Archives For politics

Homosexuality and the Christian

Homosexuality and the Christian by Mark A. Yarhouse (Bethany House)

We’re beginning an occasional series of short book reviews, written by guest writers, on topics relevant to Christians in the academy. The following review is by Tim, a professor at a small private college. Thank you, Tim! If you’d like to contribute a book review, please get in touch. ~ Mike

This year has seen homosexuality in the news more than usual. In March, Vanderbilt University began prohibiting student groups from requiring officers to sign a statement of beliefs, following a homosexual student’s complaint1 In May, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden endorsed same-sex marriage. In June, Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the largest Christian group focused on ministering to homosexuals, said he no longer considers it helpful to counsel homosexuals to try to “change” to become heterosexual. In June, comments about homosexuality made by Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-Fil-A, were made into front-page news, and stoked rallies of support and protest around the nation.

In view of this ongoing issue which is relevant to us Christian academics, I recently had the opportunity to read Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends by Dr. Mark Yarhouse and also to hear him explain his research in person. I greatly appreciated his thoughts, and wanted to provide a short review of his book to encourage others to read it also. Continue Reading…

Jordan J. Ballor, Research Fellow with Acton Institute and Executive Editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality

This summer, I posted a link to the Acton Institute‘s Calihan Fellowship on the ESN Facebook Page without really thinking much besides, “Oh, here’s some grant money for someone out there.” I never expected that it would lead to the most vigorous conversation to date on our Facebook Page, ranging from disagreements about the Acton Institute in particular to broader issues of politics, academia, and theology. This certainly caught my attention, since ESN, in general, doesn’t host all that many internal controversies. Jordan J. Ballor, Research Fellow with the Acton Institute and Executive Editor of their Journal of Markets & Morality, also noticed the online conversation, and, with Tom Grosh’s help, he and I were able to connect and set up this Q&A with him about the Acton Institute.

Free subscription: Additionally, Jordan has generously offered a 2-year complimentary digital subscription to the Journal of Markets & Morality for student members of ESN and student readers of the ESN blog. To take advantage of this offer, email Assistant Editor Dylan Pahman to set up your online account, which also includes access to the two most recent issues.

Thank you to Jordan for  his time and willingness to correspond.


Mike Hickerson: How did you come to be involved with the Acton Institute?

Jordan Ballor: I was introduced to Acton through one of the programs for future religious leaders during my time as a student at Calvin Theological Seminary. I attended a “Toward a Free & Virtuous Society” conference in Techny, Illinois, in 2002. These “TFAVS,” as they are called in the office, are intensive weekends of 15-20 seminarians and graduate students, introducing them to the relationship between economics and faith. Upon my return to Grand Rapids, I realized that this was precisely the sort of place that I wanted to work, so I applied for an internship at Acton. It was a good fit for me, in part because I was focusing on an academic career in theology rather than a pastoral calling, so I was looking for a place that I could do write and do research. After some time as an intern, I took on a regular part-time position as I continued graduate study, and eventually took a full-time position last June (2010) as research fellow and executive editor of the Journal of Markets & MoralityContinue Reading…

Memorial Day Parade

Mike's niece, two of her friends, and the mayor of Elsmere, KY, take part in another political ritual: the small-town Memorial Day parade. (FYI - none of them are up for election today.)

Today is Election Day in the United States. How are you voting? I don’t mean for which candidate or party are you voting, but how are you voting? Enthusiastically? Reluctantly? Cynically?

During this election season, I have been reading (very slowly) through the book of Jeremiah — not because of an intentional connection to politics, but because our Faculty Ministry team has been took a close look at Jeremiah 29 over the summer, particularly God’s word to Judah as the Babylonians were about to take the nation into exile:

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because it prospers, you too will prosper. (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

In the book of Jeremiah, we see a mix of the spiritual and the secular. It’s impossible to draw strong distinctions between “religious” and “secular” categories. Jeremiah’s prophecies of judgment relate to the political and military forces at work in Judah and the region, and the above command from God deals largely with “secular” concerns: housing, food, children, family.

On one level, these words of God must have been very encouraging. It meant they weren’t going to die; they were going to have children; they would have some semblance of a normal life once the siege and exile was over. They would even be able to pray to the Lord, instead of being forced to adopt the religion of the Babylonians. Continue Reading…