Archive for the ‘ Reynolds ’ Category

Twilight’s Flawed Faith

Friday, August 7th, 2009

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by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Twilight is restful, the children’s hour, a time when story telling comes naturally. In a gentler era Longfellow wrote of this time:

I hear in the chamber above me The patter of little feet, The sound of a door that is opened, And voices soft and sweet.

Novelist Stephenie Meyer has a different vision of twilight. In her books if parents hear noises upstairs at twilight they might want to check carefully: one of the kids may have a vampire visitor. (more…)

Sonia Sotomayor: Educate and then Confirm

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

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by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Sonia Sotomayor is President Obama’s pick for the court. From the point of view of conservatives, she is probably as good a pick as President Obama was going to make. Something new may come out about her, but if not conservatives should give the reasons they think her judicial philosophy is mistaken and then move on.

She is a mainstream liberal and President Obama was not going to pick a conservative. Winning Presidents should (as conservatives always say!) be given broad latitude in their selections. (more…)

On America, Land of Cults

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

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by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

An American cult is what happens when radical individualism meets religion and philosophy.

A cult becomes cut off from the mainstream of traditional religion and the global community of faith. It begins to converse only with self. This dangerous isolation is an important topic, as American religious communities such as the Episcopal Church drift in this direction. Mainstream global Christians do not delight in this drift as they recognize the temptations of the cult all too well from their own temptations to isolation.

Extreme stories litter the paper every day that show the consequences of isolation. Cults begin to delight in their edgy behaviors and to call what the rest of the world calls “wrong” something good. (more…)

Obama: The Christian as President

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

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by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Recently President Obama made a series of important speeches in Western Europe and in Turkey. He said that “the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam” and that “we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.” He is right on both counts. These passages must be understood in the context of his sophisticated view of the role of religion and government.

This was demonstrated by his Inauguration and his frequent use of examples such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. There is a bipartisan American consensus on this issue.

President Obama is following the lead of President Bush in defending religious liberty for all Americans while using his Christian principles to govern. Understanding how he can do both is vital to helping the rest of the world imitate US success in securing freedom of religion without forcing religious people to privatize their faith. (more…)

On America, Land of Cults

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

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by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

An American cult is what happens when radical individualism meets religion and philosophy.

A cult becomes cut off from the mainstream of traditional religion and the global community of faith. It begins to converse only with self. This dangerous isolation is an important topic, as American religious communities such as the Episcopal Church drift in this direction. Mainstream global Christians do not delight in this drift as they recognize the temptations of the cult all too well from their own temptations to isolation.

Extreme stories litter the paper every day that show the consequences of isolation. Cults begin to delight in their edgy behaviors and to call what the rest of the world calls “wrong” something good.

Why is America a particular breeding ground for cults? (more…)

Economic Lessons from Capra: Don’t Give Potter Money!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

I am watching much of the Frank Capra collection for a class I am teaching this term. Was there ever a better time to watch the best film maker of the Depression and World War II era?

His movies portray honest bums (!), politicians (!!), and even bankers (!!!) facing down the graft that comes with a combination of Big Money and Big Government.

His best known film today is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” though I think his best film is “Meet John Doe.” (more…)

A State Worse Than Poverty

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

I wrote that we should love our neighbor, help him, and not tax another neighbor to do so . . . at least usually.

This post also appeared at On Faith and elicited a comment I thought worth a quick response.

My critic said:

What if that charity does not suffice? What is second best? Do you think it is better to take taxes from people and feed the poor, or should we let the poor starve?

This column evades the issue. (more…)

Frum: Worse Than Rush?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

David Frum reminds his readers that there are worse things than being the wrong messenger.

You can have the wrong message.

Saying something badly is sad, but saying something bad is wicked . . . especially when you know better. Rush wants to save conservatism by preaching to the choir, but Frum apparently will save pro-family ideas by abandoning them. (more…)

I Hope President Obama Is Right on the Economy

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

It is bad politics, bad form, bad character, and bad patriotism to want the President’s economic policies to fail.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the Congressional and Presidential plan will fail and is already making the situation worse. I just wish it weren’t so.

You might think a medical course wrong, but once it is determined you do not wish for the death of the patient. You hope, against all hope, that you were wrong. (more…)

Support All Charities or None

Friday, February 13th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

There is no taxation without discrimination. The power to govern is the power to discriminate between the just and the unjust, the good and the evil.

Ideologues forget this since they confuse their beliefs with obvious truths. Every organization ever created discriminates when it decides on its mission and what it will not do. Not everyone can join or not everyone is paid who joins. Some things are valuable and other things are vices in the organizational culture.

We must do this, but we must be as modest as possible when imposing our beliefs on those who disagree. It is not just that we might be wrong and so do an injustice in the name of our beliefs, but that any use of force is dangerous even when we are right. (more…)

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