Weekend Reading: April 22, 2017

Welcome to the weekend!  I took the week off for Easter, and as a consequence, some stories I’m sharing have an older publish date.  Which is fine. It’s fine because one of the things I’m learning is that, yes, the news cycle is constant these days, BUT…many of the ideas being debated and discussed are continual and ongoing. 

On that note, I want to draw attention to an article from the New York Times’ David Brooks called ‘The Strange Persistence of Guilt’.  If you read one thing this weekend online, let this be it.  Here’s an excerpt:

American life has secularized and grand political ideologies have fallen away, but moral conflict has only grown. In fact, it’s the people who go to church least — like the members of the alt-right — who seem the most fervent moral crusaders.

In politics there are two things that interested me this past week or two. First, was the evolution of President Trump on many of the key issues he campaigned on.  I hate to give the Washington Post any credit for real journalism these days, but I found this catalogue of policy changes from the President very insightful

SIDEBAR: But at least he did do something good on the planned parenthood front….

The second thing I found interesting and important politically was the North Korean menace.  First, and foundationally, there’s a story from WaPo that explains the mindset of the North Korean people (and how they worship their dictator as god).   Second, the powers that be over on the northern end of that Asian peninsula are really puffing out their proverbial chests. One Fox News headline read ‘North Korea: ‘Super-mighty pre-emptive strike’ will reduce US to ashes’.   

I remember when I was in college 15 years ago and Kim J.I. was rattling the saber. The talk was strong, yet nothing came of it. Still, there’s many reasons to take these guys seriously.  They’ve had time to build their rocket program, and the state has become increasingly unstable, with Dear Leader Un offing political opponents and dissidents left and right.  This is one to keep an eye on, and to pray simmers down.  Pressure from the Chinese has always kept a lid on these rogues, but they are increasingly out of control. 

Of course these are serious and concerning events. I look at Kim Jong Un and his idolatrous regime and shake my head. Why can’t he just lead a peaceful society? Why bother the US?  Etc etc.  but I take comfort in the Lord’s sovereignty. Those who mock his authority and terrorize the earth are held in derision. When Kim Jong Un continues a policy of king-worship (to himself), he sets themselves up not against America or South Korea, but against the Lord’s Annointed.  And that’s a “terrifying” place to be. As Psalm 2 makes clear:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us uburst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have yset my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

In other words, the Lord takes his sovereignty seriously. And those who seek to supplant him will find themselves the focus of his terrifying wrath.  Our prayer ought to be for peace and the safety of our two countries, and for the utter destruction of this satanic quasi-communistic ideology which sets itself up against the Lord Jesus’ authority. 

Also on the foreign policy front…..Writing for ForeignPolicy mag, Marc Ambinder (who at least used to write for the Atlantic, right?) has a cool piece called ‘The American Government’s Secret Plan for Surviving the End of the World’
Click bait: Trump’s first White House Easter Egg Roll, in photos

A great message of encouragement this week from Sinclair Ferguson might be worth checking out: the Spirit of Sonship.

Hilarious:  Answer These 3 Simple Questions And We’ll Assign You A PERFECT Life Verse

Books….

For the radar – one I might buy in the near future: 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You

Enjoyed McMaster’s ‘Dereliction of Duty’. Very helpful perspective on the lead up to the Vietnam war. 

400+ pages in and I’ve pretty much given up on ‘Truman’ by McCullough.  Not McCullough’s fault, but Truman is one of the most uninspiring go-along-to-get-along nincompoops I’ve ever read about. The more I read the more my respect meter for this guy goes down.  Not only was he the product of a corrupt political machine (which he remained loyal to even in the White House), not only did he seem to make thoughtless decisions that adversely affected those around him, but he was continually being played by those smarter and bolder than he was. Only a few times did he stand up for what was right in these first 400 or so pages, and those times were anomalies.  

Also got to enjoy Barry Goldwater’s classic ‘Conscience of a Conservative’. I’d never read this (surprise my college profs didn’t have it on the reading list) but found it surprisingly relevant. 

Perhaps the Goldwater book was all the more relevant because I’d also just finished Arthur C. Brooks’ ‘The Conservative Heart’.  This book was excellent!  I’d like to buy a box and give it to everyone of my political colleagues, so helpful was it in articulating the classic conservative perspectives in moral (and not simply economic) terms. 

That’s it for now!  I’ve been typing this out on my phone, so I’m sorry it’s not as extensive as it might otherwise be. But I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

PJW

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2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: April 22, 2017

  1. Barry Goldwater’s writing come across as prophetic when read over a half century later. We are paying more and more for our nation’s failure to heed his wisdom, and to recognize the validity of his leadershp and concerns.

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