Year in Review: Top 10 Posts of 2012

Listed below are our most-read posts of 2012 in descending order. Thank you all for your readership and support over the past year. I am blessed to have such a marvelous audience.

Happy New Year!

10. The Great Despotic Rot: Obamacare, the Supreme Court Ruling, and Spurious Claims to Deity

HealthcareMy fear is that the bait of materialistic security is looking mighty tasty to a country that has thus far stood apart on divine deference. The hook of debased humanistic reasoning is beginning to catch, and if we don’t swim away soon, it won’t be long till our gums are being yanked ever closer to the feet of some pathetic idol to comfort and quick-fixery. Once we’re there, we’ll continue to squiggle and squirm, gasping for air as we continue to search for meaning, hope, peace, and justice in a shallow political promise with insides as earthy as dirt and a scepter that stings.

9. Christian Values Are the Problem: Sacred Truth vs. Cultural Moralism

ValuesFocusing on sacred truths — or, in [Al] Mohler’s case, salvation through Christ — is the best approach not just for retaining belief in God, but for achieving a moral and virtuous society filled with individuals of strong character…The rise of “values”-speak not only indicates a rise in spiritual vacancy, but also (and thus) an erosion of the very moral foundations the various “values” crowds seek to emulate or amend. As Mohler concludes: “We should not pray for Christian morality to disappear or for Christian values to evaporate. But a culture marked even by Christian values is in desperate need of evangelism, and that evangelism requires the knowledge that Christian values and the gospel of Jesus Christ are not the same thing.”

8. The Moral Case for a Free Economy: An Interview with Father Robert Sirico

Robert SiricoIn order to rectify the problems caused by economic man, we must remember that economics is not man’s final purpose in life. At the end of the day, what matters most is that we do the Will of God. For those who realize that life on this earth is very short and that there is a life after this one, economics is not “the meaning of life.” It is a tool to be used for our material betterment, so that all people can live lives befitting our human dignity and so that humans may express their creativity as those who bear the imago Dei…Economic freedom is the most effective and moral way I know of to increase wealth, so that more and more people may live in relative abundance and be free to focus on what is really important in life: realizing our relationship to our God and Creator.

7. You Didn’t Build That: The Logical Ends of Collectivist Idolatry

Wright Brothers, ObamaAlthough the President’s “you didn’t build that” line is the center of attention, such a response is only logical for those who believe that enduring excessive tax hikes is an ideal way to “give something back.” When from the government all blessings flow, then to the government all things must go…

…When we contort the vocabulary of generosity, we should expect contorted sacrifice. When we promote a disordered view of individual obligations and responsibilities, we should expect disordered relationships. When we push our definitions of the “good” ever closer to those of the State, we should expect the good to dilute accordingly. And when we pretend that government is Supreme Creator, we should expect it to say things like, “You didn’t build that.”

6. When Our Journey Is God’s Journey: Paul Ryan, Individualism, and the American Dream

The American Dream as [Paul] Ryan defines it—the ability to follow our own path and our own journey—can only be justified to the extent to which our lives are consecrated to Christ and dedicated to pursuing his will…For Christians, then, the American Dream is not so much about the pursuit of self as it is about being free to pursue the one who owns that self. What Paul Ryan is promoting, then, becomes much more than individualism over collectivism, happiness over misery, and good decision-making over bad. A properly ordered, free society is really about the Love of God over the Love of Man, and that’s a dream I can get behind.

5. Honey, You Didn’t Build That: How to Destroy Individualism in Your Children (and Society)

Honey, You Didn't Build That Any successful entrepreneur knows precisely what social, cultural, and economic networks have led to his triumph, and he’ll be the first to thank his investors, suppliers, and customers. Heck, he might even thank government if it actually did what it’s supposed to do. Successful entrepreneurs also know a little something about sacrifice and hard work, and they know it without the President of the United States rubbing a bloated government agenda down their throats under the guise of “giving something back.”

4. A Lack of Self-Denial: In Sex, Economics, and Everything Else

Cake topper, two menI have no issues with the Golden Rule properly applied, but I resent that it’s come to be used not as an imperative for disinterested compassion, but as a bludgeoning tool for legitimizing particular behaviors and supporting an anything-goes moral outlook. At a fundamental level, such a view of “equal treatment” requires us to rid words of meaning and rip truth out of justice, should that particular truth be so awful as to offend so-and-so’s individual choices.

Through this understanding, the President’s refrain goes something like this: “Want to change the definition of an age-old institution? Well, if I wanted to do that, I would certainly want to be appeased.” And there’s the biggie: I. I. I.

3. Is “Christian Libertarian” an Oxymoron?

Some people think individuals and/or governments should let people destroy themselves, period, and that the Christian obligation here will only and always play out through some kind of utopian voluntaryism. This view plays out in plenty of complex and disguised ways, but on the whole, I’ve found self-described Christian libertarians who are open to such obligations and some who, fundamentally, are not. Those who are not—who are outright opposed to any obligations or submission—seem to be alive and well, yet I also think the other kind exists, though I’m not sure how “libertarian” they actually are. With the latter, there can certainly be a more successful synthesis.

2. Chick-fil-A Supporters Are Not the One’s “Shoving It in People’s Faces”

Crowded Chick-fil-AIf coming out and eating a sandwich in solidarity is seen as an act of undue aggression and an uncharitable response to our eroding society’s persistent attempts to damage and disregard promoters of the truth, we’re going to be in pretty deep doo-doo when the real, substantive arguments and actions come to the table. If eating fast food is seen as crossing the line in public discourse, petty though such an act may be in the grander scheme of things, how will people react when we’re pressed to put down the fatty, breaded chicken and proclaim with boldness, “what you’re promoting is evil”?

1. For Unto Whom Much is Given, Less Shall Be Required

Obama, churchThe irony is that the society in which an equality of outcomes is an overarching policy aim is the society in which the people “to whom much is given” start dropping like flies…When the moralistic bureaucrats on top of the hill try to determine how much has been given to whom and how much is too much, God is quickly reduced from being our ultimate source and guide to a mere excuse for government meddling. When leaders like Obama pretend that Jesus was/is encouraging us to blindly submit our resources to a massive inefficient bureaucracy, being a bond slave of Christ becomes no different than being a robot for Uncle Sam.

For Obama to use Jesus’ call effectively, then, he needs to rephrase it a bit: “For unto whom much is given, less shall be required.”

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