O Jerusalem!, Harry Blamires, Transgenders in the Military, and Bias on Campus

Signs and Wonders

Next Year in Jerusalem? President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is getting mixed reviews. Some Christians, including those with dispensational theology, applaud the move. However, other Christian leaders wonder if the timing is right. Because of security concerns, the cost of a new embassy will likely top $1 billion. According to Mindy Belz of WORLD, “Ten years ago Americans were staggered by the $750 million price tag for the embassy in Baghdad.” Belz also reported that Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a U.S. ally, said in a statement the move would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region.”

Harry Blamires, RIP. The man who wrote the influential book “The Christian Mind” has died at age 101. British theologian and literary scholar Harry Blamires was a friend and student of C.S. Lewis. When “The Christian Mind” came out in 1963, it was one of the few books that dealt with what Blamires called “the mental secularization of Christians.” Blamires led the way for such people as Francis Schaeffer and even Chuck Colson. (In the BreakPoint commentary announcing the founding of what is now our Colson Fellows Program, Chuck Colson recommended the book.) To get a sense of the book’s prophetic power, consider this: “The bland assumption that the Church’s life will continue to be fruitful so long as we go on praying and cultivating our souls, irrespective of whether we trouble to think and talk Christianly, and therefore theologically, about anything we or others may do or say, may turn out to have dire results.”

Transgenders in Military. On Monday, a federal judge overruled the Trump administration and said transgenders may enlist in the military beginning January 1. According to WORLD, “A Pentagon official told the Associated Press it would honor the court ruling and begin accepting transgender enlistments on New Year’s Day. But potential recruits must pass a battery of tests and prove they have been stable in their preferred gender for at least 18 months.”

The Groves of Academe. The modern secular campus is becoming an increasingly dangerous and intolerant place, not just for Christians, but for all thinking people. Or so says John Ellis in an excellent article about higher education in The Wall Street Journal. Ellis says the protests surrounding Ben Shapiro and other conservative speakers are a symptom of “intellectual degradation” caused by political imbalance on our campuses. (And I say “our” campuses, because virtually every college in America, even private colleges, receives significant taxpayer support.) Ellis points to studies dating back 50 years that document liberal bias on campus: In 1969 the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education found that there were overall about twice as many left-of-center as right-of-center faculty. Various studies document the rise of that ratio to 5 to 1 at the century’s end, and to 8 to 1 a decade later, until in 2016 Mitchell Langbert, Dan Klein, and Tony Quain find it in the region of 10 to 1 and still rising.” But the real problem, Ellis says, is not just that liberals dominate, but that they are intolerant of others. He writes, “The nearly complete exclusion of one side has led to complete irrationality on the other. With almost no intellectual opponents remaining, campus radicals have lost the ability to engage with arguments and resort instead to the lazy alternative of name-calling: Opponents are all ‘fascists,’ ‘racists’ or ‘white supremacists.’” If you have a child or grandchild in college, or are a taxpayer, you should read Ellis’s article.

Milestones. Novelist and agrarian Andrew Lytle died on this date in 1995. His best known novel, “The Velvet Horn,” a book with powerful Christian themes, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1957. He was also a teacher and editor who was an early mentor to Flannery O’Connor… Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter “S” [***] in Morse code) on December 12, 1901, at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland. Many cultural historians cite this date as the beginning of the modern media age…. Later this week: the birthday of musician, producer, and songwriter Mark Heard, who was born December 16, 1951.

 


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