Jesse James meets the Second Amendment

If there should ever be a monument to the Second Amendment, it should be erected in Northfield, Minnesota. In this little college town in 1876, Jesse James and Cole Younger, with six other members of their gang, tried to rob the First National Bank, only to get shot up by an aroused citizenry.  I just finished reading a new book on the subject, Mark Lee Gardner’s Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape.

I knew about the Northfield raid and when I spoke at St. Olaf College a few years ago, my hosts took me to see the bank and the marks of the bullets that still adorn the downtown buildings.  But I did not know the details, nor did I know about the equally thrilling aftermath.  Gardner’s book, while being sober history, reads like an action thriller, but what I most took away from the book was a glimpse of something we don’t see all that much anymore; namely, a genuine community, whose members look out for each other, protect each other, and pull together for the common good. [Read more…]

More on Lutherans, Calvinists, & Evangelicals

James R. Rogers (a Lutheran) advances our perennial topic of why evangelicals tend to prefer Calvinism to Lutheranism in a post for First Things.  He begins with some practical issues–the difficulty of “finding” Lutheranism, the relative inaccessibility of Lutheran confessional documents (the Augsburg Confession being too difficult; the Small Catechism being too simple) as compared with the Calvinist equivalents.

But then he plunges into the deeper issues–evangelicals see salvation as coming from within, whereas Lutherans see salvation as coming from without–including an illuminating discussion of faith and baptism.  And the Lutheran emphasis will seem utterly alien to an evangelical sensibility, whereas Calvinism will fit it well. [Read more…]

Child sacrifice then and now

Collin Garbarino tells of a controversy in archaeology about whether or not the ancient Carthaginians practiced child sacrifice, as the Romans always said they did.  Recently, evidence has arisen that they did, in fact, sacrifice children.  Some archaeologists, though, just won’t believe it.

Mr. Garbarino says that the Carthaginians sacrificed children for the same reason we do. [Read more…]

Ranking states by how corrupt they are

We now have metrics that allow us to determine the most corrupt states in the union, based on the number of public officials that have been convicted of corruption in office.  Can you guess which ones are in the top 10?  Where do you think your state ranks?  The least corrupt state is  Nebraska, providing another reason for why we should move the nation’s capital there.

See the results, with two different graphics from two different studies, after the break. [Read more…]

NSA surveillance declared illegal, but will continue

An independent review board has said that the NSA surveillance system is illegal.  But the White House says essentially that it doesn’t care.  The courts are going to have to weigh in. [Read more…]

The church’s “Kodak moment”?

We’ve been pretty hard on the Church Growth Movement lately, so let’s allow an advocate to have his say.  Thom Schultz, the founder of Group Publishing (and I think originally a Lutheran, though whether he is now I’m not sure) has written a provocative post entitled “The Church’s Frightful Kodak Moment.”  It was occasioned by a walk through a mostly deserted Kodak facility, a once successful company that has been left behind by new technology and its refusal to innovate.   He says that traditional churches are the same way and will similarly die unless they make big changes.

But then Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk has written a devastating reply (excerpted after the jump). [Read more…]