Wild Goose Festival as pagan nature worship?

A couple weeks ago, I made mention of this year’s Wild Goose Festival—an annual confab of progressive “Christians” and ex-evangelicals. Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, and Frank Schaeffer all had a part in program. The group Jars of Clay was among the musical acts that performed. This year’s Festival also featured a program called Carnival de Resistance. Alexander Griswold’s description of the “Carnival” sounds like borderline nature worship. Here’s an excerpt: Continue Reading →

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A chilling new front in the war on religious liberty

The ACLU and other groups supporting gay rights have announced that they are withdrawing their support for the Employment Non-discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA). ENDA is a controversial measure because the bill would make it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

Why would the ACLU and gay rights groups remove their support for such a measure? Because the current form of the bill provides an exemption for religious employers. The ACLU et al. have decided that the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision gives too much ground to religious liberty. To curtail that trend, these groups will not support the bill as long as it offers broad exemptions to religious employers. Continue Reading →

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Are evangelicals changing their views on gay marriage?

Jim Hinch has a rather ambitious analysis of evangelical piety at Politico titled, “Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage: And the Bible isn’t getting in their way.” The title reveals the fundamental flaw in this article. The flaw also appears in the fact that Hinch treats members of the Presbyterian Church USA and the United Church of Christ as bellwethers of evangelical opinion. Hinch appears to be a little fuzzy as to what an evangelical is. These are very strange evangelicals indeed—those who give little heed to the authority of scripture and who are members of liberal mainline churches. Continue Reading →

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9 Terrible Habits You Need to Stop Immediately

A productivity expert at Time magazine offers “9 Terrible Habits You Need to Stop Immediately.” This is not written from a biblical point of view, but there are nevertheless some wise, adaptable things to consider in this not-to-do list. The “terrible habits” are listed below. Click here to read the explanation for each one.

  1. Do Not Answer Calls from Unrecognized Numbers
  2. Do Not Email First Thing in the Morning or Last Thing at Night
  3. Do Not Agree to Meetings or Calls With No Clear Agenda or End Time
  4. Do Not Let People Ramble
  5. Do Not Check Email Constantly
  6. Do Not Over-Communicate With Low Profit, High Maintenance Customers
  7. Do Not Work More to Fix Being Too Busy
  8. Do Not Carry a Digital Leash 24/7
  9. Do Not Expect Work to Fill a Void That Non-Work Relationships and Activities Should
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NY Times highlights young woman who deconverts

The New York Times ran a story on Friday highlighting the deconversion of Sarah Jones, a recent graduate from a Christian college. Jones is a young woman who grew up in a fundamentalist home, attended a Christian college, and then fell away from the faith. She has now crossed all the way over to the other side and works for a liberal interest group that opposes Christianity. It is a sad story, and perhaps the best response to her situation is simply to pray for this girl and her family. The Lord’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1).

The original version of this blog post questioned whether The New York Times ever published conversion stories in the other direction—from secular liberal to conservative Christian. It turns out that they do. The author Mark Oppenheimer provides some examples that he has written (here, here, and here). Still, there is one profile that I would love to see Oppenheimer tackle. Rosaria Butterfield’s journey from tenured lesbian professor to committed evangelical Christian is one of the most compelling and provocative that I have ever seen. She published her story just two years ago, yet it has been largely overlooked by outlets like The New York Times. I would love to see that change.

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When the Transgender Comes Home

Josh Bishop has a really helpful article at The Gospel Coalition telling how he and his family responded to the revelation of his sister’s transgender identity. He writes:

Jessah is 19 years old, 12 years younger than I am. I was in the hospital when she was born. I spent my middle-school years changing her diapers. She beamed with pride and excitement when my then-fiancée Becca asked her to be a bridesmaid at our wedding, and during the ceremony she looked just as beautiful and twice as proud as the older girls. Becca offered advice when she was learning to put on makeup, when puberty arrived, when she first started noticing and crushing on boys.

Today, though, Jessah identifies as a man. “I am not female,” she declared in her coming out announcement. She is legally changing her name to Jace and plans to undergo hormone treatment therapy and gender reassignment surgery as soon as possible. In the meantime, she is presenting herself as a male.

What was once a distant and theoretical discussion—How do Christians respond to the transgender issue?—suddenly became immediate and practical. Abstract became concrete; impersonal, personal. This isn’t just the cover of Time magazine, it’s Christmas dinner. It’s e-mails and phone calls, weddings and funerals, kids’ birthday parties and Mother’s Day luncheons. This big question facing me and my wife is wrapped up in a hundred smaller questions:

Do we speak of my sister or my brother? Jessah or Jace? She or he? And what exactly is the Christian witness on gender issues, anyway? How do we affirm a biblical sexual ethic and our love for my sister at the same time? Even more difficult: How do we resolve the tensions between loving my sister on the one hand, and, on the other, training up our children in the way they should go?

This piece is very practical. Read it here.

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Louis Zamperini, RIP (1917-2014)

The news just came out this morning that Louis Zamperini has died. Zamperini will be known to history as an Olympian and World War II hero, but his life was so much more than that. In fact, his story is larger than life, painted on a global canvas, encompassing the heights of human triumph and the depths of human degradation. In short, Zamperini went from juvenile delinquent to Olympian (who met Hitler!) to bombardier to lost at sea to abused POW to home again. The story is vast and incredible.

Zamperini had been a prisoner of war for two years in Japan during World War II. No one ever wants to be a prisoner of war, but the Japanese POW camps were the worst of the war. Survivors of European POW camps reported far different experiences from those in the Japanese camps. The Japanese were especially cruel, beating their prisoners mercilessly, starving them, turning them into slave labor, working them until they died, and depriving them of human dignity. Many Americans who survived the Japanese camps experienced great emotional and psychological trauma for the rest of their lives. Continue Reading →

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The Hidden Blessing of Infertility

If you have ever walked the painful path of infertility—or walked with someone who has—then you know something of the grief and anguish that many couples experience when they are unable to conceive. That is why I love Karen Swallow Prior’s recent essay in Christianity Today, “The Hidden Blessing of Infertility.” It is well worth your time to read and share. Here’s an excerpt: Continue Reading →

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