Why we don’t have to worry about North Korea

A new strategy for national defense:  hope the enemy’s weapons don’t work.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that North Korea “has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles; however, the reliability will be low.”

[Read more…]

A prayer for dogs

Michael Dirda reviews Mr. and Mrs. Dog by Donald McCaig, hailed as “the Mark Twain of dog writers.”  It’s about two dogs that the author took to the World Sheepdog Trials.  The event was opened with this prayer from a man named John Seraphine:

“Lord, we thank you for our dogs — your simple gift to us. Open us to what they teach. We thank you for the grateful exuberance of our dogs.

“We thank you for the way they bound across the hills, splash in the waters, chew on sticks, and roll in the dewy grass. Teach us, every day, to say our own ‘thank you’ with every fiber of our being, for the wondrous works of your creation. [Read more…]

“We are all Thatcherites now”

Fareed Zakaria gives an overview of how the recently-deceased Margaret Thatcher changed the world’s economies:

Consider the world in 1979, when Thatcher came to power. The average Briton’s life was a series of interactions with government: Telephone, gas, electricity and water service, ports, trains and airlines were all owned and run by the state, as were steel companies and even Jaguar and Rolls-Royce. In almost all cases, this led to inefficiency and sclerosis. It took months to get a home telephone line installed. Marginal tax rates were ferociously high, reaching up to 83 percent. [Read more…]

Dark lightning

Thunderstorms create bolts of lightning, as we all know.   Scientists have recently discovered that they also create bolts of energy that we cannot see:  pulses of radiation–X-rays and Gamma-rays–that are being called “dark lightning.” [Read more…]

LCMS nominations

This item is for those interested in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.  Everyone else may look away.  The nominations for president and other offices, which will be voted upon at the upcoming convention July 20-25, have been released.  It looks like the current president and other conservative, confessional types have an overwhelming advantage.  I give the list after the jump. [Read more…]

Sanctification and Vocation

The estimable Anthony Sacramone has been carrying on a fascinating and helpful discussion (in two posts here and here on Jonathan Fisk’s  Broken) about the Lutheran view of the Christian life, how it perhaps doesn’t do enough with sanctification.  I think the missing link, so to speak, is the doctrine of vocation.  Here is a somewhat revised version of what I posted as a comment:

The doctrine of vocation is not just about our work.  It really is the Lutheran doctrine of the Christian life.  We are brought to faith through Word and Sacrament and then we live out that faith in love and service to our neighbors.  “Let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God  has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17).  And God assigns us and calls us to various and multiple tasks in the orders that He has created for human beings:  the household (the family plus economic labor), the church, the state, and what Luther called “the general order of Christian love” (the informal relationships of friendship, interactions with others,  as in the Good Samaritan parable, etc.) . Vocation is where sanctification happens, where we exercise our faith, where we battle with sin, where we grow “in faith towards you [God], and in fervent love for one another” (as it says at the end of the liturgy, when we are sent back into our vocations).

I wonder if the problem is the ordinariness of the good works that take place in vocation.  As Einar Billing says in Our Calling, “In all our religious and ethical life, we are given to an incredible overestimation of the extraordinary at the expense of the ordinary.”  [Read more…]