Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday miscellaneous (9/21)

Federal spending may be out of control (with President Obama not even sure what the deficit is anymore), but personal use of credit cards is falling.

Despite ours (and his) criticisms of David Barton recently, historian John Fea reminds us that one of Barton’s premises--that signs of Christian influence were scrubbed from school textbooks in the 1960s and 1970s--is largely true.

The Atlantic has an interesting article on Dwight Eisenhower’s leadership strategy.

The Eisenhower leadership style sharply contrasts with what we have come to expect in our celebrity culture and tit-for-tat politics. Eisenhower was never showy or impulsive; he disdained partisanship and always played for the long term. He was patient and calm in the face of uncertainty. He needed to be, for he faced an unpredictable and dangerous foe.

I wrote the other week on the brilliance of Bill Clinton’s DNC speech. This article breaks down why he is so persuasive: “Because he treats listeners as if they are smart.”

This week we celebrated Constitution Day. Take the quiz to see how much you know about this founding document.

Justin Bieber's mom talks about getting pregnant at 18 and how she was pressured to have an abortion. It gives a whole new twist to “Baby, Baby, Baby, OH!” And speaking of abortion, China is backing off using forced abortions to enforce it’s one child policy.

The American Conservative addresses how neither party knows what to do about poverty:

[T]he national pseudo-conversation on politics and poverty seems particularly fruitless. The Republicans don’t seem to be able to deal with questions about poverty and culture in a way that grapples with the complexities of the thing — and neither, of course, do the Democrats. Both sides seem to be all about affirming the preferred narratives of their donor base and voting base.

Conservative Christians like to lament that we’re living in a pagan society. In fact we’re not (but a pagan society might be an improvement).

The pagans, by which I refer to pre-Christian Western man, may have been unwilling to accept that strange doctrine of the Son of Man, but they willingly accepted that they were sons of men. They may not have known how to be Christian, but they knew how to be human. The post-Christian, having left Christ, is in the busy process of altogether leaving Man. With respect to those delivering our daily mail, one might say we are moving increasingly to the Age of the Post-Man.

Think about it: Christianity is still attacked — one would hardly deny the fact — but the Christian today is rarely summoned up to defend the Holy Family. He is instead forever being called to rise to the defense of that Pagan institution, the human family. The fundamentally human idea that a vow is a thing forever kept is an idea weary and battered by divorce. That natural, human understanding that a child is Good is an understanding contracepted from our hearts. That our elders are a hell of a lot more important than ourselves is a thing that must be defended against the cult of progress, the cult of the youth, euthanasia and all the rest. Many fault Christianity for adopting elements of Paganism. I praise it for the same, for that she adopted was well worth keeping.

Is it any surprise that young boys suffer in a “Post-Man” society?

Our churches, meanwhile, are selling out to this very idea of unsustainable “progress” that is neither pagan nor Christian.

And finally, if last week’s video wasn’t enough to make you doubt the banking industry, try this out: 

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