Some evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support President Trump no matter what he says or does are defending their position by invoking what seems to be the Lutheran doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.  But they don’t quite understand the concept. For example, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr., suggested that Christian values–such as the Biblical mandate to be kind to “sojourners”–aren’t applicable to the conduct of government.  He tweeted, “Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves but never told… Read more

Hollywood is reeling from the sexual abuse and harassment scandal that brought down producer Harvey Weinstein as well as other players in the movie industry.  So how can filmmakers stage sex scenes without actresses being touched inappropriately or otherwise sexually harassing them?   Well, in an effort to avoid sexually exploiting women while still sexually exploiting them, studios and the actors’ union are drawing up rules. You can read all about them in New On-Screen Sex Scene Rules Drawn Up for… Read more

I found myself drawn into the Winter Olympics when I watched an Austrian skier named Anna Veith compete in the Super-G (a.k.a. Super Giant Slalom).  And then I learned about how the sport of curling–sliding heavy stones on ice, while sweeping in front of them with a broom–has built principles of sportsmanship into its very nature. It looked like the young woman with my same obscure last name  won the gold medal, but she settled for a silver when an unheralded Czech… Read more

Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has issued indictments against 13 Russians and 3 Russian organizations for interfering with the 2016 presidential election. According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, “The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” Here is what happened, from a news report based on the indictment: According to the indictment, “Some Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and… Read more

Yesterday’s post about how the culture is the biggest obstacle to religious freedom reminded me of an observation made by a friend of mine, who said that H. Richard Niebuhr, in cataloguing all of the permutations of the relationship between Christ and Culture left one out:  Culture against Christ. In 1996, when I was teaching at Concordia University Wisconsin, my colleague Angus Menuge put together a lecture series on “Christianity and Culture.”  Many of the speakers drew on H. Richard… Read more

Do we need print on paper anymore?  After all, we can download books on Kindle, and most of us get our news mainly from the internet.  Recently, the executive in charge of the New York Times predicted that printed newspapers will be a thing of the past in 10 years. “I believe at least 10 years is what we can see in the U.S. for our print products,”said Times CEO Mark Thompson to  CNBC.  “There may come a point when the… Read more

The main threat to religious liberty today is not the government.  Rather, it is the culture.  In the United States, the law is not likely to restrict your religious beliefs or practices.  Rather, the restrictions will come from the cultural pressure to conform. So says David French in his essay This Is How Religious Liberty Really Dies.  He cites the recent news story about a teacher in a Catholic school in Miami who got married to her same-sex partner.  Whereupon she… Read more

A gunman went into  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and killed at least 17 and wounded at least 20 more. The shooter, Nicolas Cruz, aged 19, was arrested.  He was an ex-student at the school.  He had reportedly been expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons.  Investigators said they have started digging through his social media and found it “very disturbing.”  Apparently, students who knew him considered him to be dangerous.  “We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed… Read more

J. R. Arner, back in 1994, put together a daily devotional series for Lent that is now online called LenTree for George Herbert. It consists of a poem from George Herbert, arguably our greatest Christian lyric poet, for each day of Lent. It starts here with the introductory poem “The Altar, ” followed by Herbert’s great poem of rebellion countered by God’s grace, “The Collar,” for Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.  Then comes Herbert’s poem Lent for Ash Wednesday.  After that,… Read more

Some of you may remember that in our predictions for 2018, I said that the “sexual counter-revolution”–that is, the reaction against the sexual mistreatment of women ignited by the #MeToo movement–would continue and that it would manifest itself in an “anti-pornography backlash.”  This is starting to happen. I blogged about Great Britain forcing free porn sites to require users to register and give their contact information so that their age could be checked and how this loss of anonymity would… Read more

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