Making America great again through vocation

Mark Hemingway excoriates the left’s denigration of work and says that the lack of respect for the working class is what drives Donald Trump’s popularity.  And then he offers his proposal for making America great again:  Recover Luther’s doctrine of vocation!

Read what he says after the jump.  This will kick off a special series of posts on vocation this week (while I’m away in Denmark).  As someone* wrote me recently, “vocation has messed with me for the past several years.”  Let it mess with you this week!

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Reforming the Calendar

Do we need to reform the calendar to eliminate anomalies like Leap Year?

Two Johns Hopkins professors, Steve Hanke (an economist and fellow of the libertarian Cato Institute) and Dick Henry (a physicist and astronomer), have been proposing the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar.  It has the virtue of making every date fall on the same day each year.  Christmas, December 25, will always be on a Monday.  If your birthday is on a Saturday, it will always be on a Saturday.

There would be no leap year, no extra day every four years. What there will be to align the year with the earth’s orbit is a leap week every five or six years. This week will be added to the end of December.  It will function like a month and will be known as Xtr, pronounced “extra” and would doubtless become a great festival.

See an explanation of the new calendar, which the inventors hope to begin in 2018, after the jump.  The link will also take you to FAQs and the calendar itself.  After the jump you will also find my critique of the whole project. [Read more…]

Democrats too are voting with their middle fingers

Just as grassroots Republicans are voting for Donald Trump as a defiant protest against their own establishment, grassroots Democrats are voting for Bernie Sanders for much the same reasons.

Read the fiery anti-Clinton, anti-liberal establishment rhetoric of Camille Paglia, quoted and linked after the jump.  Note especially her devastating critique of how the Democratic party has become “the playground of white, upper-middle-class professionals with elite-school degrees and me-first values,” “liberal poseurs,” whose “projection of victimhood on those outside their privileged circle” is condescending and patronizing. [Read more…]

“We’re voting with our middle finger”

Donald Trump supports Obamacare, higher taxes, and gun control.  He is weak on abortion, private property, and civil liberties.  He doesn’t care about limited government or free market economics.  He is a boastful womanizer.  He doesn’t think he needs forgiveness from God.  On issue after issue, he goes against what conservatives and tea party populists have always said they stand for.  But none of this matters to Trump supporters, even those who consider themselves conservatives.  Why doesn’t it?

He is tough on immigration, a major issue for lots of conservatives, but so is Ted Cruz.  So why, despite not only his other policies but his behavior, are so many people supporting him, no matter what?

Michael Gerson quotes a supporter that, I think, says it all:  “We’re voting with our middle finger.”  Many, maybe most, Americans, are fed up with the political status quo.  The “establishment” has failed, and a Trump vote expresses an in-your-face repudiation of the whole ineffective, weak, politically-correct, system.

That’s understandable.  But is that a sufficient political principle?  And aren’t some “establishment” institutions and principles worth preserving?
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Lutheranism & ethnicity

Lutheran churches in America have an ethnic origin–they were usually started by communities of German, Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian immigrants–and that has definitely shaped the culture of local congregations, sometimes putting off new people who want to join.  I remember marveling at the Germanness of our congregation in Wisconsin, with its Men’s Club singing “Sie Leben Hoh” on birthdays and drinking beer and eating cannibal sandwiches while playing Sheepshead, after an extremely brief devotion from Herr Pastor.  This didn’t bother me–I got a kick out of it and actually liked it–though I was highly conscious that I was an outsider.

The distinguished sociologist of religion Peter Berger, an ELCA Lutheran, writes about this phenomenon, though he concludes that today the ethnic identity stuff is largely absent from American Lutheranism.  It is still a factor, he says, in American Orthodoxy.  Also, I would add, in the various ethnic Catholic parishes and in black churches.  I would further add that cultural identity is a factor in distinctly “American” churches too, with the upper class WASP Episcopalians and obviously southern Southern Baptists.  There is also the distinct culture of middle class white suburbanites in the megachurches of the land.

Is this a problem, or not?  Or are churches preserving something precious, something distinctly “cultural” in our current society that is actually “anti-cultural”?  Do you agree with Berger that ethnic identity is mostly gone from Lutheran congregations, or can you still see it, and, if so, where?  Where it persists, are there ways congregations can help newcomers navigate these cultural shoals?

What Peter Berger says, after the jump.  His article will also serve as a map for people trying to figure out the Lutheran landscape. [Read more…]

PC police go after Martin Luther King

The University of Oregon has a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., in its student union, along with a quotation from his “I have a dream” speech:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Some students are personally offended by that quotation and tried to get it removed. [Read more…]