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Weekend Reads 12/22/18

A Crisis That Hasn’t Happened

And yet to Trump’s titanic frustration, he has not been able to convert his hard power into effective power. Trump has failed because he is inept at exercising executive power, which requires skills of self-presentation, organization, and persuasion that he lacks entirely. He has also failed because of the powerful norms of independence and commitment to the rule of law that have grown up inside the executive branch ever since Watergate revealed how severely it could be corrupted to serve a president’s partisan lawbreaking aims.

Not a 'White' Christmas

While Americans dream of a "white Christmas" with snowflakes and evergreens, the majority of those celebrating Christmas this year live south of the equator. Neither their skin nor landscape is white. And they are shaping the future of Christianity in the world, growing its base in non-Western cultures.

Trump endangers America because congressional Republicans let him

Our system of government was built by men who predicted and feared an out-of-control president. So they built another, more powerful branch of government able and expected to check a raging executive. Congress, not the president, comes first in the Constitution. In focusing so much on Trump, we focus too little on Congress’s Republican leadership, and the job they are failing to do.

Lay off my God already!

God is like the ideal parent. Yes, back in the Bible that Divine Parent had some bad days. Occasionally the anger got a little out of control. But when God got angry, let’s at least realize that the source of that divine anger was human action — human cruelty, rapaciousness, and idolatry.

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