Joni Shines. Joni Eareckson Tada — Christian author, advocate for people with disabilities, and remarkable Christian leader — announced Monday she has been diagnosed with cancer. This is her second bout with cancer. Tada had breast cancer eight years ago. She learned of this second round with cancer after being treated for a small nodule that developed over the site of her previous mastectomy. She announced her illness on her website with these words: “When I received the unexpected news of cancer from my oncological surgeon, I relaxed and smiled, knowing that my sovereign God loves me dearly and holds me tightly in His hands.” She requested prayers that “this new health challenge [to] become a platform for showcasing His grace and the giving of the Gospel.” Joni is a past recipient of The Colson Center’s Wilberforce Award.
Spanking Research. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has called spanking a harmful and ineffective disciplinary tool. “There’s no benefit to spanking,” concluded Robert Sege, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and an author of the policy statement. “We know that children grow and develop better with positive role modeling and by setting healthy limits. We can do better.” Spanking is legal in all 50 states, but the AAP said younger parents are less likely to spank than previous generations of parents. Den A. Trumbull, past president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), a socially conservative physician advocacy group, said, “[The AAP] has issued a prohibition against spanking by parents without thoroughly and objectively testing its effectiveness in young children, failing to use specific methods, and failing to specify the behavioral situations. No medical treatment would ever be studied using the techniques they’ve used. … You would never study the effectiveness of a medication without first specifying the dosage, the patients it will be used on, the duration, the frequency—all these things.”
Episcopal Bishop Takes Stand. An Episcopal bishop in upstate New York said there will be no same-sex marriages in his diocese. His directive comes just weeks after the Episcopal Church approved a liturgy for same-sex marriages. The Rev. William Love said the Episcopal Church’s new direction “turns upside down over 2,000 years of Church teaching” about marriage. “The Episcopal Church and Western Society have been hijacked by the ‘Gay Rights Agenda,’ which is very well organized, very strategic, very well financed, and very powerful,” he wrote in the eight-page letter. Love is one of the few theologically orthodox bishops remaining in the Episcopal Church. In 2003, the Episcopal Church consecrated an openly gay man as bishop. Since then, the attendance at Episcopal churches in this country has fallen nearly 50 percent.
Asia Bibi. According to Mindy Belz, “Ireland joined the list of countries ‘likely to respond favorably’ to an asylum request from exonerated Christian Asia Bibi, who remains confined in Pakistan. Writing in her “Globe Trot” column, Belz said that despite Ireland’s announcement, “The West’s response to ensuring her safety remains characterized by ‘passive hand-wringing.’ One U.S. official told me over the weekend, ‘There’s a lot going on we can’t and shouldn’t talk about publicly.’”
Milestones. Kurt Kaiser, who wrote the songs “Pass It On” and “Oh How He Loves You and Me,” died last week. He was 83. Kaiser wrote more than 300 songs. He was also a key figure in the growing contemporary Christian music business because of his work at Word Inc., the first major Christian music label…. Novelist and screenwriter William Goldman died Nov. 16 of colon cancer. He was 87. Goldman won Academy Awards for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “All the President’s Men.” He began his Hollywood career by converting his own novels into screenplays. They included, Marathon Man, Magic, The Princess Bride, and Heat.