03 March 2009

"New" News: Week 8 of '09

In The News...
Legislating Morality or Limiting Conscience? 
The catch phase, "You can't legislate morality", is one of the least intelligent cliches of the last 40 years. Laws are nothing if not a reflection of a culture's morality.  
Now, the forces that have derided any ban on the destruction of human beings in utero as "legislating morality" are seeking to bridle the conscience of medical practitioners who refuse to destroy those human beings.  It goes beyond maddening all the way to spooky. 

A summary of the issue at NPR

A quote is from a piece by Chuck Colson at BREAKPOINT (which also includes some great links to additional reading):
"the government is considering undermining religious freedom and freedom of conscience for the sake of convenience. They can’t even argue it’s necessary. If someone objects, for conscience’ sake, to facilitate abortion, anybody is free to go to another doctor or druggist.
Remember—freedom of conscience is the first freedom. And people who can be compelled to act in violation of their most deeply held convictions are not free in any meaningful sense."

Bailouts Increase Recession 
This piece from Reuters examines how U.S. rescue efforts may risk double-dip recession.
I'm not sure if I am more surprised that the piece exists or that it is considered newsworthy ("Thank You Captain Obvious").

Student Christian Conversion (in the UK) on the Rise
"Despite declining church attendance in the UK, the alpha movement, designed primarily for non church goers, has been embraced by more of the British public year by year, and Edinburgh’s students are no exception."

The Malaysian "Allah" Controversy
Can Malay Christians print "Allah" in their publications? It depends on the week.
Who really makes the decisions in Malaysia and why does it matter? These articles are helpful in understanding the controversy.
An AP story printed in The Christian Post.

The Quote of the Week:
I began reading the Bible to disprove the Christian faith I was learning both to admire and despise. I cannot begin to describe my feelings when I first read the New Testament texts. I saw myself in many of the parables and felt as if the Bible had been written especially for me. After reading every book I could find on the historical accuracy of the Bible and Christianity, I was convinced that the Bible had remained unaltered throughout the centuries and that circumstances surrounding Christ's death led to the conversions of thousands. However, my perspective remained intellectual and not spiritual... - Bobbly Jindal from US News

In the Arts...
U2's "No Line On The Horizon" is available at Amazon for $3.99 

Paste Magazine's review. 

and from the Christian Post;
My favorite line so far: "stop helping God across the road, like a little old lady" (from Stand Up Comedy)

Got Milk?
When it comes to acting, no one can argue Sean Penn is the real deal, but did he portray the real Harvey Milk? This article examines the "artistic license" taken in Milk and the danger of rewriting Milk's history.
Also, Carl Trueman (at reformation21.org) speaks plain British in this discussion of the Milk review from the Gospel and Culture project.
"I am not even sure how to respond to the comparison of gay outing to Christian witness and commitment. The reviewer's use of the `a' word -- `authentic' and its cognates -- is surely crucial here. It is, after all, the postmodern cliche most beloved of trendy Christians. But it is, ultimately, an existential, or even better, aesthetic category, not an ethical one. Indeed, it is devoid of moral content in any biblical sense. If honesty and consistency between belief and action, even at personal risk, are the criteria for judging that somebody is worthy of emulation, then what is to stop a spoiled eight year old screaming for the latest toy, or Adolf Hitler, or even serial killers from being such? All offer examples of sincerely held beliefs in action."

Random Resources
ESV Study Bible Online is free for the month of March! I'm so grateful to Crossway for the ESV Study Bible. This reference is loaded with tools to enhance your understanding of the Bible and now you don't have to take any ESV geek's word for it - you can review the content for yourself.

Help Me With Bible Study (helpmewithbiblestudy.org)
I stumbled across this site while doing some research this week. It has a very useful collection of skill-building lessons, study methods and tools.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5.15-17)
RescueTime is a free time tracking software that monitors your application usage and provides real time reporting of what activities occupy your time. I have been using it for several weeks now and, once it is customized, it is a fantastic tool.

The Soul of The Author
On several different occasions this week a generous gift left me feeling exposed, powerless, a little guilty and uncomfortable with being indebted (that's pride for those taking notes). Through the kind gifts of a friend, God reminded me of the wonder of His supreme kindness in Christ and how I still have some Gospel "resting" and rejoicing to do (Romans 4:4-5, 6-7).   It is the remedy for a cadre of anxious distractions. 


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