The Royal Wedding

The future king of England, Prince William, is getting married to the future queen, presently the commoner Catherine Middleton.  This will happen really early in the morning, American time, on Friday in Westminster Abbey.

Now Republicans believe in a republic and Democrats believe in democracy.  But do any of you still feel the primal tug of monarchy?  If you are interested in this wedding, please tell us why.

The Royal Wedding.

Atlas Shrugged, said, “whatever”

Christians sometimes sit around hoping that if we just had a hit movie that would communicate the Biblical worldview we would impact the culture and bring the secularists to Christ.  Ayn Rand fans, despite their atheism, apparently have the same fantasies.  The much-anticipated movie version of Atlas Shrugged, Rand’s novel on the virtue of selfishness, has come out.  Apparently, like other “message films,” including those about Christianity, it doesn’t really work.  So says conservative film critic Roger Simon, who then offers some specific critiques:

Regarding character, the two leads are less than paper thin. We know little of them other than their willfulness and their pro-business ideology. No much for the actors to play. This is fine for subsidiary characters but fatal in protagonists. Still, this might be okay if this were in the service of a compelling plot. But the plot of the film is worse than silly. It is politically wrong-headed. A movie about super trains in the American West in 2016? Unlike when the book was written, these days that is the very thing that Barack Obama is proposing – with government subsidies – and conservatives are currently opposing for good reason. Super trains don’t work in the Western states economically. We need better roads. But not in this movie, which seems stuck in those fifties while pretending to be 2016 (a weirdly non-technological 2016 I might add). As a business movie, it fails. The whole concept needed rethinking.

via Roger L. Simon » What Conservatives Can Learn from the Atlas Shrugged Film Fiasco.

Have any of you seen it?  Would you agree on its badness?

 

This ugly blog

Redeemed Rambling is hating on this blog, criticizing our graphic design!  This is what he says about Cranach:

Ugly. Mixed web 1.0 and 2.0 graphics give the site a weird feel. The posts and comments sometimes display wrong. Definitely a content-centric blog, but that doesn’t give it license look uglier than a newspaper.

via Redeemed Rambling: Christian Web Sites Worth Avoiding.

Mixed web 1.0 and 2.0 graphics?  (I don’t even know what that means, which is probably part of the problem.)  Weird feel?  (Maybe I’m just being emergent.)   Post and comments sometimes display wrong? (That I know, but I’ve been unable to remedy it.)  Content-centric?  (Well, yes.)  No license to look uglier than a newspaper?  (But I like the look of newspapers!)

Redeemed Rambling has white letters on a black background.  Isn’t that hard to read?  Isn’t black print on a white background better and making a statement about  being print-oriented?  And why does Redeemed Rambling have my picture in the side-bar?  That uglifies HIS site.  At least I have a great artist’s portrait here, rather than my own.  But I guess I owe it to Cranach’s memory to have a blog with some visual appeal.

At any rate, I don’t want to hurt your eyes or violate your aesthetic sensibility.  I’m sure it’s time for a complete Cranach make-over.  What do you think?  What would you suggest? 

 Help, tODD and Stewart!

A Lutheran church & school before the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is taking up what some are describing as the most important religious liberty case in decades.  And it involves a Lutheran school whose church fired a called teacher.  From Notre Dame law school professor Richard Garnett:

In a nutshell, Hosanna-Tabor is a lawsuit brought by Cheryl Perich, a former teacher at a church-run Lutheran grade school who argues that the church violated a federal law against disability-based discrimination when it rescinded her “call” as a “commissioned minister” — and fired her as a third- and fourth-grade teacher, after a disability-related leave of absence.

A federal trial court in Michigan dismissed the teacher’s claim, insisting that the “ministerial” nature of her position and the religious dimensions of the church’s decision made it inappropriate to apply the anti-discrimination law. But the court of appeals disagreed and concluded that her “primary duties” — as a “commissioned minister” at a school that aims to provide a “Christ-centered education” from teachers who “integrate faith into all subjects” — were secular, and not religious.

The court gave little weight to the facts that the teacher led her students in prayer several times a day and taught religion classes four days a week, and instead simply compared the minutes she spent on religious formation with those she spent teaching “secular subjects.”

The Supreme Court should reverse this decision, and it is important to understand why.

For starters, it is well established that a “ministerial exception” to job-discrimination laws prevents secular courts from jumping into religious disputes that they lack the authority to address or the competence to solve. The question in the Hosanna-Tabor case is not so much whether the exception exists — it does, and it should — as how it should be understood and applied.

As the court of appeals recognized, this exception is “rooted in the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious freedom.” Indeed, a religious-liberty promise that allowed governments to second-guess religious communities’ decisions about what should be their teachings or who should be their teachers would be a hollow one.

via Hosanna-Tabor case to test our church-state divide – USATODAY.com.

Frankly, I’m confused about this, both legally and theologically.  Is the church running roughshod over its own doctrine of the call, in effect demanding the religious liberty to ignore its own religious teaching?  Is the state doing what the church should be doing, in enforcing the binding nature of the call?  Would a legal win on the part of the church be a theological defeat?  Or does this legal challenge unmask the confusion between the teaching office and the pastoral ministry?  And should the state presume to define “church work” and “ministry,” denying the teacher that status because she teaches “secular” subjects?

Can anyone untangle these issues?  And does anyone know anything about the disability issues being raised?  Were there other factors in the congregation’s desire to dismiss this teacher?  (Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church is an LCMS congregation in Redford, Michigan.)  I mean, I can’t help but sympathize with the congregation being dragged before the court, but help me sort out not only the law but the theology and the church practice.

“Fairness” and “Common sense”

Two articles take apart the language of political rhetoric:

Arthur Brooks examines the way the Democrats invoke the concept of “fairness” and shows that there is more to justice than just taking from the rich: Obama says it’s only ‘fair’ to raise taxes on the rich. He’s wrong. – The Washington Post.

Then, from the other side, Sophia Rosenfeld critiques the way  Republicans are invoking the concept of “common sense”: Beware of Republicans bearing ‘common sense’

In a day when reason is widely rejected and political discourse has become reduced to manipulative rhetoric, is political debate just a matter of who gets control of the language?  Can you think of other examples of this sort of thing?

Where your taxes go

President Obama, in his State of the Union Address, said that taxpayers would soon be able to access an online “receipt” to show what all your taxes are paying for.  That site is now up, and it’s kind of interesting:  Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt | The White House.

HT:  Mary J


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