Recent Point Posts

Here are some short thoughts on various news items:

--Halloween is a holiday like many of our holidays, in that has a far more complicated history than we would like. It is an amalgam of so many different traditions, blending both sacred and secular. It washes from one shore of wholesomeness and children-centered-ness as depicted in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" where little kids dress up in innocent costumes and go door-to-door to get candy, as it was when I was growing up, to the other shore of today, where much of it is profane and sensual and truly horrifying. Are those saints rising from the graves to dance on All Hallows Eve, or demons? Well, we're all both simultaneously saint and sinner, so maybe Halloween is simply a reflection of us.

--The doctor from Samaritan's Purse came to the USA, got treated for Ebola, and went quietly back to Africa. The doctor from Doctors Without Borders went around New York after lying about staying home, and now the nurse also from Doctors Without Borders is refusing to stay home. One agency is explicitly Christian, while the other is explicitly secular. It's interesting that their people behave so differently. Maybe their circumstances are totally different due to the ways our government is handling the disease. Or maybe it's two worldviews being lived out before our eyes.
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Dr. Timothy George is as Baptist as the day is long. Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Dr. George was a long-time friend and associate of Chuck Colson. He played a key role in the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement, co-authored the Manhattan Declaration, and in 2012 was the lone Protestant to address the 13th Ordinary Generaly Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, with Pope Benedict XVI in attendance.

Dr. Timothy (as he is lovingly referred to here at the Colson Center) has written a great piece at First Things on Martin Luther and Reformation Day. Given his sterling Baptist and ecumenical credentials, I humbly submit it's worth a read.
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This video has been making the rounds online, prompting justified outrage from social justice warriors who believe (rightly) that women should never be subjected to sexually intimidating jeers and leers while simply walking in public. Feminists in particular seem to feel vindicated by the video. Doubtless it reinforces their belief that we're living in a "rape culture, where men threaten and even abuse women with societal impunity, every day.

Here's what they seem to be missing.
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Another week, another breathless report from media outlets across the world that Pope Francis has departed from Catholic teaching.

Last week liberal journalists worked themselves into a lather over a discussion report of little doctrinal importance from the Synod on the Family that hinted at pro-gay overtures from some of the bishops. While there are indications that the report may reflect Francis’ own attitudes, it certainly wasn’t the revision of Rome’s official doctrine on marriage and family the media made it out to be. But just days later they’re at it again, this time over remarks Francis made to the Pontifical Academy on Sciences regarding evolution and Genesis. The comments are being hailed as an about-face by the Catholic church on evolution. That's a serious exhaggeration, to say the least.

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If I were to stand outside a church and call the people inside atheists, you’d think I was crazy. But what if I were to accuse them of being sexual atheists?

Sexual atheism” is a new term, but helps to explain the impact of a deeply impoverished Christian vision of human sexuality. In his article for Charisma, Kenny Luck writes that “nearly nine out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practice, sexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually.”

Luck cites a survey of Christian singles in which 63 percent of them said they would have sex before marriage. In practice, the number may be even higher. So, what is the church to do?

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I always thought that "Universal Horror" was a film franchise. Not anymore. Now it's the basis for court rulings on domestic relations.

And the result -- legal recognition of uncle/niece marriage in the state of New York -- is, well, horrifying.
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CBS News reports that the young woman who was committed to taking her own life may wait a while to see what happens with her disease. Please keep praying that Maynard will choose life.
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In Marilynne Robinson’s "Gilead," the narrator, John Ames, talks about the mystery of predestination and how it beyond human ken to understand the ways of God. You know what else is a mystery? The reception Robinson gets among critics and intellectuals who normally despise Christianity. Her newest novel,"Lila," is her third work to make it as a finalist for the National Book Award. Read More >
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That is to say, The New Yorker profiled a pro-life activist and her organization -- Marjorie Dannenfelser and SBA List -- and actually treated them seriously and respectfully. So seriously and respectfully, in fact, that SBA List has compiled a list of the 10 best quotes from the article.

The article is, in fact, littered with sentences that suggest the pro-life message might -- just might -- be starting to break through. Like this:
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My good friend T. M. Moore e-mailed this to me. Wanted to share:

"In yet another example of science catching up to faith, reporters explain that the practice of meditation is good for you (Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz, and Richard J. Davidson, 'Mind of the Meditator,' Scientific American, November 2014).
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Benjamin Bradlee, retired Washington Post editor who died last Tuesday at the age of 93, is widely considered to have been a great newspaperman. I love the "Style" section of the Washington Post, which was his idea. But he was far from perfect.

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Emily Colson has alerted us to Focus on the Family’s “IStandSunday” event for religious freedom, coming up a week from Sunday at 7 P.M. Eastern.

Here’s how FoF describes the event: Read More >
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I must have been 11 or 12 when I saw "Gone with the Wind" for the first time. For at least a couple of days after that, I went around trying to be Melanie Hamilton. It took my mother and her mother, my Grandma Martie, about five minutes to figure out what I was up to, and they found it utterly hilarious. Grandma loved "Gone with the Wind" -- I believe it was her favorite movie -- but unlike me, she had no use for the sweet and gentle Melanie.

Martha "Martie" Loreno, who died on Tuesday at the age of 92, was Scarlett at heart -- fiery, stubborn, fun-loving, with a free spirit and an iron will. (And a yen for Clark Gable.) When I wrote her obituary for her hometown paper, I noticed that her outer life looked utterly conventional: marriage, children, a life of hard work in a Pennsylvania small town. But outer lives can be deceiving.
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So now that self-determination means men can become women, women can become men and either can choose from at least 56 other gender options, Mark Tooley at the Institute for Religion and Democracy says points along the traditional spectrum from male to female will soon become passé. Before long, he half-jokingly predicts, the activists who seem bent on subjectifying every objective fact of human biology will move beyond their own genus, insisting that—despite all appearances—they are, deep down inside, wild animals.

Apparently it’s already a thing.
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This week, Letters of Note published a remarkable letter from Aldous Huxley to George Orwell, upon the publication of “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” In it, Huxley thanks Orwell for his vision and compares it to that of his own dystopian novel, “Brave New World”:

“I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.”

During the Cold War, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” held the ideas that gripped our social consciousness for more than 40 years. Yet since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the nightmare of thought police, constant surveillance, and reeducation hasn’t diminished, but intensified.
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