It looked like Congress was close to an agreement on funding the government and avoiding default on Thursday, but negotiations fell apart yesterday. And as Republicans abandoned their insistence on defunding Obamacare, Democrats made demands of their own, insisting that Republicans agree to end the sequester, the across-the-board cuts from last time we were about to go over the fiscal cliff that have actually worked to curb government spending. [Read more…]
Look at your hands. If you are a man, chances are that your ring finger is longer than your index finger. If you are a woman, your ring finger and your index finger are probably about the same length or your index finger is slightly longer. Right? This very minor difference between the sexes was used to determine that the hand-paintings in the caves of Spain–among the earliest art ever discovered–were mostly the work of women.
Pope Francis has said that he is against “proselytizing.” But he is also speaking on what his predecessor started, the “new evangelization.” After the jump, some of his remarks on the subject. He is advocating “dialogue with those who do not share our beliefs,” which he has been doing, and projecting “God’s mercy and tenderness.” He’s been doing that too. He is talking about “witnessing,” which we often think of as a Protestant term, depending on what is meant by that.
I’m curious if there is a difference between “evangelization” and “evangelism.” And how a Roman Catholic, in particular, for whom church membership is critical, carries out “evangelizing” without “proselytizing.” Can Christians who are not Roman Catholics join in these efforts as he describes them? Also, is the “evangel”–the good news of Christ’s forgiveness won on the Cross–always clear, either in Catholic “evangelization” or Protestant “evangelism”? [Read more…]
If you watch old movies, read books from the first half of the 20th century, and are old enough to remember the early 1960s, you will recall that New Deal liberalism was a cheerful, optimistic creed, pro-American and working for economic prosperity. After all, liberals from Franklin Roosevelt through Hubert Humphrey were progressives, which gave them confidence that things were getting better and better. But after a certain point, liberals began to be filled with gloom and doom. America must be punished for its sins; our neglect of the environment will incur apocalyptic judgment; economic prosperity weakens our moral fiber. Conservatives used to sound that way, and did, before the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan.
George Will discusses the shift to a “punitive liberalism” in a discussion of a book that sees the tipping point as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, even though Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist. (I think the tipping point was the Vietnam War, but still. . . .) [Read more…]
When you are young, you want to get older, looking forward to milestone birthdays–16 (I can drive!); 18 (I can vote!); 21 (I can drink!). After that, you don’t particularly want to get older, and the milestones acquire a negative connotation–30 (hippies won’t trust me!); 40 (but what have I accomplished?); 50 (welcome to the middle ages); 60 (I’m old!). But then comes a short span of time in which you want to get older, with retirement-related milestones–62 (I could take early retirement!), 65 (I would qualify for free health insurance with Medicare!), 66 (I could take the full Social Security benefits!). After that, I suppose, is the milestone that we don’t know when it is coming, when we really get to rest from our labors.
So today I am technically old enough to retire! That gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. Not that I am going to retire. That’s not the point. It’s just that I could. After the jump, some retirement-related questions for general discussion. [Read more…]