Carroll Ríos de Rodríguez, professor of economics and politics at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, recently reviewed Samuel Gregg’s latest book, Tea Party Catholic in her column at ContraPoder.  She begins by discussing the incorrect assumption that redistribution of property and collectivism are inherently Christian commandments stating that the concept of individual freedom actually stems from Christianity.

No sólo es posible, sino natural, esbozar una postura católica en favor del gobierno limitado, el mercado libre y el progreso, afirma Samuel Gregg en su nuevo libro, Tea Party Catholic. Los seres humanos, hechos a imagen de Dios, estamos llamados a emplear nuestra libertad para convertirnos en la mejor persona que podemos ser.

El título del nuevo libro de Gregg puede despistar. No describe al nuevo movimiento conservador llamado Tea Party, cuyos allegados protestan contra altos impuestos y una deuda fiscal desbordada. Tampoco es una mera radiografía de la cultura estadounidense, vista por un inmigrante australiano. Gregg espulga tres fuentes: documentos oficiales del Vaticano, ensayos por los padres fundadores de la república, y libros por católicos en la modernidad. Así, destila el particular aporte del catolicismo a una comprensión integral de la libertad.

(Translations mine) It is not only possible, but natural, to sketch a Catholic position in favor of limited government, the free market, and progress, according to Samuel Gregg in his new book, Tea Party Catholic. Humans, made in the image of God, are called to use our liberty in order to become the best person we can be.

The title of the new book can be misleading. It does not describe the current conservative movement called the ‘Tea Party,’ whose supporters protest against taxes and overwhelming fiscal burdens. Neither is it a mere X-ray of American culture, as seen by an Australian immigrant. Gregg pulls from three sources: official Vatican documents, essays from the founders of the Republic, and books by modern Catholics. So, he distills the specifically Catholic tradition to a more fundamental comprehension of liberty.

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‘Unbroken’ is a must read book about the survival, suffering, and redemption of World War II veteran Louis Zamperini. Zamperini, a former Olympic runner, served as a bombardier in the Pacific Theatre of the war. During a search and rescue mission, his B-24 crashed in the Pacific. Zamperini, battling starvation, sharks, and Japanese Zeroes, drifted in a life raft with two others for thousands of miles. But that was just the beginning of his epic battle for survival. He was picked up by the Japanese and made a prisoner of war. After his liberation from the camp at the end of the war, Zamperini’s life spiraled out of control from alcoholism, his only coping mechanism for his horrific wartime experience and the torture he suffered.

While I was reading this book by Laura Hillenbrand, it became clear to me that Christ was the only thing that could redeem Zamperini’s life. A few years after the war, Zamperini was transformed by the power of the Gospel at a Billy Graham Crusade in Southern California. Zamperini not only forgave his Japanese tormentors but worked a lifetime in ministry mentoring the young. Zamperini, born in 1917, currently lives in Hollywood, Calif.

One of the problems in evangelicalism today is the lack of leadership. There is a lack of uncompromising voices like a Billy Graham who is pointing the country to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It’s folly to believe this country can be salvaged or reformed without a strong vibrant faith in the people. For the Christian, the remedy for sin is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not all of the substitutes for the Gospel that has flooded our culture. Even big government now promises to treat so many of the symptoms of sin by trying and failing to build a heaven on earth.

Below is a short profile of Louis Zamperini introduced by Brett Baier at Fox News. His story represents so well the courage of many of our veterans and also points to the transformation of so many lives through the crusades of Billy Graham.

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, November 11, 2013
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veterans-dayIn honor of all the men and women who’ve served in our nation’s Armed Forces to protect and defend our liberty, we’ve rounded-up recent posts regarding veterans and the military.

Catholic Military Chaplaincy: War-Mongering Or Christlike Service? 

Do You Feel a (Military) Draft?

Colonel Bud Day, the Hanoi Hilton, and the Problem with Military Secularism

Chaplains Concerned About Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling

7 Great Books for Memorial Day

Will the Pentagon Court-martial Servicemembers for Sharing Their Faith?

Men of God and Country in World War II

Lessons in Human Dignity from a Homeless Man’s Makeover

 

veterans-daySpend a day with your local military recruiter, and you’ll be encouraged by the number of people who go out of their way to say how much they support our troops and how much they appreciate the service of these young veterans. Then watch as the recruiters casually ask when they’ll be bringing their son or daughter to the recruiting station to learn more about serving their country.

Their spines stiffen, they smile blankly, and a coldness comes over them. If they are quick-witted, they will find a joking way to dismiss the question. More often, though, they will simply blurt out that there is no way they’d let their own child enlist. They’ll support someone else’s children being soldiers, but not their own.

Dealing with hostile parents is just one of the myriad reasons recruiting duty is considered second only to combat on the list of most stressful jobs in the military. Most of the Marines I have known, though, would rather do a tour fighting insurgents in Iraq than a tour recruiting teenagers in America.
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Blog author: jcarter
Monday, November 11, 2013
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What a Veteran Knows
Joe Carter, ERLC

There are some things only a veteran knows.

Classical Education & Freedom from Specialization
Gracy Olmstead, The American Conservative

Our modern world is obsessed with specialization. Yet this specialization is often unhealthy, both culturally and personally.

How Churches Can Help Without Hurting After Super Typhoon Haiyan
Jamie Aten, Christianity Today

Rule #1: Don’t jump into action before you know the needs on the ground.

8 Ways to Live Missionally in the Workplace
Melissa Bradley, Faith Village

The following is my feeble attempt to express 8 ways you can live missionally in your workplace.

In a new video from Dégagé Ministries, a non-profit based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Jim Wolf, a formerly homeless U.S. Army vet, receives a striking physical makeover. The video was created for a Veteran’s Day fundraising campaign designed to raise money for homeless and disadvantaged veterans.

As their web site states, “Dégagé’s goal is to assure that every man and woman who we serve knows that he/she is not alone.” Offering a host of services to 400-500 people daily, from meeting immediate needs like food and clothing to “walking alongside and affirming individuals as they navigate obstacles and work toward housing, jobs, sobriety, health, and independence,” Dégagé seeks to “reflect Christ’s love in action and word” through close community. (more…)

the-global-vatican-cover-art-07-31-13In Francis Rooney’s book, The Global Vatican, Rooney quotes Pope Benedict XVI regarding diplomacy, that it is, “in a certain sense, an act of hope.” This is an apt description of the work of diplomats, especially those associated with the Vatican. As Rooney points out,

The pope comes to the table with no threats, no bullets, no drones; he has no stick and no carrots. He comes simply as a man of faith, armed with words and beliefs. His is the ultimate soft power.

The Global Vatican is a rich and pleasantly-detailed look at the history of U.S.-Vatican relations, as well as Rooney’s recollections of his time as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005-2008. While one can imagine that the job of a diplomat varies from place to place, much of it is the same: to represent the interest of one’s own country while serving in a foreign land. In the case of the Holy See, it’s even more complex: the Holy See is the home of a religion, not simply a nation of people under one flag. As Rooney points out, to understand Vatican diplomacy, one must understand the Catholic Church. (more…)