Walls and Ramps: David Brooks on Christian Culture

David BrooksNew York Times columnist David Brooks, who is Jewish, accepts an invitation to observe the good and bad ways Christians engage mainstream culture.

“Transcript of David Brooks,” The Gathering 2014.

David Brooks’ 2004 New York Times column on John Stott was much discussed at the time and is worth a second read ten years later.

“Who is John Stott?” by David Brooks. The New York Times, November 30, 2004.

U2’s Christianity

u2Joshua Rothman writes in The New Yorker about the serious but sometimes hard to discern Christianity in U2’s song lyrics. “Song lyrics are endlessly interpretable,” he writes, “but, once you accept U2’s religiosity, previously opaque or anodyne songs turn out to be full of ideas and force.” The song “With or Without You” emerges as a meditation on the tough demands of authentic faith. “Until the End of the World” is a love song to Jesus sung by a remorseful Judas.

“The Church of U2,” by Joshua Rothman. The New Yorker, September 16, 2014.

‘Good Friday’ for American Christianity

Robert GeorgePrinceton Professor Robbie George says it is “Good Friday” for American Christianity.  Unlike before, there is now a cost associated with our faith.  Will we, like John and Mary, stick with Christ all the way to the Cross, or will we, like Peter, insist that we don’t know the man?  As cultural elites grow increasingly intolerant of all traditional religious and cultural views, George suggests we borrow from the countercultural movements of the ’50s and ’60s in crafting a strategy for pushing back.

“Princeton Professor: Cultural Elite Can No Longer Tolerate Christians.” Sunday Leaders with Ginni Thomas. Daily Caller, September 28, 2014. [Scroll down for part two.]

See also: “The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker,” by David D. Kirkpatrick. The New York Times, December 16, 2009.

German Ethics Council Calls Incest a “Fundamental Right”

German FlagThe German Ethics Council, a German government-backed body, is recommending that Germany rescind laws criminalizing sexual activity between siblings, arguing that such activity is a “fundamental right.”

“German Committee Says Incest is a ‘Fundamental Right,” by Jenny Kutner. Salon, September 26, 2014.

Just War Theory and ISIL

ISIL Flag“Let’s face it,” writes Eric Metaxas, “the U.S. is at war again in the Middle East.” Should we be? When is war just? The Just War Theory developed by Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas is generally accepted by most Christians today as a good guide for determining the morality of going to war. Still, many conscientious Christians oppose war on any grounds.

“Principles of Just-War Theory.” Mount Holyoke College.

“What Chuck Would Say About the US and ISIS: A Just War?” by Eric Metaxas. Breakpoint, September 24, 2014.

“A Declaration from the Harmless and Innocent People of God, Called Quakers to Charles II,” 1661. Religious Society of Friends.

Are We Being Persecuted?

Anti-ChristianKevin DeYoung, senior pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, writes about how we should define “Christian persecution,” and whether or not it applies to American evangelicals.

“Are Christians in America Persecuted?” by Kevin DeYoung. The Gospel Coalition, April 15, 2014.

Ginsburg, Eugenics, and Punk Rock

deadKennedys3National Review columnist Kevin Williamson sees a parallel between Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s (actual) support for aborting the children of poor parents and the lyrics of ’70s punk band The Dead Kennedy’s (satirical) song “Kill the Poor.”

“We Only Whisper It:” Justice Ginsburg Sings Another Verse of “Kill the Poor,” by Kevin D. Williamson. National Review Online, September 24, 2014.

A Suicide to Protest Racism

CharlesMooreIn his suicide note, 79-year-old Rev. Charles Moore of Texas wrote, “Many African Americans were lynched around here…hanged, decapitated, and burned, some while still alive. The vision of them haunts me greatly. So, at this late date, I have decided to join them by giving my body to be burned, with love in my heart not only for them but also for the perpetrators of such horror–but especially for the citizens of Grand Saline, many of whom have been very kind to me and others who may be moved to change the situation here.”

The Suicide Note of Charles Moore, June 13, 2014.

“In dying act, minister hoped to inspire social justice,” by Melissa Repko. Dallas Morning News, July 14, 2014.

A Win for Freedom

RNS-ANDERSON-PROFILERyan Anderson reviews the importance of the Hobby Lobby ruling for the future of religious freedom in America.

“Supreme Court to Obama: You Don’t Have to Agree with Religious beliefs to Respect the Liberty of the People Who Hold Them…and the Groups They Form,” by Ryan T. Anderson. Public Discourse (Witherspoon Institute blog), July 1, 2014.

(House Reading Group, July 8, 2014.)

Dumb Dads on TV

HomerSimpsonWith Fathers’ Day just past, we are reminded once again that media portrayals of fathers are almost universally negative. Bill Cosby and Ward Cleaver appear to have been permanently replaced by Homer Simpson, Adam Sandler (“Big Daddy”), and Ray Romano. In real life, however, fathers are incredibly important. But how much does life imitate art?

“Real Dads vs. ‘Dumb’ Dads,” by Meg Meeker. Daveramssey.com.