Politics, at least in a democracy, is the art of the possible and the practice of compromise. It is, and should be, a limited sphere. Which is why I’m good with Joe Biden.
“The president’s perceived lack of ‘Christian kindness’ is already hurting him with faithful Americans in general. According to a recent survey of religious voters..., “the perception that Trump lacks basic Christian kindness is the strongest driver of defecting from Trump in 2020.”
The starting point in dealing with such an adversary is to admit our own powerlessness. The powerlessness of our usual methods and mindset. It’s a starting point, not an end point.
Taken to an extreme, the meritocratic ethic is a moral framework that is harsh, self-serving, and self-deceiving. Rather than binding people together, it separates people from one another.
A mentor's advice: “In predominately white congregations people believe God needs them. In predominately black churches, people understand they need God.”
The Council’s job was to back up the leader they had hired. Instead, they undermined Chief Best. Jim Pugel had it right. Good leaders don’t grow on trees.
"My guess right now is that post-Protestantism will burn brighter than the religious right as a moralistic flame within the liberal order, but then pretty rapidly burn out."
I had I stolen 25 cents off my father’s dresser, although, arguably, this represented a payment in lieu of benefits I would have obtained had the children of the house been allowed to bargain collectively. Though ardent Roosevelt Democrats, my parents flouted the Wagner Act in their own home.
Can it be true that, “I am not a racist,” in the sense of using racial slurs or treating people as less than ourselves because of the color of the their skin? And yet that I am a racist because racism is demonic power that pervades American society (and not just American society).
With an eye on his Evangelical base and Bible in hand, Trump pulls off another of his astonishing pivots.
Elite status no longer connotes responsibility. It no longer carries with it the expectation of giving up something to serve in a role of leadership. Nowadays, to be elite is not a “privilege implying obligation,” said author Martin Gurri, “it is a prize.” It means you are the big winner and you get all the toys.
While it’s nice to be dubbed essential, the source is wrong. God calls us to worship, not a President or other political leader. Moreover, gathering in a church building is not the only way for people to worship.
In an essay titled “Awakenings,” the novelist and essayist, Marilynne Robinson, spoke of the Calvinist and Reformed theological tradition, which informed Lincoln and his transcendent framing of the Civil War. Of that tradition, she writes, “I no longer see much trace of it in America today."
Saul Bellow: “It is hard to see how modern man can survive on what he now gets from his conscious life — now that there is a kind of veto against impermissible thoughts, the most impermissible being the notion that man might have a spiritual life he is not conscious of which reaches out for transcendence.”
At that AME church, the Bidens heard the call to rise again and go on, and the promise that, by grace, they could. Now Biden issued that same call to the nation.
Adam Gopnik has written that Lincoln “had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in biblical terms.”