“Low, low prices.” With that motto, a generation ago Walmart took over the world of retail. For years Walmart seemed untouchable; they could consume any competitor with volume, price and efficiency. Yet in the past several years, some have questioned whether the Walmart empire has a gaping hole in the center. Forbes reported in 2014 that “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing.” Americans for Tax Fairness… Read more

Conservatives are fond of saying that one shouldn’t “immanentize the eschaton.” What else, I ask, is one to do with an eschaton? What they mean by this, of course, is that we should not use violent means to bring about a utopian society. Of course we shouldn’t. But the violent means used by Marxists and other secular seekers of the Eschaton are themselves decidedly means of “this age.” Marxists justify totalitarianism precisely because the perfect classless society isn’t here yet…. Read more

By Stephen Milliken Headlining a look into Amazon’s work environment, The New York Times’ recent article exposes the company’s cutting-edge business practices. As the article prophesies, these innovative and relentlessly-aggressive business practices are blazing the trail for the future of business in a global market – and we can expect more of the same. Before I even began to read the expose, I was cautious of what I would find and what I would think of this company that I… Read more

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” Thanks to la nouvelle theologie for the quote (the whole poem is over there). Image: Pixabay. Read more

This post is reprinted from Marion Be The Change, a community development and advocacy organization in Marion, IN “aimed at giving those living in poverty a voice, while seeking tangible solutions to improve their lives.”  The organization focuses on talking seriously with those in poverty to hear their own stories and suggestions. Check out some other organizations doing similar work in our community development forum last November, and stay tuned for more posts from MBTC from time to time. It… Read more

By Mike Coyner [Originally addressed to Methodists in Indiana, but just as helpful for the rest of us!–MISSION:WORK] Ever since our 2015 Session of the Indiana Conference concluded on May 30th, it seems that everyone is asking me about my retirement in 2016. The most common question they ask me is this one: “What are you going to do?” or even the more colloquial “What are you gonna do?” Several have offered suggestions that I need to prepare a “bucket… Read more

OK, I seriously never thought about comparing charity and philanthropy from a theological perspective before until I read this review by Fred Smith of The Philanthropic Revolution.  Now I have to read this book! Philanthropy and charity, while springing from the same root, have parted ways and are not likely to come back together. While both have serious theological presuppositions, they represent very different—even competing—theologies…. Experimentation, eugenics, mass sterilization, and, ultimately, ethnic cleansing all have their roots in the early… Read more

By Bill Peel The term “cocooning” was coined by trend forecaster Faith Popcorn to describe Americans who were socializing less and hunkering down at home to protect themselves from the harsh realities of the outside world. This trend fed a burgeoning do-it-yourself industry and sparked home-entertainment innovations, such as video game systems, rec rooms, and media rooms. Today cocooning has never been easier. After all, why go to the hassle of planning dinner and a movie with friends, when we can… Read more

Business books urge leaders to act, but sometimes it’s more important to follow Jesus’ lead and discern the right kind of action, writes a professor of leadership and ministry. This was first published in Faith & Leadership. By L. Roger Owens I mentioned in a sermon that I’m not good at getting things started — or finished. My leadership strengths are in the area one author calls “ideation.” A less generous author would have called it the strength of idle… Read more

Originally published at Ithilien in 2005. One of the central slogans that’s come to be identified with the Reformation is the “priesthood of all believers.” For a long time I found this phrase very off-putting, because I associated it with the radical denial of any hierarchy or sacramentality in the Church. In my experience, Protestants used the slogan to turn the Church into a religious counterpart to modern liberal democracy. And I was (and am) convinced that that’s simply a… Read more

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