Archive for April, 2010

Case Study: Manakintowne Meets a Need

The video posted below is another submission to the Free Enterprise Video Contest. I recently wrote a post in response to the Grape + Bean submission by Caleb Brown.

The video highlights the Manakintowne Specialty Growers, a family-owned farm that grows fresh herbs and greens for restaurants and markets throughout Virginia.

You can watch the video here:

Communist leaders were infamous for their dreams of utilizing the State to create wondrous agrarian paradises, but while such grandiose visions may look quaint and picturesque on a propaganda poster, not everyone loves to grow stuff. One thing that’s obvious from watching this video is that free enterprise reserves the farming for the farmers, and it’s fun to see their passion.

Also, many critics of free enterprise point much of their criticism toward big businesses, forgetting that every business starts Read the rest of this entry »

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Commercializing Charity: “Buy This Lollipop and End Poverty!”

Gap Red Campaign

Can one kid change the world? Sure, but she'd maximize her impact by not buying the t-shirt.

When you go to the grocery store, do you pay the extra dollar for the Fair Trade coffee because the bag tells you it will help farmers in need? Or perhaps you like to spend a little more on your clothes because Bono told you it would end AIDS in Africa?

Do such actions come from genuine, unadulterated compassion, or do they come from a mixture of guilt, laziness, and even self-righteousness?

Or, perhaps you feel like capitalism simply isn’t capable of doing its job effectively without your “socially aware” purchases.

Jeffrey Tucker recently wrote a piece on the Mises Blog about the commercialization of charity — a trend that Tucker sees partly as proof of capitalism’s adaptability, but primarily as a ridiculous and ineffective sham.

Tucker recounts how a 12-year-old boy tried to sell him a glass of lemonade by saying he would use the profits to “stop child abuse.” For Tucker, this situation was simply the breaking point after a long day of being confronted by “socially conscious” Read the rest of this entry »

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After the Avalanche: Sleeping At Last’s “Unmade”

I recently wrote a post on how King Saul put sacrifice above obedience to God.

This music video was just put out by Sleeping At Last, and although its message is a bit more obscure than the one found in 1 Samuel 15, I think it hits on some of the same points when it comes to our tendency to get too puffed up and caught up in our earthly schemes.

Take a look:




These lyrics stood out to me in particular: Read the rest of this entry »

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Free, Tolerant, and Happy: Observations on Economic Freedom and Kingdom Values

Florida shows the correlation between life satisfaction and economic freedom.

Over at The Atlantic, Richard Florida has a fascinating article on the way certain variables correlate with the Economic Freedom Index.

If you’re not familiar with the Economic Freedom Index, it’s an index put together by the Heritage Foundation in an attempt to assign a number to a country’s level of freedom. The number is based on a variety of economic areas, including everything from trade to investment to property rights.

In the above-mentioned article, Florida observes several correlations between the Economic Freedom Index and some variables of his choosing.

His primary questions are as follows:

To what extent is economic freedom associated with tolerance and happiness? Are freer nations also more tolerant? Are their residents happier than those of other nations? To what extent is economic freedom also associated with other factors like affluence and material wellbeing, the level of human capital, and the transition to postindustrial economic structures? And what is the relationship between freedom and economic inequality?

If you scroll through the article and look at each graph you will notice a positive correlation between each variable and the particular country’s level of economic freedom.

For some, such statistics reflect the expected. Most are not surprised that high economic output and healthy competitiveness are byproducts of a free society. However, I often hear Christians disdain Read the rest of this entry »

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A Brief Hiatus

For those who don’t already know, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy this morning. It was a safe and successful delivery and we are anxious to get to know this new member of our family.

It’s truly an exciting time for us, and due to all of the new responsibilities and adjustments that come with a newborn baby, Remnant Culture will be going on a brief hiatus until sometime next week.

To stay updated on when Remnant Culture will pick up again, be sure to connect with the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

I look forward to starting up again soon.

Thanks for reading,

Joseph

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The Kingdom of God: Building vs. Preserving

There’s a great video on kingdom building over at The Resurgence. The video features an interview with Dr. Michael Horton, a theology professor at Westminister Seminary California.




Horton is asked when humans first attempted to build God’s kingdom on this earth, and Horton’s answer is that we’ve been trying since the beginning of time. As an example, he points to the Tower of Babel. As Horton sees it, striving toward earthly kingdoms is simply part of our nature.

It’s part of our native fallenness, he says. We want to be the builders.

Horton then discusses Acts 1, where Jesus (after His resurrection) appeared to His disciples over a period of 40 days. Luke writes that during this period Jesus spoke to the disciples regarding “the things concerning the kingdom of God” and then urged them to not leave Jerusalem but to simply “wait for the gift my Father promised.” Here Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit (which would fall on the Day of Pentecost shortly after).

There was no scheme to overtake the Romans. There was no book on how to construct a new economic system. There was no blueprint for how the Church should use multimedia and drama skits to Read the rest of this entry »

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“Excuse me, operator, but do you know where I might find a toilet?”

Toilet

If you had a choice between making a phone call or taking a dump, which activity would you prefer to modernize?

According to this article, there are now more cell phones in India than there are toilets. In fact, as the article reports, “this lopsided statistic is true around the globe, as well.”

The detailed statistics are as follows:

It’s an irony that applies globally, too: this year, the International Telecommunication Union reports, the number of mobile subscriptions is expected to surpass five billion. By contrast, some 2.6 billion people — or nearly 40% of the world population — live in conditions with dismal sanitation. Fully 16% of the world is still forced to defecate in public every day.

So why is this the case? How has such a cutting-edge technology become available in so many areas that still don’t have proper sanitation? Is it really that much more important to call Aunt Mable than it is to be able to flush your stuff to kingdom come? Read the rest of this entry »

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Is the Emerging Church Dead (or Dying)?

Emerging church leader Rob Bell recently said his church is exhibiting more and more "traditional" traits.

Is the emerging church coming to an end?

The conversation seems to be picking up across the Web.

In a recent article in WORLD Magazine, Anthony Bradley provides a good summation of some of the indications of decline, including this post by Andrew Jones and Rob Bell’s recent admission that his once cutting-edge church has begun to “mimic” many of the things the movement set out to counter.

I do think Bradley is a bit off on some of his analysis and predictions. For instance, he claims that postmodernism is dead and Christians are simply moving on to confront other more prevalent philosophies.

I wholeheartedly disagree that postmodernism is dying off, but it seems as though Christians never really confronted postmodernism in the first place (at least not effectively). When I survey the emerging church movement in particular, it seems like it was far more successful at incorporating postmodernism than it was at confronting it.

That’s not always a bad thing. It all comes down to whether we are tailoring the message to the culture or reconstructing the message for the culture.

Many emerging church leaders have been able to successfully integrate postmodernistic thought and language with the Gospel, but so many others have floundered and gone off course in their efforts to be “relevant.” Plenty of emerging church leaders seem lost in their own Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Is Only a Tool: Milton Friedman on Responsibility to the Poor

Mark J. Perry recently posted a classic video of Milton Friedman on our responsibility to the poor. The video somewhat ties into yesterday’s discussion on using forced taxation and wealth redistribution as a means to accomplish widespread “charity” and “economic justice.”




The student in the video begins by asking this question: If we are a government of the people and by the people, why shouldn’t we, as a people, take action through government to help those in need?

Friedman’s answer is spot on:

The government doesn’t have any responsibility. People have responsibility. This building doesn’t have responsibility. You and I have responsibility. People have responsibility.

Friedman’s argument is simply that government is a tool of the people. Although people may choose to use that tool as a means to eradicate poverty, it is we as individuals who are actually responsible, and pretending that the government Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s Tax Day: How Charitable Do You Feel?

It’s tax day, and although you probably filed long in advance, I suggest we all take a moment of silence to close our eyes and imagine the millions of faces that are smiling thanks to the IRS forcing us to pay up.

Wait, what was that? You mean you tried to get money back this year? You mean you filed for tax credits and wrote off parts of your business so you could decrease the amount “given” to your neighbors? You mean you don’t want to pay more to Uncle Sam than you already have?

Behold, such malicious capitalistic greed! Such widespread neglect of our most important moral obligations! Such a perverse and corrupt society!

With all this talk about our obligation to cleverly shift the game pieces on behalf of those without the dice, we should be jumping for joy at the opportunity to celebrate our beloved Day of Taxation.

But we don’t, particularly because we understand that (1) this requires little genuine sacrifice, outside, perhaps, of subverting some subtle anarchistic impulse (you know who you are), and (2) we all, for th most part, believe that we know how to distribute our wealth more effectively than the federal government.

On tax day, even those who pretend that wealth redistribution is some high form of “charity” still try to Read the rest of this entry »

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