Why no two snowflakes are identical

As if to put us in the mood for winter, the Washington Post has a fascinating feature explaining why no two snowflakes are the same: Newly formed snow crystals with only a handful of molecules would be nearly impossible to distinguish. But that’s not really the issue. We’re talking about real snowflakes, which have something on the order of a quintillion molecules. (That’s the number 1 with 18 zeros.) Now, it’s not a law of nature that no two snowflakes… Read more

Would Calvin have Occupied Wall Street?

Would even liberal Lutherans say this of Martin Luther? The cause of demonstrators involved in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement would have been supported by John Calvin, the 16th century church reformer who helped shape modern-day Protestantism, says the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). “I am sure he would have been in the streets of New York or London with a placard,” says Setri Nyomi of the French lawyer and theologian who wrote extensively about… Read more

Huntsman’s conservative credentials

The impression most people have is that Jon Huntsman is not conservative, that he is at best a moderate.  Not so, says Nichole Austin: Despite scuttlebutt to the contrary, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is not a Democrat in disguise, but was in fact a relatively ambitious conservative governor. And if he is “moderate,” he is not appreciably more moderate than other leading candidates or party leaders. If one compares records honestly and looks at policy positions realistically, one will… Read more

A pro-life movement in Russia

In Russia, the most commonly-used method of birth control is abortion.  It has the world’s highest abortion rate:  73 for every 100 births.  But now a pro-life movement has started up in Russia, led by the Orthodox Church, and the Russian parliament, faced not only with the church’s lobbying but with a population collapse,  is expected to pass a law imposing sharp restrictions (though not prohibition) of the practice: Backed by the Russian Orthodox Church, an influential anti-abortion lobby is… Read more

Chaplain Mike on the Sacraments

The third installment from Chaplain Mike on what he is appreciating so much from  his new Lutheranism.  This time he focuses on the Sacraments.  Read the whole post, but here is a sample: The sacramental perspective takes God’s presence and action in the midst of his creation seriously. Some expressions of faith are essentially world-denying and more akin to forms of Platonism or gnosticism that make radical distinctions between the material and spiritual worlds. From this perspective, God works and… Read more

The beam in our Missouri Synod eyes

Friends, you should read the comments on Chaplain Mike’s sacrament post at Internet monk, linked above.  It’s touching how some of his evangelical readers are responding to what he is saying. I have to say, though, that I’m kind of ashamed that some of these potential Lutherans have come to THIS blog, which Chaplain Mike links to, and are marveling about how all we Missouri Synod Lutherans can say about his joy in discovering Lutheran theology  is to castigate him for… Read more

Respect vs. pity

I have long observed this and written about it, that instead of honoring those who hold the military vocation in the traditional way–admiring their prowess in battle and celebrating their victories–today our culture’s support for our troops is expressed by feeling sorry for them.  Now this is getting on their nerves: The troops are lavished with praise for their sacrifices. But the praise comes with a price, service members say. The public increasingly acts as if it feels sorry for… Read more

Cosmology and the speed of light

We’ve blogged about the discovery of neutrinos that seemed to have traveled faster than light.  As scientists try to replicate and study that event, Joel Aschenbach has a good explanation of what’s at stake if light is not the fastest thing in the universe: There is logic and beauty in a universe in which space, time, energy and matter are tightly associated with the speed of light. The special status of the speed of light isn’t like an Olympic record,… Read more

And now Cain’s brain freeze

This sounds even worse than Rick Perry’s memory lapse, a function not so much of forgetting something but not knowing in the first place: In an interview today with the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain visibly struggled to explain his position on President Obama’s Libya policy. The video is particularly damaging for Cain, who has struggled on matters of foreign policy in the past. Asked if he agreed with the president, Cain said,… Read more

Being personally offended for someone else

I’ve noticed the phenomenon of someone getting personally offended on behalf of someone else, who, in fact, has not been personally offended.  A complaint has been filed against Catholic University for being insensitive to Muslims–basically by being a Catholic university–even though no Muslims have complained.  From a Washington Post editorial: The press release announcing complaints against Catholic University of America for alleged bias against Muslim and women students begins with a mention of criminal charges leveled against a bishop in… Read more

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