The lightning at the Acropolis will wake up some dead philosopher-kings.
A big heart-felt thanks to Cathleen Falsani for this wondrous story.
An important new blog, Transpositions, on theology and art — give it some reads.
Don Johnson’s proposed list of new seminary courses.
Karen’s new idea … running for governor.
David Fitch posts a good one on the de-eschatologizing trend in kingdom theology.
John Ortberg on envy.
Good analogy from Bill Donahue.
Ted’s nice review of Rachel Held Evans.
Not sure what to say, but this post is worth reading … for all kinds of reasons.
Honest reflections on Ireland by Kevin.
JR Briggs, or John Chandler, on the Stages of Faith.
Don Johnson earns a second link: his post on evangelical superstitions.
Nancy Ortberg on prayer blockers.
Meanderings in the News (I’ve got a mixed bag of comments and links that have opinions from all directions.)
1. Deportation stories. “Their cases underscore a conflict in the Obama administration’s approach to immigration enforcement. Even though the president supports the Dream Act — which would provide a path to legalization for illegal immigrants brought here as children who enroll either in college or the military — his enforcement bureaucracy continues to pursue deportation cases against the increasing number of students who would be protected by it. It’s part of a push that is on track to remove a record 400,000 illegal immigrants this year.”
I can’t comprehend the Democratic silence about the so-called wars in the Middle East. We are dumping money into these wars at a faster rate than oil is coming out of the BP hole. And this complaint apart from Christian commitments to peace.
2. On the war in Afghanistan: “Violence is on the increase, the Taliban is hardly in retreat, both Pakistan and Afghan President Hamid Karzai continue to hedge their bets, and NATO allies want out,” Karon writes. “The idea that the war can be handed over to Afghan security forces anytime soon appears fanciful. And prospects for turning things around by next summer, the administration’s putative target date to begin drawing down, are looking grim.”
3. Robert Wright, on Daniel Pipes and on the apocalyptic warnings about Islamic terrorism and desire to control the world: “The analogy with communism is worth dwelling on. People warned that if Vietnam fell, the dominoes would keep falling until America itself was under communist control. After all, Russia and China — the sponsors of our Vietnamese enemy — would join with the Vietnamese government to use Vietnam as a forward base if we were chased out. You know — kind of the way al Qaeda would join with a Taliban that controlled any chunk of Afghanistan to torment America. Well, four years after Saigon fell, Communist Vietnam and Communist China were at war — not with us, but with each other. And a decade after that we had won the cold war.”
4. Mark Steyn on Obama: “He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” wrote Richard Cohen in the Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. . . . The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.”
5. Gail Collins on Nancy Pelosi: “She has been around a long time and must have known that from the start. But she pushed anyway. Pelosi is an idealist working in the practical now. She genuinely sees her party as a vehicle for good and her pragmatism is not the least bit cynical. She is the most powerful woman in the country, the most fearless person on Capitol Hill and on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history.”
6. The USA and Retirement: “The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index ranked countries in late 2009 based on the adequacy, sustainability and integrity of their public and private pensionsystems. The Netherlands topped the rankings, followed by Australia, Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Chile came in at No. 7, followed by Singapore, Germany, China and Japan.”
7. Bill Clinton’s speech fees: “Washington (CNN) – Former president Bill Clinton stepped up the pace of his paid speaking engagements in 2009, bringing his total haul from these speeches to $65 million since leaving office in 2001. According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s annual financial disclosure report released Monday, the former president earned $7.5 million from 36 paid speeches last year, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 speeches in 2008. Almost half of his speech earnings last year, $3.2 million, came from 13 speeches delivered in nine other countries, ranging in distance from Canada and Mexico to Turkey, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates. The remainder was earned in 23 speeches delivered in seven states and the District of Columbia.”
8. Ron Rosenbaum, on his agnostic manifesto: “I would not go so far as to argue that there’s a “new agnosticism” on the rise. But I think it’s time for a new agnosticism, one that takes on the New Atheists. Indeed agnostics see atheism as “a theism”–as much a faith-based creed as the most orthodox of the religious variety.”
9. Wow our budget … our economy … our future: “Douglas Elmendorf, chief budget cruncher for Congress, got to play the role of bad-news bear before the president’s bipartisan fiscal commission on Wednesday. His job: Present the Congressional Budget Office’s latest assessment of the long-term federal budget. The gist of his testimony went something like this: The outlook is bad under current law and daunting if many current policies are extended as expected. And even that may understate the fiscal problem the country faces, because it doesn’t factor in potential effects of debt on economic growth. Under the rosiest scenario painted by Elmendorf, the debt held by the public is on track to rise to 80% in 2035 from 62% at the end of this year. At that point, interest payments on that debt would jump to 4% of GDP, up from roughly 1% today. That’s the equivalent of a third of all federal revenue. From there, the increases are stark under an alternative policy scenario, which includes an extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for most people, permanently protecting the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax and a permanent increase in Medicare payments to doctors. Based on current policies, debt held by the public would hit 185% of GDP in 2035. And interest payments on that debt would jump to nearly 9% of GDP.
10. Nigeria oil spills: “According to Amnesty International, people living in the Niger Delta have experienced oil spills on par with the Exxon Valdez disaster every year for the last half century.”
Meanderings in Sports
Americans and the World Cup…