Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will Benjamin
I swiped this photo from his blog. He'll not be too happy with this in a few years, but I think it's priceless.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Do True Values Voters Care About?
Here's an interesting take from the Evangelical Outpost blog, at the just-completed FRC Washington Briefing. Is the timidity of conservatives (not just conservative bloggers) in emphasizing our opposition to abortion in political argument once again attributable to a mis-guided electoral pragmatism? Terror of the dreaded "single-issue" appellation used so successfully to make us feel marginalized in the past? EO says:
The most significant insight I gained from The Washington Briefing was not about the candidates but about the bloggers: Right-leaning bloggers are out of touch with a large portion--if not the majority--of conservatives in America.
Again, not to be too hard on bloggers or other fiscally conservative commentators here. More power to all who labor tirelessly to identify and dispel the clouds of big-government, utopian, collectivist, socialist, anti-free-market, neo-Marxist gas emitted from the left. Shout it from the blog spots and the house-tops, but learn also from EO's astute observation:
The second most significant insight (though I had been ruminating on this for a few months) is that the semantic distinction between "social conservatives" and "fiscal conservatives" presents a false dichotomy. Conservatism is rooted in principles (transcendent moral order, social continuity, prudence, etc) that naturally have implications for economics. If you are a conservative you are conservative about matters of society and thus likely to espouse economic policies that are fiscally conservative as well. But conservatism cannot begin with economic or fiscal issues as the primary concerns, much less push social issues to the periphery. Anyone who thinks tax reduction is essential while abortion and marriage are secondary or unimportant cannot rightly be considered to be "conservative", at least not by the standards of the American conservative tradition. Currently we don’t have a label for people whose primary philosophical concern is their pocketbooks. It is becoming increasingly apparent, though, that we can simply call them "Republicans."
Let's not fear being true conservatives, fiscally and socially, ideologically or politically. It's a winner, and trumpeting an uncertain sound rallies nobody to the battlefront.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Giuliani vs. Clinton and Being Pro-Life

Justin Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds addresses the dilemma many of us face in this post from a week ago.

As a pro-life Christian 1) does my vote for a GOP candidate who doesn't get it encourage the party to abandon its principles and thereby lose any voice in the protection of babies, and 2) does a non-vote or a third-party vote ensure the election of a Clinton who will eagerly perpetuate the culture of death? Probably both. And such is the dilemma if Rudy is the only "electable" candidate on his side. Taylor writes:
It is a valid, legitimate point that if the Republicans nominate a pro-choice candidate, then this precedence[sic] opens the door for the nomination of pro-choice Republican candidates in the future.
One must recognize that if it comes down to Giuliani vs. Clinton, a vote for a third-party candidate will undoubtedly guarantee a Clinton presidency (likely for the next eight years). Read that sentence again. Now read it one more time. I think it's incontrovertible, and I'm not sure some pro-lifers have sufficiently recognized this.
And this summary...
At the end of the day, perhaps we can categorize the two positions as (1) principled pro-life purity and (2) principled pro-life pragmatism.
I suppose we have a few months to pray/work for better GOP candidate, and a year to ponder what to do if we don't get one.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Attempting to Organize This Blog
Either now or later, depending on how soon I figure this out, old and new posts will be labeled and listed somewhere on this page. So far, the categories are:
Amnesia Helmet Awards
C.S. Lewis
Politics and Religion
The Church
We'll see if I can get them to show up.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Demas and Bonocus
The Sacred Sandwich offers this to the subject of cultural relevance.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re-visiting Mars Hill and Relevance

Acts 17 has long been appealed to as a pattern for the way in which Christians ought to engage unbelieving culture—Paul's appeal to "your own poets" and reference to their monument to the "unknown God" particularly.

Russell D. Moore's Retaking Mars Hill in September's Touchstone addresses what really happened that day in Athens (it's high time somebody did) and challenges much of the evangelical and emergent silliness perpetrated in the name of reaching the world. We are, it seems, either aping pop culture to be more attractive or embracing pop culture to be more authentic. The Apostle, on closer examination, attempted and cared for neither. Just one of many insights here:

Often at the root of so much Christian “engagement” with pop culture lies an embarrassment about the oddity of the gospel. Even Christians feel that other people won’t resonate with this strange biblical world of talking snakes, parting seas, floating axe-heads, virgin conceptions, and emptied graves. It is easier to meet them “where they’re at,” by putting in a Gospel According to Andy Griffith DVD (for the less hip among us) or by growing a soul-patch and quoting Coldplay at the fair-trade coffeehouse (for the more hip among us).

Knowing Andy Griffith episodes or Coldplay lyrics might be important avenues for talking about kingdom matters, but let’s not kid ourselves. We connect with sinners in the same way Christians always have: by telling an awfully freakish-sounding story about a man who was dead, and isn’t anymore, but whom we’ll all meet face-to-face in judgment.

His observations of contemporary Christian music are especially painful—and accurate.

And I've only just gotten started on my soul-patch.

Monday, October 01, 2007

An Evening With G.K. Chesterton

Meaning to do so for a long time, finally last week I showed up for a monthly meeting of the Twin Cities Chesterton Society. 30+ devotees of the the great English curmudgeon's good sense come to the University Club on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, prepared to discuss one or more of GKC's books or essays. This time it was Fads and Fancies, a book of essays on everything from Hamlet to the role of mothers in education. I decided to go on the spur of the moment, had not read the material, so sat in the corner and mostly listened and learned. These, by the way, are some really smart guys and will be added to my links. Great fun.

Lot's of Chesterton's work is available on line. Check out Fancies Versus Fads, corresponding to the book mentioned above, particularly the article Turning Inside Out (1923) for a taste of his prescience and common-sense brilliance.

The society's meetings are open to anyone and chaired by the founder of the American Chesterton Society based right here in the Southern burbs. I'll be back for more.