Paganism Rising

America is known for being a melting pot. We have people from all over the world, from every culture, nation and religious system. We are a haven for the persecuted and a delight for the imaginative, who need only an opportunity in order to do great things. We are a land of opportunity because we believe “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Yet as of late we’ve watched as many of these rights appear to be slipping away. We’ve watched our country go from a respected world influencer to one of extreme debt that is mocked by foreign nations. What has changed? What has caused this cultural shift? While to be sure there are a multitude of influencers, I believe one of the key reason is because we have lost our foundation.

I am an avid lover of archaeology, because it is a snapshot of the past. In the world of archaeology the culture is static and frozen. The people have long since passed. The places and cultural ideas are no longer shifting and changing. They are the perfect subjects of study because they stay put and do not talk back. Yet as I’ve delved deeper into archaeological study I’ve found that it is also of great insight into modern culture. Because the subject of study is static and frozen, one can view the whole picture from beginning to end, as one views a painting or the story line of a book. The plot has already unfolded and one can see how the changes affected the culture at large, and ultimately the end of a particular way of life. In this way archaeology is instrumental in apologetics, because we are able to see the end results of a particular worldview as it has already played out in another culture. Continue reading

Who Speaks for the Church?

The drums of war are beating, the President has asked Congress for support of military action, the Congress is debating. It is 1990, it is 2003, it is 2013. The President is Republican, the President is Democrat. The story in one form or another goes back decades, sometimes with congressional votes involved and sometimes without (e.g. the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when I was in high school). Every President I can remember has been involved in such conflicts, overtly or covertly. We in this USA are a non-partisan warring nation. In these crises and conflicts the President speaks, the Congress speaks, various lobby groups speak, and to some degree the public speaks (if they bother to contact with Senator or Representative), but who speaks for the Church? Who speaks from the perspective of the King of Kings?

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The Massacre in Boston

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Big-city road races are one of the great delights of life, so it is with deep sadness that I have been reading about the Boston Marathon tragedy in the last couple of days.  My thoughts and prayers have gone out to the victims of the bombing and I certainly have felt a good deal of shock as well.  I’ve never run Boston before, but I have run the Chicago marathon and also countless other 5k and 10k road races.  The finish line is normally a place of great exhilaration and accomplishment.  So it is with particular grief that I think about the mindset of evil that could have masterminded a random act of violence of this kind – an act whose sole purpose seemed to be to kill or maim the greatest possible number of people at a time of great festivities. Continue reading

The Huge Hole in the American Soul

ImageIn the aftermath of the tragic mass murder in the Connecticut elementary school last year, Mike Huckabee made some comments in a television interview that incited considerable controversy and criticism. He was asked where God is in tragedies like this, and his response suggested that question is somewhat ironic, since “we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.” Huckabee was criticized for, among other things, being insensitive to the victims of the shooting and their families by offering that sort of commentary so close on the heels of the tragedy.

Several months have now passed, and it worth asking again whether Huckabee raised important issues even if the timing of his initial comments was questionable. I believe in fact that he did, and that that controversy reflects deeper issues and a profound incoherence at the heart of our culture.

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Failure to Launch: North Korea

625595_10101347713917422_578368042_nCurrently we seem to be in the middle of yet another round of North Korean threats. As of March 30, North Korea has declared that it is in a state of actual war with the United States and South Korea. This is, I think, a classic co-dependency relationship between Pyongyang and Beijing. And the unfortunate thing is that it is affecting the lives of about 25 million North Koreans, not to mention countless millions more in South Korea and Japan. The North needs the countries around it – including especially China – to support its many millions of starving citizens. But to get the attention (and food) that it needs from China it feels that it must make threats against its Korean and Japanese neighbors – thereby demonstrating that it is indeed an important regional player, a force to be reckoned with, and a country to which China should be sending countless food shipments from the depots in its northern cities of Harbin, Shenyang, and Jilin. Continue reading

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