Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for the ‘Prolegomena’ Category

Thoughts on Economics and Investment, Part 1: Prolegomena

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So, the subtitle of this blog says: “Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics.” I figured it was time to address some economic matters. We are fast approaching 2010 and so I will write some (very much in-process) thoughts concerning the U.S. economy and globalization, as well as, challenge many entrenched investment maxims.

Initial Caveats

1. I am not an expert in economics, just an interested observer.

2. The content of these posts are not to constitute investment advice.

3. I make no money off of this site, am not paid to write here, and have no form of advertisement here.

4. Despite my leanings towards the Austrian School of Economics (see links below), I am not a libertarian. I am most closely a paleoconservative. I am sympathetic to the libertarians (in an era of silly neo-conservativism) as I feel they are some of the few who stick to any of the classical conservative ideologies.

Stated Goals

My hope is that these posts would:

1. Create substantive dialogue

2. Discuss sound economic principles

3. Insight some forward-thinking analysis

Suggested Initial Reading

Before going forward, I would strongly commend reading some of these summaries of the technical terms, various schools of economics, and notable figures:

Key Ideas to understand: Supply and Demand, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Invisible Hand, Globalization, Fiat Money, Central Banking, and Value Theory.

General Schools of Economic Thought

Austrian School of Economics

Primer on Austrian School of Economics

Notable figures in the Austrian school: Carl Menger, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, and F. A. Hayek

Monetarism

Keynesian School of Economics

Up first is challenging the underlying assumptions of the buy and hold philosophy of investment.

Top 5/10 Books by Topic

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Trinity College Library in Dublin - I've been there!

Christmas is coming up fast!  Books are a beautiful thing because they have the power to edify the soul, sharpen the mind, and stir the affections of the heart.  The next few weeks, I will post my personal top 5/10 lists of Christian books organized by topic.  If there is a particular topic or sub-genre you would like me to list, then post it in the comments section.

Written by Michael Graham

November 23, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 1: Prolegomena

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” that classic Dickens opening, is so apt in describing my experiences within the broad and oft strange group we call Evangelicalism.  For better or for worse, I have spent my entire life as an insider into the evangelical movement.  I have been to Christian Missionary Alliance churches, Southern Baptist churches, megachurches, church plants, Evangelical Free-churches, non-denominational churches, charismatic churches, house churches, Reformed Baptist churches, and Presbyterian churches (PCA).  I have known the inner-workings of the largest evangelical parachurch ministry in the world, Campus Crusade for Christ.  I have seen dinosaurs and humans together, young-earth creationism, and premillenial pretribulation rapture dispensationalism be the core curriculum at youth group.  I have heard long sermon series on demonology.  I have heard pastors go on and on about their political agenda, neglecting to feed the sheep with the Word.  I have also seen some really healthy examples where the people were well taught, well shepherded, and making a difference in their spheres of influence.  I have seen severe anti-intellectualism and I have seen people who take the life of the mind seriously.  I have heard staunchly semi-pelagian teaching and I have heard sound Reformed doctrine.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The culmination of these years of experiences lead me to a few thoughts moving forward.  We will look at several key things that I feel the evangelical movement will have to acquire or navigate.  Specifically, we will look at:  doctrine, worldview, urbanization, globality/mobility, no cultural center, contextualization, and balance.  Like anything else, evangelicalism’s goal ought always to be right belief (orthodoxy), right emotion (orthopathos), and right action (orthopraxis).

Up first we will look at the role of doctrine in evangelicalism moving forward.

Thoughts…

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blaise-pascal

Blaise Pascal was a scientist, mathematician, philosopher, and theologian.   In science, he essentially invented the hydraulic press, syringes, vacuums, and the barometer.  In mathematics, he made advances in probability theory, game theory, geometry, and foundational presuppositions to economics.     In philosophy and theology, Pascal had one work published after his death – Pensees (French for ‘thoughts’).  Pascal lived an anguishing and brief life of intense physical pain (likely stomach cancer and brain lesions/damage) and joy.  He died at age 39.

In my estimation, however, Pascal’s greatest contribution was in his philosophical and theological thoughts (Pensees).  Outside of the Bible, I have never read any other book with the same frequency, intensity, and joy.  Pascal had an uncanny ability to put his fingers squarely on the pulse with what ails man and his immediate culture.  In addition, he is utterly brilliant employing common sense arguments for the Christian faith and deconstruction of other false worldviews.  Pascal wrote in aphorisms: brief statements or paragraphs that were meant to provoke the reader to ponder and think further for themselves.

I write out of necessity and I do not pretend to have a completely original thought.  Blaise Pascal is the intellectual and existential inspiration for this blog.  Pascal was varied in his writing, musing, and thinking about his world.  The same breadth to which Pascal ventured in the Pensees will be mirrored here.  At times we will look at culture, philosophy, theology, politics, and economics.

Written by Michael Graham

September 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm

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