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Posted on: 12/22/08:

Loving the Rich

Category: General
Posted by: LBobo

All Too Common Story

“Tom” is a doting father of four kids: 3 boys and one infant daughter. (When Tom’s daughter reaches dating age, dates will need to certainly prove their perseverance with four men to win over.) His three boys are athletic and are all under 14 years of age. So you can imagine and you will be right: Tom is a busy man. I have had the pleasure of teaching Tom at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. He is a great thinker and student. Tom is a repair man/janitor at his church and he drives an old Ford pick up truck; a truck with a large loading bed. Most importantly, Tom suffers from being kind-hearted.

One Friday evening, Tom was asked by a Christian man [a doctor] to load and deliver some tables and chairs early Saturday morning. Tom initially told the doctor that he was busy and had to get his sons to their various athletic contests and did not want to be rushed; so Tom politely said, “No.” However, the doctor insisted and said to Tom, “I’ll make it worth your while.” Tom reluctantly agreed to help this man not because of his “worth while” offer but because Tom is kind-hearted Christian man.

Rising early the next day and alone, Tom made 3 trips loading and transporting tables and metal chairs in his gas guzzling pick up truck. Exhausted and rushed for time, Tom met up with his Christian friend [a doctor] to see how he might make it worth his while only to be given a whopping $50 dollars! Tom was livid but bit his tongue. Need I remind the reader that this was in May 2008 when gas prices were approaching $4 per gallon? After Tom recounted this story to me, I could have screamed, “No, this is injustice!”

The subject of this article is, “How do we love the rich?”

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Category: Politics
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Princeton scholar Cornel West told a capacity crowd at the Neighborhood Theatre that the age of President-elect Obama is starting with a mess.

West joked that America waited until it was in crisis to elect a black president. Escalation of war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq is still out of control, the economy in turmoil, he said.

“Right when things are about to collapse, you hand it over to the black folks,” West said.

Using blues as analogy of black people's struggle in the U.S., West detailed injustices against African Americans. West's speech was a fundraiser for RealEyes Bookstore's annual literary festival. During the talk, West alternated between the cadences of a lecturer, preacher and a rapper as he delivered his wide-ranging message that focused primarily on what it means to be human. He talked about how blacks haven't been treated as humans, but how blacks need to find their calling and be true to it.

On the topic of race, which consumed much of West's talk, he warned that Obama's victory doesn't mean that racism is over.

“Look what happens when a white person votes for a black person. It becomes post-racial,” West said. “Black people been voting for white candidates for decades and decades. It's not post-racial, you're just less racist.”

No president escaped West's fire on Thursday. He railed against President Reagan for ignoring the elderly, the poor and working class. West railed against President Clinton for allowing a climate of greed and the merger of banks that West says helped cause the financial crisis. And of course against President Bush, and what West called an imperial occupation in Iraq.

Although West acknowledged the challenges facing Obama, he didn't spare the president-elect from criticism. West criticized Obama for surrounding himself with people who served under Clinton instead of more progressive thinkers.

“You don't need those old Clintonites. Part of what they did contributed to the crisis,” said West, regarding deregulation and the economic crisis.

The age of Obama is about everyday people, West said. How do we unleash the power of everyday people? He questioned why the government could provide money to the banks, but couldn't give money to homeowners struggling to stay in their homes.

“We want to give him room, we want to give him time,” he said. “There's no doubt he's so much better than McCain, but that's not the point. That's over now.”
Posted on: 12/11/08:

Calvinistic but NOT Reformed

Category: Theology
Posted by: RBAFounderX
Dr. Bradley, professor at Covenant Seminary, has placed finger on one of the perennial disagreements within the Reformed tradition. I wish I could say that I'm surprised, but for many there is an implicit problematic theological commitment -- the spirituality of the church -- that privileges the socio-economic and political capital of a certain group, thus prohibiting efforts towards justice/righteousness (both internal and external to a local church) beyond a Sunday morning sermon and sacraments. And this problem is further compounded within many Black Calvinistic and Reformed churches and literature.

Bradley says:
Over the past month, I had a "aha movement" in several conversations across the country. There are lots of Anglican, Presbyterian and "Reformed" types (both mainline and conservative) who do not have a Reformed worldview--the kind you read about in Al Wolter's book Creation Regained, William Edgar's book Truth in All It's Glory, and Henry Van Til's book The Calvinist Concept of Culture.

There are many folks with Calvinist views of sin and salvation (T.U.L.I.P--God-sin-Christ-faith) but are void of a Reformed view of creation and culture (creation-fall-redemption-consumation)--Keller article. It was a huge "aha moment" that explains a lot. The confessional, doctrinalist, and highly pietist old southern denominational tradition with its emphasis on the church as an alternative community and an escape from culture (Dabney, Thornwell, Turretin) may explain why missionally minded Reformed folks do not find a reference point in those circles. So Edgar, Wolters, and Van Til don't even mention these guys. I wonder why that is? You're just not going to get creation-fall-redemption-restoration from Thornwell, Danbey, Edwards, and the other pietists some are beginning to argue. Does this sound right?

Maybe this explains the absence of an emphasis on the Kingdom or the conflating of the Kingdom with the church?

NOTE: I'm NOT saying that faith and repentance should not be a major emphasis. It should (Eph 2:8-9). But conversion is not an end as we see in Eph 2:10. I dunno...just thinking out loud.

Why fight against slavery, racism, etc. when what really matters, at the end of the day, are your reflections on your own piety. HIV/AIDS, who cares? Keep your kids away from non-Christians at all times.

The slave owning Puritans, like Jonathan Edwards, and the many Puritan slave ship chaplains weren't really burdened by redeeming creation either, I guess. Calvinistic pietism but far from Bavinck or Kuyper. You get piety from Edwards but not redeeming the whole creation, cultural mandate, etc. Right?

Why are some mainline and conservative denominations Calvinistic and not Reformed. I dunno? You can fully embrace T.U.L.I.P and reduce Christianity to individualistic personal piety, withdrawal from culture with a false sacred/secular distinction, confuse the Kingdom with the church, be void of a doctrine of creation, etc. Wow.

This may explain, in part, why so many of my Calvinistic friends read Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper, Henry Van Til, Al Wolters, and others and reject it.

Maybe this explains why many Calvinists have no interest in justice issues, being incarnational in culture, seeing that all of life is spiritual, etc. Somebody oughta do a book on this!!
Category: Politics
Posted by: mac3jimmy
Now that the election is over, and Barack Obama is set to become our first African American president, it may be instructive for the nation to revisit the explosive controversy that almost took down Obama in his quest for this country's highest office.

In the not-so-distant past, the news of Jeremiah Wright, President-elect Obama's former pastor, seemed to be in the headlines without end. Rev. Wright was barely discussed in the media when Sen. Obama disinvited him to stand on the podium as he announced his presidential candidacy. It was apparent then that Obama knew Rev. Wright's presence could be seen in a negative light.

Back then, the young Illinois senator was not perceived as a threat to his Democratic rivals. However, after he won the Iowa Caucus and began racking up primary victories, people began giving him a legitimate chance against Hillary Clinton. It was at this point that Rev. Wright suddenly emerged as an Achilles heel to the Obama campaign.

Thanks to Fox News and conservative bloggers, a 20-second loop of Rev. Wright's sermon following the Sept. 11 attacks was cast in the national light. That message, as well as other old sermons that were unearthed with ferocious zeal, ruminated on the duplicity of the United States as a beacon and defender for democracy, while also being a "perpetrator" of ill will to citizens of color within in our country, as well as in other places throughout the world.

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Posted on: 12/02/08:

The Obama Effect on Publishing

Category: Misc.
Posted by: RBAFounderX
The Obama Effect on Publishing
By Lori L. Tharps

The first time I noticed the question being asked, the victory parties were barely over, tears of joy were still being shed and Oprah continued to vibrate. Inquiring minds in the black literary community really wanted an answer: Would there be an Obama effect in the publishing industry?

People weren't talking about Barack Obama's own books, Dreams from My Father and TheAudacity of Hope, which both sold over 100,000 copies in less than one week after the election. No, the Obama effect that many authors of color, myself included, are hoping for is much more personal. Bernice McFadden, the award-winning author of Sugar and This Bitter Earth, posed the simple question on her blog: "Will a black president help me, a black writer?"

In the past month, those of us who make our living from the written word have started to ponder the possibilities. We are imagining the different ways the incoming president might inspire the overwhelmingly white publishing industry to get a clue about our stories. Obama has proved, after all, that readers of all races and backgrounds can take to non-mainstream literary portraits of the American experience. As McFadden told me: "The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States has shattered the publishers' lame and tired excuse that white readers cannot relate to black literature."

In the world B.O. (before Obama), publishers seemed to operate under the impression that black authors appealed only to black readers. Even worse, that those black readers were interested only in books that involved a lot of sex and ghetto baby-mama drama. For the past decade, support for authors of color with literary ambitions, or even those who just wanted to tell a different kind of story, has been dismal.
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