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The Pope affirms the “Complementarity” of Marriage

Six videos have been released in conjunction with the Vatican’s colloquium on complementarity—an event being held now in Rome. I have not yet seen all six, but I have viewed the first one (see above). It is really well done. In fact, I would say that this is a must-watch video. It bears an international, timeless perspective on the fundamental “complementarity” of marriage—that is, that marriage is fundamentally a heterosexual union. It includes testimonials from N. T. Wright, Peter Kreeft, and many others.

I think that this video is expressing what Pope Francis himself declared today in his opening remarks to the colloquium. In a translation provided by the Vatican News website, the Pope affirms that marriage is irreducibly heterosexual in its nature. You can read his remarks here.

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Federal Appeals Court upholds laws banning gay marriage

From Robert Barnes at The Washington Post:

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld same-sex marriage bans in four states Thursday afternoon, creating a split among the nation’s appeals courts that almost surely means the Supreme Court must take up the issue of whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The panel ruled 2 to 1 that while gay marriage is almost inevitable, in the words of U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, it should be settled through the democratic process and not the judiciary. The decision overturned rulings in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, and makes it the first appeals court to uphold state bans since the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

I expect Barnes’s report to be updating here. Here’s is a link to the 6th Circuit’s decision.

This is big news. This is the kind of conflict among federal courts that the Supreme Court has to step in and resolve. If SCOTUS stays on their current trajectory, they could issue a decision that would make gay marriage legal in all 50 states. Stay tuned.

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What does the “Republican wave” mean for social conservatives?

I am not a political scientist nor the son of a political scientist. So feel free to take the following reflections with the appropriate grain of salt and not as the definitive analysis of last night’s election results. Having said that, I think it might be helpful to think about what the “Republican wave” means for social conservatives.

I am a social conservative, which for me means that I put a high value on public policies relating to the sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, and religious liberty. These aren’t the only things I care about, but they are on the top shelf for me. What does last night mean for public policy on those issues? What does it mean for the party that is typically associated with advancing those issues? Continue Reading →

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Do you have confidence in Christ that can handle Ebola?

My heart sank when I heard the news this morning about Thomas Eric Duncan. He was the first Ebola victim discovered in the United States, and he passed away earlier today. I don’t know much about Duncan at all, but I do know this. He travelled to the United States late last month after having contact with Ebola in Liberia. The disease overcame him after he arrived in Dallas, Texas. His condition became so desperate that his family members could no longer have video conferences with him. The sight of him was too unsettling for them. He died alone in an isolation ward this morning. Continue Reading →

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Gay marriage not to be constitutional right this term

The New York Times reports that the Supreme Court has denied cert in all five pending same-sex marriage cases. There are two immediate implications of this—an upside and a downside:

(1) Downside: Same-sex marriage will now go forward in five states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. This should increase the number of states allowing same-sex marriage from 19 to 24. By deciding not to review these cases, the Supreme Court has let stand bad rulings from lower courts that usurp authority from the people by striking down good laws. This is not good and will likely have far-reaching effects over time.

(2) Upside: Gay marriage will not become a constitutional right this term. Many of us were predicting that the Supreme Court would take up one of these cases. Given the court’s decision in Windsor, it is very clear how they would have ruled if the issue would have come before the court again. Observers expected gay marriage to become a constitutional right across the country this June. But that is not going to happen—at least not right now. The issue will continue to be fought in the lower courts and in the states.

This is big news, and the upside is definitely significant. Still, SCOTUS at best has only delayed the inevitable. Legal same-sex marriage in all 50 states—including a constitutional right to SSM—is a fait accompli at this point. It’s like watching water roll down the windshield. You can debate what track the water will take to get there, but it’s going to get there one way or the other.

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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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