Occasional Links 4

International Development:

1) Making aid more effective through ensuring one measures its success.

2) Advice for the Gates Foundation: William Easterly on 4 Ways To Spend $60 Billion Wisely and The Chronicle of Philanthropy on the big challenges it faces.

3) The best way to spend $1 to make the world a better place.

4) Richard W. Fischer on Globalization’s Hidden Benefits.

Politics & Economics:

5) Monthly Review’s On Neoliberalism: An Interview with David Harvey.

6) CounterPunch’s The Threats to Sustainable Democracy: The Four Fundamentalisms.

7) Two articles on the Swedish Welfare State by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and The National Interest. Another on Sweden and Globalization.

8) How conservatives and progressives differ in their conception of freedom. Also Real Clear Politics on Left vs. Right: The Great Divide.

Progressive Christianity:

9) One of the Christian leaders I respect (Brian McLaren) has written A Friendly Note to My Critics. Like him, I’m sick not fond of the fundamentalist, dogmatic and mean spirit that pervades much of conservative evangelical Christianity. Though I haven’t always agreed with McLaren’s theology, I’ve always loved the gracious way he’s interacted with his critics. This is vintage McLaren and truly an example for everyone to follow! I also can’t but help agreeing with his second last paragraph:

One final request. I hope that none of us will spend so much time in internal debate about our beliefs that we neglect putting our beliefs into action. It would be tragic for both you and me if our differences distracted us and others from what religion is supposed to be about: helping widows and orphans and others in need, and keeping ourselves “unspotted from the world,” as James says.

While good theology is important to Christianity, I’m of the belief that the Church needs less Christians involved in debating or doing theology and more involved in just living out our faith. We really need less Bible Study and even less Fellowship (which is own-community centred, not other-community centred) and more action. Most of us already believe in the basic fundamentals of the Christian faith. What’s lacking in our spiritual lives isn’t the appreciation of the nuances of various theological beliefs. It’s very simply the most difficult thing of all – living out what we believe.

Others:

10) Lastly, different takes on Zidane’s famous headbutt: his act would have pleased Camus, proved he’s ultimately just a man like us and showed he could learn something from Aurelius.