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Archive for the ‘Random Ramblings’ Category

Debt and Taxes

I must confess my love for the West Wing (though not the leftist ideoogy the show promotes). Here’s a clip from the last season, the 7th. Vinick is the “bad guy” republican candidate in this season, but I think most of his character’s answers, particularly in this debate episode are spot on. Case in point: this moment where he discusses Pharmaceutical Companies, African Debt and tax-cuts.

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Here Milton Friedmann talks about greed and ambition as the fundamental driving force behind capitalism and a free society. So can Christians endorse and support Capitalism? I once thought we couldn’t/shouldn’t. However I don’t think so anymore. I really don’t think there is a better alternative system or one that function best with democracy.

Having said that, I do want to humbly propose (though this idea isn’t really mine at all) that the fundamental difference between a Christian’s view of capitalist economy and the secular one is this driving force that Friedmann describes so well in this video. If I’ve understood the puritans correctly, the Christian’s view of social and economic freedom is both delimited and driven by vocation. Maybe we can call this “vocational libertarianism”. Christians should defend libertarian democracies, (while still allowing some role for the state), for while this allows “pagans” to pursue their selfish ambitions, Christians can carry out God’s cultural mandate (Gen 1.28; 2.15) with enough flexibility to pursue their vocation in the world.

This vocation will vary for Christian to Christian, and will include engineering, sciences, economics, arts and sports. But all and everything must be done for the glory of God. As Oliver Barclay has put it, this may mean that Christians will not go up the “ladder of success” as quickly, because they aren’t willing to back-stab co-workers to get ahead (or in the case of sports, for example, take steroids to compete better), but at the same time allows them to genuinely influence those around them, and society as a whole, serving as a social backbone that hopefully can counter-act the current secular backbone that drives most social/economic actions in society and the marketplace.

Examples include economic anomalies like Monopolies. Monopolies actually stifle freedom, by killing competition. This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any large corporations, but rather these should not posses so much control over the marketplace that their power restricts economic freedom, impso facto creating the same problem that large states often do.

At the end of the day, Christian vocation, whatever it may look like, looks for the Lordship of Christ to be recognized in every sphere of life. Here is the real challenge. As we stand in the public square, we call all people to bow before Christ. This includes the “secular watch-dog” that surveys the square (as Doug Wilson has suggested here). There are no exceptions. And there is no neutral ground.

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[Hyperbole warning]

We were thinking today at the office. Why is Islam so attractive? In part, maybe, because it actually offers its adherents an alternative society. Not merely a private trendy spirituality, but an actual alternative worldview, culture and community. As Leithart would say, an alternative polis.

The Roman Catholic church does/is doing that. I think Pope Benedict XVI is very conscientious about it: he sees western modernity in its decadence and knows that [Roman] Catholicism must affirm itself as a different society, a new Ark at the ideological end of history (wave to Fukuyama).

Whereas Evangelicals run behind the latest social trends, trying hard to keep up and be “relevant”.

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The one book meme

Rather late in the game, I thought I’d try this one myself. If you’d like to participate, just post your own responses to these questions and tag five people. Welcome to the One Book Meme!

1. One book that changed your life:
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:

Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:

The Bible. Or at least, the Psalms.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Bill Meyers, My Life as a smashed burrito with extra hot sauce.

5. One book that made you cry:
Patricia Verdugo, Los Zarpazos del Puma

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Looking back and moving forward: towards a recovery of reformed catholicity

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Brian McClaren, A Generous Orthodoxy

8. One book you’re currently reading:
John Owen, The Mortification of Sin

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Eugene Peterson, Christ plays in a thousand places

10. Now tag five people: I’ll just tag James and Becka… anyone else who wants in is welcome.

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And I love it!

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Ben Meyers has now put up a “One Movie Meme“. I missed out on the book meme, so I’ll give this one a shot. If you’d like to participate, just post your answers to these questions and tag five people.

1. One movie that made you laugh
Anger Management

2. One movie that made you cry
Unstrung Heroes

3. One movie you loved when you were a child
Raiders of the Lost Ark

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once
JFK

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it
Can’t Hardly Wait

6. One movie you hated
Batman and Robin (are you kidding?)

7. One movie that scared you
The Shining

8. One movie that bored you
Hollywoodland

9. One movie that made you happy
Life Is Beautiful (I’m with Ben on this one)

10. One movie that made you miserable
In the Valley of Elah

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see
The Hills have Eyes

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with
Ivy Walker in The Village

13. The last movie you saw
Disturbia

14. The next movie you hope to see
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

15. Now tag five people

Becka Lipkowitz, Kyle Borg, Justin Moffatt, Daniel Newman and Pete.

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P.S.

I’m not promoting the belief that “Man is the measure of all things” through the above Blog Banner. Rather, the Gospel message is going into the world, through the Church (hence “Heralds and Peregrines”) to counter-act this belief.

By the way, I took this picture of a street corner in Dublin. Quite interesting. Anyone out there know the story behind this?

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