Monthly Archives: May 2007

Deliver Us from Evil

Readers are well aware that I am an ecumenical and orthodox Christian. And I am in no way an anti-Catholic. While I remain a committed Reformed Protestant Christian I have learned so much from Catholic theology and Catholic friends that my life would lack more profound blessings than I can begin to enumerate without the contributions that I have received from this Christian tradition. I frustrate some of my best Catholic friends because I have not converted. I also frustrate some evangelicals, who believe I have "sold out" and thus lost my distinctive Protestant views on certain doctrinal issues by being so accepting of Catholics and Catholic thought. Yet I am loved by many from both sides of the division brought about by the 16th century Reformation.

My purpose in all of this endeavor is to love God, to love Christ’s church (all of it), and to pursue unity in peace, while I retain my confessional beliefs with integrity. Some do not think this can be done, thus they regularly comment to that effect. Others find in my journey something that offers

By |May 31st, 2007|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

Mother Angelica

Most of you have seen her on television at some point over the last twenty-five years. She is a diminutive lady who wears the traditional habit of Roman Catholic sisterhood. I refer, of course, to Mother Angelica. I thought about her again today as I listened to a brief interview of Raymond Arroyo. Arroyo is the Catholic writer and news director/lead anchor for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). He is also her biographer. Arroyo was chatting about her life and work and as well as his best-selling book, Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, now a top-fifty book on Amazon. I have not yet read the book but likely will try to do so very soon.

For those of you who do not know much about this lady her story is remarkable, regardless of what church you belong to personally. She established Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1961. Twenty years later, in 1981, she began EWTN, which has now become the largest religious media organization on the planet. Her program Mother Angelica

By |May 29th, 2007|Categories: Roman Catholicism|

Taxing Business Will Not Solve Our Health Care Crisis

Universal government health care has become a major issue in the United States. At least one Democratic candidate for president, John Edwards, is running on the issue big-time. Another, Hillary Clinton, has a mixed-record and is still trying to find her way forward on what she thinks the public will buy into, or so it seems based upon what the media tells us about her campaign. In the end, we are not really quite sure yet where Obama and Clinton actually stand on this issue but I expect them to put forward some version of the so-called “moral imperative” talk in due time. Even some Republicans have begun to talk this way as well.

Every candidate, both Democrat and Republican, ought to pay real attention to what happened in my state recently. When Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich tried to get a state health-care bill through our legislature, by taxing business profits, he lost his legislative proposal by a vote of 107-0.

The governor, fresh from several large tax increases in his first four years in office, was re-elected in November

By |May 28th, 2007|Categories: Politics|

The Loss of Memory

This is Memorial day weekend in the United States. Monday is designated as a national day to recall the sacrifice of fellow Americans who defended our life and liberty with thier lives. Very few of us will do anything symbolic, or otherwise, to remember these valiant defenders. Memorial Day is one holiday that we tend to pass by and treat as just another day to fix up this or go here and there. That is sad really, since our liberty will likely only last as long as we have the collective will and memory to defend it.

Yesterday, walking through the Atlanta Airport, I saw a billboard that made me stop and read it. It pictured a group of goldfish swimming in formation. The caption said, "Did you know that goldfish have a memory of their last experience that lasts for only three seconds?" I reflected on that question off and on since Friday afternoon. I think it represents the problem in our land. We have a collective memory that lasts about three seconds. We remember the last video game, the last

By |May 26th, 2007|Categories: Culture|

Life Is Beautiful

The film Life is Beautiful won so many international awards that it became a modern classic almost overnight. First filmed in 1998 it originally appeared in American theaters only in Italian, with English subscripts. This is where I first saw it. This film had the most unique distinction of being nominated for both the best feature film and the best foreign language film by the Academy. (It was also nominated for best actor.) It won the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and a special Jerusalem award for dealing with the theme of the holocaust. When I first viewed Life is Beautiful I was utterly amazed at the way Roberto Benigni, who stars in the film and directs it at the same time, was able to powerfully employ humor in telling a story of the holocaust from a uniquely Italian perspective. I would have thought such a production impossible until I saw the film for myself. Even if you cannot handle holocaust themes, and some cannot, I believe you can handle this film. It lifts the human spirit in a most remarkable way.

Life is

By |May 25th, 2007|Categories: Film|

Jimmy Carter and a Little Lesson in History

Former President Jimmy Carter has recently said: "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, [the Bush] administration has been the worst in history." Read that again, "The worst in history."

Besides the issue of denying the long historic role of ex-presidents, who have never engaged a current administration in this manner, Carter reveals an amazing ignorance and bias that is almost beyond belief. Even if President Bush has made huge mistakes in Iraq, and it appears that he has made a few, there is no way anyone, especially a former president, should be saying that this administration is "the worst in history." Especially when you consider the massive international mess-ups of Carter’s four years in office. As Mark Moyar recently wrote, "As president, Mr. Carter managed to alienate nearly every major country in the world and did so without asserting American power in ways that might justify that alienation." Do you remember the Sandinista takeover in Nicaragua and the Iranian hostage crisis?

Such an evaluation should be left to the work of serious historians,

By |May 24th, 2007|Categories: History|

Why We Need Both Tax Cuts and Budget Cuts

Both of our major political parties have missed what seems so obvious. One says that we need more tax cuts to strengthen the economy. This is correct. The problem is that they are not willing to also make serious budget cuts. That party has spent more than any previous administration. The other political party wants to expand federal government by spending more of our money by raising taxes. The first plan helps the economy in the short run but not in the long term. The second is an even worse disaster I think.

Look, budget deficits are not a good thing, at least not in my simplistic understanding of economics. What individual would decrease their revenue, at least for the short term, and then also increase spending, for the long term? I know, cutting tax rates generates more money in the long run and thus the government benefits. I agree with that proven principle. Ronald Reagan advanced it and to the astonishment of all his enemies it worked.

What I do not think is a proven fact is that you

By |May 23rd, 2007|Categories: Politics|

The Jinx May Be Over

Regular readers and close friends know that I was accused, at least all of last season, of being a first-class jinx to the Chicago White Sox. Every time I was present at U. S. Cellular Field for a Sox game they seemed to find a way to lose. Some friends even urged me to stay away down the stretch part of the season. And this was a good team coming off a World Series Championship in 2005. My record was something like 5-12 last season. It got so bad that I quit counting after the first few months. My granddaughter began to call me "Grandpa Jinx."

Well, the jinx may be over. I have seen four White Sox games this season and they are 3-1. This includes tonight’s 10-4 win over the Oakland A’s. The thunder is back and the Sox are scoring runs again. If this team can score they can win since their starting pitching is pretty decent. The only loss I’ve seen came to Minnesota, the night just before a no-hitter by a Sox pitcher. I plan to see

By |May 22nd, 2007|Categories: Baseball|

More on James Dobson's Comments on "Who is a Real Christian?"

A few weeks ago I commented on this blog about the quotation that James Dobson made to U. S. News & World Report senior editor, Dan Gilgoff, which in effect questioned whether or not former-senator Fred Thompson is a Christian. Several reminded me that there is always context to such interviews. And there is also much the newspaper will often leave out. I know this to be true and have been burned before because I did not pay careful enough attention to this very point.

Well, in today’s issue (May 21) of the national newspaper, USA Today, there is a follow-up on this story, also written by Dan Gilgoff. I have written a much longer piece, to be published as an ACT 3 Weekly in a few weeks, on the question: "Who is a real Christian and how do we know?" Because of this I will forgo saying many things I will include in that article.

What struck me as more than relevant was the report issued to the media, after this original flap, by Focus on the Family. This was

By |May 21st, 2007|Categories: American Evangelicalism|

Hunting for Justice

Hunt for Justice is a cross between a documentary and a drama, what I suppose we have come to call a docudrama. It is the story of Canadian Judge Lois Arbour who was named Chief Prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal which was charged with investigating the atrocities of “ethnic cleansing” in the Balkans. Arthur investigated the rape camps, witnessed the aftermath of the atrocities first-hand and then saw what the displacement of two million people did to families and communities in the region. She was, thankfully, a very determined lady who would not let politicians or generals hinder her from pursuing the truth. With the help of a great legal team, and a translator who was a victim of the crimes, she challenged bureaucracy, sought secret indictments and worked around NATO’s opposition to her efforts for justice. The result of her three-year struggle was the conviction of the primary war criminals responsible for the carnage, including the former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic.

This film is gripping, even chilling in its overall message.  I think anyone who cares about justice and

By |May 20th, 2007|Categories: Film|

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