WORLD readers sometimes make good suggestions regarding my columns after they’ve published in the magazine, so here’s an opportunity to get in your licks prior to publication. Here are four thoughts that that may turn into columns this summer, and I’d appreciate your comments:
- Republicans should not run from the inequality debate. Increases in U.S. economic inequality have three causes: unemployment, the increase in single-parenting (responsible for 41 percent of the increase, according to one study), and the financial changes Democrats talk about. Republicans should talk about the first two, insisting on jobs, jobs, jobs (build pipelines, open plants) and the defense of marriage not just as a response to homosexuality but as a response to poverty. They can then put into perspective the third cause.
- We now have the worst of both worlds in presidential selection: Debates emphasize looks and facile answers, but once in office a president with no executive experience doesn’t even get to shine in what got him elected, since there are no regular debates or adversarial Q&A sessions. (Press conferences are rare and dominated by reporter kiss-up questions and prepared answers.) Grover Norquist has his no-tax pledge, but I’d ask every candidate to make this pledge: If elected, I’ll institute weekly president’s questions sessions in the Senate chamber, like the prime minister’s questions in Great Britain’s House of Commons.
- Evangelicals wring their hands about young adults from 18 to 30 running from the faith they imbibed as kids. Maybe they didn’t take in as much as we thought they did, so parents and churches should certainly engage in extensive self-examination, but what are the comparative statistics among those who were homeschooled, those who went to Christian schools, and those who went to public schools? Same question regarding attendance at Christian and secular colleges? Also, how much of an effect does delayed marriage or no marriage at all have on church and Bible study attendance? And how much of an effect does the vastly increased availability of pornography have on the marriage rate?
- Who stands for the gospel? The apostle Paul explained it in one sentence: “God saves sinners, of whom I am the worst.” If we all keep that in mind, doesn’t that change our attitude toward ourselves but also others? What if evangelicals claim, for hostility-lessening reasons, that particular groups of individuals don’t need to be saved because membership in the group makes them good people? Examples: Mormons. Israelis. Gays. The first question that as an elder I asked in membership interviews for all persons—no exceptions—was, “Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope except in His sovereign mercy?”
Let me know what you think.