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 […]

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