01 October 2009

October snippets

  • Three decades later George Perlin's Tory Syndrome has become the "Grit Syndrome" as Canada's Liberal Party continues to implode under Michael Ignatieff's leadership: Liberal rift hurting party, insiders say. Ignatieff's threats to pull the plug on Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government suddenly look less formidable than before. Next election? My guess is 2010 or later, unless Ignatieff has a death wish.

  • Joseph Farah comments on Obama's Judenrein speech. By opposing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, Obama is advocating "ethnic cleansing," as Farah sees it. Here's Farah: "I believe Israel – all of Israel – belongs to the Jews. By definition, it is a Jewish homeland. Unlike its enemies, Israel has always embraced non-Jews within its borders – extending to them full citizenship rights including representation in its legislature." How does this differ from the proposed solution of many Palestinians that the territory between the Jordan and the Mediterranean should be a multi-ethnic democracy? Would Farah agree with Jimmy Carter's proposal? Would not a greater Israel in which all residents had rights of citizenship not eventually lead to Jews becoming a minority in their own state? Someone needs to connect the dots for Farah.

  • Almost 25 years ago I subscribed briefly to the journal of the Mercersburg Society, to which I have paid insufficient attention since. The Mercersburg movement was named for Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where the German Reformed Church in the United States had its seminary in the middle of the 19th century. Two of its faculty, John Williamson Nevin and church historian Philip Schaff, spearheaded an effort within that denomination to recover something of the catholic roots of the Reformed churches, emphasizing, among other things, the place of the institutional church and its means of grace in the lives of believers, the "mystical presence" of Christ in the Lord's Supper, and the need for a prescribed liturgy rooted in the ancient patterns of worship. Contemporary evangelicals need to familiarize themselves with Mercersburg, a school that stands in contrast to the revivalist strain that has dominated their movement since the turn of the 19th century.

  • The health care debate south of the border is bringing out ugly rhetoric on both sides of the partisan aisle. A Democratic Congressman is charging Republicans with wanting Americans to "die quickly" should they become ill. Republican Sarah Palin recently accused Democrats of wishing to set up "death panels" in connection with the President's proposed health care plan. When in doubt about such claims, it it is always best to seek out one of the many websites devoted to determining the truth, such as factcheck.org. It usually turns out that neither side cringes at creatively crafting its own credibility construct.

  • Canada's most prominent imprisoned expat recounts his faith pilgrimage: How I woke up from spiritual slumber and inched at a snail’s pace to Rome, which is excerpted in the National Post. A few surprises are to be found here: First, Lord Black was attracted by the impressive but now vastly diminished edifice of Québec Catholicism, that "endearing blend of idealism and cynicism." Second, John Wesley would be bemused to learn that he was a follower of John Calvin. Third and finally, despite Black's confession, Christians believe considerably more than that "Christ was divinely inspired." There are those little matters of the Incarnation and the Trinity which seem to have escaped him.

  • This is an intriguing development that bears watching: The steady rise of Islamic finance. My question is: what is the difference between rent and interest? Is the islamic mortgage really all that different from its western counterpart?
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