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March 05, 2009

Goodbye Starbucks, hello pantry

Coffee mug Most of us are looking for ways to cut back, save or do without. While the political machine is churning out stimulus plans and printing money for the bailout as fast as the presses will spin, we at The Point are proud to offer our own solution to the crisis--at least, that part of the crisis that involves whether or not to jump in your gas-guzzling SUV and drive five miles to buy a $4 cup of coffee.

In a spirit of stewardship and camaraderie, we offer you the Recession Mocha.

This recipe was perfected in my very own test kitchen, which, although it lacks the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, has gained the less lucrative but more rewarding seal of approval of my friends and family. So here's the recipe. 

Take your favorite mug. Add a teaspoon of Folger's instant coffee, a teaspoon of Nestle Quik, and a spoonful of sugar. Fill 3/4 full with boiling water and stir. Add some half-and-half and top it all off with whipped cream from a spray can. (Oh, sure, you could go the decaf skinny no-whip route, but then what's the point? Just have a cup of tea, for crying out loud.) Voila. For about the price of one coffee-shop mocha, you can enjoy dozens of them at home.

Now it's your turn. What creative ways have you found to save money? 

February 27, 2009

Daily roundup

February 25, 2009

Chasing the American ’Myth’

Scratchbeginnings Is the American Dream a myth? Adam Shepard doesn't think so.

In 2006, the recent college graduate did a 365-day experiment in homelessness. Leaving home with just $25, a sleeping bag, and his notebook, he worked his way to a furnished apartment, a car, and $2500 in just a year. Here's an excerpt from the intro to his book Scratch Beginnings:

As you're going to see throughout the course of my journey, this is not a modern day rags-to-riches, get-rich-quick story. “I made a million, and you can too!” Nope. Too cliché, and, ironically, too unrealistic. Mine is the story of rags-to-fancier-rags. I'm not an extraordinary person performing extraordinary feats. I don't have some special talent that I can use to “Wow” prospective employers. I'm average. My story is very basic, simple. My story is about the attitude of success. My goal is to better my lot, to provide a stepping stone over the next 365 days for everything else I want to accomplish in my life. I aim to find out if the American Dream is still alive, or if it has, in fact, been drowned out by the greedy and the lazy.

So, here we go. You, my audience:

The dad who can use this book when his 12-year-old is complaining about not having the latest video game. The 15-year-old who doesn't quite understand why he or she has to study so hard and take “all of these worthless classes that I'll never use in real life.” The recent college grad who – drowned in student loans and limited opportunities (and, of course, living at home) – is searching for any little bit of strength and direction. The 72-year-old grandfather who already has a firm grasp on the concept of my story and has doubtless lived many of these same experiences. The 32-year-old mother of two who is working multiple jobs just to get by. The one making the sacrifice so her children can have a shot at the American Dream that she gave up on long ago.

You, the underdog, sitting behind the 8-ball, wondering when your number is going to be called.

And me, with my personal belongings on my back, ready for the craziest adventure of my life....

(Image © SB Press)

February 24, 2009

Daily roundup

Chuck Norris Is Fighting Mad

Norris Chuck Norris doesn't have too many kind words to say about the recent government bailout in this article (warning: some mild profanity). I must agree that passing the problem on to our children and grandchildren is not the solution. Here's what Chuck recommends:

We must restrain our government, and we must restrain ourselves. Feeding the money monster will not reduce its size -- it will perpetuate the problem.... We must return to a time when we put a bridle on the spending of government and of our households. We've got to simplify our lives. We've got to learn to be happier with less. We've got to get out of debt.

The apostle Paul told how he had learned to be content, regardless of his financial status. We, too, need to reject the cult of consumerism that got America into this mess and learn the wiser way of contentment, saving, and making what we have last longer and stretch further. While members of my family are fortunate in the sense that we still have jobs (and we're not in much danger of losing them at this point), we're all looking for ways to be better stewards of what God has provided. If for no other reason, we should do this so we will have extra resources to help those who have been hit hard by the economic downturn. 

Check out what your church or other compassionate ministries are doing in your city and think about how you can share what you have. Does the local foodbank need more donations? Do you have used clothing in good condition that you can donate to a homeless shelter or to the Salvation Army? Can members of your Sunday school class chip in to help pay someone's rent each month? What other ideas do you have for helping your fellow citizens weather this storm?

This explains a lot

Dilbert.com

(Image © Scott Adams, Inc.)

Charles Dickens, unsung Nostradamus

Mrmerdle While Gina has been reviving Dickens mania over at her blog, I've been plowing through 830+ pages of Little Dorrit. Having finished only the night before last (instead of watching the self-adulation of the Oscars), I, like Gina, am now anxiously awaiting the PBS airing of the new production of this tome.

Dickens could have been writing about our own current events in the final chapters of Little Dorrit. See if these words, written of his fictional character Mr. Merdle (a man who inspired the confidence and investments of others, investments that were sure to pay off, until of course they didn't), don't remind you of a certain Mr. Madoff or Mr. Stanford:

Numbers of men in every profession and trade would be blighted by his insolvency; old people who had been in easy circumstances all their lives would have no place of repentance for their trust in him but the workhouse; legions of women and children would have their whole future desolated by the hand of this mighty scoundrel. Every partaker of his magnificent feasts would be seen to have been a sharer in the plunder of innumerable homes; every servile worshipper of riches who had helped to set him on his pedestal, would have done better to worship the Devil point-blank...For, by that time it was known that the late Mr. Merdle...was simply the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows.

(Image © BBC One)

February 23, 2009

Take a Lenten Journey with Prison Fellowship International

The President of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel, offers a compelling glimpse into the wilderness journey of repentance in this week's Conversatio Morum. You can read it here. And we're also so blessed that our brothers and sisters in Prison Fellowship around the world have contributed their voices to a 40-day Lenten Devotional guide. You can download the entire guide here.

If you aren't familiar with the amazing work that Prison Fellowship is doing around the world, I invite you to take some time and read some of the stories on PFI's website. Time and again I am amazed at how God is using the faithfully offered fish and loaves of people in countries with so little, to feed his multitudes with the spiritual food that these prisoners, their families, and their broken communities so desperately need.

February 18, 2009

’A love supreme’

Johnson family Getting shot in the mouth by a teenage robber might turn some people against their fellow human beings. C. Kenneth Johnson let it inspire him to adopt eight at-risk children and foster 144 more.

And he has done it all as a single man, too busy to look for a mate, he says, figuring that the chances of finding someone willing to help raise so many troubled children would be slim to none.

"When I look back, I can see that it was a lot of work," Johnson told me. "But I didn't think about it that way. I just did it."

While in his care, none of the children was neglected or abused. They did not run away from home, skip school, commit crimes or otherwise disappear through the cracks of a dysfunctional child welfare system.

Nothing bad to report. You might even say that when it comes to adoptions and foster care, no news is good news -- except that if you want to know what it really takes to help children in need, you need to know about people like Johnson.

Go here to read more about this incredible man.

(Image © Courtland Milloy for The Washington Post)

February 17, 2009

Glimpsing Real Health Care

Wise-waiting It felt like the Third World in Wise County, Va., where thousands descended upon the state fair grounds last July, not for Ferris wheels or snow cones, but for free eye and breast exams.

Every year 800 volunteer medical professionals provide basic health care—including more complicated procedures like tooth extractions and benign tumor removals—to more than 2,500 rural Virginians, many of whom make no more than $14,000 per capita. Most of whom—like 47 million other Americans—don't have health insurance.

Some drive hours for a chance to wait in a long line outside of the campgrounds. There are no guarantees that they will receive treatment. For some, a diagnosis of diabetes or cancer is all they will walk away with.

But to finally meet someone who cares … it’s enough to hang a little hope on.

“I thank God. I pray for them people up there. It’s great what these guys are doing,” said 44-year-old David Briggs, fighting off tears. He has had most of his teeth extracted and is looking forward to a new set of dentures.

After reading this piece, I wanted to know more about the doctors, dentists, and nurses who would donate their time to do what our broken health care system does not do: care.

I wanted to know if some beautiful faith in the great Healer compelled them to reach the least of these in the richest county on earth. I have no way of knowing. But I have a sneaking suspicion He has something to do with it.

(Image © Remote Area Medical)

February 11, 2009

Daily roundup

February 05, 2009

Daily roundup

February 04, 2009

Denialists

"Davos Delegates in ‘Denial’ as $25 Trillion of Wealth Vanishes" is the headline of a Bloomberg report from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, linked in yesterday's roundup. In this first Forum after the big boom, the soi dissant "Masters of the Universe" are having trouble adjusting to the new world they helped usher in. Or as Bloomberg put it,

Questions about responsibility, blame and contrition hang in the cold mountain air at the glitzy Alpine resort this week like so much exhaled breath. With $1 trillion of bank losses and $25 trillion of market value gone missing since the start of the financial crisis, there’s much to account for.

One person who seemed to be begging for the old tar and feathers treatment was David Rubenstein, the Managing Director of the Carlyle Group, who said that "there are six billion people on the face of the earth, and probably about five billion participated in what went on . . . everybody participated in some way or shape or form.”

Really? Everybody? You mean "participated" as in "the Masters of the Universe destroyed the economy and all I got was a lousy tee-shirt," don't you?

It's easy to mock and fantasize about folks like Rubenstein doing a perp walk from Maine to San Diego, but truth be told, his desire to spread the blame isn't that much different from some of the stuff we've had to put up with from our self-appointed scolds.

Continue reading "Denialists" »

February 03, 2009

Daily roundup

February 02, 2009

Chasing the Rainbow

Rainbow I just finished Alex Kotlowitz's (1991) bestseller There Are No Children Here, a sobering look at two boys growing up in one of Chicago's worst projects in the '80s. Unlike many books that attempt to "get inside" life in the ghetto, this one actually does...because Kotlowitz did the journalist's hard work, gathering the story slowly and patiently. For three years, he spent almost every weekend with Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers (10 and 7, respectively, at the beginning of the book).

He saw their lives at the rawest points--the days when they huddled inside their grotto-like apartment while bullets from gang wars riddled the hallways outside; the days they visited their big brother in jail; the day they discovered that one of their best friends had been shot by the police. Kotlowitz watched Lafayette and Pharoah fight for survival in their unique ways--Lafayette retreating into his room or into the silence of his thoughts, once in a while admitting that "I'm tired," tired of life; Pharoah stuttering through spelling bees, hoping some day to graduate from college and move out of the projects.

He saw their premature adulthood, but, once in a while, he caught a glimmer of their unadulterated childlikeness--like the day that the boys saw their first rainbow. Enchanted by thoughts of gold and leprechauns, the less-jaded Pharoah urged his older brother to chase the rainbow with him. Lafayette couldn't move, mentally trying to reconcile his lost childhood with the urge to follow the rainbow to his forgotten dreams. Kotlowitz tried to make sense of Lafayette's thoughts:

Heaped with disappointments, fourteen-year-old Lafayette wanted to believe. He wanted to be allowed to dream, to reach, to imagine. He wanted another chance to chase a rainbow.

Is it worse never to see the rainbow in the first place, or to see the rainbow only to realize that you're too old to chase it? In that question lies the tragedy of lost innocence, whether for the boy who survived the Rwandan genocide, the girl who endured sexual abuse, or the child who grew up on the darker side of town.

January 26, 2009

Daily roundup

’They just care about babies’

March1 Hard to believe we've reached a point where that would be considered a bad thing, isn't it? Read more about things heard and seen at last week's March for Life in Kathryn Lopez' excellent report at NRO.

Like Kathryn, I also saw pro-choice counter-protesters in the crowd at the Supreme Court. One woman was arguing fiercely with some of the marchers: "Do you really want to pay for all those children?" I was too far away to jump into the conversation, but the first thing I would have wanted to say was, If we said yes, would you let us? The second thing was, Why is it that those who follow the supposedly tolerant and compassionate ideology are willing to wipe out children for money?

March4 I was reminded of that scene again the very next day when posting the story about the Malual quintuplets. While members of the Grace Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland, were helping care for the babies and their mother, as reported in the Washington Post article, others were busy filling the Post's comments section with derogatory and sometimes profane comments about the "disgusting thief" and her "5 little money-makers."

On which side of that argument would the pro-choicers fighting for "human rights" and disdaining those who "just care about babies" come down, do you suppose?

(Images © Gina Dalfonzo)

Grotesque

Perhaps you thought it couldn't get worse for the cause of life after President Obama reversed President Bush's pro-life position on the Mexico City policy. But never to be outdone in the eyes of the Margaret Sanger wing of the pro-choice movement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called and raised Obama's bet with this oddity on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous this weekend:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those -- one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. We have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

Continue reading "Grotesque" »

Leon’s Mite

090109-bolivia-water-hmed-1p.small Leon shines shoes for $3.50 a pair. From that, he still chooses to give to help others. What a great reminder in these tough economic times: If we bring God what we have, He still multiplies it.

(Image © MSNBC.com)

January 21, 2009

Daily roundup

Posting may be sporadic tomorrow, as I'll be attending Blogs4Life downtown. (I believe you can watch the webcast at that link.)

January 16, 2009

The Enforcer

Gary Haugen and the International Justice Mission continue to make waves, landing 12 pages in the New Yorker with an in-depth profile, "The Enforcer," by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Samantha Power. Here's a snapshot (Gary had just returned from Rwanda after witnessing the aftermath of the genocide):

In church, his mind drifted into calculations of how long it would take a machete-wielding gang to wipe out the congregation. Although the Salvation Army, World Vision, and other Christian organizations fed the hungry and sheltered the homeless, no Christian organization that he knew of had heeded the Bible's appeals for justice ("Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out"). He resolved that Christians serving God had to do more than pray for the victims of cruelty; they had to use the law to help rescue them. "This is not a God who offers sympathy, best wishes," he later wrote. "This is a God who wants evildoers brought to account and vulnerable people protected--here and now!"

January 12, 2009

Blogger roundup

Some more full-length articles from your Point bloggers . . .

January 09, 2009

Daily roundup

January 06, 2009

In the words of a confirmed atheist ...

"Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete."

Huh?

Numbers game

The "recovering evangelical" speaking in this video interview strikes me as looking at religion and politics with an oddly utilitarian slant. Since when are Christians supposed to play the numbers with human lives -- and where does this fascination with the number of references to a topic in the Bible come from, anyway? (Yes, that's a rhetorical question; I know very well where at least some of it is coming from.)

If a "non-recovering evangelical" insisted, for instance, that we should pay more attention to following Old Testament dietary laws than preserving the environment because of the respective number of biblical references to each topic, he or she would be laughed off the national stage, and rightly so. And the same would happen if he or she tried to prove that the two goals were mutually exclusive. (Also, I'm not entirely sure why someone who thinks evangelicalism is something that you recover from is speaking for evangelicals.)

No one has yet explained to me, in any way that makes sense, the liberal Christian philosophy that you save more lives by taking away the right to life. As long as "recovering evangelicals" keep trying to apply the term Christian to a belief that actually harks back to paganism, I don't expect that anyone will.

January 05, 2009

Daily roundup

December 23, 2008

Daily roundup

December 19, 2008

Room at the hospital

Imagery_christmas Bethlehem has its problems, as Zoe pointed out the other day. But one hospital, "a mere 500 yards from the traditional site of Jesus' birth . . . is committed to seeing that no expectant mother is ever told there is 'no room.'" Visit the Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem Foundation, and find out how you can donate or even host a baby shower for the babies of Bethlehem.

(Image via HFHBF)

December 18, 2008

Daily roundup

Giving the Gift of Freedom

Wonderfullymade "You can't make the difference for all people, but you can make all the difference for one person," said IJM president Gary Haugen at a recent benefit dinner in D.C.

Maybe you can't free every person from forced bondage in India's rock quarries. Maybe you can't drive out every child exploiter in Haiti. And maybe you can't deliver every girl from sexual slavery in southeast Asia. But maybe you can help one.

If you're still looking for last-minute Christmas gifts, consider giving the gift of freedom. Here are a few ideas:

  • Described at once as "funky and frilly," Wonderfully Made jewelry helps create sustainable jobs for victims of sex trafficking. Eye-catching necklaces, bracelets, and earrings range in price from $25 to $325.
  • Similarly, NightLight provides jobs and aftercare for women leaving the sex industry in Bangkok, Thailand. The jewelry includes everything from colorful pearl designs to elegant wood ensembles.

Another way you can give the gift of freedom is to make sure your stores aren't benefiting from slave labor. Before you head to the mall, send an email to your store of choice letting them know that you value freedom over their merchandise.

(Image © Wonderfully Made)

December 15, 2008

Daily roundup

Let the good times roll

14churches02190 Bad economy? Apparently, this is actually a boom time for evangelicals. (Free registration may be required to view article.) Break out the sparkling apple cider...

(Image © James Estrin for the New York Times)

December 12, 2008

Frugality: What a Novel Idea

With the changing economic conditions and the job market going kaput, frugality has been making a comeback. People have decided that they need to only spend what they already have. What a novel idea! Don't spend what you don't have! Too bad it took an economic crisis to help us realize that that is the only way to live life.

Our grandparents wisely understood the principle of living within ones means and not spending what you don't have. Not surprisingly, they or their parents were fresh out of the economic dark ages of American history. And yet, not even three generations later, we're learning that we can't live lavishly forever. Those who grew up learning to say no paved the way for a generation of financially successful parents whose kids had to have their own rooms and whatever else they wanted. Now we're back here again.

Frugality is reemerging, according to a recent article, because it's once again chic to be thrifty. Frugality is taking the form of clipping coupons and repairing possessions, instead of buying new ones. "It is a whole reassessment of values," says Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail. "People are learning to say, 'No, not today.'"

Hopefully we can remember these handy hints for good living when we (if we ever get the chance again) find ourselves again in a time of plenty. And then, keep it that way.

December 08, 2008

Daily roundup

December 02, 2008

Daily roundup

Eat a Good Meal and Help the Homeless

Coffee_cup Ever try to help someone and end up doing exactly the opposite?

A few winters ago, I walked past a homeless woman jingling her cup outside of a bookstore. I walked into the bookstore, browsed for a while, and then, conscience-twinged, walked back out into the cold to drop some spare change into the lady's cup. I knew something was wrong when I didn't hear that "plunk" sound. Halfway out of earshot, I heard the woman yell after me, "That was my drink!"

Since then, my friends--those who were with me that day, and those who weren't--haven't let me forget my charity gone wrong. I'm happy to provide a laugh at my expense, especially when I can use it to point out the fact that most of us haven't the foggiest about how to really help the homeless.

This year, I think I've got a better idea than ruining someone's latte. How about going out for a delicious meal?

If you live in Washington, D.C., or Baltimore, you have access to two little cafés known for their delightful menus and altruistic excellence. Both the Dogwood Deli in Baltimore and New Course Restaurant and Catering in Washington, D.C., help homeless men and women get back on their feet by teaching them to cook.

So, to keep from becoming like me and repeating my little cup incident, have a good meal instead.

December 01, 2008

Daily roundup

November 25, 2008

Daily roundup

November 24, 2008

Oh, How Generous!

Over at Culture11, Clint Rainey writes about the "decline and fall of charity." He has a lot of interesting things to say, so read it. Please.

I was especially struck by this part:

Of course, even money given to churches doesn’t always find its way to the needy.

Americans gave an estimated $97 billion to churches in 2006, which is nearly one-third of that year’s $295 billion in total charitable contributions, according to Giving USA Foundation, but lots of churches are pocketing that scratch.

And it shows.

Megachurches are widely credited with getting a Third Awakening of sorts off the ground, with lots of excited members and fistfuls of money, but their wealth also makes them the worst charity offenders—and garish, besides. The average annual income for a megachurch is $5 million. Of that almost $100 billion given in 2006, three-quarters was banked by the original church or went to other churches or religious organizations.

Churches understandably want safe Christian atmospheres, but too many want cafés, skate parks, Xbox-jammed arcades, kids’ sports leagues, not one but four JumboTrons, booming THX sound capable of rattling the walls of the nearby AMC Theaters, staggeringly sophisticated Obi-Wan Kenobi hologram projections of the pastor at satellite campuses—the whole shebang . . .

I've often thought about this -- I've wondered how much actual good (not just material succor, but spiritual life and death as well if you take this past Sunday's Gospel reading as, well, Gospel) a lot of the money given to churches actually does, seeing as how much of it goes into sustaining  local churches' operations as opposed to meeting human needs.

Continue reading "Oh, How Generous!" »

Better late than never

Reader Sharon Soderlund sent this story about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development last week. It begins as folllows:

On November 23rd in Catholic churches around the country ushers will pass collection baskets for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Millions of trusting Catholics will contribute “to help the poor.” What many don’t know is that their hard-earned dollars will pour into the coffers of liberal organizations promoting causes they oppose and which often hurt the poor.

I had every intention of putting this up on Friday, but unfortunately, it slipped my mind. I apologize. However, though it's now less timely, it's still an important story and many of you will want the information for future reference, so I'm posting it now.

Below is a video that Sharon also sent, which explains more.

November 20, 2008

Just call them Robin Hood

Oil_tanker Evidently, crime in Somalia DOES pay. Here's one mother's response to the "blessings" her town is receiving thanks to these criminals:

Regardless of how the money is coming in, legally or illegally, I can say it has started a life in our town.... Our children are not worrying about food now and they go to Islamic schools in the morning and play soccer in the afternoon. They are happy.

I wonder if those Islamic schools teach that the proper way to punish thieves is to cut off their hands?

(Image © AP)

November 14, 2008

Absolutely Unbearable

I am going to go seriously insane if Jim Wallis and company don't stop this nonsense.

The unbearably worshipful tone lefty evangelicals take when speaking of, or to, the new savior is bad enough without the naïveté of (apparently seriously) believing that "The One" is going to personally reverse all the effects of the Fall. How will he do this? By raising our taxes!

Bono writes (to Obama):

You know that less than 1 percent of government income as a contribution from the world’s richest economy to the world’s poorest is not a fair tithe — even in times like these — which is why you have promised to double foreign assistance.

Earth to Bono: The U.S. government doesn't HAVE income; it taxes Americans who DO have income, because they have jobs. And where is it written that God expects governments to tithe? He tells PEOPLE to tithe!

Here is a subject I'd genuinely like to get some feedback from Point readers about: Why do so many liberal Christians think it's the government's job to take care of the poor? As I wrote to another "God's Politics" writer yesterday, please give me one, just one, Scripture verse that says it's the government's job to help the poor. Just one. Jesus made it so clear that it's the job of the church to do this (see the story of Stephen in Acts, for instance). Never once did Jesus or His followers say, when encountering the poor, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, let the government help them." 

Continue reading "Absolutely Unbearable " »

November 10, 2008

Daily roundup

World Hunger Survey

Child_eating The next time you’re at your dinner table, remember that close to a third of the world's population say that in the past 12 months there have been times when they and their families have not have enough food to eat. This is according to the recently released world hunger survey by Gallup International, Voice of the People 2008. The same study also revealed that Africa is the most affected region, and the top ten countries seriously affected by hunger are the following. The percentages are the percent of respondents in each country who have "'often + sometimes' lacked food in the past 12 months."

Cameroon 55%
Pakistan 53%
Nigeria 48%
Peru 42%
Philippines 40%
Bolivia 35%
Guatemala 35%
Ghana 32%
Russia 23%
Mexico 23%

Opportunities to help alleviate global hunger are enormous. There are plenty of international aid and relief organizations just waiting for donation and voluntary service. But one can do more by studying the biblical imperative of feeding the hungry and establishing a strong Christian worldview that one's faith is more than a personal relationship with Christ -- that it also produces a loving relationship with the poor.

The question is, does the church you belong to consider world hunger one of their primary moral concerns? Does your church do enough? What else can your church do to help feed the world's hungry?

(Image © Foreign Policy)

November 05, 2008

Can Works ’Work’ without Faith?

To take government funds or not to? Isn't that the question for faith-based groups these days?

Bush's faith-based office extends dollars to all sorts of faith-based groups--from disaster relief organizations to youth mentoring programs to prisoner reentry initiatives. President-elect Obama would do the same thing, only with the stipulation that groups that take funds cannot restrict hiring to those who believe as they do. In other words, a Christian organization might be forced to hire a Muslim, a Buddhist, or an atheist.

Some don't see a problem with this, like this blogger:

Do Christians have the monopoly on good deeds? [Is it] that only Christians can save the day? That only Christians have what it takes to sacrifice and devote their lives to helping others? Are they really implying that the God’s way is the only way to get the job done?

Maybe that's the real question. While this guy says he is not opposed to Christian groups doing good work (in fact, he thinks they should), he doesn't think faith and charity have to go hand in hand:

I think what’s really needed are more groups that will do good work without the promise of eternal reward. Do good because the world needs it, the people need it. Help because you can, not because it’s expected of you. Good deeds don’t require God’s stamp of approval.

Continue reading "Can Works ’Work’ without Faith?" »

November 04, 2008

Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain

When social conservatives, particularly evangelicals, click on John McCain’s website and read what it says under “Americans of Faith,” they see a lot of things to like: a decades-long pro-life voting record, a commitment to protecting traditional marriage, and a promise to pick judges who won’t make up the law as they go along.

But what about liberal evangelicals? Check out their websites—such as Sojourners—and you’ll find their top priorities are not abortion, or fighting same-sex “marriage,” but poverty-fighting and social justice.

Liberal evangelicals who think McCain is against social justice need to look at his website more thoroughly and consider that certain topics they might have ignored are actually very relevant to social justice. For instance, he's in favor of funding scholarships, charter schools, and tutoring for poor students stuck in bad public schools.

Social justice, anyone?

McCain also expresses concern about the 1.2 million businesses owned and operated by African Americans, and the two million Latino-owed businesses. Small businesses have, McCain notes, helped millions of Americans out of poverty, and “the first consideration we should have when debating tax policy is how we can help those companies grow and increase the prosperity of the millions of American families whose economic security depends on their success.”

Economic justice, in other words.

Continue reading "Why Liberal Evangelicals Should Love McCain" »

November 03, 2008

Daily roundup

October 27, 2008

Supreme Court wasn’t ’radical’ enough to reinterpret Constitution and redistribute wealth

Gee, Senator Obama, that's too bad.

October 20, 2008

Daily roundup

October 17, 2008

Blogger roundup

More thought-provoking full-length articles from our bloggers: