Featured Issues

China: The New Superpower

Sep 16th, 2017 | By
iipi20170915

When I was in graduate school, the reigning view of the future was the domination of Japan economically and financially –in Asia and in the West. There was the fear of Japan buying more and more American real estate, of overwhelming American automobile makers and American electronics firms. Rarely do you hear of those projections anymore. Rather, it is China as the future economic, financial and military power of Asia—and of the world. China is positioning itself as the next superpower. In the words of Judith Shapiro, “the Chinese era is upon us.”



The Challenges of “The Benedict Option”

Sep 9th, 2017 | By
iipi09092017

I recently read Rod Dreher’s somewhat challenging and provocative book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. From my vantage point, Dreher’s analysis of North American culture and specifically the evangelical church is spot on. He writes: “The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.” The truth is Christianity is declining in the United States. He makes the following observations, supported by statistical data and other pieces of evidence:



Google, Corporate Diversity and Gender Difference Confusion in 2017

Sep 2nd, 2017 | By
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In early August, James Damore, a software engineer at the Silicon Valley giant Google, was fired by Google chief executive, Sundar Pichai, for violating Google’s code of conduct, specifically his perpetuation of “harmful gender stereotypes” in the workplace. Although 80% of Google’s tech employees are male, Google prides itself in its commitment to diversity, inclusion and openness, yet demands ideological conformity within its company. The irony of the Damore case is therefore striking.



The President as Moral Leader of the Nation

Aug 26th, 2017 | By
iipi082617

We are living in a complicated, rather frightening age. Columnist David Brooks calls it “an age of anxiety.” Changing demographic and technological disruption have produced a society where “people live with bewildering freedom, without institutions to trust, unattached to compelling religions and sources of meaning, uncertain about their own lives.” For many this anxiety is producing a fear of the future and many will do anything to escape this fear, which is generating an “age of fanaticism.” This combination of anxiety and fanaticism is occurring at a time when the United States seems hopelessly divided.



The Church as an Advocate of Justice

Aug 19th, 2017 | By
iipi20170819

That God is a God of justice is a given. One of my favorite Minor Prophets is Amos, who rails against the injustice of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His rebukes are scathing, some of which could certainly apply to the North American church today. But the Bible makes clear that God’s perfect justice is always balanced by His grace, mercy and compassion. That, of course, is why He sent Jesus: To die a substitutionary death and thereby satisfy the righteous, just demands of a perfect, holy and righteous God. The Bible also makes clear that we, who have received the free gift of salvation by grace through faith, are to exhibit justice, grace, mercy and compassion to the world. Put another way, the church of Jesus Christ is to manifest justice, grace, mercy and compassion to this broken world.



Iran, Russia and the United States: The New Middle East

Aug 12th, 2017 | By
iipi20170811

The civil war in Syria is entering a new phase, one fraught with significant implications for the Middle East, for Israel and for the United States. In the words of columnist Charles Krauthammer, “The great Muslim civil war, centered in Syria, is approaching its post-Islamic State phase. It’s the end of the beginning. The parties are maneuvering to shape what comes next.” ISIS is disappearing as an independent, organized state within the Middle East. Its threat as a terrorist organization remains viable, but the caliphate declared by Baghdadi is dead!



How Americans Disagree in 2017

Aug 5th, 2017 | By
iipi20170805

In mid-June, James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., armed with a rifle, opened fire on a group of Republican members of Congress practicing for a baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. Four victims were transferred to the hospital with gunshot injuries: Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer, a lobbyist and a Capitol Police officer. Another congressman and a second police officer also suffered minor injuries. In statements on social media and letters to a local newspaper, Hodgkinson expressed fervent opposition to the Republican Party and called for higher taxes on the rich. He also volunteered for the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. He was not a communist or an extremist member of some paramilitary group. He was an ordinary Midwestern Democrat who detested what was happening in his life and to his nation.



Thinking Biblically about Charlie Gard

Jul 29th, 2017 | By
iipi20147047247

The case of 11-month old Charlie Gard of the United Kingdom has been heart-wrenching. It also raises a number of profound ethical questions. Charlie was born with a pair of genetic mutations that depleted his body of mitochondria, the minute structures that produce energy molecules that the body’s cells need to live. As a result, he has suffered — according to the hospital — “catastrophic and irreversible brain damage.” He cannot breathe, he essentially cannot move, and he cannot hear. He has been kept alive by life support systems. His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have pinned their hopes on an experimental treatment called nucleoside therapy.



What to do about North Korea?

Jul 22nd, 2017 | By
iipi20170722

North Korea recently launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, a vivid demonstration of its potential nuclear reach. The missile traveled only 580 miles, but in doing so it traveled 1,700 miles into space and re-entered the atmosphere before crashing into the Sea of Japan. If you flatten this out, such a missile could reach Alaska. This frightening reality means that North Korea is on the verge of reaching a capability to attack the homeland of the United States with nuclear missiles.



The Coming Dystopia: Technology and Human Obsolescence

Jul 15th, 2017 | By
iipi071517

This summer I have read two books which present an overview of humanity that is both enlightening and shocking. Written by Yuval Noah Harari, whose Ph.D. is from Oxford and who now teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the books have profoundly affected me: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017). Harari combines insights from genetics, anthropology, cultural studies, as well as social and epistemological history in his two books. In his first book Harari argues for three broad “revolutions” in the history of humankind: . . . Harari’s second book looks to the future and Harari sees basically a dystopian future, which is what I am most interested in for this Perspective.