Morning Report, September 12 – This Edition Free of Obama-Criticism!
1. I love ChristianHistory.net, a division of Christianity Today, and today they have a biographical sketch of Martin Luther’s wife Katherine von Bora. The opening lines: “Her name was Katherine von Bora. She was 26, an escaped nun who had left the convent along with 10 of her sisters when she became convinced of the truth of Lutheran theology. After two years as a guest in the home of German artist Lucas Cranach and his family, who made various attempts to marry her off, she finally gave word that she would only marry either Luther’s friend Amsdorf or Luther himself. She and the 42-year-old reformer were married on June 13, 1525.” Read on.
2. I have two pieces I am supposed to write for Patheos, one long overdue and one soon due. The overdue one concerns religion and politics. Thus far my attempt to examine what a “politics of the cross” would look like have met with complete epic failure. I have always been inspired by Luther’s theologia crucis, or more precisely by his comments in the Heidelberg Catechism on what a “theologian of the cross” would look like. So I am asking the question: What would a politician of the cross look like? And as Luther used theologian in the broadest sense to include all who learn about God, so I wanted to use politician in the broadest sense to mean all who engage in the political sphere. So what would political engagement look like for a people who are forced by the cross? If you have any thoughts, let me know.
The forthcoming piece on evangelicals and the environment includes, among other things, the following question: are evangelicals less concerned about environmental catastrophe (as they are) because they trust in God’s providential superintendence of history? This would be faulty theology, in my view, even if it would be understandable psychology.
3. Along these lines, I’ve always loved Jeremy Begbie, a Cambridge professor in theology and music. He speaks here, with Ken Myers of Mars Hill Audio, about how music helps us get in touch with the order of Creation. As usual, Jeremy plays music as he speaks. I strongly recommend that you take a listen.
4. Freak fact, noted on the Drudge Report: the stock market, the day before 9/11 in 2001, stood at 9605. The stock market yesterday, on 9/11 eight years later, stood at 9605. Quick: who can be the first person to come up with a conspiracy theory!
5. The Obama administration had continued the Bush administration policy of insisted that any discussions with North Korea take place through the 6-party talks framework. Yesterday, when the news week had finished (this is a pattern with recent administrations, given news they do not want to draw attention to), the administration made it known that they had abandoned that framework and agreed to 1-on-1 talks. This is a stark change of direction. Some will wonder whether it has anything to do with the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
The state department says that the bilateral talks will be aimed toward getting North Korea into the six party talks. I suspect this is blowing smoke, but we will have to wait and see.
6. I have taken further grief for contending that Obama lied, and my preference at this point is just to leave the issue behind. My point, to be clear, was this: if you think all the lies and distortions are on one side of this (or any other highly contentious) issue, then I think you’re mistaken. However, I do not want to make it appear as though this blog runs with the herd of those politically conservative blogs that are willing to trash the President and eager to see him fail for its own sake. 95% of my friends are liberal Democrats, and 90% of my Christian friends are liberal Democrats. I do not believe, in the slightest, that a person must be politically conservative in order to be Christian, or even in order to be evangelical. I love my friends too much to say such a thing, and in any case I think it’s false.
For those who want to carry on the conversation over Obama’s dishonesty, you’ll find some comments beneath yesterday’s post. But I’m leaving it behind.
A positive note: I am gratified by what the White House has said here. When Republicans tried to insert, into one of the House bills, a requirement that the SAVE program be used to make people prove citizenship in order to get their insurance, the proposal was voted down on a party-line vote. Now the White House is turning the other way:
“Verification will be required when purchasing health insurance on the exchange. One option is the SAVE program (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) which states currently use to make sure that undocumented immigrants don’t participate in safety-net programs for which they are ineligible.”
This would seem to be an implicit acknowledgment, even if the President could not bring himself to say so in such a public setting, that the conservatives’ concern is legitimate. That’s what I wanted: that justified concerns receive rational answers, rather than being branded lies and distortions. So kudos to the Obama White House here.
7. Have a great weekend!