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Thoughts and ideas on current events from an California evangelical perspective.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

From today's SF Chronicle:

One of the generals on the pro-Christmas side is Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. "Sometimes it's hard to tell whether this is sinister -- it's the purging of Christ from Christmas -- or whether it's just political correctness run amok," he said. "I think in the case of the White House, it's just political correctness."

Wildmon does not give retailers the same benefit of the doubt. This year, he has called for a consumer boycott of Target stores because the chain issued a holiday advertising circular that did not mention Christmas.

Wait, what's the problem with not having Christmas connected with a massive spending, greedy, materialistic event? Let the world celebrate "the holidays" by buying toys, towels, televisions, tapestries, trowels, tiramisu and the like.

If you're looking for the in-breaking of God in our crazy world, a sign of hope amidst so much confusion, then please come and truly celebrate Christmas!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

From Christianity Today's interview with Ted Haggart, president of the National Association of Evangelicals:

Are you pro-business and conservative out of pragmatism or out of theological conviction?

I am pro-business and pro-free market because we have 6.4 billion people on the face of the earth, and that is the only way we're going to be able to create enough wealth, provide enough goods and services and meet the needs of enough poor people.

I disagree. What happens if you give business free reign? Their goal is the bottom line, not feeding everyone. We've seen in recent corporate scandals what can occur if companies are given free reign.

It's a pragmatic approach. We have a responsibility to the poor and needy. There is no way we can give enough cans of peas and give away enough toys at Christmas time to meet everybody's need. We have to stimulate wealth. We know from the 20th century which government policies and economic policies create poverty and which government and economic policies create wealth. And so, all we have to do is apply those.

In my recent discussions with Prime Minister Tony Blair, we had an in-depth discussion about how the West can implement policies in poverty-stricken areas like portions of Africa, so they can start creating wealth. Hong Kong and South Korea and Singapore and Australia and New Zealand and the United States are not wealthy countries because we took wealth from somebody else. We're wealthy countries because we learned how to create wealth.

I disagree. Australia and the US both benefitted from slave labor. But we also provided food for people by implementing certain socialistic principles: welfare, social security.

And so, we want that exported all over the world, and I think Christians should be pro-free market and pro-free trade because we have an obligation to help poor people have their needs met.

I agree on our obligaion. I disagree on how we get there. Theologically, we have to recognize that our sinfulness, our fallenness, if it exists in individuals, will exist in groups of individuals as well. That is why we need balancing force, checks on power. Whether that is the three branches within the government, or intervention of government in business, we have to address our propensity for error.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

How do we interact in a multi-cultural society? There are so many complaints about who is the victim and who is the aggressor. And there are so many tallies of who has done what to whom, that it seems like everyone has a grudge. This is where Christians can point to the redemptive work of Jesus.

Miroslav Volf suggests this:

he says the answer is not to eliminate identity. "We must develop a notion and a practice of identity which is situated somewhere between a formless hybridity and a rigid purity." Both sides in the war pursued rigid purity; Serbia continued to do so in its ethnic cleansing attempts.

"Maybe some help could be found in the Hebrew Scriptures," Volf says, "in which the injunction to remember that one was a slave in Egypt is coupled with the command not to treat the alien the way one was treated by the Egyptians."

It's from a summary article on the violence in former Yugoslavia.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Here in the Bay Area, there's always something to do, someplace beautiful to see, someone interesting to meet with. It's probably the same in most urban areas. And that's a problem with urban life. We don't run by the natural cycles of God's creation. Everything is artificial: our light, our food production, our work.

So why slow down?

God wants us to depend on him. We can't do that if we're always going on our own schedule. God wants us available to serve him. We can't do that if every moment is already filled. God knows our limitations. We will burn out if we keep going at such a frantic pace. God knows our tendency to err. We will make mistakes if we never take time to stop and listen to him.

Find some time to slow down and seek Him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I like to read the newspaper in the morning. The front section is more ads than content, and most of that is pulled off of wires. But the local section! Names and places I know are everywhere. Events that directly effect my life are covered in detail. There’s so much good stuff in there, whether it’s bridge construction, school policy or the newest restaurant.

Next stop: the web, for better state, national and international news. I like to get liberal, conservative and moderate interpretations of events, so that I can make up my own mind about whatever topic might get talked about: Social Security, the Sudan, FOX’s lineup. After an hour I’ve got a good formed opinion.

But then I turn to Scripture and have a hard time getting motivated to sit and learn from God. It all seems so distant, unchanging, and repetitive. Where’s the new information, the unique spin, the snarky commentary? The problem is I’m looking for Scripture to do something God never intended. And that’s a good thing. Because the news information gets repetitive too; the same problems repeating themselves, just different names, places and events. Being informed just seems to be a ticklish fancy.

I think I need to take a break from all of this news information. I need an appreciation for that eternal truth that doesn’t change, that stands firm each day, and is worth repeating each day. As Tony Campolo has said to Gordon MacDonald: "Remember, Gordon, today's paper with your name and picture in it, will line the bottom of someone's birdcage tomorrow." (