When I suggest that the primary cause of our current economic difficulties is our frequent failure to integrate in theory and practice what Adam Smith (the eighteenth century so-called “father” of capitalism) meant by sympathy and self-interest, I have in mind things like these influential paragraphs that economics Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman published forty years
On July 2, my fourth grandchild was born in Baltimore. His grandparents immediately made the six-hundred-mile trip to see him and celebrate his birth. Arriving at his home, congratulating the parents, and holding the newborn in my arms was a moment that will remain forever engraved in my memory. The joy of the moment was compounded by the knowledge that he was a healthy baby with a wide-open future. With much gratitude, we thanked God for Danielito. The visit to Baltimore was a historic event in the life of our family.
William Kristol, neoconservative leader and Weekly Standard editor, believes that the time has come to rethink capitalism. “It will be important, over the next four years,” he writes in the November 24 edition of his journal, “to fight to save free-market capitalism from the Barack Obama administration.
In the first years of my ministry, there were two annual events that I dreaded all year long.
One was Harvest Ingathering, which started in the autumn and lasted until Christmas. It meant weeks of driving around to small towns in my rural district, begging businesses for contributions, then convincing my church members to tramp through the cold streets for a few bucks more.
The other was nominating committee.
My wife, Carmen, and I just returned from three weeks in Italyour first visit to that absorbingly beautiful country. There are many reasons to visit Italy, but a Christian can’t help but enjoy it as one of the formative sites in the development of Western Christianity.
We love visiting churches, and Italy has an enormous number of them, in every small town, and concentrated in the heart of every city, all Roman Catholic, of course, and most very old.
I discussed in my last column the overly fearful reaction of some Adventists to the current financial crisis. How do we make sense of it?
Back in 1964, Richard Hofstadter wrote a piece for Harper’s Magazine that has become a classic monograph on political paranoia.1 Hofstadter wrote “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” in the wake of McCarthyism, the founding of the John Birch Society, and the fearful hatred of the civil rights movement that lurked in the Goldwater right.
Although mentally competent citizens of the United States do not have a right to die, they do possess the right to refuse any medical intervention even if doing so results in their foreseeable deaths. Unfortunately, many dying patients needlessly suffer because they don’t know this. On September 30, Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger of California signed into law legislation that I think will help.
I have some anxiety about what’s happening in the financial world right now. After decades of a defined benefit retirement plan, the Church switched the younger of us over to a defined contribution plan. So now most of my retirement is in that erratic stock market, and the rest in my unsalable house.
A church member pointed to the cross on the cover of a Bible I was carrying one day, and asked, “You know what that stands for?”
“The sacrifice of Jesus?” I said.
“No,” he said. “That’s what the Catholic Church wants you to think. It is initial of the pagan god Tammuz. The Catholic Church uses it to keep paganism alive, while people are deceived into thinking it’s Christianity.”
Bless his heart.
Those of us who write about others usually reveal much about ourselves. I believe that Milton Hook does this in Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist (Riverside, Calif.: Adventist Today Foundation, 2008). Among other things, he tells us that he is not happy with the Wesleyan heritage that we Seventh-day Adventists share.
First, I hate the word unchurched. Just as I hate hearing a book called a “good read.” Or “impact” used as a verb. Or the word literally tossed in to strengthen an assertion. Or starting sentences with “thus.” Or this, the winner of the most annoying word award: “anyways.” As in “So anyways, that was a marvelous read that will literally impact the world.”
I’m probably just too easily annoyed. But who thought up such a horrid thing to call people who don’t go to church?
I suggest that we think less often about God intervening in our lives and think less highly of it. It is better to think of God as participating. It doesn’t hurt to think about divine intervention now and then, perhaps when we are thinking about the Big Bang and other very unusual things. But we should probably limit it to that.
Every day, I check Google news with the search phrase “Seventh-day Adventist.” Most hits are local newspaper announcements about a cooking school, a church school concert, or a Pathfinder club’s Halloween food drive.
Recently, a piece from Grand Forks, North Dakota, caught my eye.
The Grand Forks Seventh-day Adventist Church is where, thirty years ago, I served my internship year before going to seminary. It was a good year: there were quite a few young couples in the church, and I had a senior pastor I liked.
Sometimes I awaken in the middle of the night, for whatever middle-aged guy reason, and can’t get back to sleep. So I’ll put my earbuds in and listen to the radio. Apart from popular music (which I don’t care for) the choices are limited: a couple of shrill political shills, a station that takes calls from eerily impassioned sports fans who stay up all night critiquing athletic feats they themselves could never do, and (where I usually land) Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.
Those who have studied the writings of Ellen White know that she said some things about the physical consequences of “solitary vice,” a term that many take to be a euphemism for masturbation, which the majority of medical specialists today do not confirm. In An Appeal to Mothers, one of her early publications, she attributes a number of maladies to its practice.
Congregational life is, it seems to me, a sort of concentration of family life. Events that would be separated by months or years in a biological family get concentrated into hours or days. And the pastor gets a front row seat.
For example, last Wednesday my secretary told me that a young couple in the congregation had just had twins. I went to the hospital to see Alex and Nathan: so tiny, so beautiful. I felt clumsy holding them, just five pounds each, feeling their squirming, whimpering fragility.
When eight-year-old L.H. arrived at the hospital, “a laceration to the left wall of the vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus,” wrote Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in [Patrick] Kennedy v. Louisiana, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 16 and decided on June 25 of this year.