Open Book
Light Bulb

four levels of love

During the Middle Ages the ideal of personal identity slowly, haltingly emerged. Historically individuals identified not as individuals but as part of a group—some tribe, clan, family, etc. This self-identification necessitated submission to the group’s will as determined by its leader(s). Such submission was commonly manifested via arranged marriages, unions arranged for the benefit of the group.

One way increasingly common individuality rejected group identification was the pursuit of romantic love. Love became identified with passion, and developed into the cult of courtly-love; pursued by knights and courtiers, and celebrated by troubadours. But passionate love was often manipulated for eroticized conquests. Love was popularly championed as relational and personal, but increasingly became about scoring; a perspective that continues today.
Read More…

doing the most good

During the past twelve months over 50,000 migrants have been apprehended on a 126-mile section of the Mexico-USA border called the Yuma Sector. After an apprehension, border agents collect biometric data, check for criminal histories, and provide a medical screening. After that, hundreds of migrants are freed each week with temporary legal status as they await their day in immigration court.

These releases are overwhelming border communities. Yuma, a city of 104,000 in southwest Arizona, is so flooded with migrants that Mayor Douglas Nicholls declared a state of emergency.
Read More…

giving up darwin

1991 Oxford University Press published Mirror Worlds by Yale computer science Professor David Gelernter, in which he accurately forecast the coming of the World Wide Web. 2019 the Claremont Review of Books published an essay by Prof Gelernter in which he bemoans the failure of Darwinian evolution.

“Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views.”
Read More…

mass shooters & herod the tyrant

Herod the Great died a slow excruciating death. The first century historian Josephus claimed that as death drew near, that tyrant made cruel arrangements to insure his death would be a time of mourning. Herod had leading figures from throughout his realm arrested, ordering that when he died, they should be executed.

Herod wanted people to suffer when he died. He demanded mourning at his death. Herod craved attention and, like today’s mass shooters, was willing to use violence to gain it. Fortunately, his son Archelaus and sister Salome vetoed the tyrant’s last wish.
Read More…

hate enhances self-esteem

Professor Sartwell of Dickinson College opines that our culture is increasingly proficient at vilifying people who disagree with us. This PhD of philosophy claims the taste for hate is a perverse, intentional pursuit of pleasure.

There is pleasure in hating. In fact, it enhances self-esteem and is self-congratulatory. Hating accomplishes three things simultaneously: Hate pronounces its superiority over the hated person. Hate pats itself on the back, as well as those who smartly agree, for its proper thinking. And hate professes thanks for being unlike those who disagree.
Read More…

the idol of our age

The Christian ideals of love and charity are being distorted. Daniel Mahoney, author of The Idol of Our Age, writes, “There’s an increasing conflation of Christian teaching with a humanitarian political agenda,” that’s reducing Christianity into just another instrument in the social justice orchestra. This conflation depends upon a “deeply problematic interpretation of the Gospels.”

Mr Mahoney’s book is resonating with diverse Christ-followers—Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics and believers in-between.
Read More…

crushing liberty

Thirty years ago millions of Chinese people dreaming of liberty occupied Tiananmen (Heavenly Peace) Square in Beijing. Protestors transformed that politically sacred space into a democratic zone, creating a heady—if naive—hope among protestors. Arts students erected a goddess of liberty statue, aligning its determined face opposite the huge portrait of Mao located atop the rostrum on the Tiananmen Gate.

Thirty years ago a father sat beside his hunger-striking daughter, daubing her brow with a cool cloth. “My generation never dared speak out, much less to act out what we believed,” he sobbed. “Now my daughter’s doing it for me.” A Peking University student claimed, “There’s no way the Party will ever get things back into the old bottle! Just look around us. History’s sweeping them away!”
Read More…

loneliness epidemic

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that our kids are on the precipice of a loneliness epidemic.” That’s what Sima Sistani said at the Future of Everything Festival about millennials and Generation Z.

Part of the problem stems from the way social-media channels communication. Instant-messaging services and social-media platforms allow us to delay responding to friends until convenient. For kids that convenience creates a time-lag—a void that feeds anxiety as they await a response. They may send digital-message threads to many sets of friends, and then spend time anxiously glued to their device waiting or perhaps dreading responses.
Read More…

human-capital value of moms

~ Adapted from an article by Elizabeth Shine, a Hong Kong-based writer and communications consultant ~

I’m not a mother, and at 48 I’m unlikely to become one. My whole professional life, I’ve been
leaning in. It wasn’t until things went badly wrong that I realized the human-capital value of a group of women modern society tends to ignore or dismiss—stay-at-home-moms.

As a global management professional, I’ve lived and traveled all over the world. In 2015 my life exploded. On a dark April afternoon in Dubai, I was swept up by a perfect storm of issues with my job, my investments, my health and an emotional entanglement. Something had to give. I resigned my job and entered a period of physical, financial, emotional and spiritual hell.
Read More…

Resurrection Inconsistencies

Critics of Jesus’ resurrection make much of inconsistencies in the New Testament accounts. While the four Gospels agree that women discovered the empty tomb, they record very different accounts of what women experienced at the tomb. However, most perceived inconsistencies fade when readers remember three facts. Precise time-keeping did not exist. Telecommunication did not exist. And we cannot know how many women went to the tomb.

What follows is my suggested sequence of events of Resurrection Sunday.
Read More…

declaration of faithful disobedience

2004 the Chinese periodical Southern People Weekly (南方人物周刊) compiled their “50 Most Influential Public Intellectuals of China.” Included was Wang Yi, a pioneering human-rights attorney. 2005 Wang Yi converted to Christianity and began serving in a house church. 2008 at the Conference for Global Christians in Law he was awarded the “Prize for the Contribution to Promoting Religious Freedom.” That same year in Chengdu he founded a house church, Early Rain Covenant Church.

12/9/2018 Wang Yi and 100 members of his church were arrested by Chinese authorities. The government simultaneously banned all reporting about these arrests. 3/25/2019 The NY Times reported Wang Yi and his wife remain in custody.

After he’d been detained for 48 hours, Early Rain Covenant Church released Wang Yi’s “Declaration of Faithful Disobedience.” The following is adapted from his declaration: Read More…

just do something

Jesus was once the guest at a dinner party hosted by Simon, a religious leader. Several of Simon’s friends were present, there to take the measure of this miracle-working rabbi. As was common in the 1stCentury diners did not sit on chairs but reclined on couches.

While Jesus dined, and was plied with questions, an uninvited woman snuck into the house. Under normal conditions such a woman would have been kept out. But so many people clamored for a look at the miracle worker—so many wanted to catch a few of His words—that this dinner resembled a public square more than a home.
Read More…