James W. Sire, the former editor of InterVarsity Press, has died at the age of 84.  By his personal encouragement, his influence on my thinking, and his giving me my first publishing break, he got me started as a distinctly Christian writer. It turns out, he did that with a lot of people, including luminaries like Os Guinness and Francis Schaeffer, whose lectures he helped turn into books.  The Christianity Today obituary says this: “Sire was a keystone in the intellectual… Read more

In a rare show of bipartisan agreement, Congressional leaders of both parties agreed on a version of President Trump’s budget for 2018-2019.  It will raise spending by some $500 billion, including the increased military spending the Republicans want and the increased social spending the Democrats want. The deal also includes measures to prevent the constant brinkmanship of government shutdown threats, though the government might shutdown this time also.  The current spending resolution expires at midnight, February 8, and the budget… Read more

Those who describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious” may in fact be practicing a religion without realizing it.  Namely, Hinduism. Vasudha Narayanan, religion professor at the University of Florida, has written an article entitled Americans may not know it, but they’ve long been embracing Hindu philosophy. She points out that America in the 19th century became quite interested in Hinduism.  She mentions, in particular, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  Indeed, these and other Transcendentalists, who were enormously influential… Read more

The Winter Olympics start today.  Are you all fired up about that?  No? The entire Russian national team–usually the “bad guys” so necessary in an Olympics story arc–has been banned for doping.  And you can hardly see all of those young girls on the figure skating team without thinking of the horrible sexual abuse suffered   by members of the American gymnastics team.  All of this kind of puts a damper on Olympics enthusiasm. Meanwhile, the NFL just ended a season… Read more

The Jewish scholar Leonard Greenspoon of Creighton University (a Catholic institution) explores the concept of “coveting” in the Ten Commandments.  He undertakes a close analysis of the Hebrew word and the different understandings in the Jewish tradition.  What struck me is his quotation from Philo of Alexandria (25 B.C.-50 A.D.), who said that coveting–that is, illicit desire–is the root of all of the other sins in the second table of the decalogue (the sins against our neighbors): The fifth [in the second list,… Read more

It’s being reported that some activists want to expand the LGBT category so that it reads LGBTQQICAPF2K+.That needs to be done in order to be inclusive.  This broader category is so inclusive that it includes heterosexuals. Here is what the new proposed acronym stands for: L – lesbian G – gay B – bisexual T – transgender Q – queer Q – questioning I – intersex C – curious A – asexual A – agender A – ally P – pansexual… Read more

In effect, the Pope is unifying the Catholic church in China by granting authority to the heterodox Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.  Read more

“All economic news is bad,” said George Will, “especially good economic news, because it gives rise to bad behavior.”  He was referring to the way the current prosperity has brought about a dangerous decline in savings rate.  His words might also apply to yesterday’s stock market performance, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted by 1,175 points. This was the biggest point drop in stock market history. What happened? Good news.  There are more jobs and wages are up. Higher wages… Read more

My granddaughter invited a friend to church yesterday.  She was nine years old and she had never gone to a church before! I give her a lot of credit.  She worked hard to follow along with the service, she read out loud the creed and the Lord’s Prayer, she tried to find the pages in the hymn book.  My granddaughter helped her find her place, and I tried to explain what was going on.  She seemed somewhat in awe.  I… Read more

The memo from the House Intelligence Committee on the FBI’s use of the discredited Steele dossier has been released.  I post it below. The main takeaway is that the document says that the FBI used the Steele dossier, which made shocking claims about Donald Trump and the Russians, as the basis for obtaining surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  They did so even though they knew that the document had been funded by the Democratic National Committee. … Read more

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