As a young Christian who is wrestling with questions about her faith, and seeking to learn and grow thereby, I am increasingly grateful for the online presence of Christianity Today's women's blog, Her.meneutics. In their own words, "Her.meneutics strives to equip women (and not merely a few men) to engage the world of ideas, cultural trends, and global news through the lens of Christian faith."
Her.meneutics has created an online space for Christians to engage in healthy dialogue on key issues. Topics range widely, as do the contributors' opinions. Readers are welcome to agree and disagree with what they read, and to comment in response if they so choose; ultimately, all parties are sharpened by the process.
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Rod Dreher is a child of this age. He has done many different things, been a part of hugely different fellowships, and worked as a journalist, a film critic, a manager, and a PR man. Now he is an author. I get the impression he has gone round and round much of his life.
(This is not uncommon for writers. After spending time hanging out at Georgetown studying journalism, I can testify that MANY of my colleagues there have followed similar circular trajectories. And there also, by the grace of God, go I).
But, according to Rod, one thing never changed in all those years, until recently. He always read the New York Times. For almost 20 years.
Our God is big enough to do anything He chooses to allow or do. Lately, though, I’ve been doubting, not His power, but His willingness, in a key area of brokenness and pain in my own life. I’ve allowed myself to hope for restoration in something that He may not allow (and that I personally believe He will not allow).
Heart pain + No clear glimpses of God = A long, dry desert.
So what’s the plan? What do you do? How do we make it through when it feels like He no longer sees or cares about us? Read More >
Is religion behind all the violence in the world? Is the cause of all fighting somehow rooted in religious beliefs? Some say it is.
For example, God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected that of Cain. “This,” the Bible says, “made Cain very angry” (Genesis 4:5). Later Cain killed Abel. The first act of violence among humans that the Bible records was rooted in a religious issue. Many more acts of violence have followed throughout human history that are directly or indirectly related to religion. . . .
This witty, useful, and humorous guide is brought to you by First Things: "We are pleased to offer the below definitions to help clarify some of the most misunderstood terms connected with dating and relationships today —Ed."
The Huffington Post is all over a study that purports to show that religious kids can't tell fact from fiction. Jim Davis of GetReligion quotes from the article: "The study found that, of the 66 participants, children who went to church or were enrolled in a parochial school were significantly less able than secular children to identify supernatural elements, such as talking animals, as fictional. By relating seemingly impossible religious events achieved through divine intervention (e.g., Jesus transforming water into wine) to fictional narratives, religious children would more heavily rely on religion to justify their false categorizations."
Can we please resurrect Chesterton, Lewis, and Tolkien to deal with this nonsense? There are times when nothing less will do. (Alas, though with God nothing is impossible -- as these fortunate and well-taught children understand -- I don't think it's likely.)
I recently finished reading "Sun Shine Down" by Gillian Marchenko (whom I know slightly through one of my online writers' groups). Gillian and her husband, Sergei, were living as church planters in Ukraine when their third daughter was born. After a difficult birth, Gillian was floored by the words "They suspect the baby may have Down syndrome."
Already facing the day-to-day struggle of life in a culture very different from her own -- a culture with even less tolerance of Down syndrome than the United States -- Gillian now had a child with a condition she knew almost nothing about.
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TIME magazine reports, "For the first time in 57 years the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health Information Survey has surveyed adults on their sexual orientation, and the results published Tuesday show that 1.6% of adults aged 18 or over identified as gay, while another 0.7% identified as bisexual."
This past Monday I had the honor of addressing the Prison Fellowship Ministry staff in our weekly gathering. As I went before the Lord asking what He was laying on my heart to share, He took me all over the place. Finally, though, I landed in one comfortable spot:
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James Franco has recently adapted William Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying"and Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God"into films; it is rumored that Franco will eventually adapt McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" as well. All three novels (and film adaptations) share a significant theme in common: they attempt to explore human depravity at its darkest, deepest, and most devastating.
An article at Christ and Pop Culture suggests that Franco's adaptation of these three films shows a continuing trend in modern filmmaking: "an invitation to consider depravity." The article goes on to say (and rightly so, I believe), "If these adaptations and their sources reveal anything, it’s that culture is interested not only displaying depravity but also in interpreting it, an interest the Church must share."
WORLD has named Andrew Peterson's "The Warden and the Wolf King" its Children's Book of the Year. I had the honor of being asked to serve on the selection committee, and I very much enjoyed Peterson's action-adventure fantasy -- the final entry in his "Wingfeather Saga" -- which was by turns creepy, funny, exciting, and deeply moving. Peterson's achievement is all the more impressive given the fact that he had to raise the money for its publication himself. As Janie B. Cheaney explains in her article for WORLD, "The Warden and the Wolf King project became the most successful fiction campaign in Kickstarter’s history."
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