Live Blogging Barack’s Address

10:10 pm We are not a nation of quitters.

smart rhetoric.

10:04 And a story about the bank president who had a lot of money and gave it away. It’s like a parable. And a challenge to the elite. Damn. This hits on so many different levels.

Hope is found in unlikely places.

The hero captain gets a shot.

Veterans are going to be making money.

9:59 A dig at terrorists in Pakistan. Kind of easy.

Shot of McCain with a Maine Senator

He’s clarifying the tax cuts. Beautiful.

He’s including stuff in the budget.

9:55 The deficit…

that he inherited…

No earmarks… Got some catcalls.

We’ll see about agribusiness. No more no-bid contracts in Iraq.


swiping the DOD.

9:52 Education. No education, economic decline. Insure access to a complete, and competitive education to everyone.

This will go well in the heartland.

9:46 He continues to be the teacher, addressing our highest moral values. Preventative care; curing disease.

“It will be hard. The cost of our health care has weighed down our conscience or our economy.” Yep, this brings me to tears. It cannot wait another year.

No more quitting on your country.

He’s using remarkably conservative rhetoric.

He wants college graduates, but I am skeptical about the worth of college for all people….

9:40 pm “Our job is to solve the problem.”

“It’s not about helping banks. It’s about helping people.” He’s good.

He’s teaching the multiplier effect.

“rewards drive, punishes short cuts and abuse. Make long term investments.”

A budget as a blueprint. Yep: budgets are moral documents.

We will all have to sacrifice.

Barack is getting historical: railroads, public education, the GI Bill, highways, the moon. Government catalyzed private enterprise.

Energy, health care and education.

He uses a little ethnocentrism to justify his government program.

I’d get a little tired standing all the time.

9:23 “I don’t believe in bigger government. I know about the deficit.” If we don’t do anything, we will be weaker.

57 policemen have their jobs.

Obama is expressing care for the people.

He addresses criticism. There will be oversight. By Biden. Good move.

People will be held accountable.

Good rhetoric.

9:30 pm What are people reading?

9:27 He’s teaching. Credit has stopped flowing. I wonder if people are taking notes.

Hilary has jet lag.

Loans to the entrepreneurs who keep this economy running.

Obama is addressing specific policy proposals in a way that is direct.

9:15 “Take Responsibility.” Good use of a moral tone. He’s challenging the people and the congress for not thinking long term.

Pelosi looks distracted.

Should Episcopalians Convert Non-Believers?

From the London Times: The move was proposed by Paul Eddy, a lay member from the Winchester diocese, who said that he was aware of the religious and cultural tensions in many parishes in England. He also understood “the distress that talk of the historic Crusades can evoke” and that, to some, sharing the Christian gospel equates to sharing the “values of the West”.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to British missionaries to India: “I would suggest first of all that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practise your religion without adulterating or toning it down.”

He said that the uniqueness of Christ must not be compromised by Anglicans. “It does no harm for the Church to re-state it’s beliefs time and time again and then to go further — in this case commending good practice in making that belief known.”

I’m not sure exactly what “conversion” is. Personally, I think Christians should be converted first. Perhaps toward forgiveness and irony. And then we might want to ask if we are merely inviting people into our cult?

A better view of conversion, perhaps, is to offer a new lens by which people can see their lives. It is less indoctrination than an invitation to a shared experience of the transcendent. When we talk about “metanoia,” the changing of one’s mind, it is always toward truth. And the minimalist truth is that love is what creates meaning, and that this is a creative act, and in these acts, we give life and witness to God’s own power.


Fr. Jake encourages us to listen, offering a wonderful faith story.

Learning to see how God is constantly redeeming this world requires a little practice. It requires us to set aside our view of our lives as a series of good times and bad times, with shades of both in between. Instead, we seek out the movement of God. And the movement of God is always from glory to glory. Our task is to set aside our perceptions of what is going on, and then move with God, from faith, to faith, and so become partners in God’s work of redemption.

If we are to be evangelists, it is important that we learn to look out at the world from the perspective of redemption. What is God doing in this situation? How will this be redeemed? It is from this perspective that we can let go of our mission, and begin to participate in God’s mission.

Fr. Tim goes to a dog show.

I guess what really turned me off was that the dogs involved weren’t actually acting like dogs. There was no mischief or nipping at the judges’ heels or inappropriate scratching. They were all too perfect: perfectly behaved, perfectly coiffed, perfectly cute. Like Stepford dogs.

It’s the same reason I cringe whenever I hear about those JonBenet Ramsay-style kiddie pageants. There are no tantrums or whining or begging for chicken nuggets. Sure, the stage mothers are full intrigue and back-stabbing. But the kids involved don’t actually act like kids. Read the comments.

Radosh distills the Bishop Williamson event.

Questioning Christian: Keep your identity small

End the Drug War

Kathleen Parker writes: Arguments against prohibition should be obvious. When you eliminate the victimless “crime” of drug use, you disempower the criminal element. Neutering drug gangs and cartels, not to mention the Taliban, would be no small byproduct of decriminalization. Not only would state regulation minimize toxic concoctions common on the black market, but also taxation would be a windfall in a hurting economy.

Does Citizenship Need Christianity?

Roger Scruton Via City Journal [Via]

What is needed is not to reject citizenship as the foundation of social order but to provide it with a heart. And in seeking that heart, we should turn away from the apologetic multiculturalism that has had such a ruinous effect on Western self-confidence and return to the gifts that we have received from our Judeo-Christian tradition.

…Forgiveness and irony lie at the heart of our civilization. They are what we have to be most proud of, and our principal means to disarm our enemies. They underlie our conception of citizenship as founded in consent. And they are expressed in our conception of law as a means to resolve conflicts by discovering the just solution to them.

Forgiveness, as Scruton argues, is central to how Christians live in the world. It is the heart of redemption and reconciliation; it is what halts war. His discussion of Irony is more novel. It undermines the timber of certainty that grounds most faith. I’m not sure if I buy his distinctions with Islam just yet; perhaps “forgiveness” is under “mercy” in Islam. And I’m generally skeptical that irony is a grand virtue, especially in the midst of suffering. That said, all is vanity.

Read the rest here.

Catholics and Jews

Stephen Prothero offers a pretty good reflection about what Pope Benedict is doing, and his general tone-deafness.

He writes When I was a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, I required my students to read Nazi theology. I wanted them to understand how some Christians bent the words of the Bible into weapons aimed at Jews, and how those weapons found their mark in the concentration camps. My Christian students responded to these disturbing readings with one disturbing voice. The Nazis were not Christians, they said. Jesus was, after all, a Jew. This response was in many respects laudable. But in distancing their religion from the history of the Holocaust, my students absolved themselves of any responsibility for reckoning with how their religious tradition might have contributed to these horrors.

After 9/11, Muslims absolved themselves, too. They said the terrorists who hijacked those jets were not Muslims, absolving themselves of any responsibility of reckoning with how Islam might have contributed to these horrors.

Too easily we ascribe evil to other people, when it is also deep in the human heart. If we want to see God, or the devil, we need merely look into the mirror.


St. Barts in the news!

Nichole Neroulias writes about the church.

The three dozen members who attend regularly said they felt relieved that, while Mr. de Leeuw’s goal of 600 families is currently far beyond their reach, St. Bart’s no longer feels like a sinking ship.

“I was the biggest skeptic about the pews; I thought it was like moving the deck chairs on the Titanic,” Mr. Burmeister said. “But it has changed the dynamic.”