The president unveiled his jobs package last night to a joint session of Congress.  Here are the main provisions of the $447 billion plan: -EMPLOYEE TAX CUTS. A deeper payroll tax cut for all workers. Congress in December cut the payroll tax, which raises money for Social Security, from 6.2 percent for every worker to 4.2 percent, for all of 2011. Obama’s proposals would cut that tax even further – to 3.1 percent – for all workers in 2012. The… Read more

Ecumenical News International reports that the number of interfaith worship services–that is, those in which people of different religions worshipped together (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.)–have doubled since the 9/11 attacks: Interfaith worship services have doubled in the decade since the 11 September attacks, according to a new study released 7 September, even as more than seven in 10 U.S. congregations do not associate with other faiths. The survey by an interfaith group of researchers found that about 14 percent of… Read more

Thursday was the 45th anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek on NBC. Are you or have you ever been a Trekkie?  Have you gotten a life, and if so, do you still like Star Trek? What is it about this series that we still talk about it 45 years later? Which series is your favorite?  Can we agree that the original series with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, et al. was by far the best? 45 Years Ago… Read more

Al Mohler has an interesting piece trying to define what is meant by “evangelical.”  He goes back into history, though strangely he says nothing about the source of the word in Lutheranism.  “Evangelical” used to be the name for “Lutheran,” in distinction to both Roman Catholics and Calvinists, a.k.a., “Reformed.”  The term comes from  evangelium, the Latin version of the Greek word for “good news”; that is, the Gospel.  And the Christian Gospel is that  salvation is a free gift,… Read more

Well, I thought the eight presidential candidates trying to get the Republican convention did well in their debate last night.  I hadn’t heard Perry before, and he came across well.  I was pleasantly surprised with Huntsman, who played the optimism card  (though he lost me with his slam against those who are conducting a “war on science” by questioning evolution and global warming).  Cain had good things to say.  And you’ve got to hand it to Ron  Paul, who knows… Read more

Michael Hannon uses a Luther quotation to get at the essential difference between liberalism and conservatism.  (And he concludes that Luther is right.) “Peace if possible, truth at all costs!” Thus heralded Martin Luther half a millennium ago, and let no man accuse him of failing to practice what he preached. Of course, whether or not a Christian agrees with Luther’s particular interpretation of truth will determine whether he is a Catholic or a Protestant. But less obviously and perhaps… Read more

We have entered an era, according to Greg Jaffe, of endless war: In previous decades, the military and the American public viewed war as an aberration and peace as the norm. Today, radical religious ideologies, new technologies and cheap, powerful weapons have catapulted the world into “a period of persistent conflict,” according to the Pentagon’s last major assessment of global security. “No one should harbor the illusion that the developed world can win this conflict in the near future,” the… Read more

More great preaching from our pastor, Rev. Douthwaite, on the text Matthew 18:1-20.  Read it all.  Here is the beginning and the end.  Notice how the law passages are all brought down on Jesus: In common thinking, the phase of life called childhood is something to pass through. But for Jesus, to become as a child is something to attain, and a place to remain. In common thinking, children need to be taught to become adults. But for Jesus, adults… Read more

That Mayor Bloomberg is not inviting clergy to participate in the ten year anniversary events marking the 9/11 anniversary has provoked not a little outrage.  But Lutheran pastor William Cwirla presents a contrary view: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has banned clergy from participating in this year’s 9/11 memorial events at Ground Zero. Good for him! He’ll save us all a bunch of post-9/11ecumenical hangover headaches on Monday. As far as I’m concerned, clergy are best neither seen nor heard… Read more

Some people have made such a contribution in one way or the other that their names pass into the language.  The Washington Post has an interesting feature that takes up some of these names and argues that the actual person was different from the adjective that their names became.  (At the link, you can link further to complete articles about each of these individuals.) Mao was not a Maoist By Jung Chang Chairman Mao extolled the “hard life” for hundreds… Read more

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