I almost never, ever, thank God for setbacks, disappointments, frustrations, and injustices in my life that would let me, for once, see things the way so many people see them all the time. I almost never, ever, reflect on what I have learned from those experiences…except how to do all I can to control the world (!) such that they cannot recur. I have, that is, learned nothing from the Desert Fathers, nothing from Benedict or Francis or the Jesus Prayer mystic, nothing from the Mennonites, nothing from the missionaries or activists or front-line relief & development workers. But Bonhoeffer—like me, a well-educated and successful scion of a physician’s home in a prosperous modern Western society—warns me about, and welcomes me into, a new vantage point from which so much (more) can be learned. Alas, Providence likely will have to teach me the way it taught him: the hard way.
2. Secrets in Guatemalan soil
With the genocide trial against Rios Montt appearing to be nearing its end, PBS NewsHour ran this story about the remarkable men and women who have courageously and carefully uncovered the forensic evidence being used in the historic trial.
3. Prohibiting the free exercise thereof
Last year, the Kuyper Lecture (sponsored by the good people at the Center for Public Justice) was given by Miroslav Volf, who made a compelling case that religious exclusivism provides a solid basis for political pluralism. This year’s lecture was given by Stanley Carlson-Thies, a religious freedom advocate, who challenged the recent HHS contraceptive mandate, arguing:
The government must honor institutional religious freedom, and not just individual religious freedom or freedom of worship. It needs to have a policy of institutional pluralism rather than a policy of uniformity. It should acknowledge a general right for organizations to be distinctive in moral vision and religious conviction and practice, rather than expect moral uniformity with only the occasional exemption.
4. Playing God
If you’re anxious to read Andy Crouch’s (@ahc) forthcoming book (coming this November), you’ll enjoy this short talk he gave last year at Q. The video can’t be embedded, but here’s a blurb:
The word “power” often brings to mind the image of a mighty dictator or rolling tank, marble floors and wealthy exuberance. Power in our world is synonymous with force, violence, and poorly wielded influence. But Andy Crouch believes that power, as described in the words of Jesus, is creative, not coercive. It calls us to restore God’s image in a world full of broken bearers. In this talk, Crouch calls listeners away from a distorted definition of power to one that can change culture for good.
5. Switchfoot’s “The Sound”
I’m looking forward to seeing Switchfoot tonight at Chase Field after the Diamondbacks game. Here’s a favorite song of mine from a few years ago.
[Photo: Focus Forward Films]