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Should we celebrate killing to cover up an affair?

I’ve often been struck by the way Matthew’s genealogy highlights King David’s infamy: “to Jesse was born David the king. And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6). Bathsheba’s entire identity is swallowed up by David’s sin. Unlike the other three women in the list, her name is not even mentioned. She is called “the wife of Uriah”—as if Matthew wishes to invoke all the horror of David’s murderous cover-up that led to his marriage to Uriah’s wife. It is a sadness in the account, not a celebration. Continue Reading →

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Rob Bell’s new egalitarian book on marriage

Rob Bell and his wife Kristen are set to release a book on marriage next month. The work is already being touted as an egalitarian alternative to Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage. The title is The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage. Zimzum is a doctrine that comes from Kabbalah—a kind of new age Jewish mysticism. The Bells are accessing the teaching as a paradigm for understanding marriage. From the publisher’s description,

In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. Mastering this field, this give and take of energy, is the secret to what makes marriage flourish.

Bell will be touring with Oprah Winfrey this Fall.

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14-year old Yazidi girl tells story of being “awarded” to an ISIS commander

The Washington Post has a first-person account of a 14-year old Yazidi girl who was kidnapped by militants and “awarded” to an ISIS commander. Her tale begins with her account of being kidnapped by ISIS troops. She writes:

The militants divided us by gender and age: One for young and capable men, another for girls and young women, and a third for older men and women. The jihadists stole cash and jewelry from this last group, and left them alone at the oasis. Then they placed the girls and women in trucks. As they drove us away, we heard gunshots. Later we learned that they were killing the young men, including my 19-year old brother, who had married just six months ago.

You can read the rest of her harrowing tale here. She ends up escaping from her captors and being reunited with her father. But I can’t help thinking about the countless others who have not escaped. They simply disappear into the desert never to be seen or heard from again. Some executed. Others raped and subjugated. Who will tell their stories? Who will mourn for them?

Maranatha.

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Saving Dr. Brantly

The video above is Part 1 of Dateline’s interview with Dr. Kent Brantly, the Christian doctor who survived Ebola. Matt Lauer’s report is a faithful account of what happened to the Brantly’s from their first Ebola patient to Dr. Brantly’s recovery. It’s very well done. You can watch Part 1 above and the other 5 parts here.

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A conference for writers and creatives

It looks like Sojourn Community Church has come up with a dynamite conference for writers and creatives. It’s called “Word and Words,” and it’s being held here in Louisville next month, October 10-11. Here’s a description:

Word and Words will bring together a broad spectrum of Christian writers and thinkers for two days of reflections on reading, writing and storytelling. Together, we’ll explore why we tell stories, what we have to gain from reading and writing, and how stories and storytelling connect with the Christian life.

Word and Words is a conference for anyone who loves a good story, with workshops that will target general readers, writers, pastors and more. Topics will range from the Spirituality of Science Fiction to Social Media to Writing As A Spiritual Discipline.

The speaker line-up looks fantastic and includes Greg Thornbury, Karen Swallow Prior, David Dark, Gregory Wolfe, Bret Lotte, and Mike Cosper. If you are interested, you can get more details and register at the website.

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Persecution will never happen, but when it does, you Christians will deserve it

Rod Dreher reflects on the recent expulson of InterVarsity from the University of California system. Dreher indicates that this is only the beginning, and he offers a sobering word about the conflict that is upon American Christians for holding to a biblical sexual ethic. We are not in persecution now, but it does seem to be on the horizon. He writes:

Look, this is coming. This is the new world. This is post-Christian America. You will hear the Law of Merited Impossibility people yelling that this will never happen, but when it does, you people will deserve it, to try to shout down your concerns, and to hide from themselves the illiberal truth of what they’re doing. But it’s happening, and you had better get ready for it, and get your children ready for it, because the people driving this thing believe so strongly in their own virtue. Error has no rights.

Read the rest here.

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Wendy Davis’s Abortion

Wendy Davis became a household name about a year ago during her filibuster for abortion rights in the Texas State legislature. Even though her filibuster ultimately failed, she nevertheless became a pro-choice superstar and a Democratic candidate for governor. She has recently published a memoir in which she reveals that she herself has had two abortions. She had the second abortion during her 2nd trimester after finding out that the baby had a serious brain abnormality. In the book she describes the aftermath. MySA reports,

After getting several medical opinions and feeling the baby they had named Tate Elise “tremble violently, as if someone were applying an electric shock to her” in the womb, she said the decision was clear.

“She was suffering,” Davis wrote.

The unborn baby’s heart was “quieted” by her doctor, and their baby was gone. She was delivered by cesarean section in spring 1997, the memoir says.

Davis wrote that she and her then-husband, Jeff, spent time with Tate the next day and had her baptized. They cried, took photographs and said their good-byes, she wrote, and Tate’s lifeless body was taken away the following day.

“An indescribable blackness followed. It was a deep, dark despair and grief, a heavy wave that crushed me, that made me wonder if I would ever surface. … And when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed,” Davis wrote.

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Who could have predicted the mess in Iraq?

Who could have predicted that terrorists groups like ISIS would overrun Iraq if America pursued a precipitous withdrawal of troops? It turns out that this result was entirely predictable and was in fact predicted by previous commander-in-chief in 2007. In a remarkably accurate warning, President Bush said this:

I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaida. It’d mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It’d mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It’d mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

All of this has happened and is happening right now. (HT: Brit Hume)

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Refusing to call evil “evil”

I just read one of the most morally confused (and indeed asinine) things I’ve ever seen on the New York Times editorial page. The author is a professor named Michael Boyle, and he argues that we must not call the ISIS terrorist group evil. Why? Because the times don’t call for moral clarity. President Bush had moral clarity, and look where that got us–a decade of war. For this reason, Boyle argues that we should avoid describing ISIS as a “cancer” like President Obama did earlier this week. Such language keeps us from seeing the world as it is.

This is the logic of appeasement. It’s very similar to the moral indifference of Western democracies that led to the rise of the Nazis and the rearmament of Germany after World War I. And we cannot go that route again. There really is such a thing as evil in the world. In a culture of pluralism, we may have difficulty agreeing on how to define the good, the right, and the true. Nevertheless, there are times when all of our pluralistic sensibilities are overcome by an unambiguous display of wickedness. It happened on 9-11. And it happened again when ISIS beheaded James Foley. How can someone be so resentful of the last president that he would refuse to see that?

No one is served when we bury our heads in the ground and pretend that ISIS is anything less than one of the most morally repugnant regimes on the face of the planet. Maybe our statesmen will disagree on the best way to address this threat. But can’t we all agree on what they are. They are evil. The only reasonable and moral response is to say so and oppose them.

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Mohler on Ferguson: Love your neighbor, lead with empathy, don’t prejudge, wait for the facts

Albert Mohler has timely advice about how Christians ought to be thinking about the tragic shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. He says that the shooting and its aftermath are an “excruciating reminder that the racial issues in America continue.” In sum, he says that Christians need to love their neighbor, lead with empathy, not prejudge, and wait for the facts. You can listen to his full remarks below or download them here.

Here are some important excerpts from his remarks:

Continue Reading →

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