Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Friday Night Torah!

This week's Davar Torah is all about "espionage." The parasha of the week -- Shlakh Lekha -- relates how 12 "secret agents" were commissioned to "spy out" the land of Canaan prior to the coming Israelite invasion of their new "Promised Land." Trouble is, 10 of the 12 come back terrified, complaining of great, fortified cities and "giants" in the land. Even the grapes are too big! What do we make of this "hesitant" approach to taking possession of the land we would come to call Israel? There are lessons to learn here, in Dr. Ken Hanson's new multimedia presentation that promises to be a "visual feast." Friday night... Be there!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mayor Bloomberg, Coke, and the Bible

An addendum to yesterday's observations:

C.S. Lewis famously wrote: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
What could be more illustrative of the prophetic truth of these words than the new rules proposed by New York’s Mayor Bloomberg to ban the purchase of sugary soft drinks in excess of 16 fl. oz.? But this shouldn’t surprise us. After all, when a population (like ours) gradually surrenders its freedom to what amounts to a “benevolent dictatorship,” all for what we mistakenly think is “security,” we end up with neither security nor benevolence. We just get tyranny. 
Is government today the "new nanny"? Or perhaps the "new pharaoh"? Next time we buy a Coke, let's make it a large one, in honor of this new definition of "pro-choice"!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

So, You Wanna Go Back to Egypt?

Does the Bible really weigh in on political theory? You bet it does! It’s all about “freedom.” Let’s face it; freedom is a word that’s really cheap, misunderstood, overused. It doesn’t really grip people the way it ought to. But when you think about it, “freedom” is a theme that runs all through the biblical text. And by the way, it’s not really what we think of today, in terms of the great conservative-liberal debate. When the Bible talks about freedom, conservatives might want to embrace that, but to be honest, it’s more on the level of what we’d call “classical liberalism.” That’s what emphasized – all through history – real individual freedom. Classical liberalism is all about the freedom of the individual, not to be governed in the minute details of our lives, by the state. Not to be ruled over by some “mastermind,” whether a king or monarch, or some oligarchy of all-wise, all-knowing autocrats.