So Obama and the Republicans hope to fast-track a couple of international trade deals, and some Democrats aren’t pleased. This “has scrambled the usual political alignment in Washington,” says NPR’s Scott Horsley, “putting the president at odds with many of his usual allies in organized labor.” It has “all made for dizzying change of tone,” adds Jonathan Weisman of the Times.
I suppose it’s a little unusual, if your lens on politics is pure partisan math, all red votes here and blue votes there. Dizzying it is not.
There’s a stereotype that we more progressive Christians tend to downplay this stuff: that our interest in Jesus is mostly about his teaching, that if we do talk about something like the resurrection it’s only to debate whether it’s historically plausible. But I’m a lot less interested in evidence for the resurrection than I am in what the thing means. And I have learned, to my surprise and delight, that it actually means more to me now than it once did—before my faith took a bit of a leftward turn.
While I happen to think that refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding that isn’t even happening at your own church is a distortion of what it means to follow Jesus, this is more lament than argument. It makes me sad; and our religious freedom tradition, quite rightly, isn’t particularly concerned about my sadness.
What’s far more frustrating than pro-RFRA sentiment itself is the lack of empathy displayed by some who hold it.
"Maybe when Feidin Santana says of Dominicans (like the citizens of so many nations), that 'we look for the alternative of the United States, we follow you,' it might motivate better American behavior, if we were afraid other
In assigning pieces to writers, I’ve found that I make a lot of assumptions about how people use the Revised Common Lectionary, how they observe the church calendar, etc. I’d like to have better information about this.
So much of the debate over Indiana’s new religious freedom law revolves around the gap between the letter of the law and the politics behind it. Supporters note that the law doesn’t mention gays and lesbians, and that similar laws (though not identical ones) have been on the books in other jurisdictions for years. Opponents point to the fact that the law’s advocates organized support for it with arguments about protecting business owners who object to being vendors for same-sex weddings. They're both right, just about different things.
In discussions of poverty’s ills and cures, it doesn’t take long for the subject of root causes to come up. Not everyone agrees what those root causes are, of course—or whose fault they are. But it’s often taken for granted that you can’t just tackle a presenting problem directly; you have to go for the root, whatever it is.
This certainly isn’t always wrong, but it does have a way of obscuring simple, obvious solutions.
So much religious talk is about naming, about describing a general reality in particular terms. This is important. But in our increasingly secular culture, it’s always striking when someone gets at deep religious truth without bothering with religious language.
For instance, Jay Smooth offers a pretty crisp explication here of the nature of sin and virtue.