From the American Enterprise Institute: “It’s what makes America, America.”

“We need people on the inside,” writes R.J. Moeller from Los Angeles. “We need talented actors, musicians, editors, and screenplay writers who can stake a claim for a differing worldview than that of HBO, David Geffen, and whoever wrote Milk.” Go West, young conservative!

The full text of his essay follows. Subscribe to the free, weekly Acton News & Commentary and other publications here.

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A few days ago on Facebook and Twitter I made the following observation:

Being a “radical,” “missional,” Christian is slowly becoming the “new legalism.” We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40).

This observation was the result of a long conversation with a student who was wrestling with what to do with his life given all of the opportunities he had available to him. To my surprise, my comment exploded over the internet with dozens and dozens of people sharing the comment and sending me personal correspondence.

I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today’s Millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don’t do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential. The sad result is that many young adults feel ashamed if they “settle” into ordinary jobs, get married early and start families, live in small towns, or as 1 Thess 4:11 says, “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [their] affairs, and to work with [their] hands.” For too many Millennials their greatest fear in this life is being an ordinary person with a non-glamorous job, living in the suburbs, and having nothing spectacular to boast about.

Here are a few thoughts on how we got here:
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The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the sale of the “morning-after pill” (such as Plan B) for teens as young as 15, with no need for parental consent, and mandated that the drug no longer can be kept behind the pharmacy counter. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, believes there are “daunting and sometimes insurmountable hoops women are forced to jump through” when faced with a crisis pregnancy and that this measure is a step forward for women’s health. While there are conflicting opinions as to whether or not these medications cause abortions, there is no doubt that the side effects for the female taking the medication can be harsh, including hypertension, depression and ovarian cysts. morning after

What is disturbing to many is the fact that this move by the FDA now gives human traffickers a way to stop or end pregnancies in young girls being trafficked, with no medical care or follow-up. For instance, LiveAction did several “sting” operations at Planned Parenthood facilities around the country to see if workers in those facilities would follow mandated laws to report suspected sexual abuse of a minor. Over and over, workers were complicit in covering up what was presented as minor girls acknowledging having sex with much older men. In 2008, MSNBC reported that sex trafficking victims were “compelled to perform sex acts 12 hours a day and were subjected to beatings, rape and forced abortions.” With now-easy access to “morning-after” pills, sex traffickers won’t even have to visit a clinic; they can simply send a girl into the local pharmacy for the drug. No fuss, no muss…no medical follow-up, no chance for a medical professional to question the teen for her safety, her health, her well-being. (more…)

busseat“Is there a distinctively ‘Christian’ way to be a bus driver?”

Justin Taylor offers an insightful, varied response, asking six questions to sketch things out. Over at the Hang Together blog, Greg Forster adds another to the list.

In response to the last question — “Is there a distinctively Christian way to think about the particulars of each vocation?” — Taylor offers this:

My sense is that the more intellectual and aesthetically oriented the vocation, the more work has already been done on a distinctively Christian approach. This is, in my part, because the contrast will be more wide-ranging and apparent and because the Bible seems to have more to say directly about these areas. I’m thinking, for example, of areas like philosophy, education, and politics. (For some examples, see Alvin Plantinga’s “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” or the books in the Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition series.) The same would be true for aesthetics, as in music, fine arts, and design. It can be more difficult to see in areas oriented toward manual labor. But there is still much work that can be done in these areas. One of the problems is that intellectuals and philosophers are more inclined to know and study areas they are more interested in, and therefore other vocations become neglected in terms of analysis.

Taylor goes on to give a nod to the influence of Abraham Kuyper on such matters, and indeed, as Kuyper notes throughout Wisdom and Wonder: Common Grace in Science and Art, part of the difference in such “work being done” is due to the distinct differences in the work itself.

The basic techniques of bus driving, for example — steering, using appropriate turn signals, following your route, etc. — will naturally have a broader common consensus to build from, while the basic techniques of more “intellectual and aesthetically oriented” work will require distinctly Christian choices about basic technique. Perhaps one reason we’re more inclined to “know and study” spiritual matters in more intellectually oriented vocations is that they require more spiritual knowing and studying up front.

Now, I say “up front” because, for the Christian, manual labor is bound to drift into the subjective and the spiritual at some point, as trusty as the Big Blue Book of Bus Driver Knowledge might be for ordinary day-to-day activities. (more…)

Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Is It Crazy to Think We Can Eradicate Poverty?
Annie Lowrey, New York Times

The end to extreme poverty might very well be within reach. But is the bar too low?

Pope tells young to ‘swim against the tide; it’s good for the heart’
Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

In a partially improvised homily at Mass April 28 in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis encouraged young people to hang on to their ideals and pursue them.

Career Advice: Give
Emily Esfahani Smith, The Atlantic

Givers focus on others, takers on themselves, and matchers care most about fairness. Studies show that most professional success, not just satisfaction, goes to givers.

How do Markets Handle Sin and Human Nature?
Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics

As Christians, we should consider how markets and other institutions can bring about higher levels of flourishing, despite their limitations and our own fallen human nature.

In the summer of 2005 hundreds of thousands of people gathered in ten spots around the globe for a series of free concerts meant to persuade world leaders to give more money to fight poverty in Africa. The idea for the concerts was conceived in May and hastily organized by Bob Geldof. Within two months the former Boomtown Rat was able to convince dozens of actors, musicians, and politicians to join in forming LIVE8, “the largest mandate for action in history.”

Live8LogoUnlike most benefit concerts, though, Live8 didn’t raise a dime to actually end poverty. As the web site noted at the time, “LIVE 8 is calling for people across the world to unite in one call—in 2005 it is your voice we are after, not your money.” Geldolf said the event was intended to raise consciousness and exert political pressure on the G8 summiteers.

The concerts included more than 200 musical acts scheduled to play more than 69 hours of music. Organizers said 5.5 billion people(!) would be able to watch or listen on the Internet and more than 182 television stations and 2,000 radio networks and stations. Coldplay’s Chris Martin called the concerts “the greatest thing that’s ever been organized, probably, in the history of the world.”

So what did the greatest thing that’s ever been organized (probably) in the history of the world accomplish?
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