Charlottesville. The events that turned the eyes of the world to Charlottesville were tragic. However, they have motivated a badly needed national conversation involving not just race, but also theology and politics—the kind of conversation that we have not seen in a long while, if ever. And despite what you hear about the toxic media environment, some of the voices have been reasonable and helpful. I commend to you, for example, Tim Keller’s Gospel Coalition article. He writes, “It is absolutely crucial to speak up about the biblical teaching on racism—not just now, but routinely. We need to make those in our circles impervious to this toxic teaching.” John Stonestreet and David Carlson’s BreakPoint commentary is also helpful. They write, “Every racist ideology, including the white nationalism and neo-Nazi rhetoric and images displayed by the so-called alt-right in Charlottesville, is rooted in the pit of hell. There’s no defending it. It’s not Christian. It’s not American. And it ought not even be associated with conservatism.” To which I can only add, “Amen.”
North Korea. Charlottesville news has pushed North Korea off the front page, but the situation there remains tense. President Trump’s bellicose rhetoric motivated a coalition of Korean-American elected officials to write a letter asking him to tone down “dangerous language that could end up unnecessarily escalating the conflicts even more.” Mindy Belz wrote in WORLD, “Beyond the heated rhetoric, between the United States and North Korea back-channel discussions have continued since the release of now-deceased student hostage Otto Warmbier.” Most knowledgeable observers say the military options regarding North Korea are all bad ones, and that the only sane option is diplomacy. However, Belz notes that “Trump has yet to nominate an ambassador to South Korea. A record 55 of 188 ambassadorships remain vacant, including other hot spots, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt.”
Dan Fogelberg Honored. Singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, which would have been Fogelberg’s 66th birthday if he had not died of cancer a decade ago. Fogelberg is not known as a Christian musician. In fact, though raised in the church, Fogelberg turned to New Age and Native American spirituality as an adult and quickly burned through two marriages, even as his career flourished. Yet something happened to Fogelberg as he got older. His quest for spiritual truth finally caused him to reject the vague New Age spirituality of his early adulthood. He said in a 1999 interview that he had converted to Catholicism. A heartfelt Christmas album he recorded in the final years of his life has seven original songs that reflected his newfound Christian faith. Among those paying tribute to Fogelberg on Sunday at a sold-out concert in Denver were Richie Furay (a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member who is now a pastor in Denver), Michael Martin Murphey, JohnnySwim, Amy Grant, and Vince Gill.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0. Illustration designed by Heidi Allums.
Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.