Joplin, Missouri–an hour’s drive from where I grew up, where we would often go when we wanted a “big city”–was struck by a tornado that is said to have destroyed three-fourths of the city, killing 89 people! UPDATE: Now the report is that “only” one fourth of the city of 50,000 was destroyed. But the death toll has risen to 116. Read more

Tomorrow, May 21, in the year of our Lord 2011, the rapture will occur.  According to the calculations of radio preacher Harold Camping, all true Christians will be taken up into Heaven at 6:00 p.m., when that hour comes in all time zones.  I suppose if we hear about strange disappearances in other parts of the world earlier in the day, we will know that this is happening and we can prepare ourselves when our time comes.  (The earlier version… Read more

Lars Walker, the novelist who is a long-time commenter on this blog, has written a perceptive review of the hit movie Thor.   He liked it–as did I, actually, for the most part–but what struck me in his review is his point about how even our pop paganism has been influenced by Christianity.  Lars, an expert in all things Norse, points out that the notion of a benevolent deity–taken for granted even by atheists–is distinctly Christian, and that the actual pagan… Read more

More weird religion:  An all-female cult in Russia believes that the nation’s strongman is the reincarnation of St. Paul: Members of the sect that has sprung up in a Russian village some 250 miles southeast of Moscow believe that the 58-year-old macho Russian politician is on a special mission from God. “According to the Bible, Paul the Apostle was a military commander at first and an evil persecutor of Christians before he started spreading the Christian gospel,” the sect’s founder,… Read more

Time’s Amy Sullivan draws attention to how a number of Republican leaders are fans of Ayn Rand, the militant atheist whose praise of capitalism led to her ethical principle of the “virtue of selfishness” and her attacks on Christianity for promoting the “weakness” of altruistic love.  We’ve blogged about her before, and some of you have defended her, Christian though you be.  I am less tolerant, having witnessed the family of a good friend of mine torn apart by her… Read more

Blogger Matt Perman wrote a good post entitled “Starbucks, Vocation, and The Meaning of the Mundane.”  He even included a shoutout to my book about vocation, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life ! The other day I came across an excerpt from the new book by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul. I don’t know if he’s a believer or not, but right at the start he… Read more

Go here for a treasure trove of rare color photos of Depression-era America: Rare Library of Congress colour photographs of the Great Depression | Mail Online. They are of astonishing vividness.  These here folks are my people: Read more

The Liberal/Conservative dichotomy does not really explain where people are on the political spectrum.  There are different kinds of conservatives and different kinds of liberals.  This has been a theme of a number of our blog posts.  But now the Pew Research Center has formulated a “political typology” that consists of nine different positions: Staunch Conservatives take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues – on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral… Read more

“Strong” usually means good, and “weak” usually means bad.  Ezra Klein says that those positive or negative connotations shouldn’t necessarily apply to the dollar: Sometimes, of course, a strong dollar is in our best interest. And over the long run, a strong economy will produce a strong dollar. But there are moments when stronger isn’t better. Moments like, well, this one. The dollar’s “strength” or “weakness” is relative. “A strong dollar means that when you exchange it for another currency,… Read more

The head of the International Monetary Fund, a likely Socialist candidate for the presidency of France, was yanked out of his first class cabin on a plane just before it was set to take off and was arrested for sexual assault. Haggard and unshaven after a weekend in jail, the chief of the International Monetary Fund was denied release on bail Monday on charges of trying to rape a hotel maid as allegations of other, similar attacks by Dominique Strauss-Kahn… Read more

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