It is the “greatest social conservative movement of our time.” That’s how Jonathan Rauch describes same-sex “marriage.” And he summons no less than Edmund Burke to support his claim.
From Burke’s “Reflections on the French Revolution,” Rauch quotes, "Society is . . . a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born." Therein lies a “mighty stream of tradition,” Rauch claims, that “gays are asking to join” in their bid for marriage.
I suspect the father of modern conservatism would beg to differ, given his reflection in the same essay that “religion is the basis of civil society” and that, as Burke explained elsewhere, it is on the Christian religion that “all our laws and institutions stand.” (My emphasis.)
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George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay “In Front of Your Nose” that “we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.” A clearer illustration of Orwell’s observation than the current administration’s handling of radical Islam would be hard to find.
The same-sex “marriage” (SSM) controversy goes far deeper than marriage. It is a clash of worldviews. The more we see it that way, the better we’ll understand why it has become so divisive and difficult to resolve. Read More >
When Tennessee legislators dedicated August 31 to honor traditional marriage, “marriage equality” advocate Chris Sanders intoned, "We're not opposed to traditional marriages, but we believe traditional marriage should be for everyone."
How Mr. Sanders missed the memo is anyone’s guess, because marriage, which until quite recently didn’t need to be qualified as “traditional,” is a heterosexual institution by nature and definition. At the same time, marriage is, and always has been, for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
While the term “missionary statesman” is overused today, Ralph D. Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission, was all that and much more. Trained as an engineer at Caltech, Winter (1924-2009) was a bold theorist, a constant tinkerer, a tireless promoter of ideas, and a risk-taking institution-builder. Winter called himself a “social engineer” and looked at problems in new ways, asking questions that no one else had ever thought of, and proposing solutions that shook up the status quo.
Winter is perhaps best known for the paradigm-bursting insight he presented at the 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. He called on the global missionary enterprise to focus not just on starting churches in each of the world’s 200 or so nation-states, but on reaching the then 2 billion “unreached people,” separated from gospel witness in hundreds of distinct people groups by barriers of language and culture. Read More >
By: Annie Provencher|Published Date: April 29, 2013
The historical drama “Call the Midwife” takes its audience to the East End of London, England, during the 1950s—an area populated predominantly by poor factory workers and dockworkers and their families. The BBC series highlights the lifestyle and living conditions of the residents during the interim decade that fell between World War II and the legalization of birth control.
While these years saw both widespread economic growth and medical advancements, neither was necessarily visible or available to the women of the East End, who gave birth to about 100 babies every month, most of whom were delivered at home with the assistance of midwives.
As concerned as I am about marriage and the family in general, there is something about the same-sex “marriage” (SSM) issue that troubles me even more. It’s a worldview issue to the very core, and it goes even deeper than SSM. I can explain it best, though, by starting from there.
Twenty-six years ago, when Christine and I were preparing to get married, Pastor Dale told us that matrimony was a “creation ordinance”—that is, something that God desires for people generally, whatever their personal beliefs. Therefore, he said, ministers can officiate in good conscience at the weddings even of couples who do not obey the gospel.
By: Annie Provencher|Published Date: March 25, 2013
Not all “Christian” books are created equal, nor do they all meet the same need. While my personal cataloguing style might not be as academic as that of the library, I do have my own filing system that determines what I read and when I read it. There are the “biographies and personal insight books,” “books of encouragement,” and “make room for growth” books.
Then there are the “challenge-my-thinking-kill-my-flesh-make-me-realize-how-little-I-know-about-God-and-His-ways-and-how-much-I-want-to-resist-Him” books. Some recognizable titles that get tucked away here? “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards and “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, to name a couple.
By all immediate measures, Jesus’ ministry was a total failure. But it wasn’t for lack of effort or commitment.
At the prime of life, Jesus left his carpentry bench in Nazareth for the dusty roads of Palestine. For three years He promoted His brand, wowing crowds with miracles and captivating them with teaching. On more than one occasion He drew thousands to a remote place to see Him and hear Him. He invested Himself in the training of twelve handpicked men to carry His message to the world. But despite all of His good intentions and effort, at the time of His death, His following numbered scarcely more than one hundred individuals.
What would you do if you suddenly came upon what you thought was a murder in progress? According to a video released on YouTube, the response of many of us would be flight rather than fight.
The video, released by a group called Thinkmodo to promote a new film called “Dead Man Down,” is drawing comment across the Web for what it appears to say about us. The video shows a staged murder that random passersby encounter as they are about to step onto an elevator.
George gets up early every morning to spend time alone with God, praying and meditating on the Scriptures. Off and on it's been his habit for decades, since he first began to follow Christ in college.
But George has discovered another way to spend his time recently, which means he has a decision to make as he settles down at his desk today. Should he open up his Bible or that page of pornography on the Internet? He's alone, where no one can catch him at it. He could go either way.
By: Annie Provencher|Published Date: February 14, 2013
Roses are red Violets are blue I think much ado is made of Saint Val’s Day Do you think so too?
A new year is well underway. If January snowstorms and New Year’s car closeout sales weren’t obvious indicators, there is one other yearly winter occurrence that surely is. Before the final bars of “Auld Lang Syne” are even over, unwanted Christmas accoutrements have been banished to the back of wholesale stores everywhere to make way for Valentine’s Day.
By: Regis Nicoll|Published Date: February 08, 2013
A “50-year failed experiment.” That’s how Scott T. Brown, a once-prominent figure in the youth ministry movement, describes youth ministry.
Is Brown being too negative? Possibly -- if our purpose is to corral young people and entertain them in “safe,” Christian environments until they leave home. But if the goal is to grow the next generation of disciples and church leaders, then youth ministry is an experiment that has not only failed, but failed miserably. Read More >
By: Stan Guthrie|Published Date: February 07, 2013
The title of the Department of Justice white paper sounds clinical and dispassionate: “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or An Associated Force.” The reality it attempts to justify is considerably messier: the killing, without judicial review, by drone of United States citizens working with Islamist terrorist organizations without judicial or congressional oversight.
But shall such attacks also go without moral critique? Regardless of the targets’ individual guilt, aren’t we still a nation of laws and not men? Or have we abdicated our moral responsibility to a president who boasts that he personally chooses his targets from “kill lists”? Read More >
Yusuf thinks some of God’s commands must be crazy. Kyle says the facts of science and evolution prove there’s no God. Melissa can’t understand what’s wrong with homosexuality. Rigoberto was raised in a religious home, but his father drank a lot, and his family was wracked with painful tragedies. Lizz thinks the most important thing is to make sure she gives meaning to this life, not the next. Miriam finds it enough to be alone with her thoughts.
They are all young Americans, 23 to 30 years old, who shared their stories in a recent NPR report on why young people are moving away from religion.
It's strange to think that the very first American baby to be legally killed at the hands of an abortionist would now be 40 years old had he or she been allowed to live. This unknown, preborn baby—let's say it was a girl—would likely have children of her own by now, a job, a mortgage, a husband, a life. She would probably be coloring those first few gray hairs, and struggling to take off those extra unwanted pounds.
Have the Ten Commandments outlived their shelf life? Some folks seem to think so. Take Harvard professor Howard Gardner.
In a New York Times op-ed piece, Gardner asks, “What's good and what's bad?” In times past, he argues, “traditional morality”—by which he means the Decalogue, as well as the Golden Rule—was a sufficient guide to that question, but no longer.
That’s because, as Gardner sees it, traditional morality only addresses how we treat our neighbors: those “150 persons who . . . each of us has evolved to be able to know well.” That was fine in the day when social relations were limited to family, tribe, and village, but it is ill-suited, Gardner argues, for ethical conundrums in a global community. Read More >