BP_blog

Internally Displaced Person

rdtfyughWell, the results from New Hampshire are in, and, as Douglas E. Schoen wrote at Fox News (h/t Dave the Swede), “the fed-up vote won.” Schoen explained, “We are seeing a full scale rejection of the political establishment. This is a threat that we did not take seriously enough over the past few years, as evidenced by the fact that most rejected Trump as a clown and a joke.”

Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, appearing on the Diane Rehm Show, said that the word that captured both Trump’s and Sanders’ overwhelming victories was “populism.”
Read More >
Comments: 0

Signs and Wonders

ID-100208297Eradicating Extreme Poverty. Turn the clock back 100 years, and the overwhelming majority of the people on the planet were poor to the point of starving. Today is very different. While there is still much to do to provide dignified lives to all people, the “Green Revolution” of the mid-20th century radically changed the food picture on the planet. Today, starving people are much more likely to be the result of war or totalitarian regimes than an actual shortage of food. In fact, a new report by the World Health Organization says that a growing problem in the developing world is childhood obesity. Newsweek reported on the study, saying, “Childhood obesity is no longer the preserve of wealthy nations. There are more overweight and obese children in the developing world, in terms of absolute numbers, and an upward trend is evident.” The report outlined six sets of recommendations for ending childhood obesity, including access to affordable healthy foods and more physical activity. The “story behind the story” here is that technology, democracy, and free markets have all but solved a problem that has plagued mankind for centuries. Childhood obesity is an unintended consequence of this new abundance, and it’s a problem. But we should be celebrating, not bemoaning, the fact that we’re now dealing with a much more manageable problem.

Read More >
Comments: 0

Radical Life

ID-10096399With the presidential campaign heating up, political polls are driving the news cycles and handicapping the race. Daily polling directs millions of dollars and frames the media narrative. But the underlying reality is that pollsters are wringing their hands, knowing their polls are giving questionable results.

Monday’s Iowa caucuses were no exception. The pollsters declared that Hillary Clinton would soundly defeat Bernie Sanders and that Donald Trump would scorch Ted Cruz while Marco Rubio would finish a distant third.

The polls—and there were a lot of them—blew it. Again.
Read More >
Comments: 0

Priorities

ThinkstockPhotos-sb10067337aa-001Carolina Panthers star quarterback (and probable NFL MVP) Cam Newton likes to do a little celebrating when he makes a good play on the football field. Actually, he likes to do a lot of celebrating.

Supposed “old school” players (such as future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher) and fans (such as yours truly) don’t like all the choreography. I prefer Bear Bryant’s old adage that when you score a touchdown, “Act like you’ve been there before” (“and,” I might add, “you’re expecting to be back”).

In the glory days of the NFL, even a simple spike after a score was a novelty. You were expected to hand the ball to the referee and trot back to the sideline, not drawing attention to yourself (because it’s a team game) and not “rubbing it in” against your opponents (because sportsmanship is important). That’s all gone now. As Scotty said in “Star Trek IV” after encountering an Apple computer with a keyboard, “How quaint!
Read More >
Comments: 0

Signs and Wonders

ThinkstockPhotos-506606272Iowa in the Books. The 2016 Iowa caucuses are in the history books, and—guess what—evangelicals did not turn out for Donald Trump. Trump significantly underperformed, at least based on polling in the past few days before the election. Marco Rubio significantly outperformed expectations—that is, if you don’t count the WORLD Magazine poll that has had Rubio out front among evangelical leaders for the past seven months. Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley dropped out of the race, though it is hard to see how that will have much of an impact. Huckabee is polling nationally at less than 2 percent. That said, it’s hard to imagine how any of those voters will move to Trump. They will probably distribute themselves to Rubio and Ted Cruz and the others. Chuck Colson used to say that “salvation does not come on Air Force One.” Here at the Colson Center we often say, “Politics is downstream from culture.” That’s true, too. But when the government is responsible for 20 percent of all U.S. economic activity, and is so actively involved in our daily lives, Christians should be interested and actively involved in the political process, just as we should be involved in every other sphere of life over which God has sovereignty.
Read More >
Comments: 2

Literary Lights

Kevins_Henry_Kirke_White_photo_from_1807_Collected_Works_of_HK_WhiteSometimes, moving and meaningful things come when least expected.

In the late 1990s, when writing my biography of William Wilberforce, I learned of a little-known British writer named Henry Kirke White, whom Wilberforce sponsored at Cambridge University. White had great promise as a poet and scholar, but his family was poor.

Wilberforce saw something special in this gifted young man, and indeed, White had experienced a beautiful and profound conversion from strident skepticism to Christian faith. He hoped to train for the ministry at Cambridge—hence Wilberforce's kind interest in his welfare. Once White entered St. John’s College, Cambridge (Wilberforce’s alma mater), he won highest academic distinction, becoming “the first man of his year.”
Read More >
Comments: 0

Signs and Wonders

ID-100107804Marching through the Storm. Last week’s record snowstorm shut down Washington—except for the March for Life. Despite the storm, tens of thousands of people showed up for the 43rd annual gathering. Even though nothing else was going on in Washington, the mainstream media still chose to virtually ignore the event. Even a CBS News story about college students stuck on a bus during a “school trip” failed to mention the kids were on their way home from the March for Life. Carly Fiorina was the only presidential candidate in attendance, though other celebrities were easy to spot, including former “Cheers” and “Frasier” star Kelsey Grammer, who has been increasingly public about his conservative politics. New this year: a more prominent presence by evangelicals at this historically Catholic-dominated event, including the first Evangelicals For Life gathering, hosted by the Southern Baptist Church and Focus on the Family. Among the speakers at this event was the Colson Center’s John Stonestreet.

Read More >
Comments: 1

Worldview and You

ID-100119190Have you ever been stuck trying to figure something out? I’ve been stuck a lot lately, trying to figure out a way to understand just how great and loving God is. I haven’t succeeded. I don’t expect I ever will. It’s too much to wrap my mind around.

Yet I’ve discovered something: that God is greater than I ever imagined, and His love is far more astonishingly good than I ever dreamed.

Maybe words like that sound familiar to you. We hear them all the time in sermons and in praise songs. Still, I’d like to invite you to spend a few moments reflecting on God’s greatness in a way you’ve probably never thought about it before. This isn’t just an academic exercise. As you’ll see, it leads to some very important practical implications.
Read More >
Comments: 0

Signs and Wonders

ID-10036632Academics in Lockstep. In 2014, 60 percent of professors identified themselves as “liberal” or “far left,” according to a study by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. That’s a dramatic increase over a 1990 survey in which just 42 percent self-identified as liberal. Only about 12 percent identify as conservative—that’s a 5-to-1 ratio. Compare that to a Gallup survey released last month that said 38 percent of Americans identify as conservative, but only 24 percent identify as liberal. The imbalance is likely even worse than these numbers suggest, according to The Daily Signal, the news site of The Heritage Foundation. It reports that many professors who identify as “moderate” are also likely much more liberal than moderates and conservatives in the population as a whole. Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, estimates that the imbalance between faculty who vote Democratic compared with those who vote Republican is closer to 9 to 1 or even 10 to 1.
Read More >
Comments: 0

All Things Examined

ID-100271385Now that homosexual ersatzimony has become the law of the land, people who were opposed to the social contrivance in principle, will have to decide whether they will continue to oppose it in practice.

There are Christians of my acquaintance who are against the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and concerned about religious liberty, but cannot see how their attendance at a gay friend’s wedding would undermine those values and their Christian witness. On the contrary, they believe that declining the invitation would be hurtful to their friend, damaging to the friendship, and contrary to the ethic of Christian love.
Read More >
Comments: 4

Priorities

ID-10020687Yale theologian Miroslav Volf answers the portentous question “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” with a resounding “Yes.” He claims that those who disagree with him—at least, those who have the responsibility of running a leading evangelical institution of higher education—are anti-Muslim bigots. Yet Volf’s answer isn’t as clear-cut as he or many others would have you believe. For one thing, it depends in large measure on what the meaning of “same” is.

The question has come to the fore in recent weeks because a Wheaton College professor of political science, Larycia Hawkins, started wearing a hijab and posted on Facebook, “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”

Read More >
Comments: 1

Literary Lights

heirborneDuring the 1980s, on the coast of New England, I would often visit a small, independent bookshop that specialized in Christian literature and music. For the few years of its existence, that bookshop was a gateway to the world of literary classics by George MacDonald and C. S. Lewis. But it was also there that I discovered the work of several musicians whose artistry was, and remains, a benison on my journey of faith.

Just out of high school, I felt my small town was a world away from the places where such albums were recorded, and gifted musicians strove to create art inspired by faith: musicians like Phil Keaggy, Paul Clark, Jeff Johnson, and John Michael Talbot.

But our bookshop brought those faraway places near—and for that, I’ll always be grateful. More times than I can recall, these albums brought moments that were moving, encouraging, and inspiring. That I am a writer today owes more than a little to the music I heard then, and still listen to now. Thoughts of artistry and faith drew near through the albums I heard, and stirred a desire to follow that kind of calling.
Read More >
Comments: 0

Worldview and You

ID-100155735When God became human, He entered a world not unlike ours in many ways: a world where brutality was common, injustice was routine, idolatry was rampant, and plenty of people were saying that all this wrong was right.

But there is right and there is wrong, and they are not the same. Jesus held up a magnifying glass to the difference. He showed what it looked like to live a life that was completely true and entirely good, a life lived as God intended us to live, the first and only fully human life ever lived.

Look what He got for it: anger, torture, crucifixion.

Yet he also found joy—for as Hebrews 12:2 tells us, it was for joy that He “endured the cross, despising its shame,” and now is “seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The same passage tells us to gain endurance through looking to Jesus. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, considering the perfection of His goodness.

Read More >
Comments: 0

All Things Examined

ID-10046674In the days prior to Vatican II, I was a seven-year-old convert to Catholicism, being catechized along with the rest of my second-grade classmates in preparation for First Communion.

For weeks, Sister Mariella had been schooling us about the Sacrament and how we were to receive it. Most of her instruction was in making certain her little catechumens knew that the communion wafer, upon consecration by the priest, was turned into Jesus incarnate, and that to receive it faithfully we had to be clean, spiritually, by Confession—preferably on Saturday evening—and physically, by fasting from midnight the night before.

Sister was very specific that under no circumstances were we to touch it. Rather, when the priest placed the host on our tongue, we were to let it moisten there for just a moment, then swallow it immediately, so as not to let it come in contact with our plaque-covered teeth.
Read More >
Comments: 0

Priorities

ID-100312937In the Year of Our Lord 2015, both the secular left and militant Islam waxed stronger, too often leaving Christians waning in the middle. Yet even as American culture and world events turned increasingly dark, there were some glimmers of hope for followers of Christ. Here are my top dozen news stories for the year—not quite in random order.
Read More >
Comments: 0

Literary Lights

Robinson_Crusoe_frontispiece_illustration_from_1880_Frederick_Warne_British_editionAmong G.K. Chesterton’s gifts to posterity, is one little known yet profoundly important: His deep understanding of Daniel Defoe.

Scattered through Chesterton’s writings, most notably in his book “Orthodoxy,” are references to Defoe’s masterwork, “Robinson Crusoe.” To read them is to look through a window that opens on Chesterton’s understanding of humanity’s fall, and redemption.

To begin with, Chesterton thought Defoe’s novel a work of high literary merit, not least for its depiction of “the strange judgement” which he considered “the great central and poetical idea of Robinson Crusoe.”
Read More >
Comments: 0

Worldview and You

Turmoil has erupted again on American college campuses, this time with students demanding that schools eliminate circumstances that cause them to feel hate. On November 12, 2015, Fox News showed video of Brenda Smith-Lezama, student body vice president at the University of Missouri, explaining that safety is the issue:
I personally am tired of hearing that First Amendment rights protect students when they are creating a hostile and unsafe learning environment for myself and for other students here. I think it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another, and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we’re experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.

According to the same Fox News report, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities student government has rejected a proposal for a 9/11 remembrance because it called attention to “non-white perpetrators” which could “increase racist attitudes.” A university diversity administrator added, “It might make a space that is unsafe for students even more unsafe.”

The solution? Make hate go away. Students are safe from hate if no hate is present. That’s the usual answer. It’s a disturbingly poor one. Far from decreasing hate, it actually magnifies the experience and institutionalizes the practice.

Read More >
Comments: 0

All Things Examined

ID-10047350Ever since Jesus broke bread and gave it to His disciples, saying “This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me,” Christians have been divided over His meaning.

Did Jesus intend the Lord’s Supper to be a symbolic ritual for our remembrance, a sacramental ordinance for our spiritual nourishment, both, or something else? Was He indicating that the communion elements of bread and wine are symbols of His body and blood, material substances physically transmuted into His body and blood, hosts for His actual or spiritual presence, or something else?

To better understand Jesus’ meaning, we need to travel back a ways.

Read More >
Comments: 0

Radical Life

41gG995E7SL._SX330_BO1204203200_A recent compendium of ideas compiled by John Brockman (founder of the mind-blowing Edge.org) asks 175 scientists, scholars and thinkers to answer the question: “What accepted scientific theory must be rejected?” The book, “This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories that Are Blocking Progress,” is a mixed bag of well-worn theories and unexpected pronouncements. One of the most surprising comes from technology theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who states simply that atheism as a prerequisite for science should be set aside.

He goes on to say that the unnecessary requirement for a commitment to atheism has resulted in convoluted explanations of the universe that are “no less apocalyptic than the most literal interpretations of biblical prophecy.”

He concludes, “By starting with Godlessness as a foundational principle of scientific reasoning, we make ourselves unnecessarily resistant to the novelty of human consciousness, its potential continuity over time, and the possibility that it has a purpose.”
Read More >
Comments: 1

Priorities

ID-10055184For the record, as a card-carrying evangelical, let me stipulate that:

  • I don’t care, insofar as government policy is concerned, what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms;
  • I am not seeking to outlaw contraception;
  • I don’t hate homosexuals or transgendered people;
  • I am not pining for a return to a “Christian America”;
  • I am not bitter about our culture’s embrace of pagan sexual ethics and its displacement of the broad Christian consensus that held sway for much of the nation’s history; and
  • I do not cling to guns or religion.

All this does not mean, however, that I do not weep for the moral collapse and spiritual blindness of my country, nor that I am ready to surrender America to its fate. And yet, in the face of changing public attitudes about religion and sexual morality and radical Supreme Court rulings that attempt to redefine marriage and family, increasing numbers of evangelical voices seemingly are advocating—or perhaps resigning themselves to—a strange kind of Christian surrender, at least in the grubby world of politics.
Read More >
Comments: 0

See all articles in the archive.

BreakPoint Columns

Banner
Banner