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Possible first-century copy of Mark’s Gospel discovered

In 2012, Dan Wallace dropped a bombshell during a debate with Bart Ehrman. Ehrman had pointed out that our earliest copy of Mark’s Gospel is dated 140 years after the gospel was first written. It’s a point often made by critics to show the unreliability of the New Testament. Wallace then revealed that he had knowledge that a first century copy of Mark’s Gospel had been discovered. He also revealed that the document would be published in a forthcoming volume by E. J. Brill.

It was all very cryptic at the time, and Ehrman later complained that Wallace should not have brought it up in the debate. Ehrman argued that bringing up this alleged discovery without providing any evidence for it was dirty pool. I disagree. It seems reasonable to mention forthcoming scholarly work with the understanding that independent verification can only come after publication of the find. In that sense, it’s only dirty pool if you are making outlandish claims. But a report out today says that a group of scholars are indeed planning to publish what they believe to be a first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel. Continue Reading →


Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married

From The New York Times:

A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend.

Social scientists have long known that married people tend to be happier, but they debate whether that is because marriage causes happiness or simply because happier people are more likely to get married. The new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, controlled for pre-marriage happiness levels.

It concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises…

A quarter of today’s young adults will have never married by 2030, which would be the highest share in modern history, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet both remaining unmarried and divorcing are more common among less-educated, lower-income people. Educated, high-income people still marry at high rates and are less likely to divorce.

Read the rest here.


The firing of Atlanta fire chief is an intolerable precedent

No doubt by now you have read about the Fire Chief in Atlanta who was fired for his views on homosexuality. The New York Times

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that he had fired the chief of the city’s Fire Rescue Department, Kelvin Cochran, after Mr. Cochran gave workers a religious book he wrote containing passages that condemn homosexuality…
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No, we are not Charlie

Rod Dreher offers a provocative counterpoint to the Je suis Charlie meme that has been sweeping the internet in the wake of the Paris shootings. Dreher writes:

If you can’t imagine wearing an “I Am the Catholic League” (if you are a secular leftist) or “I Am NARAL” (if you are a pro-life conservative) t-shirt in protest of deadly violence against those organizations, then you should think twice about tweeting or claiming the phrase Je suis CharlieI mean, you can and should be in solidarity with those dead journalists, and hope for their murderers to be caught and punished within the fullest extent of the law. But let’s be honest: for most of us Americans, to claim that we “are” them is kitsch. We may think we are Charlie, but that’s only because it’s cheap and easy to be Charlie. And uplifting: How nice to be moved, with all mankind, by being Charlie

Read the rest here.


My Husband’s Not Gay

TLC will air a special on January 11 titled “My Husband’s Not Gay.” It follows the lives of several different Mormon men who experience ongoing same-sex attraction but who have also chosen to be married to women. They have families, and they are trying to live out the teachings of the Mormon faith, which prohibits homosexual conduct and encourages conjugal marriage. Watch ABC News’s report about the program above. Continue Reading →


How to think and pray about the suicide of a transgender teen

Just before the New Year, a transgender teenager name Josh “Leelah” Alcorn took his own life (see report above). In his suicide note, he said that he was despairing over the deep conflict he felt about being transgender. He also indicated that his parents were Christians and had taken him to Christian counselors for help. Here’s an excerpt from the child’s suicide note, which was posted online:

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Trip Lee, “It coulda been me”

Trip Lee has written a new song expressing how he feels about the recent tragedies in Ferguson and New York (listen above). In short, these events have left him thinking, “It could’ve been me.” No matter what your feelings are about the non-indictments in these particular cases, what Trip is talking about here is absolutely essential. For me at least, hearing such stories over the last two years from brothers like Trip, Voddie, Thabiti, and others has transformed my view of the African American experience. Don’t miss this.


Toward breaking the impasse in our discussion of Ferguson

In the wake of the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, I’ve seen thoughtful commentators trying their best to do two things. On the one hand, they want to listen carefully to our African American neighbors who experience racial prejudice in their interface with law enforcement and with the criminal justice system. They want to give due regard to systemic racial inequality that still exists in our country. On the other hand, they also want to be fair in their evaluation of Michael Brown’s death and how his death relates to the overall racial disparity in our criminal justice system.

This has been a difficult balance to strike in the wake of events in Ferguson. Some have insisted that Michael Brown’s death is “Exhibit A” of the larger systemic issues in our country. Furthermore, they insist that failure to treat Brown’s death as an exemplar of those issues is a failure of racial sensitivity. And herein is the impasse: Not that people deny the existence of larger systemic issues, but that the shooting of Michael Brown must be viewed as an example of it. Emotions run high as all the pathos of our nation’s original sin come to the surface in these kinds of discussions. And that is why the discussion is so difficult. That is also why evangelicals have even found themselves divided on the matter.

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A few thoughts on Ferguson

I’m reluctant to say anything, so I will say very little. Here are my thoughts on the morning after.

1. We still have race issues in this country. As President Obama said last night, we’ve made progress, but we have by no means arrived. It is an enormous grief that African Americans feel so regularly alienated by police and by the criminal justice system more broadly. It is a great sadness that black fathers have to have sobering conversations with their sons about encountering the police without getting shot—a conversation I never had with my father. As a people, we are not yet what we should be. It does no one any good to deny that. Again, as the President said last night,

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