get-your-hands-dirtyTo avoid the “twin errors of materialism and spiritualism” Christians need to mix it up with the “dirtiness” of this world, Jordan Ballor argues in Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (And Action). The Christian Post recently interviewed Jordan about his new book:

CP: What is “dirt” a metaphor for in the book?

Ballor: It’s a multi-layered metaphor. On one level, it’s just about grit, the things that attend to hard work – sweat, toil and mud – all the things that have to do with what happens when we work hard in this life. On another level, and informed by Christian understandings of sin, it has to do with the fallenness of our natures. The spiritual dirt that comes with original sin and adds up as we actually sin in this world. I use it on at least those two levels in the book to talk about how we can seek to be clean, whether that’s always a good thing, whether we should seek to be dirty in some cases or not.

Obvious from the title, I’m encouraging us to get dirty and that is in the first sense, although understanding that avoiding sin is not always possible. So that is how those two layers of the image of dirt come together.

Read more . . .

contraceptive-mandateThe delivery trucks of Ohio-based Freshway Foods bear signs stating, “It’s not a choice, it’s a child,” as a way to publicly promote the owners’ pro-life views to the public. It wasn’t too surprising, then, that the company and it’s owners, Francis and Philip Gilardi, would be opposed to the Obamacare’s requirement that the health coverage for their nearly 400 full-time workers include abortifacients.

The American Center for Law and Justice helped the Gilardi’s challenge the mandate, arguing that the mandate violated their religious liberties. Today, the D.C. Circuit Court agreed and handed down a ruling that the requirement “trammels” the expression of religious freedom. In the majority opinion the judges ask, “What exactly is the government trying to ameliorate?”
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Ever since the cancellation of Discovery Channel’s hit show Dirty Jobs, former host Mike Rowe has been spreading his message more directly, challenging Americans on how they approach work and success.

As Jordan Ballor has already noted, much of Rowe’s critique centers on the current state of higher education. In a recent appearance on The Blaze, Rowe offers a bit more color on this, pointing to the growing disconnect between skills and needs and wondering what it says about our larger attitudes regarding work:

As Rowe explains:

College needed a PR campaign in the mid 70s. It did. We needed more people to actively use their brain. But like all PR campaigns, it went too far, and we started promoting college at the expense of all those vocations I mentioned that my grandpop did. And suddenly, those things become vocational consolation prizes. (more…)

dont treadThe American Spectator features a piece from Acton’s Director of Research Sam Gregg today regarding Americans’ distrust of the federal government. While disdain for politicians is nothing new, Gregg says there is something beyond simple dislike for political shenanigans:

There is, however, another dimension to this problem that’s now receiving more attention. This is the emergence over the past two decades of what the 2006 Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps calls in his new book, Mass Flourishing, the “new corporatism.” This is a set of political and economic arrangements, Phelps maintains, that’s crippling economic growth while simultaneously creating a new set of “insiders” and “outsiders” in America — with most politicians being firmly in the “insider” category.

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healthcare-gov-website-problemsA new lawsuit against the federal government has been filed regarding the HHS mandate. The Williams family (father Joseph III, sons Joseph IV and Mark) own Electrolock, an electrical and thermal insulation company based in Ohio. The Williams family, as Catholics, believe the government’s mandate to provide abortions, artificial birth control and abortifacients to their employees as part of health care violates their religious liberty.

According to The Thomas More Law Center, the family decided to give employees money so that they could shop for their own health care at the government’s health care exchange, Healthcare.gov. However, things did not go as planned: (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, November 1, 2013
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Iran gives Christians 80 lashes for communion wine as UN blasts human rights record
Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News

Four Iranian Christians were reportedly sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine for communion, a shocking punishment meted out even as a new United Nations report blasted the Islamic republic for its systematic persecution of non-Muslims.

Should Christians Get Paid Less Because Their Work is “Ministry?”
Ed Cyzewski, The High Calling

In some cases we have confused freebies with ministry, as if adding money to a transaction devalues the holiness of someone’s work.

St. Nicholas Church, Destroyed on 9/11, to Rebuild With Byzantine Design
David W. Dunlap, New York Times

The church “will almost certainly ignite a new round of debate over the role of religion at or around the World Trade Center.”

Feminism and the Razing of the Village
Leslie Loftis, The Federalist

Feminism promised to empower women. Instead it destroyed their support system.

Soros Kabuki Dance

Soros Kabuki Dance

The Securities and Exchange Commission conducted a hearing Wednesday to determine whether it should promulgate new disclosure rules for public companies. On hand was Laura Berry, executive director, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a New York-based watchdog group.

Ms. Berry was joined by a host of other liberal/progressive representatives working hard to undermine First Amendment rights bolstered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United. Berry and her cohorts – Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); Professor Robert Jackson, Columbia Law School; Professor John Coates, Harvard Law School; Pat Doherty, Office of the New York State Comptroller; Heidi Welsh, Sustainable Investments Institute – argued that 600,000 letters were submitted to the SEC backing up their demands for more corporate disclosure.

As noted by the Center for Competitive Politics, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization in Alexandria, Va., that works to protect free speech, this assertion – and the underlying premises that are employed to defend – are completely false:

Our analysis found less than .01% of these submissions to be “substantive” letters containing unique text and coherent arguments from independent perspectives that were not duplicates, without complete names, or using form text.

99.71% of the comment letters stem from nine different form letters from union and Soros-funded entities, which have posted SEC submission links on their websites. (more…)