How Does Jesus Speak to Our Modern Religious and Social Context?

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Culture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Kingdom of God, Lordship of Christ, LoveLeave a Comment

I am currently reading, rather slowly I confess, through the Gospel of Mark. It is a fast-paced narrative a rooted in oral tradition, something easily forgotten by modern readers. At the beginning of the second century CE this Gospel was affirmed in several texts as the work of Mark. It was also attributed to Peter, who was his companion. Because this … Read More

The Great Degeneration

John ArmstrongBooks, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Personal8 Comments

What causes rich countries to lose their way? Obvious symptoms of decline, in the West in general and America in particular, abound: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, aging populations, antisocial behavior. A significant number of social critics will agree that these are the general symptoms of cultural shifts in the West but few will agree on what has actually … Read More

Alta Gracia – A Business Venture in the Developing World That Provides a Living Wage

John ArmstrongBusiness, Culture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Poverty6 Comments

Every Sunday I record a program on PBS called “Religion & Ethics Weekly.” It is one of the finest programs I know on the major stories of the week in world religions. Several months ago I saw a broadcast that featured the story of Alta Gracia, an American company owned by a Catholic businessman in the U.S. Alta Gracia manufactures clothing. … Read More

The Emotive Cry for Community

John ArmstrongActon Institute, Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Ethics, History, Ideology, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Poverty, Religion, Roman Catholicism, Wealth10 Comments

Michael Novak, in his stirring memoir of a journey from left to right, devotes an entire chapter to community, as I noted yesterday. He writes: “One of life’s most time-consuming tasks is to achieve disagreement with an ideological opposite. Without blinking, you might object; ‘It’s not had to disagree. Heck! Most people do it all the time” (282). But aren’t … Read More

The Carter Years and the Bankruptcy of Bad Economic Ideas

John ArmstrongActon Institute, Culture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Ethics, Freedom, Ideology, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Roman Catholicism, The Future, Wealth3 Comments

The Carter years profoundly convinced Michael Novak of the bankruptcy of his previous economic ideas. While Novak explains Carter’s personal love for Jesus Christ as genuine, and easily misunderstood, he rightly separates the good heart of the man from some of his very bad ideas about what makes for a free and prosperous society. During the Carter years Novak’s own … Read More

From Socialism to Capitalism – A Move That Cost Michael Novak Friends and Prestige

John ArmstrongActon Institute, Books, Business, Culture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Ethics, Ideology, Money & Stewardship, Philosophy, Religion, Roman Catholicism, Wealth22 Comments

Michael Novak, author of the memoir Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative (Basic Books, 2013), writes eloquently of how he became disillusioned with the “new” versions of the old Keynesian liberalism of the 1970s. This economic view promoted government spending to excess in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The core belief was … Read More

Michael Novak’s Liberal Origins and Friendships

John ArmstrongCulture, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Freedom, History, Ideology, Personal, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Roman Catholicism, The Future3 Comments

Yesterday I gave an overview of Michael Novak’s superb new memoir, Writing from Left to Right: My Journey from Liberal to Conservative (Image: New York, 2013). For me, a teenage in the 1960s, this wonderful memoir seems like a political and economic account of an extraordinary life well-lived through a time of social and political turbulence, the times in which … Read More

The War on Poverty Fifty Years Later

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Current Affairs, Economy/Economics, Poverty10 Comments

Fifty years today (January 8, 1964), in his first State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proposed a piece of legislation that came to be known as the “War on Poverty.” This legislation was proposed by the president in response to a national poverty rate that had reached around nineteen percent. The speech led the U.S. Congress to pass the Economic Opportunity Act, which … Read More

Acton University–June 18-21, 2013

John ArmstrongActon Institute, Business, Economy/Economics

The Acton Institute is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2013 Acton University (AU), which will take place on June 18-21 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For four days each June, the Acton Institute convenes an ecumenical conference of pastors, seminarians, educators, non-profit managers, business people and philanthropists from more than 50 countries in Grand Rapids. Here, 800 people of … Read More