November 19, 2018

The worst wildfire in California history has killed 76, with some 1,000 people still missing.  The so-called “Camp Fire,” named for its origin at Camp Creek Road in northern California, has burned 140,000 acres and destroyed some 10,000 homes, virtually wiping out the entire towns of Concow (population: 700) and Paradise (population:  26,218). The fire is still raging after 12 days, as of today being about 60% contained.  Smoke has fouled the air to hazardous levels as far away as Sacramento (80… Read more

November 16, 2018

At the Rural and Small Town Ministries conference I attended, I got to hear from Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, the former Lutheran Hour speaker who now heads the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty This office was established by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to represent the church body’s interests and to promote its causes in Washington, D.C.  Doing this was somewhat controversial.  Lutherans are encouraged to get involved in their societies, including political causes, by virtue of their vocation as citizens.  But… Read more

November 15, 2018

Michelle Obama says that she can “never forgive” Donald Trump for spreading doubt about her husband’s citizenship.  Whereupon President Trump, in his signature tit-for-tat way, said that he could “never forgive” Barack Obama for undermining our military.  Hillary Clinton said that President Trump’s supporters were not only “deplorable” but “irredeemable.”  Meanwhile lots of politicians and pundits are saying how one person or another is “unforgivable.” This has to be the ultimate repudiation of a human being.  It goes beyond hate…. Read more

November 14, 2018

One of the speakers at the Rural and Small Town Ministry conference I attended was Rev. Timothy Koch, a fierce advocate for ministry to these “places no one wants to go to,” where the first thought about new pastors is “how long is he going to stay?”  Anyway, he gave a sermon on the Scripture reading for this Sunday, Mark 12:41-44, about the widow who gave “everything she had,” two coins that added up to a penny, into the Temple… Read more

November 13, 2018

As I keep harping on in this blog, the white working class in rural small towns and rust-belt cities has become the largest demographic of the unchurched in America.  They also have the lowest marriage rates and the worst problems with drug addiction, including heroin.  These folks in what used to be America’s “heartland” used to be the backbone of our churches, but today church growth and evangelism efforts are aimed mostly at high status groups, such as the Millennials,… Read more

November 12, 2018

Yesterday, November 11, was Veterans Day, which is also being observed today.  (Those of you who are veterans–thank you!  Lots of businesses are offering you all kinds of free stuff–from haircuts to an abundance of food–to express our nation’s thanks.  Go here for a list of what you can get.) Veterans Day also has some interesting conjunctions, especially this year. November 11 was also the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  (That’s not that long ago, really.) The… Read more

November 9, 2018

The Orthodox tradition seems to many Christians to be a haven from the woes of contemporary Christianity and a way to experience the unity of the historic church, as it used to be in the early church, before both popes and protestants.  An Orthodox friend told me that their church avoids problems by just never changing.  That might be debatable, and sometimes churches need to change; that is, to have a Reformation.  At any rate, a schism has broken out… Read more

November 8, 2018

The Church is growing so rapidly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that by 2050 the world will have 3 billion Christians, only one-fifth of whom will be non-Hispanic Whites.  So says Peter Leithart in a long, fascinating article on Christianity in Africa. Yes, there are problems, as he documents:  syncretism with animism, violence, poverty, persecution from Muslims.  But he says that African theology is maturing and that it has much to teach the West.  For one thing, African Christianity… Read more

November 7, 2018

In the midterm election–which had been turned into a midterm examination for President Trump–Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, but the Republicans increased their hold on the Senate. As of right now, Wednesday morning, with a few races still to be decided, the Democrats have picked up 26 seats in the House ( with a total of 219) over the Republicans (with a total of 195).  In the Senate, Republicans picked up 3 seats (now holding 53) over the… Read more

November 6, 2018

Today is the midterm election.  All members of the House of Representatives, whose term is only two years, are up for election.  Also one-third of the Senate.  An untold number of state and local officials and referendums will also be voted upon today. And all of these elections, taken as a whole, are being framed as a referendum on President Trump.  That’s the way Democrats are presenting them.  And that’s the way the President is presenting them.  In his campaign… Read more

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