Don’t warn the tadpoles

If you're in the Philadelphia area during the next few weeks and you enjoy thought-provoking, charming romantic comedies about love and death, fantasy and responsibility, please come to the William Way Center (1315 Spruce St. -- a block and a half from the Kimmel) and check out "Cakewalk." An ensemble cast of eight talented actors and one blogger bring Tom Minter's delightful story to life. (I realize I'm biased here, but the cast really is terrific and this play and … [Read more...]

Human readers

(One last thing on Niebuhr, then we'll move on, I promise.) Reinhold Niebuhr is regarded as a "Neo-Orthodox" theologian. The "neo" there doesn't mean that he presented a new orthodoxy, but refers rather to the way that his profound consideration of sin and human nature was a reassertion of the classic biblical and Augustinian views. On a lot of other matters, however, Niebuhr was anything but orthodox.* He did not believe in the resurrection -- of Christ or of … [Read more...]

Only human

"Good pitching will beat good hitting any time, and vice versa." -- Bob Veale Some interesting discussion recently in comments about human nature, specifically around the perennial question: Are people basically good? That's a perennial question, but perhaps not a very helpful one. The answer we Christians give is "Yes." And also "No." The Yes part has to do, in part, with the "imago Dei" -- the image of God. Each and every person, we believe, is … [Read more...]

Fear itself

We have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, so yesterday's fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was regarded as a bigger deal than last year's fourth or next year's sixth. The occasion was marked by ceremonies in towns and cities across America, and by a media blitz from newspapers, TV networks and, of course, from al-Qaida itself, which despicably marked the occasion with yet another video release. This last was predictable because our … [Read more...]

Opposites attract, Part II

Early 20th-century idealism was based on an overly optimistic assessment of human nature. As such it received support from some of the "modern" and "liberal" theologians and church leaders of the time. This view of human nature wasn't compatible with the Christian view, and was resoundingly demolished after the fact by the Neo-orthodox theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. But this idealism was also rooted in the eschatology of early 20th-century America. You can't get much … [Read more...]

Opposites attract, Part I

I've been trying to reconcile two things that I don't think can be reconciled, which means, really, I guess I've been trying to figure out what it means that these two things can't be reconciled. You've probably heard of PNAC -- the Project for the New American Century. The think tank desribes itself as "A neoconservative organization supporting greater American militarization, challenging hostile governments, advancing democratic and economic freedom, and promoting American hegemony in the … [Read more...]

Catching up

Whew. Survived the month-o-daily-rehearsals. (Work, nap, rehearsal, nap, work, repeat -- didn't I used to have a blog?) So I'll be playing catch-up for a bit (on both the sleeping and the blogging), probably with a bunch of sloppy multi-topic posts. Question: If, say, you were a Very Large national chain of newspapers and you had made the initial mistake, when switching all of your newspapers to a single database and a single server bank for their online editions, of forgetting that … [Read more...]

IVF hypocrisy 2.0

Scientists with Advanced Cell Technology yesterday announced a minor breakthrough in stem-cell collection. The White House immediately seized this opportunity to announce its own major breakthrough in IVF hypocrisy. The Seattle Times cobbles together a nice summary from reports by The Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer: A biotech company has developed a way to generate human embryonic stem-cell colonies without intentionally destroying embryos in the process. ... But opponents of … [Read more...]