Tag Archives: barack obama

Can Barack Obama Save Liberal Protestantism?

In my first piece over at ThoughtLife, I tackle this question.  As I did on Thursday, I urge you to, in the words of Tina Fey, “go to there.”  Subscribe to ThoughtLife, sign up for it in your RSS feed, and generally patronize this new blog, which is now the home of my “content blogging.”

Here’s a snippet:

Here’s what caught my attention in this segment, though: can anyone reasonably expect to “resurrect” liberal Protestantism?  Forget the political issues involved here and the rather soft journalism at play in this piece.  This is one of the more interesting questions one encounters in the study of modern American Christianity.  Richard Wightman Fox, progressive Christian and author of a classic biography on Reinhold Niebuhr, once mused out loud in a fascinating essay that the dynamic of liberal Protestantism–specifically, its shaping by the culture–set it on a collision course with enlightened secular thought.

In other words, the liberal Protestants were so shaped by cultural mores that their project was essentially destined to merge with the culture.  This is a brilliant insight, and it tells a great deal of the story of liberal Protestantism in the last 100 years.

Read the whole thing (please).

1 Comment

Filed under politics

For Tonight’s Debate, Use #youngcons on Twitter

If you’re so inclined, use the hashtag code #youngcons on Twitter while Tweeting in Twitteresque ways about the second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

A bunch of, well, young conservatives used this hashtag for the VP debate and saw a major response.  It may just crack the Twitter top ten tonight, and that might inspire visions of global domination.  You never know (not that one wants to aim too high or anything).

Here are a couple of Christianity Today pieces I wrote recently on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, by the way.  And here’s a very good one from my buddy Denny Burk on the importance of bringing pro-life convictions to bear on voting.  Evangelical conservatives are of course “whole life” advocates–we wish for holistic human flourishing at all stages of life.  But to get to all the stages of life, of course, one has to exist, and not be killed in the womb.

1 Comment

Filed under politics

Is Barack Obama a Christian?

Christianity Today just published a point-counterpoint between Judd Birdsall and me.  We were asked to answer, essentially, the question of whether Obama is a Christian or not.  Judd made a good case in arguing that he is; I, sadly, concluded that he does not seem to be.  I’ll leave you to read both and form your own judgment.

Here’s a snatch from Judd’s piece:

Conversionism: Barack Obama has a conversion story, if not an entirely traditional one. In his bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, Obama recounts how he warmed to Christianity, and the black church tradition in particular, while attending Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. One Sunday, Obama writes, “I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” Obama’s eventual decision to be baptized “came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear.”

And here’s a bit from mine:

The culture, not Scripture, is the primary driver of President Obama’s views. With abortion, his own values matter, not Psalm 139; with homosexuality and marriage, his daughters’ opinions matter, not Genesis 2 and Romans 1. But it is not merely President Obama’s isolated policies, troubling as they may be, that give many Christians like me pause. It is the whole worldview. As seen above, there are deeply unbiblical ideas running beneath the surface of the President’s orthodox declarations. The President’s oratory sometimes smacks of Billy Graham, but those who listen carefully will also hear the dulcet tones of Harry Emerson Fosdick. His is a no-injury Protestantism, liberal Christianity enrobed in a revivalist shell.

(Image: Bossip.com)

20 Comments

Filed under politics, theology

The Hard-bitten Economy

Christians differ on economic and political matters.  Many are likely unified in these days, though, in a recognition that our national economy continues to struggle (to say nothing of the global economy).

Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard has written a tough-minded piece worth reading on our present economic state.  Here’s a bit:

[F]or almost four years, a prolonged and brutal economic slump has coincided with sustained government efforts to bring demand forward and get consumers spending as they did before the crash. The powers that be say they’ve tried everything: temporary tax cuts, public works, Cash for Clunkers, Cash for Caulkers, cash transfers, preferential loans to favored companies, plus two rounds of what’s known as “quantitative easing,” aka money creation. They’ve sent money to states to prevent layoffs of public sector workers. They’ve entangled the government in AIG, GM, and Chrysler and further entangled it in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Nothing’s worked.

Continetti does not blame only Barack Obama, but George W. Bush.  He does, however, conclude with hard words:

The fact is that everyone is drowning in debt. Governments, banks, individuals all took on far too many obligations. We’ve been on a sugar rush for a decade—and the president says the answer is just one more Pixy Stix.

Read the piece.  We are in tough times, times that seem to call for drastic financial measures.  Prayer is needed for our leaders and for the development of bright young evangelical minds that can handle these and other matters with biblical fidelity and nuanced insight.  Common sense is hard bitten today; one can hope for a renaissance of it.

1 Comment

Filed under economics, economy

Boys and Their Games: How Far Some Men Go to Play Pickup Soccer

For those of you who have the unfortunate fate in life to be linked to a man who loves playing pickup sports (I’m thinking wives here, primarily), this selection might provide some solace.  There is strength in numbers, after all.

It comes at the beginning of a NYT Magazine piece entitled “Vigor Quest” by Tom Dunkel on the lengths to which some older folks are going to keep their bodies young in order to play sports.  That’s a matter deserving consideration.  But you’ll get no such rumination from this little blog.  Instead, I merely wanted to quote this to show that, as many know, men will go to utterly insane lengths to, well, play sports.  If that seems crazy, it’s because it is.  It’s also how things are.  Sorry.

Enough blathering.  Here’s the quotation from the article:

NEARLY EVERY SUNDAY morning — Easter and Mother’s Day included — John Bellizzi says goodbye to his wife, Francesca, grabs an equipment bag and slides into the front seat of his black BMW. He drives to a high-school soccer field about 10 miles from his home in the New York City suburb of Rye.

Bellizzi, who is 51, is a member of the Old Timers Soccer Club, a band of stubborn, aging athletes who refuse to fall under the spell of golf. Technically, these are just pickup games, but they have been happening weekly since the early 1980s. The players go to the trouble of hiring a referee and battle full tilt (think slide tackles and heels-over-head bicycle kicks) for an hour and a half. Many of them were high-school and collegiate stars, decades ago. “One guy had a hip replacement,” Bellizzi, a former soccer captain at Queens College, says. “He was out for a year, then he came back.”

Advil, hot tubs and surgery keep most of the Old Timers going, but Bellizzi has ventured further. Two summers ago he became a patient of Dr. Florence Comite, a Manhattan endocrinologist affiliated with Cenegenics Medical Institute. Cenegenics, a privately held company based in Las Vegas, claims to have 10,000 patients and annual revenue of $50 million, making it the country’s foremost purveyor of so-called age-management medicine.

I certainly don’t endorse what the article’s subject is doing to keep his body young (it seems quite dangerous and untested), but I did find it amusing that he loves soccer so much that he will spend tens of thousands of dollars just to improve his performance in pickup games.  Those of us who creak and groan our way through our weekly pickup games (at TEDS it’s Friday morning at 8am every week, rain or sun) can only dream of such enhancement.  Our wives can celebrate that no such improvement will happen.

Here’s another article about Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and how he plays pickup ball (and here’s one I’ve linked to before).  I have some significant ideological differences with Duncan and other current members of the Administration, but I have to say, the amount of pickup basketball Obama, Duncan and others play is positively inspiring (to men–not necessarily to long-suffering wives!).

(Image: Henry Leutwyler for The New York Times)

2 Comments

Filed under manhood

The DC Hoops Scene: Power, Points, and Presidents

The Outside the Lines side of the ESPN online network has a fun story up about the current DC hoops scene.  President Obama, a diehard pickup basketball player, has apparently ignited interest in the game. 

Here’s an excerpt from the story, “The Power Game”, by Wright Thompson:

Obama loves all things hoops. By executive fiat, the White House tennis court is being retrofitted for basketball. He mentions the game every other speech, including his controversial commencement address at Notre Dame. There’s a blog devoted to his on-court exploits called Baller-in-Chief. His brother-in-law is the coach at Oregon State. His friends hoop. His personal aide, Reggie Love, hooped his way to a national title at Duke and is the gatekeeper for the presidential game. The senior staff hoops. The junior staff hoops. Four members of the Cabinet hoop. Wanna guess what comes next? There’s a new prize to be won.

“What’s the hottest invite in Washington?” former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers asks. “Yeah, it’s great to go to White House state dinners or Stevie Wonder kinds of events. But what’s the sine qua non? It’s a pickup game with Obama. That’s the inner, inner, inner sanctum. Proximity is everything in this town. How close are you to the epicenter?”

There are some significant matters on which I disagree with the President.  But changing the White House tennis court to a basketball court is a decision I can only heartily applaud.  As an obsessed pickup basketball player (who used to play ball in a very competitive men’s league at Gonzaga High School in DC), I fully agree with this “executive fiat”!

Read the whole story–it’s fun, and shows a good deal of what makes Washington work.

Leave a comment

Filed under basketball

The Link 10.2.09: Lausanne, Glenn Beck, and Falling Abortion Support Rates

FrancisSchaeffer1. Have you heard of the Lausanne movement? They’re gearing up for the 2010 conference in Cape Town, South Africa.  John Stott, Billy Graham, and Francis Schaeffer were heavily involved in the 1974 gathering.  Sounds pretty cool.

2. Weekly Standard writer Noemie Emery spells out the recent troubles of our nation’s president.  Here’s a key slice of her commentary:

These are the five contradictions to Barack Obama that have misled the public, without the intent to deceive. He does have a complex, exotic, and intriguing background; he did rise by his gifts from inauspicious beginnings; he does have a genuinely moderate temperament (it is not possible to lie for this long about one’s personality); and it is hardly his doing that being biracial–a net minus when he was born at the start of the civil rights movement–had, by the time he was running for president, turned into a tactical plus.

But these things, which were true, were not the whole story. His background was wide, but his political world was remarkably limited; his early years were hard, but his political rise was too easy and effortless; his temperament was cool, but his agenda was otherwise; and in a number of areas he appealed at the same time to quite different people, whose desires were wholly opposed.

3. David Brooks excoriates talk-show personalities like Glenn Beck of the conservative movement and calls for new leadership in the movement.  He makes some good points, I think.

4. The town of Lodi, California will continue to invoke the Lord’s blessing on their meetings.  Good to hear.

5. What is it like to attend a prep-school while living in the American inner-city?  Here’s a look from the NYT Magazine.

6. Wonderful news: apparently, abortion support rates are falling “sharply,” according to CNN.  Let’s pray for much, much more of this.

–Have a great weekend, all.

(Image of Francis Schaeffer: VCY)

2 Comments

Filed under links

The Link 7.17.09: Fetuses Have Memories, Redemption Groups, and Obama on Responsibility

fetus1. This just in: fetuses have memories.  If enough time passes, the personhood of fetuses will be a fact, one demonstrated by science.  What will that mean for the pro-choice movement? (Picture: Gray’s Anatomy)

2. Mars Hill Church of Seattle has a cool program going: Redemption Groups.  Love the attention they give to reaching lost people.  So challenged by it.

3. TheResurgence has a nice series unfolding that features Collin Hansen’s reflections on the young, restless, reformed movement.  This one covers Al Mohler and Southern Seminary.

4. From the NYT, tips for taking photos of babies.  Just thought you might want to know.

5. President Obama just gave a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. that included a rousing challenge to fellow black Americans to repair their social structures and embrace responsibility.

6. Trevin Wax shares why he took a “blog sabbatical”.  Good thoughts.

–Have a great weekend, all.

Leave a comment

Filed under links

The Link 7.10.09: Calvin, Yoga, and Mars Hill

calvin1. Happy birthday, Jean Calvin.  Kevin DeYoung has some good words on this incredible man.

2. Charles Krauthammer suggests that President Obama’s latest foreign junket did not go as well as some might think.

3. The NYT covers efforts to create a list of registered yoga teachers.  This one can be filed under ironically hilarious.

4. The Mars Hill Church blog has been running a series of testimonies that profile the conversions of members.  Here’s a really good one. This is an incredibly encouraging series, and it shows the immense–incredible!–good that MHC is doing in Seattle.  Praise God for really encouraging news like this.  Praise God for a church that is so tenaciously evangelistic.

5. At 9Marks, a helpful review of a book many of us need to read.  The racial divide in the church is real.  May this generation work hard to heal it.

–Have a great weekend, all.

2 Comments

Filed under links