Some things from around the web that have caught my eye this week:
First, from the CNN Belief blog, a post about President Obama’s faith, its historical roots, and its relationship to evangelicalism. The post gives a good picture of how Obama’s faith is visible in his policies. It doesn’t do as good a job of characterizing evangelicalism (lumping all evangelicals together with fundamentalists, for instance).
Second, Richard Beck writes a post that nuances the meaning of substitutionary atonement. I’m not sure he really succeeds in making a clear distinction between what he calls “penal substitutionary atonement” and what he calls “covenantal substitutionary atonement,” but it is an interesting read, nonetheless.
Fourth, a new book from Yale Press by John Polkinghorne titled Science and Religion in Quest of Truth.
Fifth, a very interesting post by David Fitch about the new, contextual shape that theology is increasingly taking in contemporary Christianity and the kind of academic programs and institutions it will require.
Sixth, a fairly disturbing article from The Guardian about racial prejudice in the United States and its effect on American politics. The article reminds me of a remark by a Tennessee state senator I met a couple of weeks ago who noted that prejudicial political rhetoric is often used to exploit feelings of fear and uncertainty, and in as tumultuous of economic and geo-political times as we are in now, it is certainly the case that “fear and uncertainty” are at work in this election. Something to keep in mind as November 6 approaches.
And finally, on a similar note to the Guardian post, is this reaction to remarks by Romney’s surrogate John Sununu suggesting that Colin Powell might have endorsed the President Obama because of their shared racial identity. Colonel Wilkerson, General Powell’s former Chief-of-Staff has some pretty sharp words for the Republican party and its relationship to racial issues.