Our Collective Consciences are Seared

Over the last few weeks, I have forced myself to watch every single one of the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal body parts to StemExpress. I was shocked by the cavalier conversations about “tissue” and “procurement.” The most recent video was the most horrifying of all: a fully intact male child, still clinging to his last moments of life on a metal dish, awaiting his final resting place in a bio-hazard bag. At this point, I’m sure many people will simply close this browser window and numb the pain of that mental image with a funny article at the theonion.com. But that says something about us. As much outrage that has registered over the past few weeks about this video, some might say that we should chill out for a moment. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post calls this “antiabortion extremism.” Some might be really bothered…

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The Four Types of Poverty

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor and Yourself is a new book by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert that argues that there are four primary relationships that have been broken by the fall: our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with others, and our relationship with the rest of creation. Another way to look at this is that these are four different types of poverty. All four of these types of poverty are part of the effects of the fall, and in Christ all four of these types of poverty are being reconciled back to their original place in the created order. Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy. This is the most profoundly and utterly devastating effect of the fall, because it severs us from God himself. Human beings are now profoundly estranged from the very source of all life. Conservative, evangelical Christians are…

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When College Costs More than a House

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. He knows a couple who is about to get married and who has a debt burden from college that exceeds $100,000 between the two of them. That’s a bad place to start a marriage. Are these Ivy League graduates or med school students? No. They’re graduating from Cedarville with degrees in education and English. To put it in perspective, my first home in Louisville cost my wife and I less than $100,000 and we mortgaged that amount for 30 years. Our monthly payment was around $850 per month. This makes perfect sense when you’re purchasing an asset that appreciates in value  over time, like a home. But that is a crazy amount to pay for degrees in education and English from a small Bible college. With this kind of sticker price, is this worth it? Most people go to…

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What Would an Obama Presidency Mean for Black America?

Thomas Chatterton Williams answers this question. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Black children would be able to avoid internalizing what James Baldwin called “the propaganda of race inferiority,” since every night on the news there would be a visible reminder that there is nothing whites can do that blacks cannot. That is the real change Obama offers-all of a sudden the world young black kids imagine themselves inhabiting would seem a richer place to live, one without an upper limit. To Biggie Smalls’ dismal list of career options afforded young black males-“You either slang crack rock / Or you got a wicked jump shot”-we could add the office of president. And in response to what Jay-Z cynically defined as the black man’s…

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Give Until It Hurts

If every Christian is called to be generous with their resources, how much should we give? To what extent should we sacrifice? I am reading Tim Keller’s book Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road and he offers a helpful principle. “Be sure that your giving cuts into your own lifestyle so that the burden of the needy falls on you.” He is essentially arguing that if your giving habits do not alter your lifestyle in someway, you aren’t giving enough yet. You should give until you feel pinched. He also quotes another book by Thomas Gouge, who said that “the poor have a right unto part of thine estate.” God supplies some of us with abundance so that we can steward it properly by giving to meet others needs. Gouge says that the poor man’s bread rots in my cupboard, the poor man’s clothes hangs useless in…

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Noisy Worship Music

When your church gathers for worship, what are you really doing? If you truly want to worship, then you should be giving ascent to the things God says are important. What, then, are the things God really wants to see from you when you gather for worship? Does he want to see good musicians and a talented vocalists? Does he want to hear skillful arrangements and prayers laced with tender piano music, led by an up and coming worship leader with diving board hair? If you have a kick-butt worship band, and everybody comes and raises their hands and sings out really loud, and the offering plate is overflowing, and everybody is having a great time… if you have all of this but your church does not have any sort of outreach to the poor, needy, broken, psychologically troubled, physically handicapped, or the otherwise down-and-out, and your church favors the…

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BVOTD #14: The Homeless Man is Your Boss

Backwards Verse of the Day: Luke 22:25-30 Since Jesus was going around announcing his Kingdom to everyone, the natural questions started to arise among his followers. Who will be the chief of staff? Who will be the Press Secretary? Communications Director? Secretary of State? Who will be VP? Its hard to run a kingdom alone and his disciples knew that when Jesus’ kingdom is fulfilled he’d need to surround himself with the right personnel. Naturally, then, they wondered: “Who is the greatest?” This is not a school-yard conversation between bullies. This was a legitimate question to ask when one expects to be in the inner circle of a revolutionary new king. This is how Jesus answers the question: And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest…

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