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Oil and ISIS

Despite the dramatic drop in the price of oil—over 40 percent in just a few months—Saudi Arabia announced at the recent OPEC meeting that it plans to maintain current production levels. This guarantees that there will be no short-run price turnaround, and possibly continued price declines. After all, the price decrease puts the hurt on Saudi Arabia as well as others. While the nation used its oil profits to build a huge sovereign wealth fund, the government also spends a lot of money; and the International Monetary Fund recently suggested that the country may soon face government expenditures greater than revenue. So why this course of action? Continue Reading »

#WeAreN

As a kid growing up in Evangelical churches, I would occasionally hear about the ultimate in Christian travel—the Holy Land tour. And the tour would be followed up some months later by a slide show showing where its members had gone. The slides featured ancient stone buildings, panoramic views of Jerusalem, and sunglass-wearing Americans standing atop of the Mount of Olives with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background. But I don’t remember anyone ever talking about the Christians living there. There were pictures of churches, sure, but did anyone actually go to church there? Continue Reading »

A Sad Episode

This week in Washington, a major conference took place on the persecution of Mideast Christians. The conference brought together Christians from around the region, including many church hierarchs. Many of the attendees had experienced Islamist persecution firsthand. The overarching theme was unity, and the overall purpose was to raise awareness about what Christians in the region are going through. Continue Reading »

Forgetting the Christians

This past weekend, the United States began to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in northern Iraq. The Islamist group ISIS has made a lightning conquest of much of the region, persecuting religious minorities, and even some Sunni Muslims, everywhere it goes. Continue Reading »

Israel Among the Nationalisms

With the apparent demise of Communism, if not of socialism, the other political pathology of modernity, nationalism, is returning to center stage. If scientific socialism carries the “progressive” idea of human universality to its extreme, nationalism carries the “reactionary” idea of . . . . Continue Reading »

The Churches & War in the Gulf

About the public debate preceding Operation Desert Storm, two things may be said with some confidence. First, there has rarely been such a sustained (and in many respects impressive) public grappling with the moral criteria and political logic of the just war tradition. Administration officials, . . . . Continue Reading »

Middle East Apocalypse Now?

Saddam Hussein’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait may have thrown the world economy into confusion, but it has revived one flagging and undeniably American industry: dispensationalist pop-apocalyptic. Largely under the influence of former steamboat captain Hal Lindsey, a large sector of American . . . . Continue Reading »

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