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March 31, 2008

Daily roundup

AWFT Birth Announcement!

Baby_gifts For those of you who don't know, in addition to my full-time job, planning a wedding, moving out of my apartment, and buying/building a townhome (because I didn't have enough to do), I've also been writing a book that will come out in 2009 with Zondervan. My deadline to my editor was/is today and I'm pleased to announce the arrival of the first draft of. . .

Name: As We Forgive Those: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda
Day: Monday, March 31st, 2008
Time: 3:45 am
Weight: 73,957 words
Height: 263 double-spaced pages

She's a doozy. I'm sure she'll be changing a lot in the next month or so--don't all newborns!--as my editor plays nursemaid. But the hardest work is done, and boy, if labor is anything like this, I am one much more deeply sympathetic person.

By the way, the documentary film that inspired the book will be premiering in DC on April 10th at the Avalon Theater. Tickets are currently sold out. But take a look at the trailer. If you are interested in having a screening of the film in your area, follow the directions on the website. That's it for now.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no epidurals--just good old-fashioned caffeine--lots of it.

(Image © Alexander Dunn & Company)

B.C. Second Chance

Sage Before the Second Chance Act, which will hopefully funnel millions into helping prisoners reenter society, one group figured out their own way to pay for prisoner reentry--by starting their own business.

OAR (Offender Aid and Restoration) in Arlington County, Virginia, started a flower shop to 1) fund OAR and 2) hire ex-prisoners. Read more about it here.

Dr. Drew in the House... Church’s Guide to Good Sex

A few have commented that I’m becoming the “Dr. Drew” of The Point. It's purely coincidental, but someone has to blog about the subject. Here’s more on the topic.

This article from the British tabloid The Sun caught my attention. The report is about the new book Growing Together. The Sun summed it up as follows: “Officials at the Church of England have written a saucy good sex guide for their parishioners.”

However, coming from a tabloid, it’s expected that it’s an inaccurate and sensationalized report. I read the introductory chapter and it’s basically a guide book written by a Church of England clergyman for couples getting ready to tie the knot. As the book publisher said, “Growing Together is a practical guide that will help you to develop a shared understanding of your future together through exploring your dreams and expectations of married life and by highlighting some of the key issues that being married can raise.” Nothing too saucy or provocative about that!

But if there’s one manual that is best for helping couples have a good and healthy physical relationship, understanding its liberties and its limits, the only one on the top of my list is the Bible, written not by some English clergyman or Dr. Drew but by the creator of sex himself, God.

Okay, so I’m a hypocrite

I was happy to hear that a musical version of A Tale of Two Cities was coming to Broadway in the fall. A good one, too. I have the concept album -- not the one you can easily get off the show's website, either, but a really hard-to-find early version. Hey, it's Dickens plus Broadway. This is big stuff for me.

Unfortunately, there's a problem.

Now, I feel more than a little hypocritical about this. I'm the one who argued that Keisha Castle-Hughes's unwed pregnancy shouldn't turn people away from seeing The Nativity Story. And I still don't think it should.

But here you have a man who went to jail for molesting a minor -- and he has to stand on stage and sing a lullaby to a little girl. In front of an audience full of kids who will later be swarming the stage door to meet him, as people do at Broadway theaters. This is not a good situation.

And . . . well . . . this is Sydney Carton. Sydney Carton! This is the man I've been in love with since I was fifteen years old! I'll be honest, the whole thing makes me intensely uncomfortable. (But if you're thinking that anyone who's been in love with a fictional character for seventeen years has a few problems of her own, I won't deny you have a point.)

Continue reading "Okay, so I’m a hypocrite" »

The Design of Life

Spacestationiss Do the features of life give evidence of creation?

Imagine discovering an unmanned space station that 1) manufactures the equipment it needs to probe deep space, 2) monitors damage done to it by asteroids, 3) repairs the damage, 4) constructs its own spare parts, 4) makes copies of itself and 5) directs those copies in an intergalactic network to optimize exploration.  Would any straight-thinking person reason it to be the product of an unguided, haphazard process? Hardly.

And yet the engineering of the biological cell is equally astonishing—down to its most fundamental component, DNA. Continue reading here.

Re: Clean up your act

Thanks for bringing this up, Kristine. I've been wanting to converse on this topic for a while now.

As a product of the "this sucks"--"crap"--"what the heck" generation, I'm concerned! I'm concerned about myself, my peers, and our children. Not so much that we use these words, but that we don't properly fear language.

Allison Aubrey says that words like "suck" are more acceptable now because language has evolved, and the way the word is used could just as easily refer to a yucky lollipop as it could to the alternative.

I tend to agree. But is this really why we say "crap" 30 times a day? Do we say it because we're really talking about "number 2" or because we're lazy--about our words, our attitudes, and the weight of language?

I have a friend who recently told me that she doesn't think it's wrong for Christians to curse. To her, they're just words. Similarly, many of my Christian friends--and, by this, I mean friends who are serious followers of Christ--say "Oh my God" as casually as they say "Thank you." I can remember the day when, like Kristine, I would have faced a bar of soap over that one.

Continue reading "Re: Clean up your act" »

Filling up what’s lacking

I missed this Good Friday-related piece by our old friend Jim Tonkowich at first. But it's still relevant.

Grace is God's free gift and not something we can achieve (Ephesians 2:8-9). The old hymn says, "Jesus paid it all." We talk about the sufficiency of Jesus' suffering on the cross. His suffering and death atoned for sin and brings us to God. For Christians this is a settled point. Jesus suffered judgment to redeem his people.

And then we come to Colossians 1:24:

"Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church."

Is Paul really saying what he seems to be saying? What could Paul possibly mean that he's filling up what's lacking in the suffering of Christ? Did Paul think Jesus didn't do enough?

Read Jim's excellent analysis of the passage here. (While you're over there, check out this new piece from Roberto as well.)

The Point Radio: A Sufficient Death

The Holy Week of Easter has come and gone, but some people in the Philippines may still be binding their wounds....

Click play above to listen.

March 28, 2008

Daily roundup

Those Darwinists know how to party

Biologist PZ Myers, who's been in a perpetual public snit ever since being interviewed for the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (an interview to which he agreed and for which he signed a release), crashed a conference call this afternoon held by Ben Stein, publicist Paul Lauer, and the film's producers. This was after he showed up uninvited to a private screening of the film, which had not yet been finished at the time, and was asked to leave. (As producer Logan Craft pointed out, Myers is so big on seeing dissenters fired that they "thought it might make a point to PZ to 'expel' him from the movie.") This is clearly a scientist with mature and sophisticated ideas about social etiquette. I wonder if he TPs houses and eggs cars on his time off.

Senator Clinton’s Faith?

Hillarysprayer251x300 I have a question after reading a piece on Hillary Clinton's faith in Mother Jones because it caused the head of a dear colleague to explode after reading it. What is the proper response to a sister in Christ who is unequivocally and unapologetically in rebellion to God's Word as it relates to the preservation of the life of the unborn?

Scripture sets out many standards of conduct--we're to love one another as well as our enemies. But, we are also called to a higher standard as believers, and the apostle Paul goes quite far in condemning and calling for excommunication of the unrepentant believer (after many loving steps have been taken to turn this person toward repentance).

I'm not going to put Senator Clinton's faith under the microscope, nor various policy positions on which the Bible is silent. But her defense of abortion can't be squared with a single scripture. Would the Fellowship (see the article) embrace a "godly" politician whose only foible seemed to be misdemeanor stealing (or rather defending those who steal)? Having just read the autobiography of Mike Timmis (current chairman of the Board of PFM), I know that Fellowship leader Doug Coe wisely challenged Mike to leave the celeb Christian speaking circuit and get things right with his family--extremely valuable advice given what happens next in Mike's story.

Has the Fellowship ever said to Senator Clinton, "Get out of politics until you get square with God and His position on unborn life?" For that matter, should the church Senator Clinton attends counsel her along these lines?

Continue reading "Senator Clinton’s Faith?" »

High School Field Trip to Hear Atheists

Sean McDowell, son of Josh McDowell, describes a recent field trip in which he took 22 high schoolers to hear four leading atheist apologists present their best case for atheism to their youth group. Wow.

Go read it all.

Paris Hilton a Role Model for Young Girls

Paris Paris Hilton is preparing to be a judge in the contest for Miss Turkey. There is something ironic about that last sentence.

However, Hilton said she was "happy to be seen as a role model by girls." She says she is "a good person" and "an inspiration for a lot of girls."

This reminds me of a story about Franklin Graham during his rebellious years. He came home dejected and told his mother, Ruth Graham, that he was worthless. Her reply was that he wasn't worthless; God could always use him as a bad example.

So I guess in a way you could say that Paris is right.

(Image © AP)

You are now entering the Twilight Zone

That's what I thought was happening to me when I picked up a section titled "Reports from China" in today's Washington Post (print version only) and saw headlines like "Torch relay goes as planned," "Home for athletes, friendly to the environment," and "Laws deliver opportunity and equality."

Then, of course, I saw those magic words: "An advertising supplement to the Washington Post . . . Prepared by CD Features, a service of China Daily, People's Republic of China."

In other words, it's all about the cash. Yes, I know, the Post has every right to let whoever they want advertise in their pages, and those who advertise can say what they like. Free speech and all that. I'm sure it'll be a great comfort to all those souls in China whose free speech rights are honored every day, that one of America's most prestigious papers wasn't glossing over their fate on its own account, but rather, took money to do it.

Innocent arrogance

Honkifyoulovejesus250 John Fischer has been having some fun -- and stirring up some controversy -- this week with his devotionals on Christian bumper stickers. The point of the exercise is not really to make fun of bumper stickers, though -- it's to puncture what one of John's commenters calls the "innocent arrogance" of Christians who haven't learned to try seeing things from the unbeliever's point of view.

For instance, John says:

Dolores, another of our readers writes: "My husband was a printer, and he loved the Lord, but he could always see things from the unsaved point of view. He found one bumper sticker particularly arrogant. Many cars in our area had one. It read: 'In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned.' So my husband printed up his own bumper sticker that read, "'In case of rapture, can I have your car?'"

Now that's identification! Her husband understood unbelievers so well that he created a bumper sticker just for them that didn't presume or pressure their salvation. I love that. You know, if all those rapture people are going to heaven, I just might want to stay back, too.

Of course, I'm one to talk; I can remember when we used to love the rapture thing, only our sticker was inside the car. It was a little sign we put on the dashboard: "In case of rapture, grab the wheel; the driver of this car is saved." How arrogant is that -- to assume the passenger in the car isn't! . . .

But this is where Dolores' story turns ugly. "He (her husband) had to print up two more (his version of the rapture sticker) because the first and second stickers were pulled off of our car, crumpled up and thrown on the ground while we were in church!"

The point is, as John goes on to say, "Not too many Christians want to identify with the left behind, but until we do, we won't have the compassion to bring anyone to Christ."

Click here to read more about our innocent arrogance and how to overcome it (and click here and here for the first two bumper sticker devotionals).

Talking About My(Space) Generation

Knut A year ago, people around the world were anguished over the plight of Knut, a baby polar bear born at a Berlin Zoo. Knut had been rejected by his mother and an animal rights activist had been quoted in a German magazine as saying, "The zoo must kill the bear. Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws." Another said that zoo officials "should have had the courage to let the bear die."

As you probably know, it didn't come to this. A worldwide phenomenon called "Knutmania" not only assured Knut's survival, it made him a cash cow (bear?) for the Berlin zoo.

So how is Knut taking his newfound fame? How is he using his second chance at life?

Not well. One of his keepers told the Daily Mail that Knut is a "publicity-addicted psycho" who is "obsessed with the limelight and [howls] with rage when denied an audience." Markus Roebke told the Daily Mail that

"He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and aah at him.

"When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down."

Continue reading "Talking About My(Space) Generation" »

Clean up your act

Soap On kids using curse words:

Bloom says he doesn't want to control the words his children choose to use with their friends. "That's part of growing up," he says.

My mom and her bar of soap begged to differ.

The Point Radio: The Plight of Iraqi Christians

Christians are on the run. Is there anything you can do?...

Click play above to listen.

Here are some more resources to shed light on this situation:

Continue reading "The Point Radio: The Plight of Iraqi Christians" »

March 27, 2008

Daily roundup

Coffee with Screwtape

Mclean_meeting That's how I spent my morning yesterday. To be a bit more precise, I, along with some other current and former BreakPoint staffers, had coffee with Max McLean, who played Screwtape in New York and will soon be playing him in D.C., when the theatrical version of The Screwtape Letters opens here next month. We had a fun chat about the play, and fortunately the faint odor of brimstone wasn't quite strong enough to alarm the other patrons of Panera. (Just kidding about Mr. McLean, who couldn't have been nicer, and in fact attends Tim Keller's church. Screwtape's Father Below would be so disappointed.)

By Mr. McLean's account, The Screwtape Letters had two phenomenally successful runs in New York, greeted with enthusiasm by such prestigious critics as Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal. They're considering another run in New York after this visit, and perhaps eventually a group of companies that can take the show on the road.

The actor and playwright had some great insights into the mind of his demonic character. You might say the two of them go way back, all the way to when The Screwtape Letters was one of the first books Mr. McLean's wife made him read after his conversion. Reading C. S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy, he says, had only confused him, but when it came to Screwtape, he realized, "I know this guy. He and I've been buddies for years." Screwtape, he explains, has "an understanding of the natural world being an evil place," where "survival of the fittest" is the law. "That's Screwtape's world and he wants humanity to fall in line." The major lesson of Screwtape, as he puts it, is "Know your enemy, know your Redeemer, know yourself."

If you're in the D.C. area, you won't want to miss this interpretation of one of Lewis's most memorable characters. To buy tickets, you can visit the website of the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, of which Mr. McLean is founder and president.

(From left: Mariam Bell, Ellen Vaughn, Max McLean, Kim Moreland, and myself)

Two brothers together

Timmis Mike Timmis, chairman of Prison Fellowship, has written what you might call a spiritual autobiography (co-authored by Harold Fickett) titled Between Two Worlds: The Spiritual Journey of an Evangelical Catholic. Chuck Colson, who has provided the foreword for the book, sets the tone when he writes:

Nearly twenty years ago I began meeting for informal discussions with a group of evangelical and Catholic scholars led by Richard John Neuhaus. We'd been drawn together by what the great Baptist theologian Timothy George calls "ecumenism of the trenches," our common labors.

Over the years this group discovered that while there are many differences in our confessions and traditions (which are not to be minimized), there is much more that we hold in common -- the great tenets of the Christian faith. We issued some important papers, including one in the critical area that caused the Reformation called "Gift of Salvation," in which we reaffirmed our common belief in justification by faith alone, specifically what the Reformers called sola fide. On the Protestant side, we've also come to understand that our belief in Scripture alone does not undermine the importance of tradition. We have been learning from one another. We have confirmed the great positions taken in the creeds and learned what it is to call one another and treat one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. . . .

As you'll read in the pages that follow, it was because of my passion for this effort that Mike Timmis in 1991 joined me in the ministry of Prison Fellowship. Mike had never had any interest in prisons, but having been converted to a lively evangelical faith as a Roman Catholic, he was the man God called to stand with me -- two brothers together, evangelizing, defending the faith, and witnessing -- that we would reach across the great confessional divides together in Christ as we carried on the incredible ministry of Prison Fellowship.

As I read through the book, I'll be posting more on this subject, drawing on what Mr. Timmis himself has to say about it. Those of you who have shown interest in the topic are encouraged to pick up your own copy of this significant book and share your thoughts about it with us.

Homeschool ruling vacated

The ruling in California that appeared to declare most homeschooling in that state illegal has been vacated, and the case will be re-heard. Pacific Justice Institute has the details. Thanks to our public policy director, Mariam Bell, for the tip.

Knowing when it’s time to leave

The recent controversy over Sen. Obama's pastor, Rev. Wright, has undoubtedly made all of us ask questions about what we we are willing to tolerate from the pulpit. Frankly, if you agree with everything your pastor says, you are probably not using your own brain to think about and through various issues. Jesus wants us to experience unity, not unanimity (that's the mark of a cult, not a church). We're simply not going to agree on everything, and there are any number of "non-essentials" that we can simply let pass.

However, what happens if your pastor is teaching something that is essential and his stance is clearly anti-biblical? On those occasions, we must have the courage and integrity to ask hard questions and make hard decisions, especially when we have children.

My husband and I know this from experience because, many years ago, we left a church due to the pastor's teachings on marriage, which we knew could lead some husbands to physically and/or spiritually abuse their wives and children. We did not make the decision lightly or quickly. Over a period of several months, we both spoke with the pastor on numerous occasions to respectfully express our concerns, but our words had no effect on him (he saw his marriage as the model for all).

So, one Sunday morning, when the pastor began to give a list of rules for husbands and wives -- rules that had NO scriptural basis -- we walked out. As my husband said, "I don't want our son and daughter growing up thinking like that." 

Like most Americans, I've been disturbed by the hate-filled, paranoid rants of Rev. Wright. And I think I'm justifiably concerned that a major candidate for president has been sitting in his church for 20 years listening to this nonsense, and excusing it, because Rev. Wright has done so much "good" in other areas. Mostly, I'm distressed that Sen. Obama would allow his daughters to be exposed to it. The good news in all this mess has come from Christians in the black community who have rejected Rev. Wright's rants -- making it clear that his views are neither in line with Christ's teachings nor a reflection of what their pastors teach. 

Continue reading "Knowing when it’s time to leave" »

Remember D. B. Cooper?

You know, the guy who, 36 years ago, hijacked a plane, took $200,000 in loot, then parachuted into the Oregon wilderness leaving nary a trace? Seems he may've left a trace after all.

Not everyone is anti-global warming

Maybe some of you have seen this before, but it's new to me. (There's even an Antarctica connection!) Thanks to Greg Rohrbough for passing it along. Be warned: Earworms are a very real possibility.

The Point Radio: Slow Food Nation

Listen up, fast-food nation: It may be time to slow down....

Click play above to listen.

Continue reading "The Point Radio: Slow Food Nation" »

March 26, 2008

Daily roundup

Politics: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

It's been almost two weeks since I last surfed the Internet or listened to the radio so you will have to forgive my tardy harrumph at seeing Kevorkian's latest publicity stunt: Dr. Death's recent announcement of his intention to run for Congress.   

This is the same fellow who broke a myriad of our laws, like "Thou shall not murder."  Talk about supreme irony: Now Dr. Death wants to get into the law-writing business. 

My problem is, I'm starting to have nightmares about clacking Congressional skeletons clutching either poison-laden IV bags or gas masks attached to tanks filled with toxic gases above sick and depressed or physically and mentally challenged people, waiting until the newest member, Dr. Death, signs their N.I.C.E Extermination Law into effect. Holding his bible, Final Exit, in one hand, Death completes his signature, then ghoulishly grinning Members start administering their deadly brews while peering sightlessly into the dying eyes of their hapless patients--oops, constituents. 

Well, I need cheering up, and the best way you all can help me is to write the text for a new Calvin and Hobbesque type comic strip. Since C. S. Lewis's book That Hideous Strength was the first thing that popped into my mind when reading about Kevorkian ploy, use His Hideous Strength: Devilry Afoot in Congress as a title for your strip. 

The winner's strip will be posted to this site. Any takers? 


Obama_ncr The editors of National Catholic Register reflect on Senator Obama's speech on race and religion:

[Barack Obama] couldn’t echo the great fathers of the civil-rights movement because, in his embrace of abortion, he has broken definitively from them.

Walter Youngers’ mother said it best in the play Raisin in the Sun. Youngers is an ambitious young black man whose wife tells him she plans to abort their new child. Youngers says nothing, but Mamma speaks up. Here’s the text taken directly from the play:

“I’m waiting to hear how you be your father’s son. Be the man he was. (Pause. The silence shouts.) Your wife say she going to destroy your child. And I’m waiting to hear you talk like him and say we a people who give children life, not who destroys them — (she rises) I’m waiting to see you stand up and look like your daddy and say we done give up one baby to poverty and that we ain’t going to give up nary another one. .... I’m WAITING.”

We’re waiting too, Barack.

(Image courtesy of National Catholic Register)

Is he or isn’t he?

According to the Christian Post, just a week after Mikhail Gorbachev indicated that he was a Christian, he's now indicating that he's not.

(H/T The Corner)

Re: Sarkozy for President

Helpful Hint to Mr. Reed: You will find it difficult to read this post with your lips pasted to that full-screen image of Nicolas Sarkozy on your monitor.

I don't pretend to know much about Nicolas Sarkozy, so I thought I'd survey a few Sarkozy experts to get their opinions. In particular, I asked them: "Is Stephen Reed right? Does Nicolas really put principle first?" Here are their responses*:

"Nicolas?! Mon Dieu, how I hate that man! Principled?? Yes, I suppose he's principled. Evidently, Sarkozy's personal principle is 'I Only Stay Married to Hot Young Babes.'" -- Marie-Dominique Culioli, a.k.a. Madame Sarkozy #1, mother of three of his children

"I left my first husband for that principled man Nicolas. So I'm no saint. But I've found Nicolas' principles to be akin to the 'great Jacobin victory' at the Bastille -- more fiction than fact." -- Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, a.k.a. Madame Sarkozy #2, mother of one of his children, and former model

"Nicolas believes in only the best Brie, better champagne, and only, ONLY the most beautiful women of France. Like me! Ain't it cool?!" -- Carla Gilberta Bruni, a.k.a. Madame Sarkozy #3, former model

Well, one out of three ain't bad, Stephen.

Continue reading "Re: Sarkozy for President" »

Would you go?

Iceberg_200 I just read this article about tourists visiting Antarctica. At first, I thought, "No way... I hate being cold." But after I read the article, I began to reconsider. What about you? Does a vacation in Antarctica sound like something you would like?

(Image © NPR)

Something missing

On the main BreakPoint site, Roberto has some reflections on the documentary The Singing Revolution:

Watching this inspirational and well-told story, I kept feeling that something was missing: religion. I can’t recall a single mention of religion in the film. Did religion have nothing to do with the Estonian identity and culture the singing revolutionaries sought to preserve?

This absence of religion is made all the more noticeable by the central role of religion—specifically Christianity—in the life and work of the most famous Estonian musician of them all, the composer Arvo Pärt.

Like his compatriots, it was music that got Pärt into trouble with Soviet authorities. His 1968 piece for solo piano, chorus, and orchestra, Credo, opened with the Latin words Credo in Jesum Christum, “I believe in Jesus Christ.”

Read more.

Sarkozy for President

Sarkozy Sometimes moral leadership comes where you least expect it. But vive la France, at least when it comes to the exceptional efforts made domestically and in foreign affairs by their new President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

First we witnessed the unheard of: a French President who dared to break the longstanding rule about a politician invoking belief in God as a good thing for French culture. You may pick yourself up from the floor now. Yes, as reported in this Newsweek story and elsewhere, this is a French President who sees the value in religion and God-inspired activities.

Now, Sarkozy is one of China's fiercest critics regarding the recent crackdown in Tibet, raising the specter of a boycott of the Chinese Summer Olympic Games. While such a boycott would be sad for athletes from nations that agreed to stay home, it would be an even greater blow to the Chinese leadership. You know them: the ones who want international respectability while cracking heads and killing in Tibet.

There aren't too many statesmen and women left in the world who are willing to put principle ahead of the profits of trade with the world's most aggressive economy. And for all we know, Sarkozy may be bluffing, just wanting to play the boycott card in the hopes that the Chinese will buckle on Tibet.

But it's refreshing to see someone stand up to the bully.

(Image © AFP/Getty)

The Point Radio: Cuss-Free Zone

A city ordinance mandating "No Swearing" in Pasadena, California, for a week? Who's behind it?...

Click play above to listen.

Want to learn more about this Pasadena prohibition of profanity?

Continue reading "The Point Radio: Cuss-Free Zone" »

March 25, 2008

Daily roundup

Come on in

Marker Hospitality seems to be a theme right now. First I read this piece on "open nesters" on Carolyn McCulley's Radical Womanhood blog. Then I was reading Jim Daly's book Finding Home.

Daly is the president of Focus on the Family and had a rough childhood, to put it mildly. When he needed a place to stay after college, he called up an old family friend and stayed with her and her husband, Lenny, for a time. Daly writes:

Living with Lenny was like enrolling in a crash course in biblical studies, an experience that helped me grow as a Christian young man. Lenny took it upon himself to talk to me about what it meant to be a man, and the importance of living as a person of integrity, honesty, honor, and faithfulness. I never saw these traits in my father. I had much to learn and, thankfully, Lenny was a patient mentor. He knew life was about learning and sometimes it takes time to get it.

Daly's story reminded me of Donald Miller's experience living with photographer John MacMurray and his family. I wrote about that for BreakPoint two years ago. You can read the article here.

Then, reading Sunday's Washington Post, I came across this article about a family that has opened its home to extended family members and women in need.

Finally, I popped over to the Point and listened to Mark Earley's radio message from a few days ago, on the same theme.

Continue reading "Come on in" »

Frankly, No

Mark Steyn writes in his latest column:

"I'm sure," said Barack Obama in that sonorous baritone that makes his drive-thru order for a Big Mac, fries, and strawberry shake sound profound, "many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis wih which you strongly disagreed."

Well, no, actually, I haven't. Ever. And if I had, I would have said something to him about it. And if he didn't stop the craziness, I would have left the church. And if enough other congregants agreed he  was crazy, the minister would have been the one to do the leaving.

Interestingly, Obama has never said (as far as I know) that he heard something in a Sunday morning service with which he "strongly disagreed" enough to confront the Rev. Crazy--er, Rev. Wright. Why not? Did he just decide to let it go--for 20 years? Or did he....agree with him?

I can tell you as a life-long believer---ignoring even one instance of craziness from the pulpit is not normal Protestant behavior. We're too concerned with the truth--or at least, what we believe to be the truth. That's why we Protestants have about 9 million denominations: A minister said something we thought was nuts, and so off we went to start a new church.

That Obama did none of the above--and that he seems to have trouble ever admitting he was wrong about anything--is troubling.

Let the Games Begin!

Protester CNN is showing pro-Tibet protesters disrupting the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony. I'm beginning to think it was a good thing China got the Games, after all. Just imagine: Months of worldwide exposure to China's human rights abuses! The Beijing Games just might be the best thing that ever happened to those whom China persecutes and murders: Chinese Christians, North Korean escapees, Tibetans, etc. Let the Games begin! (And let us pray for the safety of those who are courageously risking their lives to publicize the plight of those who suffer.)

(Image © AP)

Key to a Happy Marriage

Research published in the Journal of Family Psychology tells us how a woman can be happy in her marriage: Simply by marrying a man that is uglier than her. So ladies, if you are married take a look at your man and if he is uglier than you, or should I say you are better looking than him, be glad. If not tell him to get uglier.

If you aren't married then this is the must-attend festival for you.

Why is this so? Well, it seems that evolution, the only random theory that makes decisions ahead of time, decided that you ladies don't really care what we men look like as long as we can help you reproduce. Of course we men, being the forward-looking sex that we are, want a mate, ahem, to pass on our genes, so we look for youth, health, and beauty.

Of course, this new research flies in the face of what that great prophet from the '60s, Jimmy Soul, sang:

Off Topic: Police Stuff

Police_cap I provide the warning "Off Topic" to those who find there to be some things which somehow ought not to be discussed on a Christian worldview blog. Things perhaps like engineering, skin maladies, the NCAA tourney (darn you, Notre Dame -- I hereby rescind my ECT sympathies!!), backpacking, mixed martial arts, Will Ferrell, and the like. If those topic examples seem rather un-Point-like to you, then, please, my apologies. Let's best maintain our e-friendship by meeting on another topic and foregoing this one.

If, on the other hand, you think that something called a worldview blog enables one to discuss anything in the world, even without providing authoritative judgments by John Calvin or the Pope, and if -- further -- you find "police stuff" at all interesting, then please proceed. Though I make no promise of quality.  It's just stuff.

Continue reading "Off Topic: Police Stuff" »

We’re Back....

Regarding Chuck's commentary on Muslims converting in huge numbers to Christianity--the nail in the coffin, so to speak, is that Islam can't even hang onto its new converts.

In the wake of 9/11, we kept hearing that many Americans had become intrigued by this exotic "new" religion, and were voluntarily embracing it (as opposed to being told to convert or die--the choice faced by vast numbers throughout history).

According to one account (based on statistics from Islam Watch), "Yes, some gullible people are converting to Islam out of great ignorance. But, that is a very small fraction, almost negligible. Good people who think freely cannot maintain peace of heart and mind in Islam. They leave Islam immediately. That's why in the U.S. more than 75% of new converts leave Islam in just a few years."

I struggle to love my Muslim neighbors (not very hard, I admit). But the evidence that so many are open to the Good News is both astonishing and joyful--a reminder that we should both pray for and interact with the Muslims among us. As Joel Rosenberg notes in the article cited by Diane yesterday, "More Muslims converted to faith in Jesus Christ over the past thirty years . . . than at any other time in human history."

The Point Radio: Spiritual Coffee Break

Sometimes even coffee shops need a coffee break!...

Click play above to listen.

Want some more ideas on taking a spiritual retreat?

Continue reading "The Point Radio: Spiritual Coffee Break" »

March 24, 2008

Daily roundup

The God who loves the sinner

Yesterday's Quiet Walk devotional reminded me of the conversation some of our best and brightest theological minds have been having under one of Regis's recent posts.

Many things about God are difficult to understand. But there is one thing about God which is easy to understand. He earnestly longs for the lost to be saved. In the parable of the lost sheep, we see a God who is willing to leave the multitudes to seek just one which is lost. In the parable of the lost coin, we see a God who will move heaven and earth to find a prized possession. In the parable of the prodigal son, we see a God who rejoices with great joy when a lost one comes home. As Christians, we should not let that which we don't know cloud that which we do know. We must focus on the roses rather than the thorns. God loves the sinner, and on that, we can rest.

When we can't figure out some of the theological puzzles life sets us (which for me happens pretty often), it's good to be reminded that God may have reasons that go beyond human understanding.

More Good News about Muslims

As you know, Chuck reported on this in today's Breakpoint article, but here's a longer account by Joel Rosenberg called "The Big (Untold) Story in the Middle East." Since I'm headed for a Muslim land in a couple of months, I'm praying that the missionaries there will soon have similar stories to tell. 

I'm also looking forward to Joel's next non-fiction book coming out in 2009 that will include "first person accounts of former Muslim terrorists who have become the new Apostle Pauls of our time--murderous religious zealots who had visions of Jesus Christ and are now pastors, evangelists, church planters, and powerful Christian leaders." Joel also writes about how Muslims, after having dreams and visions, are "coming into churches explaining that they have already converted and now need a Bible and guidance on how to follow Jesus. This is the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy ... (Joel 2:28-32)." 

The whole story gives me chills -- the good kind -- over how God is at work in Muslim lands. I hope that all of us will be faithful to pray for our new brothers and sisters in Christ, and give to ministries that support their spiritual growth.   

’A mighty work among Muslims’

On Saturday, former Muslim Magdi Allam was baptized a Catholic by the pope in a high-profile ceremony (H/T The Corner), despite Islamic threats against him. But as Chuck Colson points out in today's BreakPoint commentary, Allam is not alone. Click here to find out more.

Reynolds on the Difficulty of Married Love

Married love is difficult: full of confusion and doubt. Because it is a bloodless martyrdom, designed to purge us of selfishness and show us real love it is difficult. Because it is, for most, a nursery for the next generation, it is of great civic consequence. Because it begins, at least, in love, it is of eternal consequence.

~ Dr. John Mark Reynolds, Professor/blogger, "Married Love Is Difficult"

Check out this post on natural law and marriage by Dr. John Mark Reynolds. What is God's design for married love? How has our culture got it wrong? Reynolds includes a scene from a novel involving a husband (Michael), a wife (Elizabeth) and their daughter (Nina). His post concludes with these thoughts.

In the middle, their daughter, Nina, is shown an image of marriage that is nothing the mystery that Saint Paul and the great saints wrote about.

Michael needs to find the God of the Song of Songs.

Elizabeth needs a good dose of Ephesians.

We need to realize that the trap cannot be escaped in either direction. Dull conformity is not God’s way, but neither is simply following our hearts into personal, family, and cultural destruction.

Go read it all.

(H/T: The Christian Mind)

The peeps are back!

Peep The Washington Post published the results of its second annual Peeps Diorama Contest yesterday. The many U2 fans around these parts should be particularly pleased this year (see entry #4).