Author Archive | Denny Burk

Uncommon moral clarity from a politician

Bobby Jindal has an Op-Ed in The New York Times today defending religious liberty in the face of recent challenges. The main point of the article is indeed religious liberty, but the most remarkable paragraph in the article is this one:

I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman. Polls indicate that the American consensus is changing — but like many other believers, I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.

When is the last time you saw a politician with national aspirations willing to plant his flag so clearly with a religious minority? And yet that is exactly what Jindal has done. We are rapidly approaching the time when no politician will make such a bold public statement. It simply will not be feasible politically for them to do so, and so they won’t. We may already be at that time. For that reason, I respect all the more the moral clarity of Jindal’s words.

Yes, Jindal’s statement will please many social conservatives. But make no mistake. His national prospects just dimmed because he said this. He has to know this, and that is remarkable.

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Questioning the one-sided media narrative on transgender children

I have noticed more and more material appearing in popular media promoting the embrace of transgender identities. It seems that the push for the normalization of transgender is now focusing on children. And usually, this is done with images and real-life stories that have a powerful emotional appeal (see videos below). The common narrative that I am seeing in these pieces goes like this: Continue Reading →

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Can Christians escape persecution by doing good?

I had a brief back-and-forth with some friends on Twitter yesterday about whether Christians can escape the opprobrium of the world by doing good. I argued that we cannot. Others suggested that we can.

Enter Collin Hansen’s new book Blind Spots, which I just started reading today. He is very helpful on this point:

Take, for example, the strange promise you sometimes hear from those who see lack of compassion as the greatest problem with the church today. They argue that our compassion can win the world’s favor. So when we sell our stuff, save our schools, and serve the suffering, we won’t make enemies.
Continue Reading →

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Why gay marriage will fail

Peter Leithart has an insightful piece at First Things explaining why gay marriage will ultimately fail. Because it owes to a culture-bound distortion created by heterosexuals (so-called “romantic marriage”), it will ultimately come to the same ruin. His conclusion is spot-on:

Gay marriage may further damage marriage; but heterosexuals damaged marriage nearly beyond recognition all on our own. 

Read the rest here

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An insightful critique of “Red Letter Christianity”

Karen Swallow Prior has an insightful article about “red-letter Christianity”—a movement that gives hermeneutical priority to Jesus’ words (the so-called “red letters”) over the rest of the words of scripture. Her bottom line says it all:

All of the words of Jesus come through the narrators of the Bible. If the black letters of the narrators are reliable, so too are the red letters of Christ. If the narrators are unreliable, however, then the words of Christ they convey are untrustworthy as well. The only way to the red letters is through the black letters.

It’s a really helpful article dealing with the question from a literary perspective. Read the rest here.

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The aftermath of the iconic image of the OKC bombing

The image from the Oklahoma City bombing that is etched in all our memories is the picture of that firefighter carrying the lifeless body of a 1-year old girl from the ruins of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The little girl’s name was Baylee Almon, and the firefighter Chris Fields had no idea their picture was being taken as he brought her up from the rubble. Nevertheless, that single image captured the scope of the tragedy and became the focal point for Americans trying to understand the horror of that day.

USA Today reports that the lives of nearly everyone connected with that photo were in turmoil after its release: Continue Reading →

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The six daycare survivors from Oklahoma City bombing

I can hardly believe that we are about to mark 20 years since the Oklahoma City bombing, but tomorrow is the day. Much of the country has moved on, but there are survivors who are still living with the results of that day’s catastrophe. The six survivors from the daycare are among them. The video above and the caption below tell their story. From the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum:

The six survivors from the America’s Kids Daycare don’t remember the explosion that killed 15 of their playmates. But they will never forget how the Oklahoma City bombing changed their lives forever. All of them are moving forward, some in college, some in the workforce, all grateful for the gift of life.

These are precious lives. So grateful for each one of them.

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Top 10 things I love about the new Star Wars trailer

I don’t know about you, but the second teaser for the new Star Wars movie got me all verklempt. No kidding. Or maybe it was just something in my eye. Whatever it was, the appearance of Han Solo and Chewey was the coup de grâce.

J. J. Abrams is speaking the superfan’s love language. This is an absolutely brilliant preview. It conjures all the feelings of my childhood while pulling my interest forward into new storylines. It is everything you’d want out of a trailer. In fact, these first two trailers are already better than all three of the prequels. They have exorcised my Jar Jar Binks demons. The force is strong in Abrams.

I know I’m not the only one eagerly anticipating Episode VII. December 18 can’t get here soon enough. So while we wait, here are my top 10 favorite things about this new teaser trailer: Continue Reading →

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Why have some evangelicals turned against reparative therapy?

The Atlantic tweeted a link to an article this morning with this statement: “Why did Christian conservatives turn against gay conversion therapy?” It turns out that the article is by Jonathan Merritt, and it describes the shrinking fortunes of reparative therapy. As I mentioned last week, President Obama recently came out publicly against reparative therapy, and now Merritt is explaining how its influence has waned even among evangelicals. It’s a fascinating article, and you can read it here. Continue Reading →

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Sandra McCracken’s new Psalms album

The Psalms are the prayer book of the church. We learn how to pour out our hearts to God in grief and in exultation from this book. That is why I am so very grateful to see that Sandra McCracken has devoted an entire album to singing the Psalms. Here’s the note she sent out today about the album:

One day we are going to sit around a table together and remember this life. One day we will see every hope and heartbreak with a wider view, and we will sing of God’s complete redemption in full chorus. Over these past couple of years, the practice of singing the Psalms has been teaching me how to pray, leaning into a more honest conversation with God through loss and healing. My new album, ‘Psalms’ was born out of that practice. These are sacred, borrowed words, with new melodies to help draw the longing and joy up out of our hearts and onto our lips, as we watch and wait to see His story come in it’s fullness. The fullness of God. The hope of glory.

–Sandra

Listen to the album above. You can purchase it here.

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