I have been listening to old podcasts from Speaking of Faith. I discovered this NPR program during my time in Michigan. I haven't heard it anywhere else I've been. In late 2007 (I think) Krista Tippett interviewed Jim Wallis and Rick and Kay Warren.
A quote from Wallis: hope is a decision that change is possible.
From Rick Warren: He is trying to bring together both strands of Christianity: personal morality/family values and social justice. He talked about being "pastor" to leaders including GW Bush. When questioned about what he said to those leaders, he said he was a pastor and never talked about policy. He only talked about issues of character: their integrity and so forth. Hmmmm, what about social justice? I have ordered Kay Warren's book.
Free Will. I have been searching for about half and hour for something I read yesterday. I can't find it, so I hope I'm not mis-representing what I read. McCain is quoted as saying that God did not choose to make him a prisoner of war, and so forth. The quote was on a more right wing blog/website. The reaction was that the God that McCain protrayed was not a God that Christians believe in.
So, assume we have free will. When a person who is drunk, chooses to drink too much and runs over me, does God make that happen? Was that God's will? If so, what happened to the drunk's free will?
If humans don't have free will, if everything in life is preordained, under God's control, then why does anything I do matter? If I am already predestined for heaven/hell, then I should just do what I want to do. I believe the traditional Calvinist reply is that we don't know; those predestined for heaven act well, therefore we should act as if we are destined for heaven.
I think the reaction of the writer was that if God is not in control of everything, then that makes God a stand off God, like the God of the deists. What that criticism misses is a middle position. What if God is like a parent of a teen ager (a not overly protective parent). The parent lets the child choose and make mistakes and suffer the consequences of the mistakes. The parent doesn't control the child, but is there to be with the child as s/he picks up the pieces.