Recent Point Posts

If you know me well, you know that classic movies are my catnip. But sometimes one has to look behind the scenes and acknowledge some of the sad and sordid things that went on. Go here to read my piece on the culture of coerced abortion in old Hollywood.
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An old saying in the television news business goes, "If it bleeds, it leads."

But what most consumers of TV news don’t know is why the lead stories are often car wrecks and shootings and—as we are seeing this week—protests and riots. And the answer is this: The events are easy to cover and look great on TV.
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Maybe you saw the news story about a Nazi time capsule that was unearthed in Poland. It's both fascinating and chilling to read about the "perfectly preserved" items, including two copies of "Mein Kampf," that it held.

The story made me wonder: If we buried a time capsule representative of America today, what should we put in it, and how would future generations view it? What are your thoughts?
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Whatever you think of yoga, take a moment to read Karen Swallow Prior's profound piece on what she as a Christian was able to achieve by participating with wisdom and discernment.
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There has been a lot of talk recently about why kids leave the church, including this recent post by Bishop Robert Barron, and books such as "You Lost Me" (Kinnaman) and "Sticky Faith" (Kara Powell and Chap Clark). These authors, and many others, rightly point out that issues are complex and can involve a number of different factors (moral, volitional, emotional, relational, intellectual, etc.).

And yet there is a component often left out of these discussions—the influence of theology—that is so often at the heart of why kids leave the church. In my experience, there is often a faulty theological view driving why kids disengage the church (and many times their faith). Consider three examples. . . .

[To read more, go to Sean's blog!]

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Texas businessman and Baptist preacher Howard E. Butt Jr. once wrote that in his faith tradition, "you didn’t flaunt your relationship with a psychiatrist; you hid it.” But Butt didn't let that stop him from seeking help for his depression, or from offering help to others. Butt, who passed away on Sunday, was the founder of Laity Lodge, a retreat center where those in need of rest and help could find it. For his work helping hurting and broken people find renewal, writes Patton Dodd, Butt will be remembered as a man whose work was "pioneering to the point of prophetic." Read his inspiring story here.
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I interviewed Rory Feek, formerly of country duo Joey + Rory, about his new film, "To Joey, with Love," chronicling the last two years of his wife's life. The film will air in theaters September 20 and again on October 6.
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Tragically, we as a society never seem to learn that lives -- including the lives of the elderly, the disabled, and those with conditions like Down syndrome -- can't be reduced to a "cost-benefit" analysis. Peter Saunders at Christian Medical Comment offers a chilling example of such thinking from the U.K.
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John and Eric will be talking about BreakPoint's 25th anniversary. Go here and click on "Listen Now"!
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I interviewed Bob Fu, a pastor and founder of ChinaAid, while working on a book with former Congressman Frank Wolf. Yesterday Bob sent out the following message:

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My 86-year-old father often says, “The older we get, the better we were.”

This expression is a succinct way of saying that we tend to sentimentalize the past. We remember ourselves as more virtuous and heroic than we really were, and we remember the past as simpler and more innocent.

In the arena of public discourse, this sentimentalizing of history tends to show up in the fight over “historical revisionism.” Those of us who are conservatives often (and rightly) revile historical revisionists who look at history through Marxist, or feminist, or “queer theory,” or other ideological lenses.

But conservatives tend to engage in this revisionism, too. Those on the left say that conservatives, often including Christians, sentimentalize the 1950s as the era of “Leave It to Beaver” or America’s founding era as a time when “giants walked the earth.” And honestly, sometimes they’re reading us correctly.
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At CNN.com, Christopher Hale makes a strong case that progressives should oppose abortion, which is great. He also takes the opportunity to make some divisive remarks about conservative pro-lifers, which is not so great. Asking your own movement to take on a good and important cause is a wonderful thing to do, but it's advisable when doing so to be willing to listen to those who have some experience in the area, as hard and humbling as it may be.

I hope Hale will take some time to think and figure this out. We all have things we can learn from each other, if we're able to swallow our pride and concentrate on what we have in common -- in this case, the belief that "from the beginning, the child isn't an it, but rather a she, a he. A human being."
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My new column at Christ & Pop Culture examines the movie "Florence Foster Jenkins" and how it reminds us that speaking the truth in love is both extremely hard, and very necessary.
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Atheism has a new face. Just for the record, I am not speaking about the “New Atheists,” who burst on the scene after 9/11 and have been the public face of atheism for the past dozen years. The “four horsemen” of atheism—Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett—helped launch and inspire a (then) “new atheist” movement.

But times have changed. If the recent low turnout for the Reason Rally is any indication, this brand of atheism may be fading. The “new atheists” still do exert considerable influence in culture (including Hitchens, who died in 2011), but there is a “new face of atheism” that is becoming much more important today. Rather than a top-down movement such as characteristic of the “new atheism,” this is a bottom-up movement, more like the church.

[For more, go to Sean's blog!]
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A good friend to the Colson Center and to many of us who work here is in need of your fervent prayers.

Nabeel Qureshi is one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met. His academic credentials alone are nearly overwhelming: He is a medical doctor and has two earned master’s degrees (one from Biola and the other from Duke). To top all that, he is near completion on a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Oxford University.

But his personal testimony is even more compelling. He was raised in a Muslim family, and in fact became something of an apologist for Islam. But his advocacy of Islam often brought him into conversations with Christians, and those years of conversations—and the work of the Holy Spirit—ultimately had their effect. Nabeel converted to Christianity and wrote a New York Times bestseller about his conversion: “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” That brilliant book won the Christian Book Award in the categories of both Best New Author and Best Non-Fiction of 2015. His new book, “No God but One: Allah or Jesus?” released this week.

I could go on recounting Nabeel’s accomplishments, but you can read them yourself here. I will only add that Nabeel has spoken to past classes of Colson Fellows, and that I got to meet him and his equally remarkable wife, Michelle, when I served as Summit Ministries’ “scholar-in-residence.” What you see in public is also what you see in private: loving, thoughtful people with a passion for Jesus and a heart for the lost.

So the news we received this week about Nabeel is, in the words of Colson Center President John Stonestreet, “a gut punch.” Nabeel announced this week on his Facebook page that he has stomach cancer at an advanced stage, and that his prognosis is “grim.”
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