Recent Point Posts

Change in language may be inevitable, but not all change is good. Dale O’Leary makes a powerful point to this effect in her essay “Don’t Say Gender When You Mean Sex” in Crisis. She takes serious issue with our culture’s blending of the words “gender” and “sex.”

"Originally, ‘sex’ was an inclusive term, which referred not only to the biological reality of male and female, but to everything it meant to be a man and a woman," O’Leary writes. “Gender,” on the other hand, was initially used to designate words, specifically nouns and adjectives.
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Over at The Gospel Coalition, Jared C. Wilson shared a quote from John Piper about a phenomenon he calls "emotional blackmail." According to Piper, it's a big problem in the church, and one ministers need to deal with head-on. What do you all think? Have you encountered or (hopefully not) committed emotional blackmail?

Here's the gist:
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Many years ago, I was part of a coalition of family groups that sought to revive the FCC's enforcement bureau from its long slumber. Millions—yes, millions—of indecency complaints had been logged by concerned citizens but were not being adjudicated by the FCC, whose role it is to enforce decency standards on the nation's broadcast airwaves. Oh, we had a handful of victories, such as a fine levied against Bono's unbleeped use of a word beginning with “F.” Yet for the most part, our efforts were unrewarded.

Sadly, I find little to cheer about in the FCC's most recent enforcement action against a Roanoke, Virginia station that aired hardcore pornography during a news segment. On the plus side, at least we've discovered a standard again for broadcast television. On the downside, there are still more than a million complaints left untouched and seemingly ignored. Many of these are concerned about content aired on television that is too vile to describe here.
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A big part of my job as editor at BreakPoint is to scan the Web, watch the news, and read the papers. And although I don’t consider myself a hothead (maybe my colleagues could set me straight on that), it is not uncommon for me to read about the latest outrage, tragedy, nonsense, or stupidity, and react with anger. And it’s not good. It certainly isn’t healthy . . . for blood pressure, stress, family relationships (weird, but no one at home watches the news with me anymore).

I found Joseph Pearce’s article over at the Imaginative Conservative to be spot on:
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I'm certain this title has showed up somewhere before, but I didn't bother Googling it to find out. The point, of course, isn't my (likely) unoriginal title but the "mammoth breakthrough" itself.

The Independent, The Sunday Times and a few other British papers are reporting that scientists at Harvard have successfully spliced several genes from frozen woolly mammoths into the living cells of an Asian elephant--supposedly the mammoth's closest living relative. It's being hailed as the first step in a journey toward cloning a living mammoth, thus bringing one of the most iconic of all extinct animals back to life.

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In 2015, the old saying that grandma and grandpa might be worth listening to may strike deaf ears, not least among Americans. In a culture proccupied with the latest tech and baying for higher data-streaming rates, soliciting advice from the nearest senior citizen--who's likely still stuck in the analog age--might not sound like the best use of time.

But according to new research by scientists at Harvard and M.I.T., the elerly may have abilities that young minds can't keep up with. Today's picture of how the brain develops throughout life, writes Benedict Carey in the New York Times, may be woefully incomplete. Scientists have long suspected that the brain reaches maturity at around age 25, then slowly deteriorates over the follow decades.

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In 1998, a story broke that captured the headlines and resulted in the impeachment of a sitting President for the second time in American history. This was the story of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair.

The President remained in office and the story finally went away. However, one person that was never heard from was Monica Lewinsky herself. That is, until recently.
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I'm sure you've had this happen. You're reading an article about something and the author comes up with all kinds of plausible ideas about why a certain thing happens. Except, she never mentions the most obvious and important reason. I had one of those look-around-my-empty-office-to-make-sure-I'm-not-being-filmed moments this morning when reading an article from yesterday's Washington Post. "The revenge pornographers next door" examines some horrid incidents involving nude photos posted on a secret Facebook page at the Kappa Delta Ro fraternity at Penn State. In her piece, Caitlin Dewey interviews a number of domestic violence and Internet experts about why such abuse occurs.

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You've probably heard about Starbucks' new "RaceTogether" campaign, designed to get people talking about race relations while they're sipping their morning joe. Starbucks employees attach a sticker to each coffee cup, and explain to curious customers what it means. NPR reports that the recent tensions over police officers killing unarmed black men in Missouri and New York inspired the campaign, and that Starbucks president Howard Schultz is hoping it'll strike up productive conversations about race among customers.

Whatever Starbucks' other corporate political leanings, this innocuous move seems like something we can all agree on. Without taking sides, they've called attention to an issue that, especially in light of this month's shooting of two officers in Ferguson, deserves a few more minutes of our time than the latest celebrity gossip. Pro-life crusader Scott Klusendorf certainly thinks so, as he posted some conversation-starters of his own on Facebook, suggesting we ask Starbucks employees (in their spare time, of course), and fellow customers why they think racism is wrong. "Isn't it because racism and sexism pick out surface differences like skin color and gender instead of what makes us fundamentally equal?" he asks. Read More >
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More than a few of us have entertained the notion of writing a book at one time or another -- perhaps to document a particular competence, to record a specific accomplishment, or just to share our life’s story. For a variety of reasons, most of us never seem to put pen to paper. To his credit, CAPT Tom Maxwell (USN Ret.) did. His new book, "Grandfather’s Journal," purposed to share with his grandson his legacy as a Naval aviator, an extraordinarily capable manager, and, most notably, as a committed Christian, whose life was transformed by unconditional acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. And he has done that humbly and admirably.

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A happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all! Here's a little something to make it even happier.

Eric Buehrer founded Gateways to Better Education “to help public schools teach about the important contribution the Bible and Christianity make to the world.” Yesterday he sent out a marvelous story on how the Orange County, California, Department of Education resolved to acknowledge St. Patrick’s Day and urge “all Americans” to learn about his contributions to Western culture: Patrick’s stance against slavery.

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The Atlantic has a very long, very bleak piece by Jeffrey Goldberg about the resurrection of anti-Semitism in modern Europe. It should be read in its entirety. But for this reader, in all the long narrative about brutality, killing, and persecution, the following passage was one of the most striking: Read More >
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What happens when Christians try to remove the Bible as our authority on sexuality? I try to answer that question in my review of Dianna E. Anderson's book "Damaged Goods: New Perspective on Christian Purity" for Her.meneutics.
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Perhaps you've seen this meme, comparing the original Selma march with its recreation last week, going around Facebook. I've been discussing it with Alan Eason and others. My opinion is that it's worse than useless. It will certainly be used (in fact, I'm sure it already has been used) to accuse conservatives of caring more about flags than we care about African-American people.

Yes, the American flag matters. It matters deeply. It stands for the promise of our country, and the fact that the original marchers carried it was a powerful symbol of their belief in that promise, despite all the injustice and indignity they had suffered, and their commitment to making sure it came true for them. So I understand why people feel the impulse to protest when they believe the flag is being slighted.

But there are moments when impulses need to be suppressed in the interest of serving a greater good. Read More >
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Amy Julia Becker has a follow-up on the controversial Margaret Sanger piece discussed here yesterday, which is worth a read.
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