War in Syria: When There Is No Good Answer, Answer Without Bombs

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Breaking News: Politicians are occasionally dishonest and always opportunists. Yes, President Obama made all kinds of speeches, as a Senator and candidate for President, decrying the imperialist cowboy George W. Bush. Some of these old speeches were even pretty inspirational if you heard them before President Obama said so many things you can't unhear. We can't solve global threats alone, the United States must develop relationships if it wants lasting peace—that sort of thing. All quite … [Read more...]

Science Offers Its Version of Immortality

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There's a story one of my college mentors liked to tell. He was chaplain for our Protestant Bible Fellowship and sometimes attended schmoozey events. At one, a trustee remarked to him that he was convinced that due to medical advances, theirs was the last generation to die. The exchange was probably brief, since the response was almost certainly a perfect rendition of the King James: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Everyone knows we evangelical types don't go … [Read more...]

How the Psychology of Perseverance Can Help us Understand the Cross

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Angela Duckworth of Penn (where I attend law school) has a fascinating look at cultivating perseverance in the face of unpleasant circumstances. It's a delightful read—really, so RTWT. I thought of my own aversion to the unpleasantness of it and then Jesus plunging into it, pouring out His divinity to muck around down here so we could kill Him. Duckworth argues that perseverance requires constant choosing—something we might suspect intuitively. But imagine choosing hunger, poverty, the … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Messiah Literally Born in Tennessee

But will he remain Messiah? Or is he destined to live his life as Martin? (There's a Lutheran joke in here somewhere.) The judge insists that only one person "qualified" for the title Messiah. Oh, sure, except for other Jewish monarchs, King Cyrus of Persia, and the bread of the presence.  When we have babies named Burger, Mango, and California, Messiah almost has a nice ring to it. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: U.S. State Department Shelters in Place

U.S. embassies are closed in 20 some nations this week. Apparently there's some intelligence that's pretty specific except for the location. Some have described the reaction as "cringing," arguing that it's unbecoming for the world's only superpower to hide at the mere threat of violence. Embassies, especially ours, have a precarious dual role: on the one hand, they represent a permanent diplomatic presence, a symbol of global cooperation. On the other hand, they are an island of sovereign … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Like Most of Us, Pope Doesn’t Hate Gays

The media doesn't know what to do with Pope Francis. In an interview with Vatican journalists, he reportedly said, "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?" It would be easy to confuse this with bland affirmationalism - you're okay, I'm okay jingoism - but that is a mistake. The media - and the secular public - should take this opportunity to learn that many Christians endorse traditional marriage and hold to a Biblical model of sexual purity while regarding gays … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Marriage Redefined in the UK

Today, Her Majesty the Queen gave royal assent to legislation redefining marriage as a nongendered institution, allowing same-sex couples to seek recognition of their relationships. The law does not require religious institutions to participate in that recognition. Elizabeth is formally Fidei Defensor - Defender of the Faith - and she is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Remarkably, the Church of England is not permitted to consecrate marriage for same-sex couples. Perhaps the … [Read more...]

How the Supreme Court ‘Decided’ the State of Race in America

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Is Jim Crow dead? Do we live in a post-racial America? The Supreme Court seems to be saying: "Officially, yes." The Civil War ended with the surrender of the Confederate States of America. The American South went from holding human beings as property to a regime of formal equality with the stroke of a pen—but no one was under the illusion that a culture could change so quickly. The Union Army occupied the South in order to implement some measure of freedom and equality for the newly freed … [Read more...]

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman: Neighbors

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Besides the death of a 17 year old, perhaps the saddest part of all this is that it shows us how debased our sense of community has become. Even worse, this has deepened the rifts that divide us as a nation. George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. He was found not guilty on all counts by a jury of his peers. Martin was black. Zimmerman wasn't—he was mixed race but decidedly not black. When police arrived at the scene, Zimmerman's nose was broken, and he was bleeding from the head. … [Read more...]

ELSEWHERE: Progress and Materialism–The Hopeless Adventure

A curious thing happens when two atheists realize that man worships himself and that knowledge without God tends to lead us into Cartesian absurdity. One writes a book explaining how materialism is little more than self-assured preening by scientists who can't grasp their own ideas, and gets praised, in a lefty rag, by perhaps the foremost Christian philosopher of our day. The other decides "progress" is a delusion caused by our evolution into narcissistic animals, and the first guy tears into … [Read more...]