Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Around the Blogosphere: A Round-up of Interesting Posts

The Big Daddy Weave (i.e., Baylor grad student, Aaron Weaver), who is a major source of news for all things Baptist, at least in the United States, has posted a history and evaluation of my small, progressive denomination, The Alliance of Baptists.  Aaron identifies more with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, i.e., the “mainstream” of non-fundamentalist (mostly white) Baptist life in the U.S. South. So, this is a perspective from a sympathetic outsider, rather than an insider’s view.  That’s helpful to have,  from time to time.

Earlier, BDW had a great post on the Progressive National Baptist Convention’s call for an end to the Iraq and Afghanistan war at its annual convention. The PNBC, a mostly African-American denomination which grew out of the Civil Rights movement, asserted its identity as a “peace church” or “peace convention,” although different in style from the “historic peace churches” of Mennonites, Quakers,  and the Church of the Brethren.

Fresh off a jaunt to Chicago to join with others in serious conversation with the theology of Jurgen Moltmann, Bob Cornwall,  gives a great review of Moltmann”s spiritual  autobiography, A Broad Place.  Cornwall, a Disciples of Christ pastor in Michigan (trained as a church historian), has also begun a series of sermon’s to his congregation on their core values.  He posts the first, which I think  is of interest to more than his congregation (or even to Disciples of Christ), called  “A Life of Compassion.”  Bob’s blog, Ponderings on a Faith Journey, is worth reading on a regular basis.

Derrick Crowe, peace blogger at Return Good for Evil, has had a series of posts analyzing the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan that are excellent. In fact, I wish I could get the White House, Congress, and the State Dept. to read and take them seriously. We are going into the death spiral quagmire that we trod before in Vietnam with Afghanistan–and it could do to Obama’s presidency what Vietnam did to LBJ. More importantly, the path we are on is bad for the people of Afghanistan and there are other responses, rooted in the practices of just peacemaking, that could lead to different outcomes–not easily, perhaps, but with greater chance for success than our counter-insurgency efforts. 

Other good analysis on Afghanistan and much else related to our many wars can be found at The Quaker’s Colonel, the blog of retired Col. Dan Smith, who now works for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the  public interest lobby of U.S. Friends/Quakers.

Mike Broadway, Professor of  Theology and Ethics at Shaw University Divinity School, who blogs at Earth As It Is In Heaven, lists Reasons for Healthcare Reform.  See also his story on war resistance in, of all places, Killeen, Texas!

At Inhabitatio Dei, Halden  Doerge reprints a “Creed for the Modern Church.” Humorously modelled on the Nicene Creed of ancient Christian consensual orthodoxy, this modern creed shows how the contemporary church (at least in the U.S.) has substituted faith in Laissez-faire capitalism for faith in the Triune God of historic Christianity. This needs to be widely reprinted.

Ben Myers of Faith and Theology and Cynthia Nielsen of Per Caritatem have been having a debate over the usefulness of human rights language and their connections to Calvin, Hobbes, and Malcolm X. Cynthia asked me to participate, but I’ve been down this road so many times that I am reluctant to repeat myself. I gave a paper in the  mid ’90s that was published in the  Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (which has now become the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics) that showed that the communitarian claim that rights language is completely individualistic, destroys  moral communities,  and stems completely from the Enlightenment–are all historically mistaken.  I don’t know if I have the energy to repeat, for what seems like the thousandth time, the corrections I made in “Setting the Record Straight:  Christian Faith, Human Rights, and the Enlightenment.”  For now, see Ben’s initial post here, Cynthia’s reply here, and Ben’s rejoinder here.  I might contribute to the debate  this weekend, simply because Cynthia  asked me.

On Sub Ratione Dei, you can find an excellent review of the new book defending a contemporary Anabaptist peace theology, Defenseless Christianity by J. Denny Weaver and Gerald Besiecker-Mast.  I have this book on order, partly because of my respect for Weaver’s previous work, and partly because of this review.

By the way, the healthcare “debate” in the U.S. has included lots of lies by Republicans (and some by Democrats) about the national healthcare systems of other nations, including Canada, the U.K., New Zealand, Australia.  These programs are wildly popular in their home countries, including by political conservatives, and has led to outraged defense of these programs by the people being smeared. (Unfortunately, just as we were healing U.S. relations with the rest of the world, this has begun a new round of anti-Americanism as even Conservative parties are distancing themselves both from their counterparts among U.S. Republicans and from the mild reforms contemplated by Obama and the Democrats.)  Here is one spirited defense of Australia’s national health insurance by Byron Smith at Nothing New Under the Sun.  These kinds of outraged responses to the lies in the U.S. can be found all over the world.

Well,. that’s what’s new around the blogosphere, Gentle Readers.

September 14, 2009 Posted by | blogs | 6 Comments