Friday's News & Ideas

The death of a master combatant in theology and politics, an analogy to Augustine on the Roland Burris controversy, and a question as to whether we can really live without environmental impact (there's no question as to the value of book contracts for those who claim they do).

Rev. R. J. Neuhaus, political theologian, dies at 72

New York Times: The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a theologian who transformed himself from a liberal Lutheran leader of the civil rights and antiwar struggles in the 1960s to a Roman Catholic beacon of the neoconservative movement of today, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 72.

Wall Street Journal: The pro-life movement as the politics of the 1960s

A man with a twofold mission

Washington Post: Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who grew up the son of missionaries in the Philippines, credits his religious upbringing for his success. College On the Record: Tim Tebow's John 3:16 eye black causes an unholy controversy

Roland Burris and St. Augustine

New York Times: In writing about the controversy over Roland Burris, Stanley Fish cites St. Augustine’s contention  that priestly authority derived from the institution of the Church and ultimately from its head, Jesus Christ. Whatever infirmities a man may have (and as fallen creatures, Augustine observes, we all have them) are submerged in the office he holds.

Pastors unaware of church member debt

Lifeway: While almost two-thirds of Southern Baptist pastors have preached on stewardship in the past year, a new study shows that few of those pastors believe members of their congregation have a significant amount of debt -- revealing a serious disconnect with the realities of American family life.

The Spark

Thoreau’s worst nightmare

After 150 years, Walden endures as a monument to frugality, solitude, and sophomore-year backpacking trips. Yet it's Thoreau's ulterior motive that has the most influence today, according to a story in Mother Jones magazine. He was one of the first to use lifestyle experimentation as a means to becoming an author. Recently, with "green living" having grown into a trend, the sons and daughters of Thoreau are thick on the ground. Not many retreat to the woods anymore, but there are infinite ways to circumscribe your life: eat only at McDonald's, live biblically, live virtually, spend nothing. Is it still possible to "live deliberately"? What wisdom do we take away from our postmodern cabins?