Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ordering from Eerdmans

Here is a "tip" sure enough, especially if you are ordering my new Old Testament book! Eerdmans has a real deal for clergy, churches, and books to be given as gifts. Here is their announcement:

Clergy and churches always receive a 20% discount when you order directly from Eerdmans (1-800-253-7521). Other discounts are available specifically for church libraries (40%), church bookstores (48%) and for books that will be given away as gifts (50%!).

Almost anything from Eerdmans is a good bet. And under these terms, they are practically giving them away.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big day for Tips from the Times

Here is a four-point bulletin from today's NYTimes:

1) I stopped reading Maureen Dowd a long time ago because her snarky tone has become annoying, especially if she is talking about her own Roman Catholic Church. Today, however, the headline "Anne Frank, Mormon" caught my eye. Apparently the Mormons are so determined to baptize everyone that ever lived that they have even baptized Anne Frank. I hate to admit it, but Bill Maher ("Religulous") and Christopher Hitchens ("God Is Not Great"), whom Dowd quotes, seem to have nailed Mormonism more or less correctly. Well, I take that back to some extent--it isn't really fair to harp on the polygamy--but the purported revelations to Joseph Smith (with his golden tablets that so conveniently vanished) really should lay the matter to rest for anyone who cares about the Great Tradition of historic Christianity.

2) The latest in sex education for 11-year-olds is not only hair-raising for social conservatives, it is apparently too much even for Princeton academics. This op-ed piece is remarkable for its balance, care, and analytical precision. Here is the link:

3) and 4)
We have all been reading and hearing reports about the fallout from the Great Recession for a long time now. And most of us have known about it and felt it personally. Today's front page has two articles that seemed, to me this morning, to move us a bit beyond the place where we have been stuck, to encourage us to give serious thought to what an ever-expanding econony means both positively and negatively, and to offer an opportunity to reflect upon what it might be like if Christians seriously applied themselves to being content with less consumption and possession, emphasizing instead friendship, mutual service, growth in faith, nurturing children, mentoring teenagers, caring for elders, planting something, making something, studying something--being content with less, aspiring more to treasures in heaven. Since "things" have been a form of idolatry for me for much of my life, this is a serious proposal. Here are the two links:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you hate "process"?

Have you ever found that steam was coming out of your ears because someone told you that you had to "go through the process"? Are you sick unto death of being told to "trust the process"? (If you have ever been involved in an Episcopal Church search committee, we know that you will understand.)

A movie review by A. O. Scott in Sunday's New York Times explains why "process" is so infuriating, and why it should be resisted whenever possible. This is the first part of the article (the movie reviews that follow are not very interesting so I do not show them.)

In 1988 The New York Review of Books dispatched Joan Didion to report on the presidential election, an assignment that resulted in a classic essay on the modern way of campaigning titled “Insider Baseball.” Over the years that phrase — usually in a snappier, syntactically dubious variation, without the R — has become both a cliché and a cultural principle. “Inside baseball” could be the name of a multimedia genre, a mode of storytelling focused, above all, on that mysterious thing called process.

“When we talk about the process,” Ms. Didion noted, “we are talking, increasingly, not about ‘the democratic process’ or the general mechanism affording the citizens of a state a voice in its affairs, but the reverse: a mechanism seen as so specialized that access to it is correctly limited to its own professionals.”

Today these words sound both prescient and a bit quaint. The mechanism Ms. Didion described — kept moving by interlocking cadres of consultants, pollsters, spin doctors and journalists — continues to distract and perhaps also to alienate the public from the substance of democracy. But the paradoxical appeal of inside baseball as a kind of narrative is that it promises to overcome this alienation through a mock initiation. Those unseen string pullers and manipulators are in possession of the esoteric knowledge that makes the world go around, and if we could glimpse them at their occult labors, we might taste a bit of their power.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Failures of Capitalism

Righteous indignation has its place. Does this make you as furious as it makes me?
(Read all the way to the end to get the whole picture.) ceos&st=cse&scp=1

This is part of the whole spectrum of issues related to the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in the USA. There are no social problems more front and center in the Scriptures than this one.