Weekly Must-Reads {03.21.11}

I will be spending most of this week at a conference in St. Louis (see below). Blogging might be a little light. I may try and sneak away at some point, but I can’t make any promises. For that reason, this week’s Weekly Must-Reads list is a little longer than usual. In it, we have articles about fat Christians, single Christians, disagreeing “liberal” Christians, and other writings about business and the media. People really seemed to enjoy the last list I posted. I hope this one also serves you all well. And remember: comment, comment, comment!

Liturgy, Music, & Space | Bifrost Arts

This is the conference that I will be attending this week (Facebook page). It’s being put on by an artist’s collective known as Bifrost Arts. They have some amazing music that you should all check out, including one of the most beautiful Christmas album I’ve ever heard. Also check out this video of some of the things they are doing.

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Weekly Must-Reads {03.07.11}

This week’s weekly must-reads contain some links to articles I was reading a couple of weeks ago but didn’t end up doing one of these reading lists in order to share. They include articles on singleness, economics, foreign policy and art. I hope you find these intriguing, thought provoking, and discussion-causing. As usual, feel free to add your own links for myself and others to read in the comments section, as well as comment on these articles.

Tree of Failure – NYTimes.com

I know this is a few weeks old, but it’s amazing and I wasn’t able to post it when it came out. It’s a beautiful, substantive article on the necessity of weakness, sin, and failure in our search for civility and grace.  Anybody know the religious leanings of David Brooks?

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A Call for Economic Reform & Justice in Exports {2:The Good News}

Part 1 of this essay outlined Obama’s current economic aspirations and the current, seemingly unrelated economic injustices America perpetrates in its dealings.

Liberty and Justice for All… Americans

And this is where I wanted to take this. For rapid supply-side economic investment to work, there needs to be people not only “demanding” your American-made exports, but people that can actually purchase them! Obama’s export plan is meant to boost America productivity while he travels all over the world, signing economic deals with other nations (as he mentioned the other night in his State of the Union address).

A President cannot create demand; countries can want our products as much as they want, but if, because of American protectionist economic policies, they do not have the resources to purchase these things, then we will only succeed in flooding the market with useless manufactured goods and therefore lowering the global cost of these goods, which will end up hurting America. Continue reading

A Call for Economic Reform & Justice in Exports {1:The Bad News}

[“Part 2: The Good News” of this post is also up]

Now, I know that these two posts will probably not get that much traffic, and not many will read all of it; it doesn’t fit the “niche” of this blog nor its usual readership. But I just had to get these thoughts out. For those that mainly read my writings for the “religious” angle, there’s some of that at the end and, ultimately, these issues (and their solutions) really are fundamentally theological. How we look at God and how He deals with us, His world, and where He’s taking both of them really affect how the Church is the Church to a broken world. So I encourage all of you that would normally not read something like this to go ahead and take a stab at it. Leave your thoughts. Push back a little. Help me understand this better.

The Current Plan

On my way to work yesterday, I heard a very interesting interview on NPR with Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical and author of the new book Make It in America: the Case for Re-Inventing the Economy (which I’ve just started reading, and I must say, is pretty remarkable). In the interview, he focuses on manufacturing, talking briefly about the role of manufacturing in bringing about President Obama’s recent strong emphasis on exports in job creation. Continue reading

On History & Economics, a Book Review: “Popes & Bankers”by Jack Cashill

cashillI have a new article up on Patrol Magazine (yeah, I know; it’s the first in a long while).  Patrol recently changed up the philosophy and design of the site, making it much more of a blog-type format, as well as trying to focus more on consistently substantive and “Christianly” reflections on the world today.  In the spirit of that, today was posted I review I wrote for Thomas Nelson Publishers on Jack Cashill‘s newest book, Popes & Bankers.  Some of you may remember that while I was in the middle of reading the book, I wrote for Patrol about Cashill, and how I thought he was a propagandist, revisionist historian, and (frankly) crazy.  I also mused about how it was that Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing house came to publish this particular book.  This caused a response from someone involved in the nonfiction acquisitions process at Thomas Nelson that was involved in getting Popes & Bankers published.  I get what he was saying at the time, but even now, after having finished the book, I stand by what I said.  You can read the exchange below after the link and the break.  Enjoy the review and leave your comments!

Review: “Popes & Bankers,” By Jack Cashill | Patrol Magazine

Here was the exchange:
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Catholics Aren’t Crazy: The Eucharist & Economics (pt.1 of ?)

I haven’t written a post in this series in a while, but I’ve been reading William Cavanaugh’s amazing book Being Consumed: Economics & Christian Desire as a counter to Jack Cashill’s Popes & Bankers, which I just finished.  It’s pretty remarkable.  Every Christian–nay, every person–should read this book.

Cavanaugh is a Catholic and this influences his thought greatly and wonderfully.  I’ve only made it through the Introduction and I already feel like I’ve been taken for a ride, with my economic thought swirling.  Once I’m done I’ll surely be posting a review here for all of you to enjoy.  He has this amazing paragraph in the Introduction I wanted to share here with all of you:
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“Jack Cashill Writes a Good Book, But He’s Insane.” -Patrol Mag

I have an original blog post I’m working on for tomorrow, but for now, I’ll promote my most recent article on Patrol Magazine.  It’s about a book I’m currently reviewing for Thomas Nelson publishers (full disclosure: they sent me the book for free).  It’s about the struggle I’m having after finding out that this otherwise enjoyable book is written by an author who is pretty crazy.  How?  Well, just read on.  Patrol even made it a cover story today, so I’ve provided the cover story picture as your link to the article.  Enjoy.  And leave comments!

You can read all my articles for Patrol right here.

My Favorite Customer Service Experience: Jiffy Lube

I have a fear for marriage. I’m not “handy” at all. I don’t know electrical systems, plumbing, or tools. What’s worse is, I really don’t know cars. I open the hood and it’s just a mass of metal and wires. I really have no idea when it comes to the workings of cars.

Which is why I’m so happy to have Jiffy Lube in my life. I love that company. There’s never really been a time I’ve gone to one that it wasn’t an actually enjoyable experience. Which is weird. Are you supposed to enjoy an oil change? I don’t know. Here’s some of what’s so great:

  • They keep track of your manufacturer’s suggested maintenance time tables and your record of everything you’ve ever had done at Jiffy Lube.
  • These records stay consistent among every Jiffy Lube in the country, so no matter where I go, they have a complete history of maintenance on my car and can give informed suggestions.
  • If you could get the same work done elsewhere for cheaper, I’ve had several mechanics suggest where to go to get it done.
  • Every employee there always seems to be in a genuinely good mood, and they are always eager to share any knowledge they may have about your vehicle or maintenance in general.
  • They are really fast. Almost frustratingly so, because I can never seem to get as much reading done in the lobby as I was hoping.
  • They will check your “Check Engine” light for free (some dealerships charge $75!)
  • Their prices are really stinking good, and they seem to always have some sort of special going on.

And now onto the inevitable “bigger point” of all of this:

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