You may recall that in early October, before the book’s release, I shared an excerpt on common grace along with the book’s trailer.
Keller was on Morning Joe this morning discussing the book, something I’d been hoping would happen (earlier interviews on the show about his other books, like this one, have always impressed me). Here’s today’s clip:
Machu Picchu, 100 years later
There’s a gooddeal of fanfare surrounding the 100 year anniversary of the “discovery” of Machu Picchu in Peru… though, of course, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that local farmers had found it earlier and their ancestors had built the thing hundreds of years before that. But nonetheless, it’s great to see it celebrated. It’s a place I’d really love to visit someday.
New monastics in USA Today
The new monasticism movement got some publicity in USA Today recently, which may or may not be deserved, depending on who you ask, but it’s a small Christian movement worth watching:
They aren’t a commune, but they live in community. They are motivated by faith, but they attend different churches. They want to help the homeless, so they bought an apartment complex. They are new monastics, dedicated to helping the poor, sharing resources and caring for creation… New monasticism focuses on leading a communal life of Christian fellowship and engagement with the “other America” — the homeless, immigrants, prisoners and the poor. While new monasticism does not demand personal poverty, it does typically mean sharing resources. It also attempts to break away from consumerism. These communities are located all over the country, normally in poor areas of a city, with an intention to engage the community in revitalization.
After the miracle of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington came the killings of JFK, Bobby Kennedy and King himself. That overlapped the ugliness of Vietnam, which overlapped the ugliness of Watergate. Then came the Pardon, Malaise, Iran-Contra, the Shutdown, Impeachment and the election of 2000. Then 9/11, Enron, Iraq, WMD’s, Katrina, Lehman Brothers and scores of other events that could have sapped our nation’s strength. But regardless of the latest ramblings from the America-is-in-Decline crowd, I assure you that we will be just fine. As Walter Russell Mead recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, the United States of America is better positioned to excel in the 21st Century than any nation on earth. And why should that surprise anyone?
Enjoying America for What It Is
While we’re at it, here’s another good reflection for the Fourth, this one by Gideon Strauss from the Center for Public Justice. It shouldn’t be controversial, but probably is in some circles:
I want to make the case for loving America as an ordinary country. Not just-another-country: America is blessed with better-than-most laws and governments and for the time being has greater-than-most international responsibilities. But America is not a unique or even a special country with regard to its relationship with God. America is not to God as Israel was to God from Abraham to Jesus, and it is not to God as the church is to God now.
Preaching St. Francis
Daniel Harrell at Patheos has a wonderful reflection on the significance of the life and example of St. Francis of Assisi, considering the perils of ministry in the 21st century:
Francis lived in an era, like so many, where greed and political power contaminated the church. Christianity became so entangled with culture that it lost all of its bite and ability to inspire anything more than jaded indifference from the pews. Into the midst of this Francis walked, radically committed to a simplicity and humility so stark and so engaging that people could not help want a piece of it. The gospel takes on irrepressible power whenever Christians actually live it out.
Dust storm hits Phoenix
This one goes out to my lovely fiancee Katie and the rest of the Phoenixians I know, whose fine city was swallowed in dust this week. I want to experience one of these someday. Or do I?