With the publication of Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization, Os Guinness proves once again that he’s incorrigibly wise. Modernity is the greatest challenge Christianity has ever faced, he argues, and he explores the way it challenges God’s people around the world and especially in the West. The diagnosis is [ Read More ]
Nothing could have prepared us for the 2016 election cycle. The major parties, presidential candidates, and television networks set low standards from the beginning and then consistently failed to achieve them. In fact, polls show that most Americans consider both major party nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, unacceptable. Some Americans have decided to hold [ Read More ]
How to Corrupt the Youth: 5 Imperatives for Shaping Students’ Hearts & Minds in Opposition to False Ideologies
[Note: This post represents a peek into what I do in my role as Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Each year for Faculty Workshop, I write an essay which encapsulates the overall theme of the workshop. “How to Corrupt the Youth: 5 Imperatives for Shaping Students’ Hearts & Minds in [ Read More ]
Of the many spectacles offered by the 2016 election cycle, none are more fascinating than the accelerated disintegration of both major political parties, with each party being composed of an increasing number of deeply divided factions. To what extent they can reintegrate is a question still to be determined. Nobody knows exactly what to expect. [ Read More ]
Over the course of the past two years, I have had occasion to reflect on the various ways the Lord has discipled me and disciplined me since I came to saving faith during high school. The catalyst for those reflections was my 40th birthday and the recognition that, although God has graciously worked in my [ Read More ]
For those persons interested in deepening and expanding their understanding of geopolitics and the Muslim world, Vali Nasr’s The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future of the Globe is a fine place to start. In fact, because of Nasr, I now sit corrected. In years past, I had viewed conflicts in [ Read More ]
Here are seven recently-written books I recommend to political junkies. (I offer them as temporary shelter from the avalanche of current event stories and political opinion pieces rumbling down from the heights occupied by the NYT, WSJ, CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, and Daily Caller; as the type of books that will challenge us and [ Read More ]
It is no secret that something is deeply wrong with American politics and public life. We are alarmed by the unrest and violence that surrounds us. We are disturbed by the toxic nature of public conversation about matters that are important to our common life together.
We sense that we are being hoodwinked by the people we elected to office. Politicians often say one thing to get elected and do another thing once they enter office (I think it was William Buckley who once said that a politician is a person of his most recent word). More significantly, they lie to us on matters of the greatest significance (as the great political philosopher Dennis Miller once said, “Washington, DC is to lying what Wisconsin is to cheese).
We sense that our past political witness has, in some ways, failed.
In addition to these sorts of concerns held by many or most Americans, conservative evangelicals are disillusioned with the fact that the past few decades’ worth of political activism seem not to have paid off. Worse, it seems to have backfired.
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Concerning the past ten years in American politics and public life, one thing is for sure: many conservative evangelicals feel like the cultural ground beneath us has shifted to rapidly and so decisively that we many never regain our footing.
We have lost ground democratically. We realize in very tangible ways that many and maybe most Americans differ significantly with our vision of the good life. They differ from us in our view of the origin and destiny of the universe, the nature and purpose of human life in this world. They reject our view of the givenness of gender and the purpose of sexuality, and of the value of human life in the womb. They are skeptical about the value and public significance of a robust view of religious liberty. And much more. So we find it difficult to believe that we can restore a Judeo-Christian vision of the good life through democratic means.
But it gets worse.
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With the rise of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and with the increase in terror attacks on the United States and its European allies, Americans are still sorting out why it is that people would hate “us” that much. The answer to this question is complex and multi-faceted, and varies from “hater” to “hater.” But the complexity of the motivations should not keep us from trying to gain some understanding—however limited—of the situation.
One attempt to shed light on the situation is a slim little novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, published a few years ago by Mohsin Hamid. Because it is written by a Pakistani who was educated in the United States, and because it is a well-written and brief work of fiction, I recommend The Reluctant Fundamentalist as a way of gaining insight into some people’s perception of the United States.
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