Blog author: jcarter
Monday, September 16, 2013
By

Protecting Religious Diversity, Even at the Mall
Mark Rienzi, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

The federal government has lately been arguing that religious freedom is incompatible with making money, at least in the HHS Mandate context. On that view, one would expect a shopping mall to be a black hole for religious liberty.

Should Syria’s Christians Be Our Top Priority?
Kevin P. Emmert, Christianity Today

Assad’s forces have killed tens of thousands and have allegedly used chemical weapons. Toppling him could wipe out the country’s Christians. Is it worth it?

Vocation? What’s that?
Paul Grimmond, The Briefing

The heart of the problem lies in the constant connection between vocation and career.

Why Do People in the Poorest States Give the Most to Charity?
David Wilezol, Values & Capitalism

So why do residents of the poorest states give the most money? At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. Don’t the poorest citizens need to most tightly cling to their wealth?

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 13, 2013
By

Giving

(Via: Neatorama)

What Surfing Can Teach You about Ownership

(Via: Values & Capitalism)

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

(Via: Justin Taylor)

Untitled-9One of the things I never learned in my U.S. government courses in high school was just how quickly government agencies and programs grow without undergoing Congressional vetting. For example, I recently discovered that there exists a federally-funded White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). When did that happen? How did that happen? In fact, a few days ago, the White House announced changes in the leadership of this initiative.

President Obama names two dynamic new leaders to head the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Dr. George Cooper will begin this week as the Initiative’s Executive Director, and Dr. Ivory Toldson will serve as Deputy Director. The task at hand for Dr. Cooper and Dr. Toldson is to lead a team, stretched across 32 federal agencies, corporate entities, and philanthropic organizations, to work together in strengthening the capacity of over 100 HBCUs, as they strive to shape this country’s next generation of leaders.

Since a large share of HBCUs are private schools, I am curious about why these schools deserve special attention from the President of the United States in ways that other historic coalitions of colleges do not. After looking at the Department of Education’s website for information I discovered that this is a tale of presidential executive orders.
(more…)

At Desiring God, John Piper explains how both the act and product of work are blessings, and that the God-designed essence of work is creativity — “not aimless, random doing, but creative, productive doing.”

In addition to avoiding the hump of idleness, this means being ever diligent, discerning, obedient, and energetic in the work of our hands:

When the book of Proverbs tells us to go to the ant and learn how to work hard and work smart (Proverbs 6:6–11), and when Paul tells us to “work heartily, as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23), they are not cursing us. They are pointing to our glory and our joy…

…Work is a glorious thing. If you are starting to grow lazy, I summon you back to joy. God made us to work. He formed our minds to think and our hands to make. He gave us strength — little or great — to be about the business of altering the way things are.

That is what work is: seeing the world, thinking of how it could be better, and doing something — from the writing of a note to the building of a boat; from the sewing of what you wear to the praying of a prayer.

Come, leave off sloth and idleness. Become what you were made to be. Work. (more…)

polish moneyPoland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, announced Wednesday that the government would attempt to cut government debt by taking money from its citizens’ private pension funds. Poland currently has a two-fold pension system: mandatory contributions are made to the state pension fund and then to private funds. It is the state funds, known as ZUS, that the Polish government plans to “transfer” money from. According to Reuters:

…Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.

He said that what remained in citizens’ pension pots in the private funds will be gradually transferred into the state vehicle over the last 10 years before savers hit retirement age.

(more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Friday, September 13, 2013
By

Can a Generation Own the Earth?
Bruce Frohnen, The Imaginative Conservative

“The earth belongs always to the living generation.” These are not Thomas Jefferson’s most famous words, but they are quite famous among students of politics.

Four in Ten College Grads Don’t Need a Degree for Their Work
Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest

A majority of American workers have jobs that do not require a college degree, according to a new Gallup poll.

Large Majority of Catholics Continue To Express Favorable View of Pope Francis
Pew Research

After six eventful months, Pope Francis is rated favorably by eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics (79%). Just 4% of Catholics say they have an unfavorable view of the first Latin American pope, while 17% express no opinion or say they have not heard enough about Francis to have an opinion.

Five Encouragements for Everyday Work
Joseph Scheumann, Desiring God

The Church, in all her glory, is vastly more lawyers, administrative assistants, doctors, construction workers, and mechanical engineers than she is vocational pastors and paid missionaries.

pope-car-2A couple of months ago I teased Pope Francis engaging in a “war on the Vatican’s luxury cars” while driving one of the greatest luxury cars of all time — the Popemobile. Although he probably won’t be able to give up his 160 mph, armor-plated, bullet-proof sedia gestatoria anytime soon, he’s make a bold, symbolic point with the latest addition to his fleet: a 1984 Renault 4.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, says Francis accepted the 1984 Renault 4, donated for free by a priest in northern Italy who used it to visit poor parishioners. The four-door car, in papal white, is manual shift and has a new engine. Benedettini told The AP on Wednesday: “The pope intends to drive it.”

The donor, the 79-year-old Rev. Renzo Zocca, says he took Francis for a short drive in the car at the Vatican on Saturday and that Francis told him he knows how to drive it.

Zocca said he thinks Francis will use it for short commutes on Vatican grounds.

Imagine how uncomfortable it must make some of the cardinals to park their new BMWs and Mercedes in the Vatican parking lot next to the thirty-year-old Renault with the license plate “SCV 2.”

Well played, Francis. Well played.