Jesus and Universal Healthcare

Jesus and Universal Healthcare

I am again hearing people say that Christians should support or lobby for universal healthcare…because Jesus would have. Somehow, to be unpersuaded is to be rather unChristian.

To my mind, healthcare is a good but is not a right. And that leaves me conflicted. However, I do not have the right to demand of anyone that they provide me healthcare unless it has been contractually promised.

Of course, a government may promise universal healthcare and then be obligated to such promises. But governments are notorious for growing bureaucracies, lining their own pockets, equivocating, hesitating, and rationing. And the latter shouldn’t surprise us as the relevant resources are radically limited; they are scarce.

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When Scalia Died (updated)

When Scalia Died

When Justice Antonin Scalia (1936-2016) died, many American conservatives lost their breath…and their hope. Others, I imagine (and now know), rejoiced. Both to their shame.

Over the last handful of years I have come to appreciate and admire Justice Scalia. I have read a number of his Supreme Court opinions and dissents (though I think I like his dissents much more as they are an education in themselves!), as well as some of his books: A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, and Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. I’m no legal scholar. I’ve not gone to law school. But there are times when I’ve wondered whether I should have.

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Readings at Summit Oxford • Spring Term 2016

It undoubtedly is a truism that one can be wearied by the reading of many books. Perhaps even more so, the reading of many online articles, a bulk of blogs, frenzied Facebook statuses, hasty hashtags, and awful opinions. Even so, some publications actually can be enlightening, perhaps challenging. Some most certainly are fuel for our conversations at Summit Oxford. And sometimes our conversation get to be a bit energetic. I call these CHAT times: Christians Happily Arguing Theology (hopefully with an emphasis upon happily).

Readings at Summit Oxford • Hilary Term 2016

Our reading list changes a bit from term to term. New books are published, older ones seem less pressing or helpful, and there is ever a steady stream of articles and chapters on subjects that beg to be included. We do read a lot, mind you, approaching 2500 pages.

For the upcoming coming Autumn Term (September – December), along with a selection of articles, essays, and other items, we are reading and discussing the ten volumes listed below. I have listed them roughly in the order we will read them. Well, actually, several of them will be divvied up over the course of several days, with a chapter or section each day. Often I have our students read the books in their entirety and prepare reports/summaries for select chapters or sections. I’ve provided links to Amazon, if you care to purchase any of them.

December2015

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Preaching Isaiah – Divine Affections and Aversions

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege and honor of preaching at our church, St. Leonard’s Church in Eynsham. We are at the beginning of a sermon series in Isaiah. I’ll attach the audio at the end of this post. My text was Isaiah 2:1-5, a grand vision of the nations streaming to the mountain of God to be instructed in God’s ways for the practice of peace.

mountains

Provocative Poets

I imagine each of us has been instructed that there are two subjects one should avoid when in polite company: religion and politics. What I take away from this is that the biblical prophets most definitely were not polite company.Indeed, the prophets were poets who provoked people to repent and reprioritize.

Consider these pointed words by a contemporary Christian poet residing in London.

“Chance”

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear

state of emergency
sniper kills ten
troops on rampage
whites go looting
bomb blasts school

it is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

–Steve Turner, Up To Date

A prophet is a provocative poet, but also one who pronounces hope to God’s troubled people. Prophets don’t only cry for justice; they confront injustice. They don’t simply proclaim that we should have faith in God, they point up infidelity and put it on parade. None of which is very polite, to be sure, though it is the word and will of the LORD.

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Misreading the Foreign, the Frustrating, and the Familiar

Here are some sage insights into how we may misread texts:

Sometimes readers transform texts through ignorance, blindness, or misunderstanding. Sometimes readers either consciously or through processes of self-deception find ways of rendering harmless texts which would otherwise prove to be disturbing and call for change. It is customarily acknowledged that understanding may be difficult in cases where the subject-matter or a text or its genre or code may be distant from the reader’s assumptions and expectations and entirely unfamiliar. But texts may be transformed, no less, by habituated patterns of individual or corporate familiarity which rob the text of its power to speak to the reader as ‘other’.

Anthony Thiselton, New Horizons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 35.

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