22 November 2021

The True Nature of Freedom

Last week, on 18 November I delivered a lecture for the Society of Christian Scholars titled, The True Nature of Freedom, which can be accessed by clicking on the link or clicking below. Fellow Global Scholar Stephen M. Garrett moderated the lecture and discussion. An excerpt:

Since at least the French Revolution of 1789, authority has acquired a bad reputation, something that French American philosopher Yves R. Simon (1903-1961) explores in his writings. By contrast, I would like to argue that, far from being polar opposites, freedom and authority are integrally connected to each other. Moreover, what we think of as personal freedom is a type of authority. In the real world we are embedded in a network of authorities, all of which work together to enrich our lives. This network provides the backdrop to our lives, and without it we ourselves would scarcely be able to exercise authority.

Watch the lecture and conversation here:

19 November 2021

Christianity and Ideologies

Comment magazine has posted my article on Christianity and Ideologies, with the subtitle, "Embracing the rich diversity of God's world helps us resist distorting it." An excerpt:

Christians, like all of us, are prone to succumb to the temptation to embrace another such story—something that promises earthly salvation on human terms. As such we are not so much living out God’s kingdom in our daily lives as undertaking to build an approximation of that kingdom in our own societies. It is tempting to ascribe redemptive significance to our own fallible goals and policy proposals. Because the regnant ideologies have formulated their own solutions to social ills, and because one cannot simply draw a program of cultural or political renewal straight from the Scriptures, Christians too easily latch onto a ready-made agenda offered by the ideologies, bypassing the hard work of fleshing out the implications of the biblical narrative for our shared life as citizens of a political community. Hence the proliferation of Christian nationalists, Christian socialists, and even Christian Marxists.

Read the entire article here.

17 November 2021

Política (SBNE) conversation

Last evening I was privileged to participate in a conversation with Prof. Marcio Ribeiro of Seminário Bíblico do Nordeste (SBNE) in Carpina, Pernambuco, Brazil, which is about an hour or so from the coastal city of Recife. Click below to watch the discussion.

Na noite passada, tive o privilégio de participar de uma conversa com o Prof. Marcio Ribeiro, do Seminário Bíblico do Nordeste, em Carpina, Pernambuco, Brasil, que fica a cerca de uma hora da cidade costeira de Recife. Clique abaixo para assistir a discussão. 

A propósito, eu poderia facilmente pegar o sotaque nordestino em sua fala. A maioria das minhas conversas é com pessoas das regiões do centro e do sul do Brasil.

15 November 2021

Global Scholars newsletter posted

I have posted my latest Global Scholars Canada newsletter here: NOVEMBER 2021 newsletter. As we approach year's end, please consider making a financial contribution to my work. Thank you!

Face to Face and Side by Side: A Pluriformity of Friendships

Inspired by John von Heyking's recent address on Christian Faith and Friendship in the Academy, I have now published my own reflections in Cateclesia Forum: Face to Face and Side by Side: A Pluriformity of Friendships. An excerpt:

Then we have the “deep” friendships that approach Lewis’s “face-to-face” orientation yet do not quite conform to his understanding of eros. Here the two people take delight not just in their common interests but in each other, bound by a strong mutual affection and care transcending the pub and the sporting arena.

State and Non-state Communities: How Civil Society Contributes to Constitutional Government

On friday, 12 November, I was privileged to address an online gathering sponsored by ReMind Centro de Estudos, hosted by my friend Arthur Loureiro with Vinicius Pimentel serving as translator. The title of my lecture is "State and Non-state Communities: How Civil Society Contributes to Constitutional Government." Clicking on the link will enable you to see the lecture and ensuing conversation.

12 November 2021

Needed reforms

Christian Courier has just posted my monthly column which has a longer title online than in the print edition: Canada’s political institutions need reforms. Subtitle: "Three reforms Canada could make to restore a responsible government." An excerpt:

Efforts to democratize the leader selection process more thoroughly have not really empowered the grassroots, as many would like to see. Instead, they have disempowered the parliamentary caucus, increasing the dominance of the prime minister. The People (with an upper-case P) are too nebulous an entity to exercise effective control over an executive, but a party’s parliamentary caucus is small enough and more intimately associated with its leader to keep him or her in check.

This reality has led to a paradox: an effort to extend the validity of democracy throughout a political system inadvertently contributes to a rise of Napoleonic leadership and an erosion of democracy.

Read the entire article here.

11 November 2021

Brazil update: Oak Centre conversation

My Oak Centre conversation took place 10 November, and I have now posted my PowerPoint presentation here in pdf form: Serving God in a Global Academy: An Update on Brazil. Readers will note that some slides are duplicated with versions in both English and Portuguese, others are in Portuguese only, and others in English only. I have not striven for consistency, as will be evident to anyone. Those acquainted with French, Spanish, or Italian should be able to make sense of the Portuguese slides. Among the items covered in my talk are geography, history, politics, religion, the church's future prospects, and my own visit to the country in 2016.

One item of which few may be aware: some contrarians and historical revisionists believe that Christopher Columbus was actually Portuguese and not Genoese. Interesting notion, to be sure.

'Bible Belt' religion

The term "Bible Belt" usually refers to a swath of territory stretching across the American South and into the Midwest characterized by intense religious loyalties, although sometimes paradoxically associated with low levels of church attendance. It is easy to look down one's nose at Bible Belt religion, although Brandon Meeks expresses appreciation for its impact on his own faith: I Survived (Because of) Bible Belt Religion. An excerpt:

Some time ago, one leading evangelical influencer rejoiced over the decline of “Bible Belt Religion,” commenting that it “made bad people worse.” More recently, another Christian pundit took another swing at the cultural Christianity of the South, one of his favorite punching bags, calling it a form of “toxic religion” that is, at best, an expression of the Faith to be “survived.”

02 November 2021

Keller on justice

The Rev. Tim Keller, retired pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, New York, here offers readers A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory. Keller is not new to reflections on justice, writing about it elsewhere, especially in his book, Generous Justice. In this particular essay, he offers a brief outline of biblical justice, focussing on community, equity, corporate responsibility, individual responsibility, and advocacy for the poor and marginalized.


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