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Mar
03

That Gay Bill in Arizona

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The Internet has no lack of passionate writers opining about the Arizona bill that would have allow businesses to deny service to gay people based on the religious beliefs of the business owner. Though the Arizona governor vetoed the bill, many Christians are still talking about it because similar legislation is brewing (pun intended) in other states. The overwhelming majority of proponents of such laws come from the Religious Right, so below I offer some links that I have found helpful in processing what I believe on such matters. The first three are my favorite.

Keep three things in mind:

  1. The following articles were written by Christians; some will be more aligned with your flavor of Christianity, and some will challenge your beliefs.
  2. Not all viewpoints provided agree with one another or with any authors of LCC.
  3. Do not assume that you are absolutely, positively, 100% correct in your view. Be willing to adjust your thinking, even if only in minor ways.

Rachel Held Evans: Walking the Second Mile: Jesus, Discrimination, and ‘Religious Freedom’

Matt Walsh: Yes, of course a business owner should have the right to refuse service to anyone at anytime for any reason

ReKnew.org (ministry of Greg Boyd; it is unclear if Boyd wrote this article): In the Aftermath of the AZ Anti-Gay Bill

Jonathan Merritt and Kirsten Powers: Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Merritt and Powers received plenty of criticism, to which they responded here: Does the Bible prohibit providing services for same-sex weddings? Theologians weigh in.

[UPDATE: I also came across this article after posting. Enjoy!]

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Jan
27

Is Wealth a Sin?

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Whenever statistics about inequality and the so-called “control of wealth” get published, the Progressive blogosphere goes wild and their social media statuses light up with indignant calls for concern for the poor in the face of “obvious injustice.” Since few people read beyond the headlines and summary paragraphs, and even fewer seek out alternative analyses of the data, the popular meme of “rich get richer, poor get poorer” pervades our world. It is a sad reality that few people think beyond their emotional responses. Read More→

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This article was jointly written by Doug Stuart and Jessica Hooker. See Part 1 here.

Elizabeth Stoker has argued against what she presumes to be the incompatibility of Christianity and libertarianism.  In our first post we examined the first of her three arguments. Here we begin to look at the subject of private property.

2.) Not only does the Bible indicate that God values private property, in it we see God’s desire to see property stewarded for its value to humanity. 

John Locke began his Second Treatise on Government with a comment on property:

“…we must consider what state all men are naturally in, and that is a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit…”

The idea of private property is fundamental to libertarian philosophy and is clearly supported in the Bible.  We find in the book of Exodus the laws God gave the people of Israel as they emerged from Egypt.  This covenant between God and the Israelites ordered justice in their community.  Part of that covenant and establishment of justice included property rights.  Exodus 22 deals solely with laws regarding property—both livestock and land—and also lists the restitution that is required if these laws are violated. While this may be an oversimplification, the concept of property rights was a part of God’s arrangement with Israel in ordering a just society. God expected them to share, yes, but how can one share what is not one’s own? Perhaps the phrase “stewardship rights” is more accurate a description than “property rights.” We each “own” something, which is to say, we are stewards of real property, and God has certain expectations of us. Read More→

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2013_dubai_fireworks_reuters

Dubai’s 2013 Fireworks Display. Credit: Reuters

Adult maturity is partly evidenced by how well we allow our past to influence our vision and hope for the future. No matter how bleak our past experiences might be, if we never allow them to shape our vision forward, our future will be even bleaker. Reflective consideration for what we have read, heard, and experienced throughout this past year ought to help us consider what the upcoming year(s) will be like.

The stories we live by grip us tighter than we are willing or able to admit. Whether we treat our beliefs as narratives or propositions, our life context contributes greatly to how we think about the world. The disciples of Jesus lived with certain expectations about the God who would come and set the world aright. Jesus upended that view of God and the future of Israel and transformed their story. In a very real sense this is what God does: upend our stories. In Matthew 25 both the sheep and goats are surprised at their judgment. In Luke 15 both the prodigal son and his eldest brother expected their father to respond one way, yet their father responded the opposite. The disciples had Jesus living in the present, and we have the Spirit dwelling in us and in our loved ones around us. Read More→

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This article was jointly written by Doug Stuart and Jessica Hooker.

“…libertarianism is a values system of its own, and it’s an alternative, not a complement, to the values system that is Christianity.”
-Elizabeth Stoker

Such is the thesis of Elizabeth Stoker’s ongoing series on Christianity and libertarianism.  She makes a strong case against what she thinks is an incompatibility between libertarian philosophy (as she understands it) and Christianity (as she understands it).

Stoker and these LCC authors share a common lineage.  Like her, we grew up in “right-wing” homes, both distinctively Christian. While many of our beliefs were inherited from our parents, there was not a time when we didn’t believe for ourselves what the Bible said. Likewise, our families’ political ideology (staunch Republican) influenced the way we thought about politics for years. Over time Stoker became a hardcore leftist, while our journeys brought us to respect and embrace libertarianism. In some ways, we share a common dislike for the “right-wing” political ideology.

Stoker stated at the beginning of her first post, “The Curious Case of Christian Libertarians”, that she did not intend to shame or poke fun at anyone.  Neither do we.

She wanted to share why she believes “the central concerns of libertarians are fundamentally different from the central concerns of Christianity.” Good for her.

She has written a succinct explanation of her position.

Now, it’s our turn. Read More→

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