This week’s collection includes thoughts on the limits of law, a mechanic’s joy in mundane work and a Christian defense of competition.
1. Self-Discipline for Today or Hardship for Tomorrow: Dylan Pahman of the Acton Institute argues that we must practice self-sacrifice to reduce our budget deficit, so that future generations—especially the poor and needy among them—won’t have to suffer the consequences of our irresponsibility.
The austerity needed to get our budget under control would require serious self-sacrifice, but one of the results of financial health is the option to responsibly practice “works of charity towards those rejected by ordinary society.” We could then help those in need out of our surplus, rather than through deficits.
3. Freedom and Civility: “The purpose of law is to corroborate and invigorate the ways of a people.” We must not, according to Anthony Esolen writing for Public Discourse (an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute), attempt to accomplish too much with it.
The law is a barricade. It can protect your walls against barbarians rushing from the mountains with bows and arrows. But it can’t protect your walls from termites. It can protect you from noisy squatters pitching a tent in your backyard. But it can’t protect you from noisy neighbors pitching a tent in their own backyard.
4. Should Christians Compete to Win?: Is competition wrong or selfish? Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics argues that, if properly directed, it doesn’t have to be.
Liddell believed that to win was to honor God only if he did it in a way that affirmed God’s design and desire. Christians today should realize that we are called to redeem competition, whether on the field or in the workplace.
5. How We Can Bolster American Families: Joy Pullman shares her personal experience to make a compelling point: everyone can do something to strengthen families in America.
[T]he most difficult part of this discussion is not realizing the obvious truth that the American family is in trouble (although unfortunately, that’s often hard enough), it’s knowing what to do about it. Changing society is a big, difficult and risky task.