Trump blames both alt-left and alt-right

Having issued a tepid blame-both-sides statement about the Charlottesville killing, President Trump on the next day issued another statement squarely blaming white nationalist racists.  But then he undid that damage control in a press conference once again blaming both sides: “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. “What about the alt-left... Read more

The zeal of converts

Many of the critics of Pope Francis in his more liberal positions are converts to Catholicism, a fact that liberal Catholics are throwing in their face. The gist goes something like this:  You converted to Catholicism so now you think you’re more Catholic than the pope.  You still think like a Protestant.  Or like a Fundamentalist.   Because you are a convert, you don’t really understand Catholicism, which is organic, fluid, ever-developing, etc. Now those who convert to a particular... Read more

National legalization of marijuana as the next big political issue

Shaping up to be the next big political issue:  legalizing marijuana nationally. Currently, eight states have legalized the recreational use of the drug (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts, plus the District of Columbia).  Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana for medical uses.  But the federal laws against it stand in the way of marijuana becoming a full-fledged industry in those states, even though the federal laws are not being enforced there. But the push for legalization on the national... Read more

Why Lutheranism appeals to Russians

Vladimir Putin continues to crackdown on religions that are “non-traditional” to Russia, persecuting people because of their religious beliefs on a scale unknown since Soviet days.  Interestingly, Lutheranism is considered one of the “traditional” religions (as are Baptists), so that some Protestant church work is still legal.  In fact, Lutheran Christianity, as an alternative to both Orthodoxy and other kinds of Protestantism, is reportedly showing special appeal to Russians, particularly to intellectuals and scientists. I stumbled upon an article entitled Russian Lutheranism:  Between Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and... Read more

And now war with Venezuela?

Venezuela, with its leftist dictator Nicolas Maduro, is already a basket-case.  The country is in a state of economic meltdown, other Latin American countries are isolating his regime, and ordinary Venezuelans are rallying against their government.  Now President Trump has said that he is considering a “military option.” But why?  And that threat has only made matters worse.  Latin America–which had been on our side against Venezuela–is now rallying in its support, at this invocation of the old American “gun-boat... Read more

Latest developments

  I’m going to experiment with some short form blogging for the weekend, calling your attention to some interesting happenings and ideas in the news for your reflection and discussion. . . . How small wars can turn into big wars:  China says that if North Korea attacks first and the U.S. intervenes, it will remain neutral.  But if the United States attacks first and moves to overthrow Kim Jong-un, China would intervene to protect its ally. Robert Mueller’s investigation... Read more

What Constitutes “Heresy” and “Orthodoxy”?

Does acceptance of same-sex marriage on the part of a Christian constitute “heresy”?  It may be wrong and un-Biblical, but does it rise to that level?  Conversely, can a Christian hold other-than-traditional opinions on sexual morality or other issues and still be considered “orthodox”? Calvin College professor James K. A. Smith has ignited a controversy over the definitions of “heresy” and “orthodoxy” in his post On “orthodox Christianity”: some observations, and a couple of questions.  Derek Rishmawy discusses the controversy, summarizes the counter-arguments, and... Read more

Purists vs. Pragmatists

Christian political activists agonized over the last presidential election:  Some asked, “How can we support a womanizing, profane, non-religious candidate like Donald Trump?”  Others said, “But he would be much better for our cause than Hillary Clinton.  And if we support Trump, we will have a place at his table and have a better chance to advance our pro-life, socially-conservative agenda.” In the end, some 80% of American evangelicals voted for Trump. Valparaiso historian Daniel Silliman, in his article How One Purist... Read more

Glen Campbell–guitarist, singer, & Christian convert–died

You don’t have to have grown up with the music of the 1960’s, as I did, to enjoy it–The Mamas and the Papas, the Beach Boys, the Association, The 5th Dimension, The Monkees, Simon & Garfunkel, etc., etc.  Hearing it today, you might note that some of the songs are pretty weak, but the instrumentals are fantastic. This is due to the group of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, who played the music for most of the top-40 hits in the... Read more
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