Holy Communion, Culture, & Vocation

We often talk about how God works through material elements in the sacraments to convey His grace in Christ.  But I came across a quotation that adds a dimension I never thought of before.  The water of Baptism is certainly a natural substance, but the bread and wine of Holy Communion do not occur from nature alone.  As James K. A. Smith points out, they require culture.  And I would add, they require vocation.  [Read more…]

What the crises in health care and higher education have in common

Patrick J. Deneen writes about the similarities between the current crises in health care and education.  He argues that the solutions put forward by both the left and the right will not work.   Since both spheres had their origin in the work of the Church, he calls for a rediscovery of the Christian concept of charity that is grounded in  (wait for it) the doctrine of vocation–that is, offices of  love and service to one’s neighbor.

The essay after the jump. [Read more…]

Our foreign relations debacle

American citizens in great numbers resented the revelations via Edward Snowden that the NSA was monitoring their e-mails and phone calls.  But the outrage is even greater among our allies, who learned that not only was our government snooping on their citizens, but that we were specifically eavesdropping on as many as 35 government leaders, including German prime minister Angela Merkel.  A number of these countries are planning to take the issue to the UN, and the resentment threatens the negotiations for a free trade agreement with the European Union. [Read more…]

When a bishop does not believe the Creed

The land of Gustavus Adolphus, who gave his life defending the Lutheran confessions, has chosen a new archbishop who denies that Christ was born of a virgin, rejects the existence of Hell, says that the Bible is not true, believes all religions are equally valid, but has a soft spot in her heart for Islam, refusing to say whether Jesus or Mohammed best reveals the nature of God.

A cry from the heart by a Swedish Christian after the jump.  But I’m curious.  It would seem that this archbishop cannot say the Apostle’s Creed, at least the part that says “I believe. . .in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” When she presides at a service, is she silent when that part of the creed comes up?  Or does she say “I believe” when she doesn’t believe?  I have the same question about other unbelieving ministers and laypeople.  We can see how the liturgy preserves orthodoxy even when those who lead it are not orthodox.  But it would seem that those who reject what the creed affirms and yet join in the confession of the historic church are surely perjuring themselves.   [Read more…]

Central planning vs. complex systems

The problems with HealthCare.gov and the Obamacare rollout go beyond the technical glitches, says Michael Gerson.  He draws on economist Friedrich Hayek, who showed why highly complex systems simply cannot be managed by  centralized technocratic planners. [Read more…]

Teenagers are losing interest in driving?

You thought it strange that Japanese young adults are losing interest in sex?  How about American teenagers who are losing interest in driving?  Only half of teenagers have a driver’s license by the time they are 18.  Twenty years ago two-thirds did.

After the jump, a report on the phenomenon.  The study cited, sponsored by the automobile industry, blames the economy and expresses the hope that teenagers will want to drive again once the economy improves.  But I’m not sure that’s what the data shows. [Read more…]