I have been watching, reading, and pouring over the events surrounding Wikileaks, wanting to write some sort of thoughtful commentary. But, as The Atlantic points out, this event has brought about some of the best journalism, political analysis, and writing we’ve seen in years and I find it difficult to try and say something newer or more insightful than those that are more knowledgeable of the past and have more time and acquaintance with the primary sources in question. With more of these leaked diplomatic cables being released every day, this coverage is literally non-stop. My productivity at worked has suffered because of the tangled web of links one can get caught in going from one story to the next to the next; I have at least a couple dozen quotes and links saved in my Evernote notetaking app in order to use in some future writing (or present).
But nevertheless, even among my friends who care about this situation, there appears to be some common misconceptions about this whole situation, leading them to direct their frustrations, diatribes, and anger in the wrong direction. I wish to clarify some of those here today. First, I must say on the outset that I am absolutely, entirely in favor of most all that Wikileaks has done and is doing. I think they are serving America’s longterm interest and the well-being of its citizenry far more than even our own federal government is doing. Do I think they have done everything perfectly and responsibly? No, but no four-year old media organization can be said to have done so. Wikileaks has (and will) make mistakes–its founder has even admitted that–but so will/has our federal government in its own “attempts” at serving the greater good. The only question remains: who do you think does more damage when they make those inevitable mistakes (the government or Wikileaks?), and therefore, who requires more scrutiny, responsibility, accountability, and fear of being out of control? I (as well as Glenn Greenwald and The Economist) wholeheartedly fear the results of a government out of control more than a Wikileaks out of control. But, in fact (as we move on to the misconceptions) ….
I have a new article up on Patrol Magazine (yeah, I know; it’s the first in a long while). Patrol recently changed up the philosophy and design of the site, making it much more of a blog-type format, as well as trying to focus more on consistently substantive and “Christianly” reflections on the world today. In the spirit of that, today was posted I review I wrote for Thomas Nelson Publishers on Jack Cashill‘s newest book, Popes & Bankers. Some of you may remember that while I was in the middle of reading the book, I wrote for Patrol about Cashill, and how I thought he was a propagandist, revisionist historian, and (frankly) crazy. I also mused about how it was that Thomas Nelson Publishers, a Christian publishing house came to publish this particular book. This caused a response from someone involved in the nonfiction acquisitions process at Thomas Nelson that was involved in getting Popes & Bankers published. I get what he was saying at the time, but even now, after having finished the book, I stand by what I said. You can read the exchange below after the link and the break. Enjoy the review and leave your comments!
Review: “Popes & Bankers,” By Jack Cashill | Patrol Magazine
Here was the exchange:
Ah, this is a tough one to write. As some on the blogo-rounds have been quick to jump on the coat tails of, Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Karl Giberson, the Vice-President of the BioLogos Foundation, have been in a bit of a tizzy for the past couple of months. Mohler is a very conservative Evangelical whom Time proclaimed as the most influential Evangelical intellectual in America of couple of years ago. Giberson is also a Baptist, but has devoted much of his time, writings, and energies to showing how Darwinian Evolution is not inherently antithetical to a Christian worldview. Mohler, as can be expected, disagrees. This little debate has reached a climax in the past couple of days. For a full account of what’s been written in this exchange, I have a full timeline at the bottom of this post.
Hopefully in the next few days I can actually lend some (hopefully) helpful thoughts on the actual argument taking place, but today I just wanted to step back and lament a little.
Thanks to David Sessions, the editor of Patrol Magazine for bringing this all to our attention.
Now, I have remained in the closet for much of this discussion (forgive the pun), though I have spoken of this in-person with others, with varying reactions. For a myriad of reasons, it’s generally wiser to controvert into a half-empty coffee cup or beer pint than it is to do so on the web. But nevertheless, this is a charged issue that demands response, both public and private, from those that have (hopefully) given it deep and communal thought, allowing both time and others to help refine and nuance one’s opinions. I hope I may be so bold as to include myself in those numbers.
For now, I’m still figuring it out, and discussions like the one I want to bring to your attention today both clarify and confuse the issue for me. I find myself agreeing with each article you will find below; a similar reaction Sessions has eloquently articulated in his Patrol article. I appreciate his public candor and can easily relate.
I have my newest article up on Patrol Magazine. It is joining in on a discussion happening between a couple of the writers at the magazine concerning ways to approach this oil crisis. My opinion? Stop trying to destroy BP. Why? Read on to find out. And please, give comments; I’d love to know what you all think. Here it is:
“BP, Obama, the Environment, and All That Other Stuff You’re Already Sick of Talking About”–Patrol Magazine
I have an original blog post I’m working on for tomorrow, but for now, I’ll promote my most recent article on Patrol Magazine. It’s about a book I’m currently reviewing for Thomas Nelson publishers (full disclosure: they sent me the book for free). It’s about the struggle I’m having after finding out that this otherwise enjoyable book is written by an author who is pretty crazy. How? Well, just read on. Patrol even made it a cover story today, so I’ve provided the cover story picture as your link to the article. Enjoy. And leave comments!
You can read all my articles for Patrol right here.
Another week, another article in Patrol Magazine. This week, I wrote a response to my article two weeks ago, “Jack Bauer Must Die“. The response was needed because, as the title of my current article implies, the series finale of 24 happened and Jack did not indeed die. Here’s the link:
“Okay, So Jack Bauer Didn’t Die”-Patrol Mag
Once again, just as the last article, this article isn’t even so much about the show itself as it is about what this show, and it’s ending says about our culture and what is profitable. Please comment freely here and on Patrol. I’d love your thoughts. You can view all of my past articles for Patrol Magazine here. [p.s.-starting next week, I'm changing my blogging philosophy, which will result in a very different feel for this site. More to come.]
My original title for my article this week for Patrol Magazine (before the editorial chopping block) was I’m Calling It: Jack Bauer Will Die (On Morality & “24″). The article concerns the television series 24 and it’s upcoming series-ending finale. My theory? They’re going to kill Jack Bauer, the show’s iconic main character. Read the article to find out my reasons why:
“Jack Bauer Must Die” – Patrol Magazine
It’s far more philosophical than “televisional”, so don’t worry. I did not intend to bog people down with plot minutiae and spoilers. Speaking of, as far as spoilers go, there are only a couple concerning very recent episodes of the current season, and even though are fairly nebulous. Besides, how the story is told is just as exciting (if not more) as what the story is.
Oh, the Bible. It’s the lifeblood of the Church. It’s our backbone. But there’s so much we don’t get, and the culture both within and without the Protestant Church hasn’t helped. In its response to the Enlightenment, Evangelicals adopted the ground rules and assumptions that undergird modernism, namely, that Truth must be something that has a one-to-one correlation to things in created reality (as opposed to Ultimate Reality–God Himself), therefore making science and history the only vehicles for this Truth. This has caused so many problems with the rest of the world when talking about a little doctrine: Inerrancy which means, at its simplest level, that the Bible contains no “errors”. What does that mean?
Catholics can help us answer this. I fear that Evangelicalism is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the current discussion on nearly every front because of these improper assumptions about Scripture. Catholics, though, were having these discussions in the Middle Ages! They have largely already dealt with the things that we Protestant are only now encountering issues with. This gave them a foundation that let them maintain intellectual and biblical credibility in light of the Enlightenment and now modernism. Here’s what they say about Scripture in the Catholic Catechism:
Yesterday I wrote about how Catholicism views the idea of torture and how a possible response to it and it’s socio-political effects can be found in the Eucharist. That article was written because the idea of Torture has come front and center in the political discourse once more. For those not keeping track of the current political climate concerning the previous administration, John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley that was given the charge by the Bush administration and the CIA to define the nature and limits of “enhanced interrogation techniques“. He along with Jay Bybee authored the famous “torture memos” which gave legal justification for the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques in order to get information from suspected terrorists.
Last year, the Office of Professional Responsibility wrote a report finding the two men guilty of professional misconduct and recommended the Justice Department do a full investigation. Ealier this month, both Bybee and Yoo were officially cleared of all wrongdoing in the eyes of the Department of Justice. Further, the DOJ strongly suggested that no further investigation nor disciplinary action from the bar should be sought. Last week the Department officially closed its investigation. Yesterday, the top ethicist of the Department of Justice said that not only did Yoo and Bybee do nothing criminal, but neither did they even act unethically. (Full summary of the metanarrative of all of this can be found here.)