A week of 60-degree weather, song birds at the feeder, the sun slipping back toward the southern hemisphere, and a mention on the evening news that daylight savings time is only two weeks away. All this can only mean one thing: spring is approaching. The onset of spring means many things to many people, but in me it stirs affections

Failure of Discipline

November 29, -0001
The arrival of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as head of the Department of Health and Human Services continues a trend in national government that seemingly has no end. Together with other professing Christians in government - among them Senators Kerry and Kennedy, Vice-President Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama himself,

The Bridge to Where?

November 29, -0001
Tuscumbia, Missouri. Remember that name. It's bound to become a symbol of the Obama recovery program - for better or for worse. A bridge outside Tuscumbia is the first project to have been undertaken with funds from the $787 billion stimulus package recently passed by Congress and signed by the President. It is destined to be referred to over and over again in the years to come.

Obviously, the President and the people of Tuscumbia - where hundreds of jobs have been lost of late - hope that the money being invested in rebuilding the Tuscumbia bridge will filter through and trickle out to ironworkers, concrete makers, pavers, landscapers, and workers in a wide range of endeavors. If so, the bridge will be a perpetual symbol of government's ability to renew and revive a faltering economy and restore hope to a fearful people.

But what if the bridge falls victim to the self-centered tendencies of people who know every way from Sunday how to stretch a federal earmark into more dollars spread out over longer periods of time than the project should reasonably require? In that case the bridge at Tuscumbia will haunt the Obama administration like a dirty shirt, a symbol of hubris, corruption, and government waste,

All Things Well

November 29, -0001
Is this gonna work? Do these guys know what they're doing? Funny how a serious economic downturn focuses the mind on what we might call craftsmanship in governing. Wall Street apparently has a good many doubts about the Obama administration, as do growing numbers of Americans. The President's popularity holds steady, but support for his economic programs is beginning to falter, even among members of his own party. Certain Democratic Senators are insisting they won't vote for the current budget supplement of over $400 billion because it has too much frivolous spending in it. Certainly we have to believe our elected leaders are seeking to do what is right and good for the country, but can we be sure they know what that is? Or that they

Art without Idolatry

November 29, -0001
Happy St. Bilfrith's Day. Today large sectors of the American public, including a good many of the followers of Jesus Christ, are keeping close tabs on the progress toward the naming of the newest "American Idol." Thousands of young people have auditioned, and every week the panel of experts - household names all - keep whittling away the dross to get at the real deal, America's next big recording star.

But who will remember any of these people or their accomplishments in just a few short years? It is the nature of pop culture to flare up and flare out just in time for the next flare up, the next idol, the next nobody. Consider, on the other hand, the art that has survived from the period of Celtic Christianity. Those glorious illuminated Gospels, magnificent carved crosses, unforgettable verses, and spectacular liturgical vessels. The art of the Celtic Christian period remains among the greatest aesthetic achievements of the history of Christianity. But the truly amazing thing is, that for all that beautiful, powerful, amazing artistry, we know almost nothing of the artists who created it. In fact, the names of only three of the craftsman of this period have survived, and two of them only because of the testimony of others, not because they signed their work.

Celtic Christian artists devoted themselves and their work to the glory of God. They had no interest in the acclaim of others or securing big contracts for their next piece. Their art, like their hearts and lives, were wholly consecrated to God. Their work abides and will be around long after this season's American Idol - and all the idols of contemporary pop culture - have flared out. Their work testifies to the abiding grandeur of the Gospel, whereas the fleeting fame of the idols of pop art

Brit Brouhaha

November 29, -0001
Gravitas is an important trait for government officials to cultivate, particularly in the realm of international politics. You want your leaders to appear thoughtful, sober, alert, and deep when they are engaged in relations with foreign governments, and especially with friendly foreign governments. It is precisely the lack of gravitas that conservative commentators think they see in two recent actions on the part of President Obama

What's in a Word?

November 29, -0001
I have always greeted new editions of dictionaries with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it's interesting to discover new words that have been incorporated into the English language, and some old ones that are allowed to drop. On the other hand, I can't help but fret a bit about the inflation of vocabulary and the dilution of language, especially given the deconstructionist, wikkipedia mood of the times. So I'm a bit double-minded to read, in the fall, 2008 issue of The Wilson Quarterly, that the third edition of The Oxford English Dictionary will only be available online. A print edition is apparently not in the offing for now. Charlotte Brewer sees many good things about the OED online - search capabilities and so forth - and I take her point. But she is also enthusiastic about the ease with which the OED online can be updated, revised, or expanded as the editors see fit. Now I'm really getting nervous, thinking about the world's greatest dictionary becoming a wikki of some sort, and the native tongue ultimately degenerating into a verbal free-for-all. Words have solidity; they carry meanings, preserve truth,

Beauty-Hunger

November 29, -0001

Why do people enjoy beauty? What does that even mean? Watch people in an art museum as they stand for long moments in front of a painting, keenly interested, variously smiling, furrowing their brows, nodding their heads, leaning over to whisper to one another. Something's going on there which is uniquely human but which, oddly enough, few humans understand or indulge.

No Morality Here

November 29, -0001
Rejecting the idea that there is a conflict between science and morality, President Obama yesterday reversed the Bush ban on federally funded embryonic stem cell research. The scientific community was predictably euphoric, echoing the President's words which clearly imply that, at least for the foreseeable future, moral and ethical issues will not be allowed to stand in the way of research. It's troubling to think that a President of the United States can be so naive. In the same breath that he denounced the supposed conflict between science and morality, Mr. Obama assured the American public that sufficient safeguards would be put in place to ensure that stem cell research does not contribute to human cloning, for, as the President insisted, there is no place for cloning in our society. Because it's not scientific, I suppose? Surely the President doesn't have moral scruples against cloning, which is just, after all, science in another field? I don't know; he seemed pretty firm about it. like he was, you know, convinced that cloning was maybe not appropriate for our society, maybe even, immoral? Evil? Mr. Obama is a smart man. He is not naive; he is
First the bad news: America continues its decline into secularism. Americans are becoming less religious. Since the 1990s the percentage of Americans who claim to be Christians has dropped 10%, to around 76% of the population, this according to a new survey by Trinity College. Fully 27% of Americans "do not expect a religious funeral at their death." If there is a bright side to this news it is that those segments of the Christian population identified with a "born-again" experience continue to increase in numbers and as a percentage of all professing Christians. But before we get too excited about that, consider the latest Barna poll - our second

More Money!

November 29, -0001
President Obama today signed into law the budget supplement to cover the costs of governing for the next several months - $410 billion, including 9,000 earmarks and, at a time when everybody else is cutting budgets, an 8% increase across the board. The President said the bill was essential because "we can't have Congress bogged down" at this crucial time. I should hope not: there's so much more money to be spent. Speaker Pelosi is gearing up for another near-trillion stimulus package; then there's health care, education, energy, and more infrastructure; and, of course, the auto makers; and even public broadcasting is begging for another $307 million right now, just to keep Sesame Street on the air. Are we spending our way to recovery or buying future political power? More money, no matter how much more, will not repair the moral decay of greed and irresponsibility that plunged the nation into recession in the first place. It's clear President Obama knows how to spend; what remains to be seen is whether he can spur the nation on to more responsible living. Mr. Obama promised to hold people accountable, to make them be responsible for their actions; yet he keeps throwing more money at the people who lost the nation's wealth in the first place. Here's a suggestion, Mr. President: declare a moratorium on more money until Congress and your cabinet and advisers come up with some plans and programs to initiate the moral overhaul our spent economy and fearful nation require. You promised; it's time to deliver. We don't need more money. We need you to remember that the faith in Jesus you profess demands that you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness for yourselfl and the nation. If you will, the spending and recovery will take care of themselves.

T. M. Moore

What to Fear

November 29, -0001
I remember walking home after junior high basketball practice one dark October night, when my two friends and I decided to take the shortcut through the cemetery. Half way through, in pitch darkness, we suddenly heard the sound of feet, racing toward us. We fled in all directions, screaming. It was only a large dog, which turned out to be quite friendly, but we were terrified. Of what? Of what we didn
Page 1 of 36

Today's ReVision

Unity in Culture

Unity in works of culture can be very good.

Join the Ailbe Community

The Fellowship of Ailbe Newsletters