Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a Facebook group discussing the soon-to-be released book by Ken Wytsma, The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege. The group was called “The Myth of Equality: An Honest Dialogue on Privilege.” As I read through a number of the author’s posts, and the subsequent conversations they spun off, I realized two things: first, that most of those who were part of the group and commenting were already predisposed toward the author’s perspective (which probably explains why they were interested in the group in the first place; full disclosure: I am not), and second, that those who disagreed were not well received. Predictably, the group became a mini groupthink, or, if we prefer modern parlance, an “echo chamber.” Continue reading “Beware of “Honest” Conversations”
On the eve before the 2016 presidential election, America is simultaneously expectant and exhausted. This election cycle has felt longer than most because of the character of the front-runners, their dirty campaigns, and the myriad of questions their candidacies have sparked. I have already voted, but I’m not here to debate that; if you know me, you know where I stand on this issue. Instead, I want to pause and step back, and consider a more foundational issue for American Christians who want to be politically informed and engaged, but who are struggling to understand the relationship between their religious beliefs and their American citizenship.
In the course of researching for my Master’s level thesis this semester I have run into the consistent idea from Christians and biblical scholars that America today is in many ways the equivalent of the Roman Empire of antiquity.  This is almost invariably presented as a negative thing, as the distasteful – and even evil – aspects of the Roman Empire are discussed in conjunction with America’s beliefs, domestic policies, and worldwide influence. Since my thesis is focusing on Jesus’ teachings about and encounters with the Roman Empire of the first century, I have had the opportunity to wrestle with contemporary application that applies anti-imperial rhetoric in the New Testament to empire-like states and entities today. Continue reading “Is America the Roman Empire Redux? Cultural Hermeneutics in the Spotlight”
Note: this post was previously entitled “Thoughts on the Upcoming 2014 State of the Union Address.” I’ve changed it to a more generic title since I consider the issues discussed below still to be pertinent to current events.
Anyone who follows politics knows that President Obama will be giving his annual State of the Union Address tonight (Tuesday, January 28th). After hearing through the social media grapevine what the President might talk about, and after doing a little research myself, I thought I would jot down a few preliminary thoughts about what President Obama is most likely going to emphasize in tonight’s speech. Continue reading “Soundings on the American Economy”
Disclaimer: I originally wrote this article the second week of September, right when the Syrian crisis was dominating news headlines and generating considerable debate and tension through the nation. I’ve put off publishing it until now for three reasons: (1) I hadn’t finished the last section and due to the start-up of the semester, I had other work to do; (2) I wanted to see how the conflict and possible U.S. involvement would unfold; and (3) I wanted to allow myself time to reflect on my words so that I didn’t say anything that was too hurried or brash.
The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 and has been raging for over two years. Most Americans have been aware that the conflict was going on, but until recently little attention or public debate was focused upon it. However, a little over three weeks ago [read: 7 weeks now], on August 21, there was reportedly a chemical attack upon the Syrian people and rebel groups by the Assad regime. Continue reading “President Obama, The Syrian Crisis, and Presidential War Powers: The Making of a Modern-Day Cincinnatus Charlatan”