It’s taken me quite awhile to read this book — over a month. This is partly because it got off to a slow start. If I were to reread it, I’d start with the second half, which discusses current cultural trends, and then go back and read the history covered in the first half. But another reason for my slowness is that the book gave me lots to think about, much of which is disturbing. Having finished the book, I looked up a few reviews…Continue Reading “The Benedict Option”

A thoughtful reader emailed me recently regarding my post entitled “Quandary.” The reader brought up the question of what Jesus would do in the present election. As it was already a subject revolving in my mind, I decided to get some thoughts down here. The problem with “WWJD” thinking is that it often simply evolves into what a person thinks anyway. Once I heard my two daughters surveying their extremely messy playroom, and one said, “I wonder what Jesus would do with this room.” “He’d…Continue Reading “WWJD and the Myth of a Christian Nation”

Who does a Christian vote for in this election? The two major party candidates seem desperately inadequate in both character and policy. I have been registered as a Republican for years, but the day after the nominee seemed determined, I changed to Independent. I’ve thought about it for some time, given how little real difference there is between the parties. But this clinched the deal. Lately the prominent Republicans have been rallying around Mr Trump and demanding that the rank and file do the same….Continue Reading “Quandary”

I have been striking out in my recent reading efforts. I tried Ethan Canin’s Doubter’s Almanac and gave up quickly because it was unexpectedly tawdry. I tried Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of Western Science and felt bored. I’m plugging along with R.C. Sproul’s Who is Jesus? and just started Edward Rutherfurd’s Sarum — which, if it strikes a spark, will take me quite some time to read. In the meantime, however, several stories I’ve read or heard in the news this week have been percolating…Continue Reading “Links to Think About”

I don’t watch many movies, but amazingly, this week I have watched two. The first, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), was recommended for the week in my daughter’s government curriculum. The second, Bridge of Spies (2015), arrived courtesy of Netflix. I enjoyed both movies and was struck by how both, in their different eras, explored the idea that the Constitution of the U.S. is always under assault. The Constitution functions much like the Old Testament Law, about which the apostle Paul writes, I would…Continue Reading “Foundations and Faultlines”

It’s hard to miss. Stories about the baffling support for Donald Trump among evangelicals are common these days, and no wonder. A greater contradiction is hard to imagine, for reasons that have been documented… well, everywhere. “Evangelicals love me,” the candidate himself has declared. I’m a reluctant Republican. Several years ago, I tried to change to Independent, because I see no real difference between the political parties. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying, but it was not, so far as I could discover,…Continue Reading “Window of Opportunity”

What strikes me most about last night’s results in the South Carolina primary is not that Trump won. It’s the fact that he did it with only a third of the votes. Between 65% and 70% of voters chose one of the other candidates. These other candidates need to start doing some soul searching. Most of them need to drop out. One did tonight: Mr. Bush. For two of the remaining candidates, Carson and Kasich, the choice should be clear at this point. But for…Continue Reading “Dear Republicans”

Among the many things that mystify me about Donald Trump’s visibility in this presidential race is the idea that self-funding his campaign is somehow better than having donors. The candidate himself, I read somewhere, tweeted self-pityingly that he has not gotten enough credit from voters for it. I have to ask: how is a billionaire buying his way to the presidency any better than big corporations buying a candidate’s way to the presidency? I don’t know the ins and outs of his campaign financing. Some…Continue Reading “Musings on self-funding a presidential campaign”

You know, it’s funny. Christians are often perceived and represented as brainwashed. They refuse “the facts.” They shelter their kids from “scientific knowledge.” Their “faith” is just another word for “willful ignorance.” Or so they say. The “they” I refer to, in this case, is the educational bureaucracy of this country. It dominates public education and extends, often, into the college level. Over the last few months, I’ve heard some news stories on NPR that indicate just how enslaved this entity is to a faith…Continue Reading “Education — or Brainwashing?”

Pope Francis is visiting America for the first time. On Friday night’s Newshour, political commentators David Brooks and Mark Shields took up the subject of his visit. I have been struck lately by the entrance of religion into their discussion. They talked about the reaction of the families of those killed in the Charleston shootings. They talked about the spiritual depth of Jimmy Carter’s response to his brain cancer. And on Friday, they talked rhapsodically about the Pope’s visit. Here is David Brooks: The first…Continue Reading “Seeking Hope”