image courtesy Storyblocks
Critical Race Theory is in a definitional mess. When President Biden’s press secretary Jen Pasaki was asked what her boss thought about it recently, she responded, “The president believes that in our history, there are so many dark moments, and there is not just slavery and racism in our history. There is systemic racism that is still impacting society today…And he believes, as I believe as a parent of children, that kids should learn about our history.”
The message from the White House is that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is mainly about teaching the hard truth about slavery in our schools. But this is only one small aspect of of CRT. Other aspects of CRT are far more concerning.
What do our educators think about CRT?
What are we to make of the fact that the National Education Association convened recently and approved resolutions to “oppose attempts to ban critical race theory”? To help them do that they also voted to jumpstart a study that “critiques empire, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism, and other forms of power and oppression at the intersections of our society.”
Imagine if C.S. Lewis had podcast his journey to faith, and millions of unbelievers had listened in. Imagine if the forces of secular universities, progressive politics and media had targeted him to take him out before he could cross the line of faith and bring thousands with him.
A similar journey by a similarly brilliant academic may be taking place right now. In the last six weeks over a million and a half people have listened to his remarkable recent podcast discussing his wrestling with conscience, suffering, meaning, and is Jesus really the Son of God?
And last week Marvel Comics took the lead to destroy him. Why Marvel Comics? Because he has a vast following among young men.
According to Marvel, Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Harvard and now Toronto University, is more dangerous than a Nazi. More dangerous even than Hitler. Their newly released Marvel comic, written by progressive intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates, casts Red Skull, the super Nazi who would go where Hitler wouldn’t dare, as quoting Peterson’s ideas as his own. (Only Captain America could take down Red Skull and his Hail Hydra organization.)
How exactly did Peterson, neither a conservative nor a Christian, earn the wrath of Marvel and Coates?
In his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis went on record snorting at “the cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone” of his own age. And yet, if a Christian felt called to journalism and broadcasting, I think he would say, as he said of philosophy, “Good [journalism] must exist [because] bad [journalism] needs to be answered.”
And bad journalism is multiplying exponentially, er, algorhithmically, out there. The election of 2016 changed journalism. The line between reporting and advocacy has all but disappeared.
The New York Times vs the Truth
Not long after the 2016 election The New York Times launched a new subscription campaign featuring hooks like, “We’re passionate about the truth. Are you?” and “Truth is what we do better” and “Read news that values the truth.”
How do you respond to that pitch?
Jefferson statue toppled in Oregon
The wrenching death of George Floyd has energized the cancel culture to the tipping point. Statues of Confederate generals, even our Founding Fathers have tumbled down while police stand down from “sanctioned” protests.
The leader of one grass-roots group, Take-em-Down NOLA, said after the Charlottesville protest, “We recognize the original sin was the genocide of the Native Americans and the enslavement of the Africans. People bring up the fact that [slave masters] were Founding Fathers. That’s people’s opinions, but for us what disqualifies you is the slave-owning.”
Now, after Floyd’s death, this claim is boiling into action and in blue states and cities critical masses are embracing this perspective: slavery and racism are the “original” and unforgivable sins of America. As we recently heard over the July 4th holiday, many protesters cannot join in the celebration of the founding of what they believe to be a racist state. As followers of Jesus, how should we respond to this claim?
America’s birthday comes at a good time this year. In the midst of escalating cultural and political tensions, the Supreme Court resignation of Justice Kennedy has thrown gasoline on an already hot fire. The anniversary of our founders love for America and their great sacrifice to establish and protect it calls us to recommit ourselves to the same love and sacrifice. How? Quite simply…
@ the Smithsonian
…every one of us can take time from our busy schedules to serve and pray.
Many of us as evangelical Christians tend to live in suburban bubbles isolated from the people who cannot afford to be our neighbors. July 4th calls us to love America by reaching out to fellow citizens who need our time and attention, our prayers and our touch.
Our normal default is to focus our service on our families and our churches. But we can’t just fiddle while Rome burns. We need to challenge ourselves to reach outside our bubble and serve the very people that the Lord Jesus loved to touch. The very people whose needs are often championed by political activists with whom we disagree. Refugees. Prisoners.
What has the Lord gifted you to do? How can you take it to people at the margins?
Here in Columbia, South Carolina I have the privilege to go into prison with a team from Columbia International University. Once a quarter we take in a meal for about 40 prisoners and eat with them. One of the guys last Wednesday said “This is so good. I haven’t eaten fried chicken in 20 years.”
When the Christmas dust settles and it’s time for a holiday outing, Darkest Hour is that rare film that not only entertains but inspires. Yes, I laughed at the good comedic writing and delivery when my girlfriends drug me to Thor Ragnarok. But our culture offers so much cotton candy and not too many feasts of rich food.
Darkest Hour explores the life and death decision Winston Churchill faced as soon as he became prime minister: whether to negotiate for peace with Hitler and his formidable war machine or prepare to fight an enemy that was gobbling up more of Europe every day they deliberated.
Gary Oldham is the Meryl Streep of male actors–he totally disappears into his characters. Two hundred hours in the makeup chair for this movie and he IS Churchill. The campy villain of The Fifth Element has pretty much disappeared. Oldham plays Churchill with plenty of cheek and bravado, but also as the intellectually gifted statesman, Inspirer in Chief and grand master of the King’s English that he was. He may win an Academy Award for this performance.
August is traditionally a time when many of us pull out our calendars, prayer journals and Bibles – asking God to show us where to invest our time and energies this fall. To help provide clarity, today’s guest post is by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, author of 13 books including Dwelling Places which was just awarded the Christian Retailing Best Award for Devotional 2017 (voted by the bookselling/publishing industry professionals). Like my book Faith and Culture, Dwelling Places is rich with sturdy content for the mind (a devo with footnotes!) and deep reflections for the heart. May Cindy’s words challenge you to say yes and no wisely to the opportunities for impact in the months ahead:
She could not have been more ordinary.
Gladys, was also a poor student and had quit school by age fourteen. She grew up to be a London parlor maid with few prospects. But then God got a hold of her heart and after hearing about the needs in China, she was determined to serve Him there.
Only no mission board would accept her.
This Thanksgiving I am grateful that despite the most surreal and destructive election I ever remember, our founders gave us such strong institutions and laws that we can expect to see the peaceful transfer of power. I’m also grateful that both Houses of Congress and George Washington called us this day to give thanks to God and pray for America. With his blessing may we heal and flourish.
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God,
to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–
and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer
to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God
especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States
to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–
I envy my friends for whom the coming November vote is simple:
Hillary will do more harm than Trump. Therefore vote for Trump.
They don’t understand all the agonizing and hand wringing.
I can’t seem to break through the tension.
Last week a very respected and brilliant evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, wrote an article in Townhall, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.”
I could feel hope rising as I read it.
Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal”
As soon as reports surfaced about Sunday’s massacre in a gay nightclub, suspicious fingers began pointing to Christian haters. Even after it was reported that the shooter had dedicated his kill to the Islamic State. What grieved me even more was talking to Christians who condemned the killings, but acknowledged they didn’t feel a great sense of compassion on the gay victims because, after all, look what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Thankfully, Chick-fil-A in Orlando rolled up its sleeves, fired up its grills and showed our terribly divided culture how to follow Jesus in such a tragedy. On a day when they normally close their doors and give their employees time off to go to church, they were serving their great food to first responders and blood donors lined up to honor the victims.
Here are 6 reasons why Chick-fil-A got it right and how many Muslims and Christians can do better:
November 13, 2014