August 7, 2020

In a recent podcast, Michelle Obama said of her life in coronavirus quarantine, “I know that I am dealing with some form of low-grade depression.” She’s not alone. According to the National Health Interview Survey, one in three American adults report symptoms of an anxiety disorder, up fourfold from a year ago. The Kaiser Family Foundation notes that 53 percent of American adults report negative impacts on their mental health from worry and stress related to the pandemic; this is… Read more

August 7, 2020

Lebanese bride Israa Seblani stood in a long white gown and veil, smiling and posing for her wedding video, when the scene was shattered by a horrific roar and a shockwave nearly threw her from her feet. The footage captured the moment on Tuesday when a massive explosion rocked Beirut, killing at least 135 people and injuring more than 5,000.  Seblani, a doctor working in the US, helped check on the injured before fleeing the area to safety. She said… Read more

August 6, 2020

If you’ve been to the US Capitol, you’ll remember its collection of one hundred statues, two from each state of the Union. Some, like Helen Keller and Thomas Edison, are known to us all. Others are less famous nationally. North Carolina currently honors Charles Brantley Aycock and Zebulon Baird Vance. However, the former was one of the masterminds of an 1898 race riot in which a local government composed of Black Americans was overthrown and replaced by white officials.  In… Read more

August 5, 2020

Pastor John MacArthur led his congregation in worship inside Grace Community Church’s 3,500-seat sanctuary in Sun Valley, California, last Sunday. They met in violation of state restrictions stating, “Places of worship must therefore discontinue indoor singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of one hundred attendees, whichever is lower” (their emphasis). Videos and pictures of the service showed the sanctuary filled to capacity with worshippers sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. I did not… Read more

August 4, 2020

Doris Crippen, age seventy-three, was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and became a patient at a rehabilitation center in Nebraska. Bev Boro, a medication aide, has worked at the facility for more than two decades. Last month, Bev was looking over her patient list when she recognized Doris’s name. She was shocked: Doris is her older sister, though the two have not seen each other in more than fifty years.  The two share a father but were born to different mothers…. Read more

August 3, 2020

Activists burned a stack of Bibles in front of the federal courthouse in Portland Friday night. A statue of Jesus was beheaded recently at a Miami church. A recent faculty survey at Harvard University found that 79.7 percent consider themselves “very liberal” or “liberal”; 18.9 percent say they are “moderate”; only 1.46 percent call themselves “conservative” or “very conservative.”  Unsurprisingly, 67 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe Christianity’s influence on American life is decreasing. Two-thirds say their beliefs are in… Read more

July 31, 2020

Why are Americans so conflicted over the coronavirus pandemic? Many school boards across the nation are debating with local health officials and parents over opening school this fall. Some universities are planning to reopen in-person classes, while others are not.  Some churches are holding in-person worship services while others are not. Some ministers see restrictions on such worship services as an infringement of our religious freedom while others do not. Debates are raging over various therapies and the propriety of… Read more

July 30, 2020

Bert terHart set sail from British Columbia last year in late October on a solo journey to circumnavigate the globe. He arrived back on July 18, where he was welcomed by family and friends. And where he was promptly thrust into the reality of life in a pandemic. “In a nutshell, I’ve been sequestered completely, totally isolated from the rest of the world,” terHart said of his voyage. Astronauts on the International Space Station orbiting thirty-five miles above the earth… Read more

July 29, 2020

Remember when you couldn’t find toilet paper? Chad McMillan, the pastor of students, evangelism, and missions at First Baptist Church in Navasota, Texas, had a novel idea. He put his pastor on a trailer surrounded by plexiglass and armed him with a T-shirt gun to distribute toilet paper rolls wrapped with Bible verses. It went so well, they added a pulpit, piano, and sound system to do pop-up worship services while flinging the TP. Then McMillan started Barbecue Baptist Church…. Read more

July 28, 2020

The body of Rep. John Lewis is lying in state today at the US Capitol in Washington, DC as lawmakers and the public pay their respects. According to congressional historians, he is the first Black lawmaker to lie in state at the US Capitol Rotunda. As I noted following Rep. Lewis’s death, his original intention was to become a preacher. As a boy, he was responsible for taking care of the chickens on the family farm. He fed them and… Read more

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