Showing posts from April, 2016

If Not Trump, What?

David Brooks APRIL 29, 2016
Donald Trump now looks set to be the Republican presidential nominee. So for those of us appalled by this prospect — what are we supposed to do?
Well, not what the leaders of the Republican Party are doing. They’re going down meekly and hoping for a quiet convention. They seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment. People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter.
The better course for all of us — Republican, Democrat and independent — is to step back and take the long view, and to begin building for that . . .  Read more at

The UnChristian Quest for a Christian America

04/21/2016 10:09 am ET Lee C. CampHost of, Professor of Theology, Lipscomb Univ.
Love of Country
I do love America.
How could one not love the forests of Maine; the gorges of the Cumberland plateau in Tennessee; the mesquite trees of west Texas; the ragged coastline of California? All of it like a hymn of praise, a song of thanksgiving for so much abundance and goodness.
And being a grateful citizen of Music City, I must stop there a moment: how could one not love the prophetic consciousness of Johnny Cash, the mesmerizing cadences of Don Williams, the angelic strains of Alison Krauss?
Or considering socio-political greats: how could one not admire the virtues of industry and wit in Benjamin Franklin; the democratic impulses of the nineteenth-century religious reformers; the cry for justice in the words of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the humility suffusing Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address; or the persistence and sheer human c…

Wright and Torrance: Different Framings of the Gospel

December 18, 2013

by Adam Nigh
In the video below, N. T. Wright discusses his new book on Paul’s theology. He strongly asserts that the ministry and death of Jesus Christ have to be understood within the history of Israel and the promises God made to Abraham, Christ himself being the fulfillment of those promises, the righteous Israel that restores humanity and thereby creation in light of the primeval fall. That much I think ought to be noncontroversial. Have a look.
What is wonky about this is the unapologetic plan-B-ness of Wright’s understanding of Abraham, the nation of Israel that comes from him and therefore Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s intentions with that nation. Read more at

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

George Monbiot
Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?
Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate …

How to Fix Politics

David Brooks
In the middle of this depressing presidential campaign I sometimes wonder, How could we make our politics better?
It’s possible to imagine an elite solution. The next president could get together with the leaders of both parties in Congress and say: “We’re going to change the way we do business in Washington. We’re going to deliberate and negotiate. We’ll disagree and wrangle, but we will not treat this as good-versus-evil blood sport.” That kind of leadership might trickle down.
But it’s increasingly clear that the roots of political dysfunction lie deep in society. If there’s truly going to be improvement, there has to be improvement in the social context politics is embedded in.
In healthy societies, people live their lives within a galaxy of warm places. They are members of a family, neighborhood, school, civic organization, hobby group, company, faith, regional culture, nation, continent and world. Each layer of life is nestled in the others to form a varied but coherent…

What to do about ISIS

What might it mean to follow Jesus"put your sword away" in a world where groups like ISIS exist? Richard Beck reflects, controversially to be sure, but in a solid Christian way.

Of course, I don't have the answers to these questions. But what follows is a bit of my answer to Mike.

First, I said, we are creatures that live within history and we have to appreciate the tragic nature of history.

If, for example, we bomb ISIS that's not something to cheer about. It's horribly tragic. Plus, that bombing will simply create more violence as those affected by the bombing will most likely become radicalized and come to hate the US. Bombing, even if you think it's "the right thing to do," is tragic and just leads to the next round of violence within history.

And if we don't bomb and ISIS goes into a village, beheading and raping, that's also tragic.

It's tragic all the way around. Use the sword and it's tragic. Put your sword away, especially i…

Believing in God Non-Defensively

Richard Beck Posted on 4.05.2016

This week with an interlocutor I was describing the relationship between my books The Authenticity of Faith and The Slavery of Death. Specifically, I see those two books as my attempt to address, for myself, what I've always struggled with as a central question my own faith journey: How can my belief in God be held non-defensively, non-neurotically and non-violently?

Pulling from my books, last spring I summarized my answer to that question in a post, but I want to share that summary again for both my conversation partner and because what follows is, in a condensed form, my best answer to what I consider to be one of the most pressing questions facing people of faith and faith communities: How can our beliefs in God can be held non-defensively, non-neurotically and non-violently?


Why the Christian Right and Progressives Disagree

We need to start at the beginning with a confession. We’re all liberals – conservatives, republicans, libertarians, democrats, tea partiers, et al. Different kinds of liberals to be sure. Out liberalism is shared at such a deep level that we think we’re really different. But not so much.
We are liberals because we have been nurtured by the western liberal tradition beginning with the Renaissance all the way to post-modernity or wherever we are today. And at the heart of this tradition is the notion freedom, individualistically conceived, with choice as its primary good.
The right and left (of whatever stripe) do disagree and argue with each other – a lot! But what they argue about is freedom of choice. Who gets it and who is being deprived of it. That’s what we primarily fight about. Some are mad at the 1% who exercise their choice to amass as much wealth for themselves as they can. The 1%, on the other hand, argue that they are simply exercising their freedom to do what they want to do…