Archive for the 'social issues' Category

(Posts Archive)

Life 101

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith […]

Looking for a Way Forward

As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting or commenting as often on this blog which is no longer connected to Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries). Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for […]

News Without Borders

The ongoing debt crisis that has become such a defining moment for Greece and the nations of the Eurozone might be a parable for the world. What do you do with a debt that cannot be paid? Many believe that to cut Greece from the Union would amount to the imposition of a national foreclosure […]

Inside Out and Outside In

Am reading a book by a young author who decided to take her lack of religious faith undercover into the heart of the evangelical world, with the intent of writing about her experience. The woman admits struggling for awhile with the lies she knew she was going to have to tell to pull off her […]

Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus

Terrorists, whether trained abroad or at home, are succeeding in placing themselves center-stage of a global audience. The world is being transformed not by love and peace, but by fear, anger, hatred, and social confusion. Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the story of Jonah is read in synagogues around the world. […]

The Games we Play

On the heels of an amazing Wimbleton final between Sweden’s Roger Federer and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic; and as World Cup competition begins to move toward a final crowning in Rio, I’m once again trying to weigh the global fascination with sport and competition. It could be that the examples I’m looking at are of little […]

Google Listens

The University of Chicago’s Wisdom Research website is presently featuring a news report about an 87 year old Zen Master who has been asked by Google execs to help  bring a sense of humanity back into their corporate work culture. According to an article in The Guardian, doors are opening for this elderly Buddhist monk […]

Personal Outcomes

David , the shepherd, musician, soldier king of Israel wrote a song with 175 verses that celebrated the teaching of his God–in the words of Moses. In his last verse he sang with words that must have been more lyrical than our English, “I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I […]

A Personal Word

When I began the last post saying, “Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners” I was writing from my heart, and from personal experience. I […]

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

Today in the United States we do what people of every nation do. We honor those who have given their lives for our own. As we do, we answer one of the most important questions ever asked: What do we owe those who paid the ultimate price for their own land and people? In the […]

Hope for Marwa’s World

Marwa was 12 years old, frightened by the wail of air raid sirens and deafened by the concussions of falling bombs. Desperate to do something, anything to escape the terror and confusion, she grabbed her 8 year old sister Adra, and together they began to run. With nowhere to go, they ran, chased by the […]

Notes on a Diplomat

Last night I had a chance to hear a lecture hosted by our regional World Affairs Council. The speaker was an articulate member of the international diplomatic core who walked us through the complex issues of: Rhetoric and reality—the difference between what is said and done. Interests vs values—the tendency to act in the interpretation […]

Newtown

The Newtown, Connecticut, killing of 20 children and 6 adults once again raises mind-numbing questions. As is the case of any premature death, or tragic loss, there are no adequate  answers for the grief and anger that follow. No attribution of mental illness, social pathology, cultural storming, demonizing, or finger-pointing can begin to fill the […]

Norway’s Trial of the Century

In July of 2011, a 33-year-old Norwegian bombed an Oslo government building and then gunned down scores of guests at a Labor Party youth camp. Seventy-seven people died, and many more were injured. Prior to the attacks, the young gunman wrote a lengthy manifesto titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. In chilling detail, he […]

The Work that Consumes Us

Labor can mean many different things: 1.  The pain women endure to be the bearers of life. 2.  The work done to bring in a harvest. 3.  The history of workers standing together against unfair practices. Freely chosen, it can be the source of some of our greatest joys. Forced, or withheld,  it can break […]

Gold for Claressa and Flint

Never thought I’d find myself choking back cheers of joy watching a 17 year old girl box her way to Olympic Gold. But that’s what happened last night as I watched Claressa Shields beat an opponent almost twice her age. Wasn’t raised to anticipate celebrating a woman boxer even though I was raised to read […]

Debt and the Story of Human History

A column in the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy responded to the S & P’s downgrading of US Credit rating with an article called “How Debt Has Defined Human History”. Author, David Graeber, describes how ancient civilizations developed elaborate systems to manage credit and debt. He maintains that such systems depended on the insistence that there […]

Being a Man

Some of King David’s last words were a challenge to his son. To Solomon, who would inherit the throne, he said, “Take courage and be a man” (1 Kings 2:2 nlt). What was this father saying? What did his son hear? Just as importantly, what do we hear in those words? Thousands of years later, […]

Bin Laden, Tornadoes, and Tsunamis

Today US forces are claiming victory in the death of Osama Bin Laden. His body, according to government forces, has been buried at sea. The New York Daily News is marking the event  with the headline  “ROT IN HELL”. Yet, for all of the celebratory drinks that will be downed today, and as good and […]

Can Authority be Abused?

Can the authority God gives be misused? The question may seem, at best, like a no-brainer. How else can we explain corruption of power or the evil things people do in the name of God? But I’m increasingly convinced that it’s important to carefully weigh the difference between God-given authority, strength, power, and freedom. Here […]

What if We’re Wrong?

In many ways, followers of Christ emphasize the importance of being right—even to a fault. But there is at least one area in which this pattern doesn’t seem to hold. Although there are more options, let’s consider three approaches to the way we view the prophetic teaching of Scripture: The first group is inclined to […]

Our Losses in the Gulf

It has been over a month since the loss of 11 men and the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Within another day we will hear whether BPs “Top Kill” attempt will be successful. While the loss of even one human life is immeasurable, the sight of fouled marshes, […]

We Have This Day

I’ve been thinking lately about inviting a guest blogger from time to time to give us a change of pace and some different perspectives to think about. So please welcome Mike Wittmer. He’s one of our regular bloggers at Our Daily Journey. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a few of his posts […]

Breaking the Cycle

I’ve been thinking lately about inviting a guest blogger from time to time to give us a change of pace and some different perspectives to think about. So please welcome Mike Wittmer. He’s one of our regular bloggers at Our Daily Journey. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a few of his posts […]

Adoption Option

I’ve been thinking lately about inviting a guest blogger from time to time to give us a change of pace and some different perspectives to think about. So please welcome Mike Wittmer. He’s one of our regular bloggers at Our Daily Journey. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be featuring a few of his posts […]

Noah’s Ark and Gulf Waters

For the last few days, I’ve been watching two developing news stories that are both difficult for me to absorb. One is the disaster in the gulf that claimed at least 11 lives and now threatens the ecosystems, economy, and quality of life of our Gulf Coast. Can’t imagine what it will mean if the […]

Jesus and Health Care

I have no interest in using this space to argue the partisan issues or perspectives of the current national health care issue. What I would like to talk with you about is whether fair and affordable health care for everyone is something that followers of Christ should be concerned about. Are we responding with the […]

Jerusalem Journal

On arriving in the Middle East my cab driver said that he used to be on “the left.” But said he had come to the conclusion that Arab and Jewish people would never be able to live together. Later an Israeli friend said, regarding peace, “The United States has been the savior of the world.” […]

A Christmas Discussion During Hanukkah

Last night Jewish people began lighting candles around the world in their annual celebration of Hanukkah. This morning an article in the Dallas Morning News says that two pastors of the Episcopal denomination are expected to draw hundreds, at 10 dollars a ticket, to their discussion of whether Christ is the only way to God. […]

Care and Convictions

Our “Good Conversation” has surfaced a couple of points that I think are very important. None of us want our moral advocacy, political involvement, or lack of political involvement to indicate a lack of concern for others. In fact, we probably would all like to believe that we support political action or inaction based on […]

Blasphemy Day

An online CNN article yesterday recognized the first organized “Blasphemy Day.” Marked by the slogan “Nothing is Sacred,” and part of a “Campaign for Free Expression, the day was set to coincide with the 5th anniversary of a Danish’ newspaper’s publication of cartoons that so offended followers of Islam. The sponsoring group claims 100,000 international […]

This is Not Normal!

NPR’s All Thing’s Considered host Madeleine Brand recently did an interview with Forest Whitaker, the executive producer of a 5 part video documentary called “Brick City.” The series tells the story of Mayor Cory Booker’s attempt to restore safety and security to the streets of Newark, New Jersey. Part of the interview includes an emotional […]

Work and Rest

Labor Day weekend marks the symbolic end of summer, back to school, back yard barbecues, and the beginning of the college and professional football season. This year some of us might also get a chance to catch a few holes of the rain-delayed end of the PGA Deutsche Bank Championship Golf tournament, or see if […]

The Money Drug

A recent online NPR article summarizes some provocative research on the emotional and physical impact of money. According to a report by David Kestenbaum titled Study: Your Brain Thinks Money is a Drug, researchers report their surprise in discovering that, “Counting money — just handling the bills — can make things less painful.” The article […]

Paperless Spirituality?

Sony Corporation came out this week with the announcement of two new E-readers that it hopes will mount a formidable challenge to Amazon’s Kindle (paperless book). According to an Information Week article, the handheld electronic readers will be able to store about 350 books with a two week battery life. The announcement leads me to […]

Clunker Rebates

There’s something about the “cash for clunkers” economic stimulus that I find inspiring. Not interested right now in debating the issue of the policy’s wisdom. Am just intrigued with the idea that buyers are able to get a 3,500 to 4,500 dollar cash rebate for a gas hog … while helping car companies lower their […]

Beer Summits and the Bible

As I’ve read the news reports on the President’s meeting with police Sergeant James Crowley and Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates, I’ve been interested in the different responses. The highly charged racial implications around the event that prompted the arrest of Professor Gates, together with  the public debate that followed, showed how quickly each of […]

In the Name of Jesus

In the public trauma of 911, religious leaders gathered for an interfaith public prayer service. While Muslim clerics prayed for the United States in the name of Allah, some Christian leaders did not begin or end their prayers in the name of Jesus. I remember a well known author and pastor who, in a 2002 […]

Discouraged Workers, Unemployment, and Faith

In April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate stood at 8.9%. Among the states, Michigan currently stands at 12.9%, still leading the nation’s unemployment rate for 28 consecutive months. Neither number reflects “discouraged workers” who according to the Bureau of Labor are not looking for work because they believe there […]

Remembering the Fallen

On Dec 23, 2006, three Michigan soldiers died when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations in Salman Pak, Iraq. Spc. Chad J. Vollmer, 24, of Grand Rapids; Pfc. Wilson A. Algrim, 21, of Howell; and Pvt. Bobby Mejia II, of Saginaw paid the ultimate price in the service of our […]

Notre Dame, Obama, and Abortion

President Obama’s speech yesterday at the University of Notre Dame, together with the decision of Chief Justice David Souter to retire from the Supreme Court, will heat up the abortion issue this week. Followers of Christ will once again find ourselves in the middle of a debate that will test our wisdom. It will test […]

Marital Authority

One of our goals at RBC (the publishers of Our Daily Bread) is to attach authority to no more or no less than the necessary implications of the Bible.  I don’t find that easy to do. Seems  so hard to avoid reading more into the Bible than out of it (by treating possible implications as […]

A Surprisingly Strong Woman

In my last post I said that I find it interesting that Job shows up in the time of Abraham, apparently outside of Israel, with such Jesus-like  social conscience. Find a similar description of an ideal woman that comes from a time when men were expected to rule their homes, and when daughters and wives […]

Marriage in the Balance

The lengthy discussion that followed my  weekend post  on “The Bible and Marital Submission” shows what a difficult problem this is for those of us who share a deep and conservative commitment to the Bible as the Word of God. I posted on the subject again because I’ve seen how often churchmen claim and misuse […]

Marital Submission and the Bible

Since our last discussion on men and women I’ve spent a lot more time thinking, studying, talking to co-workers, and trying to make progress with a problem that I believe creates confusion among ourselves and misunderstanding in those who are not yet followers of Christ. I realize that by coming back to the subject of […]

Talk Radio

Whether the issue is stem cell research, health care, or the economy, my hunch is that more than a few of us are getting our own talking points by listening to those who make a living attacking rather than listening to, or trying to find common ground with, their political opponents. Is it possible that […]

Slavery and the Bible

As a follow-up to our discussion about interpreting and applying the Bible to a changing world, let’s look at the way the church has re-focused its view of the Bible and slavery. Looking back, we now see the inhumane and horrendous nature of the abduction-and-racially-based slave trade supported by many church members for a significant […]

Ruth and the Economy

Economic crisis is the setting of the story of Ruth in the Old Testament.  A famine in Israel, during the difficult, dark days of the Judges, prompted a Jewish family to leave their home in Bethlehem and move to the land of Moab. Ironically, Bethlehem means “house of bread”. These were  extreme times. To make […]

Ruth and Our View of the Poor

In the studio today, our Discover the Word conversations focused on the laws of Moses that required land owners to leave some of their harvest for the poor and the stranger (Lev 19:9-10; Deut 24:19-22). Those laws help to explain why Ruth, a Moabite woman was allowed to gather stalks of barley left by harvesters […]

Elephant Seals and Us

On a recent 40th anniversary trip to the West Coast my wife, Di, and I saw one of the most amazing sights. Just north of San Simeon on the Pacific Coast we caught these pictures of an elephant seal birthing and breeding colony. Couldn’t believe the sights and sounds. All ages of males fighting in […]

A House Divided

On one occasion, Jesus reminded his listeners that “a house divided will not stand” (Mark 3:25). In another setting, he said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, […]

Neighborhoods Consider Printing Local Money

Saw an interesting news report this morning that talked about neighborhoods that are considering printing their own money. Erika Slife of the Chicago Tribune.com writes, “Residents from the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Riverwest and East Side are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss printing their own money. The idea is that the local cash could be […]

Women in High Places

As President-elect Obama formally announces his national-security team later today, news reports predict that he will appoint several women to top posts. Former rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, will replace outgoing Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State; former Security Council Member and Assistant Secretary of State, Susan Rice, will be his choice for US Ambassador to […]

Second Thoughts About Giving Thanks

There’s a down side to public expressions of thanksgiving. It’s one thing to privately thank our God for what he gives us individually. It’s also only right that we would publicly, within the appropriate circle, thank him for what we share together. As we saw in our last conversation, acting as if we are entitled […]

What Do Evangelicals Really Want?

What if followers of Jesus won every election for leadership and public policy? What if, in the process, we collectively earned a reputation for being a decent and honest people? What if we were universally regarded, not as self-righteous, money-loving, hypocrites, but as faithful, sincere advocates of personal and social morality? What if all of […]

A Conversation About Faith and Economic Uncertainty continued…

I’ve been deeply moved, as have many others, by reading your personal responses to the post on “Personal Economics and Uncertainties,” Here’s one I thought I’d bring forward, as a post. innkeeper says: With the colorful foliage falling down in rural Maine, the deepset poverty and desperation is visible just driving down most roads. Mile […]

Personal Economics and Uncertainties

Although I want to keep our conversation going about “emerging churches” and “emerging problems,” have a question this morning about how the present economic downturn is affecting us as individuals and as a group? Wondering if as many of us as possible would give a quick comment about any of the material, emotional, or spiritual […]

Bi-Partisan Citizenship and Communion

One of the most memorable church services I ever attended was a communion service preceded by a message on a controversial war. A young pastor began by honoring those members of the congregation who had family members or friends serving in our country’s military. Then he paid an equal tribute to those within the church […]

A Political What-if?

What if everyone who confessed to being a follower of Christ would agree to, and then to comply with, the following terms of political engagement? To avoid denying our citizenship in the kingdom of God, and to reflect well on the real Leader of our lives, We will be so committed to truth telling that […]

Jesus and the Fed

Last Wednesday, the front page of our local newspaper declared, “In the Fed we Trust…bailout of insurance giant aims to stabilize quaking global economy.” Then came the bad news. Behind closed doors, Washington lawmakers got enough of a wake-up call to prompt a rare bi-partisan agreement. All said that without urgent Federal intervention, national and […]

Jesus and Tolerance

Someone has said, “Wise are those who look at others with the same generosity they offer themselves, and, at themselves, with the same critical eye they have for others.” Such advice is difficult to disagree with because it amounts to treating others the way we’d want to be treated. But just because the “golden rule” […]

On the Seventh Anniversary of 9/11/2001

Most of us remember where we were when we first heard that a commercial airliner had crashed into one of the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Today we reflect, as best we can, on the immeasurable pain of those who lost one of the 2751 victims from 90 countries. We remember the […]

Conversations in an Empty Warehouse

Yesterday I mentioned that we are working on some video and web-based programs that tell the stories of some courageous men who have been willing to talk about their escape from pornography. The men told their stories in an empty warehouse that provides a visual backdrop for the lonely, secret obsession that had been consuming […]

PGA Practice and the Basics

Went with my son and daughter-in-law to a practice round of the PGA Championship that finishes up this weekend in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I think what impressed me the most was seeing how far these players hit the ball. While watching them on television give a sense of the amazing touch they show from sand […]

A Declaration of Dependence

Manifestos declare revolutionary ideas. The Communist Manifesto of 1848 called for the redistribution of wealth. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517 affirmed salvation by faith alone, and the 13 colonies’ Declaration of Independence in 1776 made a case for citizens’ right of revolt. The most revolutionary declaration of all, however, was the first-century preamble to […]

Response to a Good Natured Challenge

Overnight we got a tongue-in-cheek comment/question from a friend in the UK.  It came in the form of a fairly long note, but raises an important question. So I’m going to copy the comment here, break it after a few lines, and then let you read and respond to the rest of the comment. The […]

Praying on a Rising River

Earlier this morning I bumped into a friend at the coffee shop. Asked me if I had a couple of minutes. Told me that his wife was diagnosed last week with brain cancer. Said they were praying for a miracle. As I replay the brief conversation in my mind and try to imagine what he […]

The Voting Booth

As the last two US Democratic primaries are held today in South Dakota and Montana, I’ve been thinking again about the different ways followers of Christ enter a voting booth. During the course of this lengthy election process, with far more to come, it’s been clear that some of us believe we have an obligation […]

Who Gets into the Kingdom of God?

Like Jesus, the Apostle Paul sets high standards for entering the kingdom of God. In his first letter to the Corinthians he writes: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites…will inherit the kingdom of […]

Jesus and Sodom

No one could rightly accuse Jesus of having low standards. But he was accused in his day of being “a friend of sinners.” Religious leaders of the lakeshore community of Capernaum, for instance, would have criticized Jesus if he had befriended the kind of people who once lived on the shores of the Dead Sea, […]

Jerusalem and Sodom

None of us can afford to call good bad, or bad good. The prophet Isaiah says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and […]

The "H" Factor

Like pride, the closets of humility are filled with different hats and clothes for different occasions. Popular opinion regards it as a doormat personality, and maybe even pride in disguise. Yet our books of common language describe it as the kind of realistic view of ourselves that is necessary to share the pain or joys […]

Myanmar's Second Disaster

As authorities in China mobilize relief efforts in the catastrophic aftermath of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, the plight of cyclone devastated Myanmar is growing. According to an AFP news agency article, the United Nations is warning that Myanmar is now facing an even greater disaster that could push the death toll far beyond the current […]

The Story and Struggle of Marriage

In first century Greek, Roman, and Jewish society, a man was the master of his house. Wives lived under the rule of their husbands and were expected to submit to them. So when the Apostle Paul, in his New Testament letters, encouraged wives to submit to their husbands, those words would not have been unusual. […]

Evangelical Manifesto

A document and declaration signed by 80 evangelical leaders has hit the press this week. You can find the full text on the web at this link. I’ll copy a brief excerpt from it below. See what you think: “…Today… we wish to stand clear from certain positions in public life that are widely confused […]

Myanmar Ohhhh Myanmar

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia. But on Saturday, her pain and poverty were multiplied beyond measure. A 120 mph cyclone, now being called one of the most disastrous storms in history, created a 12 foot tidal wave that, in the words of one survivor, “jumped out […]

Beyond Global Warming

I’m not a tree hugger, forgot about Earth Day on April 22, don’t know whether global warming is a natural or man-made phenomena, and believe that people are far more important than animals. I see the danger of thinking that our well-being depends more on our respect for Mother Earth than on our Father in […]

Jesus and Washington

Imagine Jesus in Washington. Picture him interacting with Senators and Representatives in the chambers of the Capital rather than walking with a group of fishermen on the shores of Galilee. Who would doubt that his conversations with Republican, Democratic, and Independent leaders would sound more like timeless wisdom than political spin? Who could imagine him […]

Political or Prophetic?

I grew up in the Midwest during the 1950s and got my introduction to the civil rights movement on a small black and white television set. But I don’t ever remember hearing a word in church about the plight of Southern African Americans. In my world, “conservative” churches stood for the gospel of Christ’s death […]

White Flag

Do you have just a minute? I’ll keep this short. I have a question I want to ask you? How can we possibly come together around the issues that divide us? There’s so much we increasingly disagree about. Yet that is a thought that set up me up for one of the most memorable experiences […]

Politically Correct

I’ve been watching the way some of us use the phrase politically correct to characterize the other side in an issue of public debate. As I understand it, many of us use the term PC to refer to the social pressure we feel to accept and respect groups that we think should be opposed or […]

Hate Crimes (2nd of 2)

Hate crimes have a long history. Followers of Christ living under the Caesars were victims of torture and death. So were Jews under the Third Reich, Native Americans in the land of their birth, and Africans who were kidnapped, sold into slavery, used, bred, and traded like domestic animals. By nature, hate crimes are contrary […]

Hate Crimes (1st of 2)

I’ve been noticing the way some followers of Christ are resisting and speaking out against hate crime laws. One religious trade group reasons that, “‘Hate Crimes’ legislation would have a harmful ‘chilling effect’ on the religious freedoms of … Christian ministries to communicate the whole counsel of God on such subjects as false religious doctrines […]

The Submission Riddle

When does the absence of submission double its meaning? I learned something this week that has carried with me into the weekend. Let me see if I can put in words a thought that I find compelling. In the ongoing debate about the role of husbands and wives, we’ve probably all heard both sides of […]

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, by continuing to use this site you agree to this. Find out more on how we use cookies and how to disable them.