Religion & Liberty Article Listing

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. -Matthew 5:4

One of the many titles of Christ is “Comforter.” Out of his endless love God comes to us as fully human. As fully God and man, Jesus mourns with us and for us, which is great news, but his atoning power and resurrection promises so much more than a sympathetic ear or important moral teachings. Despite the pain and affliction, Christ will transform our condition.

The type of mourning Christ speaks about in the Beatitudes is not just sadness, wailing or gnashing of teeth concerning our pitiful circumstances. Our Lord’s emphasis in the passage is on godly sorrow. Even the worldly and those who despise God can gnash their teeth and rage over their circumstances. But those who are close to the heart of God mourn over their sin and spiritual paralysis.

One of the...

Steak au poivre, cabernet sauvignon and second chances

The atmosphere at Edwins is calm and casual three hours before opening for business on a Friday afternoon. Someone has piped hip-hop music through the sound system, a far cry from the soft, ambient tracks that diners will hear later. A bartender inspects glasses while another vacuums the floor and others check that tables are properly set for dinner. Near a fireplace between the bar and the kitchen, a group of young men and women gather with small glasses for a beer tasting. “Who knows the main ingredients for beer?” the leader of the group asks. They discuss pairings of craft beer seasonal offerings with current menu items such as artichauts barigoule and ris de veau-poê...

Kitchen Redemption: An interview with Brandon Chrostowski

kitchen redemption interview

There are nearly 70 million Americans with a criminal record and more than 2 million currently incarcerated nationwide. Ohio alone houses 50,000 of these individuals, costing the state more than $1.3 billion annually. Most of these people struggle with finding a job once they return to society. Not enough employers want to hire a convict, especially not a convicted felon. Because of the many difficulties they face, one in three released prisoners (some 20,000 are released each year in Ohio) wind up back in prison within three years of being freed. Without job and life skills, many of these people don’t stand much of a chance in society. Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute in Cleveland,...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L

Early in October, I took a trip to Cleveland to learn about Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute and its founder, Brandon Chrostowski. Edwins is the “teaching hospital” of restaurants. It teaches people with zero hospitality experience the basics of restaurant business through a free six month course. The one requirement to get into the program? Jail time. Chrostowski was inspired to start Edwins after his own brush with the law and a new beginning as a chef and entrepreneur. He discusses all this in an interview about the culinary world and Edwins. I also dive a little more into the history of Edwins and my experience with the restaurant in an accompanying essay.


What is Instituto Acton?

The Buenos Aires-based organization formerly known as Instituto Acton Argentina became a subsidiary of the Acton Institute in the spring of 2015. Instituto Acton, while independent for the time being, will share common objectives and goals with the Acton Institute. It is led by Executive Director Cecilia G. de Vázquez Ger and conducts its work primarily in Spanish. The institute’s mission is to promote a free and virtuous society, characterized by the validity of personal rights and the market economy in harmony with the principles of the Judeo-Christian faith.

The core of the Instituto’s work consists of academic activities, such as conferences and research, and also sharing work and events through digital communication and institutional relations. Programs include: Acton Joven, cursos online, presentaciones de PovertyCure and seminarios. Acton Joven (...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

Ephesians 4:1–3

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. The apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, which taught on church unity and behavioral issues, while he was imprisoned in Rome. Dissension in the church is harmful not only for the church, but also the wider culture, where unbelievers often revel in accusing the church of hypocrisy and judgment.

Earlier chapters in Ephesians teach on salvation and the merits of Christ, but in Ephesians 4, Paul writes that salvation leads us to a spirit of love and unity. Our ultimate purpose here on earth is to reflect Christ and preserve unity to strengthen the power and...

Editor’s Note

Sarah Stanley editor of R&L Few industries have evolved quite as quickly and fundamentally in the last few years as publishing. Leading the way in this changing landscape is Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife Corporation. This summer issue of Religion & Liberty begins with an interview with Pritchett, who discusses how Faithlife sets trends in the publishing industry rather than simply responding to them.

It’s the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” this year, and while Americans look back fondly on the 4-3 victory of the U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team over the Soviet Union, the players from behind the Iron Curtain went home devastated and determined to improve. It’s fitting that...

Illuminating gifts

Faith. Freedom. These words are not used thoughtlessly or carelessly at the Acton Institute. The 25th anniversary of the Acton Institute is a good time to reflect on these ideals, especially as they relate to our Faith & Freedom Award. Faith illuminates the road—our lives—before us. We are free to journey anywhere. Isn’t the freedom of the open road a quintessential American tableau? It’s us in a sharp-looking, sunlit convertible with music blasting and wind in our hair. The world is ours! Freedom!

But we must also ask what freedom is, because without knowing the parameters of freedom, we can drive off a cliff.

I am reminded of the classic novel Les Miserables. One character, Jean Valjean, is basically a...

Sojourner Truth [1797 – 1883]

Truth is powerful and it prevails.

From slave to fearless human rights advocate, Sojourner Truth is one of the most inspirational figures of the 19th century. In 1797, or thereabouts, Truth was born Isabella Baumfree in the state of New York to James and Elizabeth (some accounts say her mother’s name was Betsey), two slaves of Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh. Truth married another slave, Thomas, when she was in her late teens and eventually had five children. sojourner truth image in the liberal traditionShe had several different owners, many of whom were extremely cruel, until 1826. Growing support for emancipation and abolition of slavery prompted Truth’s final owner to promise that he...

Was America ever really a Christian nation?

book cover one nation under god kevin m. kruseReview of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin M. Kruse. New York: Basic Books, 2015.

In One Nation Under God, Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse offers yet another deconstruction of the claim, made quite vehemently in some conservative Christian circles, that America is (or at least was) a “Christian nation.” But unlike those who largely insist on the heterodoxy, rationalism, skepticism or separationism of some leading members of the founding generation, countering one kind of “originalism” with another, Kruse offers a different sort of genealogy, taking its point of departure in the 1930s, when a few...

The higher calling of the dismal science

Economist and theologian Paul Heyne once asked the question, “Are economists basically immoral?” He asked this because economists have a frustrating tendency to interrupt the high moral aspirations of others with complications about how, in the real world, life is not so simple. When other people are concerned with social justice and love, they have a knack for focusing on things like costs and logistics, seemingly putting a price on doing the right thing. Is this just an annoying habit of a small subset of social scientists, or might it be a moral calling? It is common today, especially among economists, to conceive of economic science as “value-free” in a fairly radical sense. Often this conception is credited to Milton Friedman, who wrote in a 1953 article, “Positive economics is in principle independent of any particular ethical position or normative...

The Cold War and the soul of Soviet hockey

Review of the 2014 documentary Red Army.

The Cold War and the soul of Soviet hockey image 1 posterThis year marks the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice,” the stunning 4-3 victory of the United States men’s hockey team over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The new documentary Red Army provides the broader context of this seemingly singular event as it traces the career of one of the most decorated Russian players of all time: Viacheslav Fetisov. Fetisov was a young member of the 1980 Soviet national team who would go on to international fame. But even then he was a star. The 21-year-old defenseman grew up playing hockey in Moscow, and...

From cuneiform to Kindle: Scripture for a digital age - An Interview with Bob Pritchett

bob pritchett interview faithlifeIn the early nineties, Bob Pritchett made the decision to leave his then employer, Microsoft, and enter the risky world of entrepreneurship. More than two decades later, it’s safe to say that this risk has paid off. The company he founded, Faithlife, now employs nearly 500 people and is on the forefront of digital publishing. Headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, Faithlife creates digital tools and resources for Bible study and publishes ebooks. While this company primarily creates content for the digital world, that’s not all they do. The Acton Institute is working with Faithlife’s imprint, Lexham Press, as part of the Kuyper Translation Society project. Lexham will be publishing the...

How can I help with the final matching challenge of the Acton@25 Campaign?

Currently celebrating our 25th year in operation, this fall we hope to announce the completion of our Acton@25 Campaign to launch our next 25 years!

The capital campaign began in 2012 to support Acton’s physical expansion and programmatic growth. Since moving to our new workspace, we have been able to plan larger-than-ever conferences, produce two dvd video curricula and a documentary, and display our unique and rare collection of close to 15,000 books. Over 2,000 people have attended our in-house lectures to learn more about free enterprise, individual liberty and personal responsibility! Many partner and community organizations have used our beautiful building for their own activities. The focus of the final phase of the campaign is seizing new opportunities.

We are $300,000 away from reaching our $12.5 million campaign goal, which we are determined to...

Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word

John 19:33-34

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

One of the remarkable things about the risen and ascended Christ is that he still bears the marks of his death and suffering for humanity. Christ has truly made the Cross eternal with his physical body. Even when our bodies are fully restored at our own resurrection, Christ will still bear the wounds of his crucifixion. This powerful and physical seal points directly to the centrality of the Cross.

It was routine for those who were crucified to have their legs broken to speed up death. This was done so it was nearly impossible for them to lift themselves up to keep from suffocating.

Jesus, who had already died, was stabbed...