One side effect of the foreclosure crisis:  Many banks do not want to hold and pay taxes on run-down properties that no one will ever want to buy.  So they are razing the decrepit buildings that plague so many of our big cities and are donating the lots to new land banks.  These, in turn,  are making the land available for next to nothing for new development and neighborhood improvement projects.  (These include churches, which in some cases are getting… Read more

Lutheran journalist Mollie Hemingway has a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about how the Episcopal Church in the USA is trying to thwart the new conservative Anglican denomination: When the Church of the Good Shepherd in Binghamton, N.Y., left the Episcopal Church over disagreements about what the Bible says about sexuality, the congregation offered to pay for the building in which it worshiped. In return the Episcopal Church sued to seize the building, then sold it for a… Read more

Interesting discussions about “Manliness” in that contest we started last weekend.  As was noted in the thread, many of the virtues that were put forward could also apply to women.  Perhaps they apply to men, though,  in a distinctive way, but that way is what we are trying to get at.   There were lots of thoughtful comments.  I appreciated especially things said by sg, SKPeterson, Kirk.  I liked Helen’s point that “man” is not only the opposite of “woman,” it… Read more

The Reformed world is all in an uproar about what they call “the Federal Vision,” with many prominent Reformed folks embracing this new way of being Reformed  with great excitement while others are denouncing it as an out-and-out heresy.  (For example, Peter Leithhart, who has written some fine things about literature, was actually tried for heresy by the Presbyterian Church in America, though he was just acquitted last week.) We Lutherans approach all of these issues in a completely different… Read more

Some of the demands of the Occupy Wall Street protesters: Demands posted in OWS’s name include a “guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment”; a $20-an-hour minimum wage (above the $16 entry wage the United Auto Workers just negotiated with GM); ending “the fossil fuel economy”; “open borders” so “anyone can travel anywhere to work and live”; $1 trillion for infrastructure; $1 trillion for “ecological restoration” (e.g., re-establishing “the natural flow of river systems”); “free college education.” And forgiveness of… Read more

Scientists have sequenced the genome of a strange little creature, the naked mole rat.  Why?  Because it never gets cancer, lives an unbelievably long life without mental decline, and has many other amazing powers that may hold clues for human health. Mole rats are hairless, buck-toothed rodents four inches long that live in underground colonies in arid sections of Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Eritrea. Their social structure is the mammalian equivalent of an ant colony. There’s a queen who takes… Read more

A reader of this blog with quite a bit of expertise on employment law and who is also sensitive to the religious issues involved  has sent me what I think is the best analysis I have seen of the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case currently before the Supreme Court, having to do with a Lutheran school that fired a called teacher because of her disability, then claimed a “ministerial exemption” from having to follow the disability laws because the employee was… Read more

Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.   We have been commemorating the Civil War and tend to mark significant anniversaries of other major events in American history.  But not much is being planned for this one.  Except in Canada, which is planning a big celebration of how they defeated the American invaders.  From a piece by David Shribman: What is the best way to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812? . . …. Read more

Our good-hearted but usually doomed attempt to right the world’s wrongs by sending in American troops to battle bad guys continues, as we send in the American military to central Africa: President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa to help hunt down the leaders of a rebel force known as the Lord’s Resistance Army. Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army during a meeting with a delegation of officials… Read more

We had lots of entries for the weekend contest for the best post on “Manliness”! And lots of different ideas on the subject, which underscores the need for the book and the prize The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood. We now  have to study the entries. Tune in tomorrow! Read more

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