis as the time in which we are now living,” he writes, describing everything from divorce to sexual immorality, human trafficking to infanticide.
The book was written in 1908, but do these problems sound familiar? (more…)