Instapundit’s op-ed on the problems at Veterans Affairs hospitals reads like a plug-and-play template for libertarian commentary: “The cleanup will be, basically, impossible. That’s because the VA is government health care.” He goes on to argue that the unacceptably long wait times, deceptive record keeping, and undeserved executive bonuses at VA facilities are due to a lack of free-market competition: there’s no bottom-line issue, so managers mismanage with impunity.
This would be a more compelling argument if the free-market alternative—the real-world one, not the theoretical one used so often to bash (real-world) government work—actually performed consistently better, and actually had a better system for accountability.
I know a guy, a committed church member, who missed his own grandchild's baptism. It was far away, on a Sunday that was a busy one for his own church. So he felt compelled to skip the trip and go to church.
This impressed me. It's hard to imagine such a thing at the church where I work.
Vincent Harding died yesterday. If all the civil rights leader had done was draft King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech, that would have been quite a contribution. ("I watched this [antipoverty] program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war.") But in the 60s Harding founded Atlanta's Mennonite House (with his wife Rosemarie Freeney Harding), traveled around the South with the movement, and got his doctorate in history (here in Chicago, with Century contributing editor Martin Marty). Since then he led a career of teaching (mostly at Iliff), writing, and activism.
When Nadia and I got married, we really went all out on the worship planning. She spread out multiple worship books, adapting her favorite parts and writing collects and petitions from scratch. I recruited not one or two but ten friends to lead the music and then got to work writing original service music, reharmonizing hymns, and notating all of it to match in the bulletin.
Obamacare is the Obama administration's singular legislative achievement, a major win squeezed out of a tough fight with an opposition Congress. Years later, the fight continues. The president's political opponents disparage the health-insurance reform law; his allies defend it.
When I posted about evangelicals and the death penalty the other day, I didn't note Samuel Rodriguez's piece at Time. Not because he's a controversial figure, but because the piece doesn't go very far: while evangelicals should be outraged by "the details" of howClayton Lockett died, it's clear Stephanie Neiman's killer "needed to be permanently removed from" society (an artfully ambiguous phrase). They should be outraged by these details "regardless of how you feel about the death penalty." And how does Rodriguez himself feel about it? He's studiously noncommittal, that's how.
Now and then, someone will ask me “what kind of Christian” I am. I never used to know how to respond.
I would ramble on about how I’m sort of a theological moderate, though it’s not that helpful to think of us Christians as existing on a linear continuum, and I’m less focused than some of the Christians I grew up with on individual salvation, not that I think it doesn’t matter, and I’m wary of efforts to convert people of other faiths, which isn’t to say that I don’t value evangelism or the uniqueness of Christ... By this point the person typically lost interest in my endless run-on sentence of negative definition and preemptive defensiveness. I was left wishing I’d just said, “Lutheran.”
Then came the 2008 election and the Matthew 25 Network.
This week I’ve spent some time with my five-month-old daughter in the lounge outside a hospital’s intensive care unit. It looks like the person we’re here to see will make a full recovery. But hanging out here means rubbing shoulders with other people whose loved ones are not so fortunate.
The default position is to respect other people’s privacy, but some people want to talk.
Looks like Jesus the Homeless is coming to Chicago. Erica Demarest reports that the local Catholic Charities office plans to put up one of Timothy Schmalz's sculptures—which depict an unkempt Jesus, with stigmata, sleeping on a park bench—this spring.
Weekend Edition did a segment Sunday on the sculpture at St. Alban's Episcopal in Davidson, North Carolina. Apparently some locals aren't fans.