Unfulfilling work as vocation

The Patheos faith & work channel’s blog Mission:Work gave a nice shout-out to us here at the Cranach blog.  That site also has a poignant post from a man who left the ministry but all he could find was a factory job.   He found that kind of work lacking in meaning.  So now he quit that to go back to school to get an MBA in his quest to get a more meaningful “white-collar” job.

I link to that post and quote from it after the jump.  Then I give some thoughts, taking the opportunity to clear up some major misconceptions about vocation. [Read more...]

The street and the altar

The Lutheran pastor, Christian Führer, whose prayer meetings became a catalyst for the protests that overthrew Communism in East Germany died Monday at age 71.

I was struck by this quotation from him:  “It is not the throne and the altar, but the street and the altar that belong together.”  That’s an interesting version of the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms.   That concept is often taken to refer just to the relation of the church to earthly governments.  That’s part of it, but I think it applies more broadly to society and culture as a whole, where God is also active in vocation and in caring for His creation. [Read more...]

Evangelicals discover George Herbert

Finally, as I have been agitating for throughout my career, modern-day Christians are discovering George Herbert, whom I consider to be the greatest and most spiritually satisfying Christian poet.  Now Wesley Hill writes about him in Christianity Today.

If you want a guide to Herbert’s poetry–what he is doing aesthetically, theologically, and spiritually–you should read my book on the subject, which is newly brought back in print, another sign of the Herbert revival. [Read more...]

What happened to all of the cults?

Not long ago, people were worried about cults.  Their teenagers and young adults would run off and join the Moonies, the Hare Krishnas, or the Children of God and not be seen of again.  Often, parents hired “deprogrammers” to abduct the son or daughter who was caught up in the cult and to conduct a process of reverse brainwashing.  Why aren’t we hearing about that sort of thing anymore?  Many of these groups are still around, but the general fear of them seems to have gone.   Religion scholar Philip Jenkins has some theories, after the jump, and I propose some of my own. [Read more...]

Never-ending war

Drones that can zap our enemies from above like Zeus throwing down thunderbolts would seem like a great anti-terrorism technology.   But we probably won’t like them as much when other countries–and terrorists–use them to assassinate people on our soil.

But whatever you think of drone warfare, I was struck by a news story reporting on a bipartisan commission studying the issue in which one consequence is said to be a state of “never-ending war.” [Read more...]

Hobby Lobby hysteria

Critics of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Obamacare contraceptive mandate must include exemptions for business owners whose religion does not permit them to purchase birth control pills and possible abortifacients are howling with indignation.  Women are going to be prevented from having access to birth control!  The ruling will result in more unwanted pregnancies and thus more abortions!

But the ruling itself simply makes the remedy already given to churches and religious organizations available to religious individuals who own businesses.  Those who claim the religious exemption will not have to pay for contraceptive coverage in the insurance plans they make available to their employees.  But the insurance companies will have to provide a separate policy that does so at no extra charge to the employees.  Thus, as the court said, all women will still get free birth control.  Even the employees of Hobby Lobby. [Read more...]


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