Two kinds of masculinity

Imagine my surprise and my pride in seeing my cousin’s daughter quoted by David Brooks in the New York Times.  Lorien Foote is a Civil War historian at Texas A&M.  She is utterly brilliant and a true expert in her field.  (When she visited us in Virginia, we took a drive through Loudon County, during which time she explained what happened during the war at nearly every turn of the road.)

Anyway, she wrote a much-acclaimed book called The Gentlemen and the Roughs:  Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army (New York University Press).   David Brooks uses it as a jump-off point to criticize Donald Trump’s treatment of women.  But her book has far more applications than that. [Read more…]

Sample from my new book on vocation

The Acton Institute has put together a sample from my new book Working for Our Neighbor:  A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.  It doesn’t include the new things I get into in this particular publication–much of what is excerpted here is developed in more detail in God at Work–but this gives a summary of Luther’s neighbor-centered ethic and the purpose of every vocation (namely, to love and serve our neighbors). [Read more…]

More on my new book on vocation

Again, I have just published a third book on vocation:   Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.
I thought I should give you the publisher’s description and some of the blurbs to give you a better idea of what it goes into. [Read more…]

My new book on vocation is out

I have a new book on vocation that has just come out: Working for Our Neighbor: A Lutheran Primer on Vocation, Economics, and Ordinary Life.

The Acton Institute is interested, among other things, in the interplay between faith, work, and economics.  Towards that end, the think tank has been publishing a series of books looking at those issues from the perspective of various religious traditions.  Acton has published “primers,” really monographs (short books), from the Reformed, Wesleyan, Baptist, and Pentecostal point of view.  They needed someone to write a Lutheran primer on the subject, so they asked me.

Lutheran theology and spirituality has a great deal to say about such things, centering in the doctrine of vocation, which I have been writing about (see this and this).  In researching and writing this book, I got into some other facets of vocation that I hadn’t explored before.   [Read more…]

Muslims turning to Christ in Denmark

As we’ve blogged about, large numbers of Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity.  (Read Uwe Siemon-Netto’s compelling article on the phenomenon.)  I knew this was happening in Germany and in France, though it is not happening everywhere.  But it is also happening in Denmark, as I learned last week while I was there.

The organization Inner Mission, whose conference I spoke at, does much of the evangelism work in that supposedly secularist country.  Staffers told me about how they are being overwhelmed by Muslim immigrants and refugees who come to them wanting to learn about Jesus and asking to be baptized.

I was told about a Muslim couple who showed up at a Mission House for the weekly Bible study.  The next week, 14 Muslims attended.  The next week, 50 crowded into the facility. This is happening in Mission Houses across the country.

The inquirers are told up front that their becoming Christians would in no way make a difference to the Danish government considering their applications.  “We don’t care.  Tell us about Jesus.”  And if you get sent back, you would be in severe danger as apostates to Islam.  “We know.  Baptize us!”

Inner Mission staff encourage them to continue with the Bible studies.  In the meantime, they are taken to a conservative Lutheran pastor for catechesis and eventual baptism. [Read more…]

Dispatch from Denmark

I am now in Copenhagen, where I have an internet connection.  The conference I spoke at was held at an Inner Mission Bible college, where Christian young people go after they graduate from high school and before they go to University.  Here they study Christian doctrine, the Bible, and apologetics in a way designed to help them withstand the onslaught on their faith that they will soon encounter.  I think that’s a very good thing to do.

This week all of the students went on a mission trip to Ethiopia, where they will work with Mekane Yesus, one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world that has just left the liberal Lutheran World Fellowship and is working to rebuild its theological infrastructure (with the help of the LCMS).  So the 150 or so Inner Mission workers and I stayed in their dorms, which do not have internet.  (“While they are here,” I was told, “we want them to concentrate on God.”   Another good idea.)

So I wasn’t able to blog about a lot of topics that came up.  Nancy Reagan’s death.  More primaries.  More controversies.  More craziness.

I’m always being asked about the American elections and Donald Trump.  The Danes realize whether they like it or not–and whether we like it or not–that the United States really does play an important role in the world and that the President of the United States really is the leader of the free world.  They can’t imagine Trump–with his belligerence against other countries, his ignorance, and his hostile personality–playing that role.

In defense of my country, I explained that the American people are frustrated with politicians of both parties.  Republicans are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Trump; Democrats are rebelling against the establishment by voting for Bernie Sanders.  The Danes could understand that and can sort of  share that feeling.  But Trump would be a disaster, which I had to agree with.

They were very amused that Sanders wants to make the United States like Denmark.  They seemed to understand, if Sanders and his supporters don’t, that it’s not that simple.

I’ve been learning a lot about Christianity in Denmark, which many observers dismiss as purely secularist.  Not so.  These Christians are zealous, creative, and very Lutheran. [Read more…]