PentecostOver at First Things, Peter Leithart uses the occasion of Pentecost as a launching pad for highlighting the primary theme of his latest book: “The West has been busy building neo-Babel” and the time is ripe for repentance and revival:

We’ve dispensed with the effort to connect heaven and earth, since up above it’s only galaxies. But we share the other aspirations of Babel, as well as Babel’s humanist orientation. Classes and ethnicities can be synchronized, we think, without divine assistance. No need for a Holy Spirit to baptize into one body. We can create a universal language without the gift of tongues. The family resemblance between liberal virtues and the fruits of the Spirit is not an accident. It’s a heresy worthy of Flannery O’Connor: Hazel Motes invented the “Holy Church of Christ without Christ”; the Enlightenment created Pentecostalism without the Spirit.

The experiment has gone relatively well for some time, but the project is fraying. To many among our elites, Enlightenment universalism has been unmasked as nothing more than an effete form of tribalism. Secular defenses of liberal tolerance collapse into incoherence. And alongside these theoretical challenges is the immense practical problem of harmonizing the spirits of the myriad subcultures that occupy the West. I don’t need to repeat the litany of multicultural challenges yet again. Everyone knows that it’s an open question whether we have the intellectual and moral resources to sustain the experiment in secular Pentecostalism much longer. Like other Babels, this one will eventually crumble and its denizens will scatter.

Without the Spirit, such an “experiment in secular Pentecostalism,” will never flourish in that peculiar harmony so characteristic of the upper room and the transformation thereafter — diverse and unified, spontaneous yet ordered. “The Church has only one antidote to Babel,” Leithart writes: “the anti-Babel and fulfilled Babel of Pentecost.” The solution, according to Leithart, is to nurture a rightly aligned, wholly devoted, and thoroughly spiritual “Pentecostal Enlightenment.” (more…)

The Calvinist International recently interviewed Allan Carlson, author of Third Ways: How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer-Swilling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies – And Why They Disappeared

Could you tell us a bit about your view of how the Dutch polymath Abraham Kuyper influences your project?

I came across Abraham Kuyper fairly late, but was delighted to discover such a strong communitarianism within the modern Reformed/Calvinist tradition. Calvinism has too often been associated, of late, with individualism, modernism, and capitalism. Such “isms” certainly do not fit Calvin’s Geneva nor 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts. Kuyper’s warnings about “the power of capital” and the ways in which Commercialism undermines family bonds translate the authentic Calvinist socio-political heritage into modern circumstances. I also love the name of his political association: The Anti-Revolutionary Party. It drives home the point that all Christians—not just Roman Catholics—were threatened by the Jacobins of 1789.

We are looking forward to Acton University, and if you’re registered and accepted, we hope you are, too. Here are five(ish) things to know about attending ActonU:Acton PG

  1. Download the app. It has maps, schedules, and loads of helpful information.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. Devos Place is beautiful and large, so you’ll be doing your fair share of walking. With that in mind….
  3. Enjoy Grand Rapids! If you have a day (or two) at either end of your ActonU schedule, take some time to enjoy our beautiful city.
  4. Brush up on geography: we are expecting attendees from over 75 countries this year. Your dinner companion could be from Dubuque, Denmark or the Dominican Republic.
  5. Win a Kindle Fire! On Exhibit Day (Thursday, May 20), you’ll have a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Look for details in your welcome bag.

Oh, and one more thing: get ready to add #ActonU to your tweets, your Facebook, and all your social media! We love the chatter!

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Facts about Food Stamps Everyone Should Hear
Rachel Sheffield and T. Elliot Gaiser, The Foundry

Food stamp spending has roughly doubled in the past four years, and part of this is clearly due to the recession. However, food stamp spending has been on an upward climb since the program began back in the 1960s.

Why Do We Hate the Suburbs?
Keith Miller, Q Ideas

Suburbs have been getting a bad rap for a while now. But recently, Anthony Bradley struck a nerve in his probing post on the dysfunctions of Evangelical twenty-somethings.

Bangladeshi Workers Need Free Markets
Sheldon Richman, Reason

What needs discussing — and radical changing — is the country’s political-economic system, which benefits elites while keeping the mass of people down.

What Has ‘Market-Based’ Become?
K.R. McKenzie, The Umlaut

The term “market-based” has been used so much, both disparagingly and in praise, that it’s lost all meaning.

Blog author: ehilton
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Blaze has rounded up “5 of the Best Conservative Commencement Speeches” for 2013. Here are a few choice quotes:Graduates-269x224

  1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan at Notre Dame University: “… you are asked the same pivotal question the Archangel Gabriel once posed to her: will you let God take flesh in you? Will you give God a human nature? Will He be reborn in you? Will the Incarnation continue in and through you?” Cardinal Dolan asked Notre Dame’s graduating class. “Here our goal is not just a career, but a call; not just a degree, but discipleship; not just what we’ve gotten but what we’re giving; not just the now but eternity; not just the ‘I’ but the ‘we’; not just the grades but the gospel.”
  2. Senator Ted Cruz (R – AZ) at Hillsdale College: “Areas under the yoke of dependency on government are among the least joyous parts of our society…We all flourish instead when afforded opportunity, the ability to work and create and accomplish. Economic growth and opportunity is the answer that works.


The nation of Myanmar (also known by the historic name Burma) has apparently instituted a two-child limit for Muslim families.MYANMAR-BANGLADESH-WEATHER-CYCLONE

The policy applies to two Rakhine townships that border Bangladesh and have the highest Muslim populations in the state. The townships, Buthidaung and Maungdaw, are about 95 percent Muslim. Nationwide, Muslims account for only about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people.

The order makes Myanmar perhaps the only country in the world to level such a restriction against a particular religious group, and is likely to bring further criticism that Muslims are being discriminated against in the Buddhist-majority country. The central government has not made any statement about the two-child policy since Rakhine state authorities quietly enacted the measure a week ago.


In the Federalist Papers James Madison claimed that, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But is that true? James R. Rogers, an associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University, explains why some form of government would be necessary even if man were still in a prelapsarian state of nature:

[E]ven without the Fall, there would be a role for civil government for the duly recognized person who exercises civil authority. Even in an unfallen society, there is need for civil authority to minimize the cost of informational asymmetries and to minimize decision costs.

People in a prelapsarian society are not omniscient, which means that even without the Fall, there would be a role for civil authority to coordinate individual interactions to avoid suboptimal outcomes. For example, there is no morally correct answer to the question “What side of the road should people drive on?” Hence, even in a society populated by people with all the good will toward one another and all the moral virtue in the world, there would be a need to provide a consistent answer to these folks when they pulled out of the driveway.

And the question “Which side of the road should I drive on?” is a properly civil question. Answering this question belongs neither to familial nor ecclesiastical leadership. Nonetheless, the government need not use the sword in a prelapsarian society. The government would only need to be what in game theory is called a “focal arbitrator.” Civil authority would need only to announce “drive on the right side of the road,” and unfallen folk would follow the direction.

Read more . . .