A Bible Tract by Larry Gaines
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When Christian investors focus solely on avoiding unethical causes, they miss a chance to build up good corporations and ministries.In 1971, the Episcopal Church ignited modern “values investing” when it challenged General Motors’ policies in apartheid South Africa. Holding a meager 0.004 percent of shares, the church introduced a board resolution (alongside Black pastor and GM board member Leon Sullivan) that sparked a movement and changed corporate America’s approach to apartheid.Those Christian activist investors were building on a long legacy of faith-aligned financial management, stretching from Jewish law to John Wesley’s admonitions against investing in alcohol and tobacco. But over the past 50 years, the church’s approach to values-aligned investing has stagnated even as the mainstream world has fully embraced the concept.In 2020, there was approximately $106 trillion in managed assets around the world, and at least $35 trillion of that was in “ESG” mandates—those with some explicit focus on environmental, social, or governance concerns. Most major investment and wealth managers now have clear ESG policies and capabilities with defined agendas, sometimes under alternative monikers like “responsible” or “ethical” investing or corporate social responsibility (CSR).Asset management firms like Blackrock, State Street, and Vanguard—which collectively own almost 20 percent of the S&P 500—regularly push companies to adopt environmental or social policies aligned with their agendas.The sovereign wealth funds of countries like New Zealand, Norway, China, and Saudi Arabia shape companies and policies all over the world. And huge US pension plans like CalSTRS and the New York State Common Retirement Fund often enforce new policies on asset managers and companies ...Continue reading...
Suspicion of and pride from authority figures are not virtues.Mask mandates have ended in most parts of the United States. Stay-at-home orders are done. But the skepticism of expertise that the past two years of COVID-19 taught us won’t easily depart.Many officials and experts tasked with crafting public health guidance and scientific innovations comported themselves admirably. But others did not. They made politicized judgment calls and dubbed them capital-S Science, behaved with scandalous hypocrisy, and misled the public with noble lies. That duplicity was harmful to more than physical health. It harmed the public reputation of expertise itself.The death of expertise, as Atlantic writer and former Naval War College professor Tom Nichols argues in a book by that name, “is not just a rejection of existing knowledge.” It is “more than a natural skepticism toward experts,” whom he defines as those possessed of “an intangible but recognizable combination of education, talent, experience, and peer affirmation.”Rather, Nichols says, “I fear we are witnessing the death of the ideal of expertise itself, a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laypeople, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers.”Nichols reports hearing stories from experts of all sorts—from academics to plumbers and electricians—who regularly find themselves arguing with uninformed or misinformed laypeople convinced they know just as much or more than the expert.It happens to pastors, too. “One of my best friends is a pediatrician,” Derek Kubilus, a Methodist minister in Ohio, told me by email, “and we often lament together that we are both experts in fields where we are expected ...Continue reading...
At 70, Frederick Buechner looks back on his ministry in letters. (From 1997)Frederick Buechner died today (August 15, 2022) at age 96. Christianity Today has covered his books extensively over the years, and published several profiles of the beloved writer. Our sister publication Books and Culture was also enthusiastic; among its many reviews and pieces on Buechner was this 1997 profile by Philip Yancey.Frederick Buechner has met Christians who remind him of American tourists in Europe: Not knowing the language of their listeners, they speak the language of Zion loudly and forcefully, hoping the natives will somehow comprehend. They seem cocky with faith, voluble with their theology, and content with a God who resembles a cosmic Good Buddy. Their certitude both fascinates and alarms him. “I was astonished to hear students at one Christian college shift casually from small talk about the weather and movies to a discussion of what God was doing in their lives. If anybody said anything like that in my part of the world, the ceiling would fall in, the house would catch fire, and people's eyes would roll up in their heads.”Buechner himself has gained a reputation as a writer who speaks of his faith in more muted tones. Apart from a few childhood encounters, he hardly gave church a thought until he wandered into one in Manhattan as a young novelist whose star had flared brightly but briefly on the New York literary scene.For him, faith was a pilgrimage undertaken voluntarily as an adult, a journey fraught with risk. Buechner’s chronicles of that journey have, almost uniquely among modern writings, managed to attract readers from two polarized worlds, the Eastern elite and conservative evangelicals. His work divides evenly between fiction (14 books) and nonfiction (13 books), and ...Continue reading...
Creationist disagreement over the status of hominin fossils is unlikely to be resolved here, but Reeves's recommendations bring alternative tools to baraminology that have not been applied.
Friedrich Engels was in some ways as important as Marx in helping to establish the revolution called Marxism (Communism) that has changed the world.
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