Memorial Day was born out of the US Civil War. All wars deal heavily in propaganda but a civil war can be the most vicious in this regard and perhaps the most emotional and subject to future sentimentality. The US Civil War and its many myths is no exception. It was only a lesson in what was to come.
28 May 2016
The Right-wing media assails Obama for his 'apology tours' in places like Cuba, Vietnam and Japan.
The reality couldn't be more different. He's not apologizing. His tours are exercises in smug triumphalism and obfuscation of the historical record.
26 May 2016
These stories ran in conjunction on NPR. While no great surprise, the trend is disturbing and it needs to be watched. The spirit of compromise is in the air and the level of defection and capitulation on this point is disturbing.
11 May 2016
The world is a crazy place. Black is white and white is black, evil is good and good evil.
Mark Zuckerberg is esteemed, a tech-sage, an icon to be emulated and listened to. Zuckerberg is the man who made social media part of the warp and woof of daily life. Zuckerberg, the man who helped society flourish through connectivity.
07 May 2016
This is not meant to condemn those that do or those who invest in the market. You must form your own convictions but I will briefly explain why I do not own investments or a retirement account.
01 May 2016
This is not a comprehensive piece on Church buildings. I could easily put together a book-length piece on this but for now I'll only raise a few points spurred on by something I saw recently.
We could debate over when Church buildings appeared. There's some evidence to suggest they began to appear during the interlude in persecution that occurred in the 3rd century between Decius and Diocletian.
23 April 2016
This 4 minute video while both humorous and repugnant reveals more than it intends. Like it or not this is the social trajectory and it is a path of self destruction. Both dominant secular models that of the Scientific Materialist relying on sceptical inductive empiricism and that of the Subjective Individualist resting in existentialism have led the culture to epistemological chaos and can offer no remedy.
20 April 2016
Inbox: Why are you taking so much time to write about Turkey, Syria, ISIS, spies, guerilla groups and other strategic issues? Isn't this just a waste of time?
This is a composite of several emailed questions.
I get these emails from time to time and even though I've addressed these issues before it warrants the occasional review.
14 April 2016
In 1757 the British defeated a joint Mughal-French army at the Battle of Plassey. This set them on a course to dominate the whole of the Indian Subcontinent forever changing its history.
09 April 2016
It always impresses me when you cross the Arlington Bridge over the Potomac. After whipping around the Lincoln Memorial and skipping the right turn to Foggy Bottom and Watergate you cross the bridge and if you look up there's Robert E. Lee's house looming over you and overlooking Arlington Cemetery.
02 April 2016
My wife and I are always struck by the security in places like Philadelphia and Washington DC. We remember these places in the 1990s and in many ways these cities have from our standpoint been all but ruined. Security now dominates every museum and historical monument. Streets are closed, buildings blocked and its all for naught.
25 March 2016
The movie Downfall (Der Untergang) contains many fascinating scenes but there's one in particular that recently came to mind. In the movie Hitler is pondering a magnificent scale model of the Berlin he imagined, the Berlin that he dreamed up with his architect Albert Speer. This Berlin was not just the Berlin of Bismarck and the Hohenzollerns but a new Ultra-Imperial Berlin, the "Welthauptstadt Germania" the city of not just a European power but a world empire. It was a city that would exhibit art and culture from around the world.
19 March 2016
As much as I appreciate the New King James Version for both its textual basis and philosophy of translation I was disappointed to find a theological insertion. At this particular point they deviated from principled translation protocols and made a judgment call. The judgment favours a certain type of theology but is without substantial textual basis. It is therefore misleading and ought to be corrected.
14 March 2016
Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons (Titus 1.12)
This quotation taken from Epimenides and utilised by the Apostle Paul is used by some to argue that Paul was 'taking on' the evil forces at work in the culture. He was challenging the culture of Crete and therefore those Christians who argue for Two Kingdom theology, those Christians who reject Dominionism are necessarily in error.
10 March 2016
If you're listening to the second season of the Serial podcast then you're learning about Bowe Bergdahl and the circumstances of his capture and the swirl of events that surrounded it.
I'm mildly interested in the story but if you're listening there's a lot more that you can glean. There's something to be learned about these modern wars, how they're fought and it leads one to reflect.
07 March 2016
In terms of the differences between the confessional Lutheran position and my own maybe I can shed a little light, but I will be brief and paint with a broad brush. I'm also throwing a variant of Reformed Theology into the mix because I think it's pertinent and may shed a little light for some readers on a seemingly obscure point of dispute in contemporary Reformed circles.
04 March 2016
This is a follow-up discussion to the previous essay:
In that article I posited the following scenario:
26 February 2016
This is a subjective exercise to be sure but it is certainly in keeping with the frameworks imposed by many others on the American narrative and its historical development.
Many countries occasionally will replace their constitutions, re-write their laws and effectively re-create themselves. This can be occasioned by a huge political shift, a coup, a war or something along those lines.
21 February 2016
Recently former Attorney General Ed Meese was interviewed on LPR's Issues Etc. and asked to comment on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the coming battle over a replacement for him.
Meese consistently expressed concern for the Constitution, praised Scalia for his stances, values and defense of the document. In addition Meese also identified himself as a devoted Lutheran.
The entire interview was a fraud.
14 February 2016
When you break with a group like the Brethren you have taken a wholly different path and it's no surprise that some who have done this end up working out the implications.
For many years I've often thought about someone like Garrison Keillor, host of the radio show 'A Prairie Home Companion'. He's retiring this year and has recently been making the news. Many people mistake him for being a Lutheran as his show based on a fictional town in Minnesota often pokes fun at Upper-Midwestern Christian and thus Lutheran culture. But Keillor was raised Plymouth Brethren and he's mentioned it many times in the show and done pieces about how his family didn't celebrate Christmas etc...
The antithesis requires that our children will grow up knowing that it means something to be a Christian and this affects the whole of life and the decisions and plans that we make.
But it also means that they will realise it's not the 'both-and' of mainstream Christianity but the definitive 'either-or'.There are plenty of issues and questions that can be addressed and answered by the incorporation of 'both-and' thinking, and can even be done so in a non-accommodationist way. We can widen the question, embrace types of multi-perspectivalism and thus to a degree embrace and entertain a reduction in certainty without giving in to absolute extremes.
13 February 2016
When the antithesis is heightened, so is the risk. The Plymouth Brethren represent not only a more conscientiously separatist form of Christianity but their antithesis in this case also extends to the Christian narrative as a whole.
08 February 2016
All Christians committed to the veracity of Scripture acknowledge the reality of the demonic and yet there's a wide spectrum in how this is understood and applied.
30 January 2016
In 1979 a group of Salafis overtook the Grand Mosque at Mecca. This group deliberately associated themselves with the Ikwhan movement from the days before the Saud family formally took over the reins of the new kingdom. As ultra-conservatives they believed the Saud family had been morally and theologically compromised. They had become too friendly with the West and were no longer worthy of being the guardians of the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. The house of Saud was illegitimate.
26 January 2016
While not a fan of Wheaton, this is one of those moments where the divide between Christians and the world becomes all too clear. The world is not going to understand the stance of an organisation like Wheaton in retaining 'statements of faith' as criteria for employment. Of course there are tensions present in the Christian College which attempts to maintain epistemological antithesis with the world and yet operate within it. Evangelical schools like Wheaton also seek to synthesize Christian beliefs with the world system in a way that Christians can be educated (as the world reckons the concept), but also maintain a distinct Christian identity.
02 January 2016
When poking around in the 19th century the name Trieste often comes up. Today situated in the northeast corner of Italy it was the Habsburg's chief port for many generations and the fourth city of their empire.
01 January 2016
While many conservative and Christian cultural commentators will speak of the dominance of postmodernism I would argue that particular category and the relativism that goes with it is really limited to sociological questions, hermeneutics and ethics. When it comes to most interpretations of reality, Scientific Realism and Modernism still reign. The postmodern thinker will most certainly subjectivise the interpretation of that reality but the scepticism rooted in postmodernism is largely shared with Scientific Realism (Materialism) and its commitment to inductive epistemology.