I have decided to move my comments on faith and life into a page on my regular blog. You can find me at Monday Faith.
The market often gets a bad knock for being ethically neutral – or worse. Then one reads how chicken producers like Perdue and Tyson have dropped the use of antibiotics because of market pressures. The newspaper showed a picture of chickens strutting free – because one can’t prevent infection among closely caged birds. No sermons were preached; no calls to love one’s neighbor were made. Instead, the market exercised its force and these companies fell into ethical line.
We tend to ignore the penitent thief over Easter. Our Sunday sermon brought him to my mind. Continue reading
Almost daily, I read in the press about the devastation that new technologies are causing in the lives of many people. Of course, those same technologies are bringing hope – and wealth – to many others. But what about those whose lives have been disrupted? Don’t we as Christians have a responsibility to reach out to them? Rephrasing that question, how can we Christians who have benefited help those whose lives have been turned upside down? How can the church assist in that effort?
I am reminded again, as we celebrate Easter in the Northern Hemisphere, that it really is a Spring festival. The fresh green leaves on the trees, the tulips in the garden beds, life springing up from the cold wintry earth, all speak of the Resurrection to be celebrated this Sunday. One has a harder time in the Southern Hemisphere to tell the Easter story as leaves fall from the trees and the night’s grow longer. Or, perhaps not, because the Resurrection is, if nothing else, a sign that Hope shines in the darkest moments. One thinks of the Northern Christmas where a baby is born when the night’s are longest and coldest. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it.
Thomas Edsall has written a profound, if rather sad and troubling, essay on the The disappearance of men. While it is true that the CEO ranks are dominated by men, it is also true that at the other end of the spectrum, men are falling apart and being outpaced by women. Unable to marry, they are losing the civilizing influence of matrimony. I have written on this before in the context of the loss of jobs that men used to do. How,,if at all, I wonder can the church create, actually recreate, groups for men that would provide both a safe haven and a launching point.
President Trump complained – rightly – about the disappearance of industrial jobs He – wrongly – blamed China for this disappearance. As the New York Times note – correctly – the computer and automation is the real culprit and the place where we need to begin looking for solutions. There is a real problem and Trump’s election is a symptom of the problem. There is nothing to be gained by a wild goose chase after a solution to the nonexistent problem of China
“Trade with China cost the United States about a million factory jobs from 2000 to 2007, according to one recent study. But automation and increased efficiency is a much larger reason that factory employment has declined. American industrial output is actually at the highest level in history. It’s the jobs that have gone away.”
Binyamin Appelbaum, Economic Policy reporter
Our new president gave a powerful inaugural speech. I could not help but hear a “me first” tone in it. I wondered about that “me first” or “us first,” if you will, tied in, if at all, with our Christian injunction to love our neighbor. If a tsunami overwhelms a neighbor, will we go to their help – simply because we are called to help others. Or, will we sit down and ask what’s in this for us?
The world has become increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots. It is painfully obvious in a country like South Africa where the division falls largely on the lines of color. But the sharpness of the divide is almost as equally obvious in a country like the United States where the haves are voting for Clinton, while the have-nots are voting for Trump. Continue reading
I often think that the greatest insight that the Bible gives us is that mankind is fallen. The story of Adam & Eve might well be a myth but, like all great myths, it reveals an eternal truth. We are all sinners, not irretrievably bad, but not purely good either. We are all a mixture of good and bad. I think the message of the Bible is that this is where we must begin — with fallible, inadequate, human beings, struggling for a place in the sunlight. Continue reading