How government agencies avoid competitive bidding

Are you an Eskimo from Alaska?  Are you part Eskimo?  Do you know an Eskimo?  (That term, by the way, according to Wikipedia is NOT pejorative when referring to the Alaskan tribes.)  If so, you can start a company and get a government contract without having to compete for it.  Then you can sub-contract the actual work to other companies, pocketing millions for yourself. That’s one of the ways the federal procurement process avoids having to comply with time-consuming but… Read more

Come, Lord Jesus

It’s Advent!   I love how the Advent hymns, Scripture readings, and sermons focus on all of the different senses of Jesus’s coming to us.  Yes, we look forward to His coming in the events of Christmas.  But we also study the Old Testament prophecies of His coming.  We also contemplate His second coming.  And we also reflect on the way He comes to us personally in the sacraments and in His Word. Let’s do another sermon compilation.  What insights did… Read more

Saying grace

The Religious News Service reports on a study about how many Americans have a prayer of thanksgiving before meals: These days, 44 percent of Americans report saying grace or a similar blessing almost every day before eating; 46 percent almost never say it, leaving just a statistical sliver in between, Putnam and Campbell report in their recently published book, “American Grace: How Religion Unites and Divides Us.” “We are hard-pressed to think of many other behaviors that are so common… Read more

Megamind

We went to the movies over Thanksgiving weekend and saw Megamind.   The animated parody of the superhero genre featured a supervillain who finds himself turning good.  It’s actually kind of Augustinian (existence is good, so evil is a privation of being).  It was also quite humorous.  But see it, if at all possible, in the 3-D version.  That technology works remarkably well with these modeled computer animations.  The visuals were spectacular, making better use of the new 3-D possibilities than… Read more

Justification as inclusion

Might justification by faith end up as just another weird idea those Lutherans believe?  That teaching–that we are declared righteous because of the Cross of Jesus Christ–used to be common to all Protestants, but it is under attack today, not just by liberal theologians but by evangelicals. I was at the Evangelical Theological Society convention very briefly to give a paper on vocation. The overall theme was justification.  The keynote speaker was N. T. Wright, the former bishop of the… Read more

The Liberal Conspiracy Theories

Glen Beck has been pushing his conspiracy theories.  Now the liberals are doing it.  They are unable to imagine that there is anything wrong with their president or with their economic theories.  So many of them believe that the Republicans and their business allies,  to ensure that the president will not get re-elected, are deliberately sabotaging the economy.  From Michael Gerson: If a president of this quality and insight has failed, it must be because his opponents are uniquely evil,… Read more

1.3 million years on Facebook, per month

Tim Challies gives us more big numbers: Seven hundred billion minutes. That’s how much time Facebook’s 500 million active users spend on the site every month. 700,000,000,000 minutes. Let that one sink in for a moment. Every month we spend the equivalent of 1.3 million years on Facebook; the equivalent of nearly 18,000 lifetimes. More than half of us login every single day; we average 130 friends. And we spend vast amounts of time on there. Facebook now offers 900… Read more

Special Thanksgiving Edition

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Gratitude, the Parent of All Virtues

You’ve got to read Mollie Hemingway’s column on gratitude in Christianity Today. Excerpts: Appearing on Conan O’Brien’s show last year, comedian Louis C. K. lamented how frustrated people get when cell phones and cross-country flights are slow or faulty. “Everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy,” he said. When people complain that their flight boarded 20 minutes late or that they had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes before takeoff, he asks a few additional questions. “Oh… Read more

Thanksgiving food

Why do most people like white meat better than dark meat? Isn’t the latter juicier and much more flavorful? Do you have dishes that have been passed down in your family from time immemorial? That you must have, even though no one particularly likes them? I just learned that someone else shares my taste for what a recipe I describe as “white on white on white on white.” And calls it the same thing! Do any of the rest of… Read more

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