Archive for the ‘ Reynolds ’ Category

On Pitying the Fool: Dealing with Holocaust Deniers

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI’s respective jobs require them to deal with fools on a regular basis. There is no safe way to handle fools, as their folly tends to redound on the person who tries to help them.

Who is a fool? The fool is not simply wrong, but believes a falsehood with obstinate fury that is destructive to himself and to his neighbor. It is not that he thinks he is right, but that he never considers that he might be wrong and has no hesitations in imposing his folly on others. The fool is wrong, arrogant, and malevolent. (more…)

Conversation and Conversion

Friday, February 6th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Islam has succeeded in much of the world partly because it is intellectually interesting, culturally potent, and has spiritual power. One can acknowledge this while also believing Islam to be fundamentally wrong and knowing the darker side of Islamic history.

President Obama was right to reach out to the Islamic world at his inauguration. Given his background, Obama has a unique chance to promote what is good about the United States while distinguishing those virtues from our problems and failures.

Prejudice sometimes blocks dialogue and, unfortunately, serious thought about Islam has suffered from two sorts of it in the United States.

Extreme secularists cannot engage in real dialogue or a sympathetic study of religions like Islam, because they cannot admit the possibility that any religion could be true. (more…)

Without a Better Vision This Administration Will Perish

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

President Obama has a chance at greatness, but the Inauguration demonstrated that his theology could undermine him. Bush is gone and Obama can no longer simply not be George W. Bush to succeed. He has taken the Oath of Office and now must govern.

Of course, Obama could not truly fail on Inauguration Day.

Seeing him take the Oath of Office, the mere image, was a great moment for the nation, but his speech failed to add anything to the greatness. President Obama made history by being elected, but great presidents govern. The picture of the swearing in will make every child’s American history book, but nothing he said will improve on the image.

Being a change from the past will not be enough in the years to come. Republics never stand still and our culture demands daily vision or the leader will perish. President Obama is not some medieval monarch who can cure evil with a touch. He will have to govern. (more…)

In God We Trust

Friday, January 16th, 2009

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

President Obama will take the oath of office on a Bible as is customary. There will be prayers at the swearing in as has always been done and he will ask for God’s help in doing so. He is right to do so.

His actions are only controversial amongst the sad souls who are so sheltered and delicate that the actual costumes and beliefs of the nation shock them out of their bubble. Of course, one tries to be polite, but they are very easily offended. The mere sight of a Christmas crèche on public land can ruin their day. Since we are not willing to flush traditional American patriotic songs from our ceremonies, it really will be impossible to do.

Should we stop singing God Bless America? Should America stop asking God to shed His grace on us? Will the Battle Hymn get rid of the “hallelujah?” (more…)

Rick Warren: A Public Educator Worthy of Honor

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Rick Warren is a sensible man who represents the center of American Christianity. Christian ideas and culture are part of the genetic makeup of our nation and appealing to them is vital to tapping into the American story. President-elect Obama was smart to pick Warren, and Pastor Warren was right to accept.

Opponents of the pick on the far left are marginalizing themselves, but don’t realize it since they have such a limited circle of friends. Charity demands that we recall that much of our education has been too narrow. We don’t understand sophisticated religious points of view, because we are not exposed to them. When combined with a natural tendency to justify what we want, even when it is wrong, a prophetic voice like Warren’s makes many of the pundit class uncomfortable. (more…)

The Unwelcome House Guest

Friday, December 19th, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Imagine a fan boy so full of admiration that he takes your name and moves into your house. Your family has always tried to reach out to others and so you allow him to stay with you as an act of kindness.

Weirdly, after this fan moves in he becomes quite critical. He decides that many of your costumes and ways are unworthy of the family name and begins to demand that you change them. Your own children stop coming home, because the interloper has become so obnoxious.

At that point, charity finally exhausted, you demand that he leave. He then barricades himself in his room, which he points out you have called “his room,” and refuses to leave. He calls you a false and hateful person who has missed the “spirit of the family.” Neighbors who have not followed the situation wonder why you are being so mean to a family member. (more…)

An Obvious Truth: The Bible Supports Traditional Marriage

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Both the Bible and Newsweek make assertions about marriage and homosexuality. The difference is that the Bible claims to speak for God while Newsweek simply asserts things on its own authority. If God has spoken in the pages of the Bible, it is rational to obey what He said. Charity fails to find any good reason to consider what Newsweek printed as compelling.

While we represent very different faith traditions, we agree that the Bible is a trustworthy guide for humanity and that gay marriage is inconsistent with its teachings. (more…)

Making Men A Bit Less Devilish

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

President Elect Obama has a unique chance to win the war against terrorism by the judicious use of force combined the right ideas sold through his awesome rhetorical skills. He has a clean slate and the attention of much of the world. Picking the right ideas to argue is essential to victory.

If your neighbor has bad ideas, then he is likely to do bad things. Laws and might may force him to behave, but the neighborhood will remain in danger. If your neighbor can be converted to better ideas, then force will not be necessary and peace will cost nothing. (more…)

Governor Huckabee’s New Book: “Do the Right Thing”

Friday, November 28th, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Governor Mike Huckabee ran an impressive campaign for President of the United States. He did more with less and showed good humor doing it. He was often the most effective communicator in the Republican field and he has an impressive record with over a decade as a conservative Republican governor in a Democratic leaning state.

Governor Huckabee is a stalwart champion of the culture of life and of the family. He also correctly breaks out of the box of “typical Republican” candidates. He did more than any other candidate to reach out to minority groups and “Wal-Mart” voters during the campaign. He suffered foolish attacks on his record and offensive attacks on his faith and cultural background from some Republicans. (more…)

Kathleen Parker: Being Rash is Not Courage

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic]

Kathleen Parker, a conservative columnist for the Washington Post, appears to generally be a decent sort. Her columns have a punchy writing style I wish I could master, though they have never been particularly “intellectual.” Her only academic appointment appears to be at the Buckley School of Public Speaking . . . possessor of a web site that has provided me minutes of fun.

Who wouldn’t love the lack of irony in the Babbittry that summarized the “schools” mission this way:

Tied tongues unknotted
Stuffed shirts unstuffed
Stage fright banished
Muddled thinking set straight

It looks like a delightful place, but not a platform from which people could afford to be snobs. (more…)