Tag Archives: Denison Forum

Denison Forum – Man pushes woman home after her wheelchair breaks; video goes viral

Bilal Quintyne of Smyrna, Georgia, was headed out for a morning jog with a friend. He came upon a woman in an electric wheelchair stranded on the side of the road. Her chair’s engine had died, leaving one wheel on the busy street and the other on the sidewalk.

Quintyne took off his shirt in deference to the heat and pushed the woman for thirty minutes until they arrived at her home. His friend shot a video of the incident. As of this morning, it has been viewed more than three million times.

Why does this story resonate with so many people? I think its hero explained it best: “There’s so much hatred in the world and it costs nothing to love someone.”

How Muslims earn joy

The Muslim observance of Ramadan began this year on May 16. Since that time, observant Muslims around the world have abstained from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from sunup to sundown.

Ramadan ended yesterday with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr (“feast of breaking the fast”) that began at sundown and continues until this evening. Different countries and sects observe the holiday in different ways. Most include family and social gatherings, traditional sweet dishes, feasting, wearing new clothes, shopping, and gift-giving.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Man pushes woman home after her wheelchair breaks; video goes viral

Denison Forum – Transgender man’s baby could be first person without legal mother

My father was born on this day in 1924, one day after George H. W. Bush. While my father died in 1979, Mr. Bush is now the first US president to reach ninety-four years of age.

I turned sixty earlier this year. When my father and Mr. Bush were my age, it’s hard to imagine that they could have imagined a story like this one:

A transgender man recently gave birth to a baby in the UK. British law states that those who give birth to children can only be noted as mothers on official documents. The parent has complained of discrimination. As a result, the baby could become the first person born in England and Wales not to have a legal mother.

Two verses we need today

The twenty-first century has brought remarkable advances for advancing the Great Commission. Christians can use digital technology to reach people previously inaccessible to our mission. We can use social media to win the lost and technology to disciple believers.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Transgender man’s baby could be first person without legal mother

Denison Forum – My reflections on the Singapore Summit

“Nice to meet you, Mr. President.” With these words, Kim Jong Un shook hands with Donald Trump as the two made history in Singapore.

Before the summit, the sitting heads of the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had never met. The summit began last night at 9 p.m. ET (9 a.m. Tuesday morning in Singapore) and lasted for four hours. The two met before a row of alternating US and North Korean flags, then sat down for a thirty-eight-minute, one-on-one meeting.

Their top advisers then joined them for another two hours of talks. The delegations concluded by sharing lunch together. Afterward, Mr. Kim announced, “The world will see a major change.”

“We’re going to have a great discussion”

Mr. Trump told reporters at the outset of the summit, “We’re going to have a great discussion. It’s my honor and we will have a terrific relationship, I have no doubt.” Mr. Kim added that “old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles in our way forward, but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”

The two signed a “joint statement” in which “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – My reflections on the Singapore Summit

Denison Forum – The Trump–Kim summit: 2 biblical imperatives

The much-anticipated summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is dominating global headlines this morning. The summit will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a head of North Korea.

Their meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET, which is 9 a.m. Tuesday in Singapore. It will take place at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, off Singapore’s southern coast. More than a thousand journalists from around the world have converged on Singapore.

What will happen at the summit?

BBC News reports this morning that Mr. Kim wants to focus on rebuilding the North Korean economy and thus seeks sanctions relief and international investment. The Trump administration has made clear its focus on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, with a timeline and technical details for dismantling weapons and weapons-making capabilities.

The two leaders could announce an agreement to work toward the “common goal” of removing nuclear weapons, mirroring the announcement that followed Mr. Kim’s meeting with South Korea’s president in April. It is also possible that they will sign documents officially ending the Korean War, which ceased in 1953 with an armistice but no peace treaty.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Trump–Kim summit: 2 biblical imperatives

Denison Forum – Man bitten by severed head of rattlesnake

A man in Texas nearly died when he was bitten by the severed head of a four-foot rattlesnake.

Jennifer Sutcliffe told a Corpus Christi news station that her husband had been clearing their yard over Memorial Day weekend when he saw and decapitated the snake. When he picked up the dead rattlesnake to dispose of it, the head bit him and released an almost fatal amount of venom.

He was flown to a hospital and treated with twenty-six doses of antivenom.

“When poisons become fashionable”

Like the dead rattlesnake, our crucified “old self” can still attack us.

Paul declared, “We know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:6–7).

And yet the apostle admitted, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:18–20).

Is his dilemma familiar to you? It is to me.

Some sins in the news are beyond our comprehension. For instance, an Arkansas man admitted in court this week that he intentionally contracted HIV so he could expose others to the virus. He also pled guilty to several other heinous crimes.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Man bitten by severed head of rattlesnake

Denison Forum – The day that changed my life forever

Today is my thirty-eighth wedding anniversary. I am to be congratulated. According to my friends, my wife is to be consoled.

I cannot imagine my life without Janet. The world knows what an amazingly gifted teacher, writer, and minister she is. Our family knows that she is the very same person in private that she is in public. Her passionate commitment to her Lord, her family, and her calling animates everything she does.

I remember well the moment I first saw her: she walked into our sophomore English class at Houston Baptist University, smiling. I’d not seen that done before.

I had to know more but soon discovered that she had boyfriends. One after the other. I was finally able to get in line for a date. Two years later, we were married.

“If any of you lacks wisdom”

I will spend eternity thanking God for leading us to each other. But I cannot tell you precisely how he did. He used feelings, circumstances, and other people. There came a time when we simply knew that we knew we were to be married.

If I had to prove to her that she should marry me, I’d still be single.

We are facing many dilemmas today for which we need God’s direction. For instance, the American Bible Society is being criticized for requiring employees to affirm a statement of moral commitments. Among them: “I will seek to refrain from sexual activity outside of the marriage covenant prescribed and exemplified in the Bible: ‘a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one,’ symbolizing the relationship between Christ and His Church (Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31).”

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Denison Forum – Pastor killed by crocodile while baptizing

Kate Spade, famous for her handbag line and other fashion designs, was found dead in her New York City apartment yesterday from an apparent suicide. She suffered from depression, according to her sister. She is survived by her husband, Andy, who is the brother of comedian David Spade, and their daughter, Frances.

In other news, a man who killed himself when confronted by police on Monday has now been linked to six victims. Among them was renowned psychiatrist Dr. Steven Pitt, who became famous for his role in investigating the death of JonBenet Ramsey in 1996.

Meanwhile, a pastor who made no headlines by his life has made global news by his death.

Last Sunday, Pastor Docho Eshete was baptizing at Lake Abaya in southern Ethiopia. He had baptized the first person when, according to a local resident, “a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor.”

Despite efforts from the congregation, fishermen, and residents, Pastor Eshete died from injuries to his back, legs, and hands. The crocodile escaped as the group used fishing nets to keep it from taking the pastor’s lifeless body.

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Denison Forum – Supreme Court rules for Christian baker

“The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices.”

With these words, the Supreme Court issued a major ruling yesterday regarding religious freedom. What does it mean for us as we engage a culture that is in many ways “hostile” to our “religious beliefs”?

The story in brief

In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins made plans to be lawfully married in Massachusetts, then return to Colorado for a wedding reception. They visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to order a custom cake.

Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips declined their request, explaining that his Christian beliefs kept him from using his artistic abilities to create such a cake. Over the years, he has declined to create many custom cakes that would display unbiblical messages. He wouldn’t make a cake celebrating a divorce, for instance.

He offered to sell the couple other baked goods in the store, but they declined and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Commission decided in their favor and ordered Masterpiece to take steps to ensure future compliance with its ruling. Phillips appealed that ruling and chose to stop making wedding cakes, costing him 40 percent of his business. He has also faced death threats.

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Denison Forum – Teenager hospitalized after working out too much

We all want to make a mark in the world, to do something that will outlive us.

Prior to last night’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sports Illustrated opined that “LeBron James is good enough to steal the NBA Finals.” Then Stephen Curry set an NBA Finals record with nine three-point shots as the Warriors defeated James and the Cavaliers 122–103.

Mortality is a fact of life, on the basketball court and everywhere else.

A teenager in Houston was hospitalized last week with an unusual and potentially deadly disease. Rhabdomyolysis causes a breakdown of muscle tissue, releasing a protein into the blood that can damage the kidneys. The cause? He worked out in the gym too much.

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports that a volcanic eruption less than thirty miles from Guatemala’s capital killed at least twenty-five people yesterday. Meanwhile, eruptions of the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii have stranded nearly a dozen people in an area cut off by lava.

And this morning’s New York Times profiles two elite climbers who fell to their deaths while scaling El Capitan in Yosemite last Saturday. Tim Klein had reportedly climbed El Capitan more than one hundred times; Jason Wells had climbed it many times as well. The men were tethered together when they fell one thousand feet to their deaths.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Teenager hospitalized after working out too much

Denison Forum – My response to the firing of Paige Patterson

I enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in the fall of 1980. Over the next nine years, I received two degrees from the seminary and taught philosophy of religion there.

Dr. Russell Dilday, president of Southwestern during my time at the seminary, remains one of the most significant mentors in my life. Much at Southwestern has changed since then, but I continue to be grateful for my years at the seminary.

Recent events at SWBTS have generated national headlines. As a Southwestern graduate and former faculty member, I have a personal perspective on this issue. I recognize that many of you are not Baptist, but the topic we will discuss today transcends denominations and is relevant to all believers.

What happened at Southwestern Seminary

Dr. Paige Patterson became president of Southwestern Seminary in 2003. A week ago, the seminary’s trustees responded to escalating criticism of his leadership, especially his statements about women, by voting to change his status to president emeritus. They invited him to reside at the on-campus Baptist Heritage Center as theologian-in-residence and provided ongoing compensation.

His status changed again two days ago.

The trustee board’s executive committee made this May 30 announcement: “New information confirmed this morning was presented regarding the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a student during Dr. Paige Patterson’s presidency at another institution and resulting issues connected with statements to the Board of Trustees that are inconsistent with SWBTS’s biblically informed core values.”

As a result, the executive committee “unanimously resolved to terminate Dr. Paige Patterson, effective immediately, removing all the benefits, rights and privileges provided by the May 22–23 board meeting.”

Continue reading Denison Forum – My response to the firing of Paige Patterson

Denison Forum – What the response to Roseanne Barr tweet says about us

Roseanne Barr continues to make news this morning. After her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett led ABC to cancel Barr’s show, the reaction has been predictable.

From one side: a Washington Post columnist likened Roseanne to the Trump presidency and hoped that the latter ends in the same way as the former. (The same paper is also carrying a column claiming that “Trump’s not a liar. He’s a madman.”) Like many, Trevor Noah blamed Barr’s tweet on the president. Numerous celebrities celebrated the cancellation of her show.

From the other side: Barr’s supporters noted that Bill Maher compared President Trump to an orangutan and Joy Behar likened Vice President Pence’s faith to “mental illness,” but both kept their shows. One person tweeted, “I’m a black man and I stand with @therealroseanne! Yes, she made a horrible joke and she apologized. I see comedians, actors, etc make the same jokes and get applauded for it. This is outrageous.”

My point this morning is not to rehash the controversy ignited by Barr’s tweet. Rather, it is to think with you about what the reaction to her statement says about our culture and our faith.

The “great pillars of all government”

Continue reading Denison Forum – What the response to Roseanne Barr tweet says about us

Denison Forum – “Roseanne” cancellation shows we cannot predict the future

ABC canceled Roseanne after Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet about former President Obama’s aide Valerie Jarrett. (I will devote tomorrow’s Daily Article to this evolving story.) Shares of Walt Disney Co. declined after box office sales for Solo: A Star Wars Story came in below expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 400 points yesterday as a political crisis in Italy affected global markets. Oil prices also fell after reports that Saudi Arabia may lead an effort to pump more crude into the market. And the Wall Street Journal warns that Europe’s new privacy rules are thwarting security researchers and police around the world.

What do these stories have in common? They illustrate the fact that we can neither control nor predict the future. I raise this rather obvious point because it is relevant to two of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time.

Two transformative books

I just finished Kate Bowler’s heartbreaking and hopeful Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Dr. Bowler is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and teaches religion at Duke Divinity School. Her new book is transparent, funny, and thoughtful. She is one of the most gifted writers I know.

She is also battling Stage IV cancer.

Continue reading Denison Forum – “Roseanne” cancellation shows we cannot predict the future

Denison Forum – Two television journalists killed as Alberto makes landfall

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have met in the NBA Finals the last three years. Now they’ll meet again, after the Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets last night. The Cavaliers’ LeBron James will be playing in his eighth-straight championship series.

When the playoffs began, these were the teams favored to reach the finals. It seems fitting that they will compete once again for the title.

In other news, however, the world seems anything but fair.

Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer of NBC affiliate WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina, were killed yesterday as Subtropical Storm Alberto swept ashore on Florida’s Panhandle. The storm spread as far as North Carolina, where a tree fell on their vehicle. Forecasters expect heavy rain and flooding today.

In other weather news, Ellicott City, a community of 66,000 in Maryland, is dealing with its second devastating flood in two years. One official spoke for many: “My heart is broken thinking about what people are going through here, and the people’s lives who were devastated two years ago and they rebuilt, and now they’re faced with the same daunting task again.”

And lava from Hawaii’s erupting Kilauea volcano has reached the Puna Geothermal Venture plant. Though officials were prepared, a rupture could set off an explosion, releasing hydrogen sulfide and other dangerous gases into the environment.

Today’s news reminds us that we are not in control of our world—and never were.

“You, O Lord, are God alone” Continue reading Denison Forum – Two television journalists killed as Alberto makes landfall

Denison Forum – One of the most moving Memorial Day stories I’ve ever read

 

On June 21, 2006, in the Nuristan Province of Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Jared Monti’s sixteen-man patrol came under fire. One of his men was wounded and fell over a ridge into what the soldiers described as a “death zone.”

Despite an intense firefight, he tried three times to save the soldier. On his third try, Jared was killed. He was posthumously awarded America’s highest honor for heroism, the Medal of Honor.

Paul Monti started an organization in his son’s memory called Operation Flag for Vets. Their volunteers recently planted 57,000 flags at the Massachusetts National Cemetery.

Paul drives Jared’s pickup truck, the military decals still on it. He explained: “It’s got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I don’t need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day.”

A Nashville songwriter heard this story and turned it into a song that country singer Lee Brice recorded. “I Drive Your Truck” earned Song of the Year honors at the 2013 Country Music Awards. As of this morning, the YouTube video had more than twenty-eight million views. I urge you to watch it on this Memorial Day.

“The fate of unborn millions”

On August 27, 1776, George Washington addressed his soldiers before the Battle of Long Island. This was the first major battle after America declared her independence.

Gen. Washington stated: “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves . . . The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

We are now part of the “unborn millions” whose lives are indescribably different because of the soldiers who died to purchase our freedom and those like Jared Monti who died to preserve it.

“That’s the day the pool opens”

Washington, DC, will host America’s largest Memorial Day parade today. But we don’t have to be in our nation’s capital to participate in this day of national observance.

We can display an American flag, which is to be at half-staff until noon today. Military.com also suggests that we visit a local veterans’ cemetery and/or war memorial; take cookies, books, or movies to a nearby veterans’ hospital; watch a movie and learn about famous battles of the past; and ask our children to create a card or picture to be sent to a soldier serving overseas.

In addition, we can participate in the National Moment of Remembrance.

Two decades ago, children touring Washington, DC, were asked what Memorial Day means. They responded, “That’s the day the pool opens.” A Gallup poll showed that only 28 percent of Americans knew the true meaning of Memorial Day.

As a result, the National Moment of Remembrance was begun by presidential proclamation in the year 2000. All Americans are asked to pause at 3:00 pm, wherever we are, for one minute of silence. Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Liberty Bell are among today’s participants.

“Stones of remembrance”

Remembering our past is a biblical principle and priority.

The Jewish people still gather each Passover to remember the day they were liberated from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:21–28). After they crossed the flooded Jordan river, the people gathered twelve “stones of remembrance” from the river bed to build a “memorial forever” (Joshua 4:1–10). Jesus taught us to take the bread and cup of the Last Supper “in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24–25).

Why is remembrance especially important in these days?

When we remember the valor of our past heroes, we are inspired to emulate their courage in serving our nation and her people today (cf. Hebrews 12:1). When we remember our unity in waging our war for independence and world wars for democracy, we are inspired to serve and sacrifice together for our good and God’s glory (cf. Acts 4:32).

When we remember the grief of Paul Monti and all whose loved ones we memorialize today, we are inspired to pray for them with compassion (cf. John 11:35). And when we remember the price Jesus paid for our salvation, we are inspired to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor for whom he died (Mark 12:30–31).

In fact, such remembrance is so important that every day should be Memorial Day.

“Ever mindful what it cost”

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was not officially adopted as America’s national anthem until 1931. Before that, the song “Hail, Columbia!” served in this capacity for many events. Joseph Hopkinson (1770–1842), a lawyer and congressman, wrote it for the inauguration of George Washington. It is played today whenever the vice president enters an event.

The first stanza:

Hail, Columbia! happy land!
Hail, ye heroes, heav’n born band!
Who fought and bled in Freedom’s cause,
Who fought and bled in Freedom’s cause,
And when the storm of war was gone,
Enjoyed the peace your valor won.
Let independence be our boast,
Ever mindful what it cost,
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies.

May we be “ever mindful” what freedom cost, this day and every day.

 

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Denison Forum – President Trump cancels North Korea summit

“Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

With these words, President Trump notified Kim Jong Un yesterday that he was canceling their June 12 summit in Singapore.

This decision followed a series of ominously worded statements from North Korea. Their senior envoy for US affairs had threatened to call off the summit and warned that their regime could “make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined.” The envoy also described Vice President Pence as a “political dummy.”

The White House says back channels for discussions with North Korea are still open but states that the regime must first change its rhetoric.

A “challenging threat environment”

The threat of North Korea is just one of the challenges we face as a nation.

Continue reading Denison Forum – President Trump cancels North Korea summit

Denison Forum – Philadelphia needs foster homes but denounces Catholic foster services

There is a critical shortage of foster parents in America today. As one example, the city of Philadelphia has issued an “urgent” plea for more foster homes.

At the same time, the city has halted referrals to Catholic Social Services (CSS), an agency that has worked in the city for decades and oversees about one hundred foster homes. The Wall Street Journal explains the reason: the agency holds Catholic beliefs about same-sex marriage.

“Who is really intolerant here?”

CSS works with children regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race. On religious grounds, however, they will not certify same-sex or unmarried couples as foster parents, referring them to another state-approved agency. More than two dozen such agencies exist.

CSS says no gay couples have ever sought their help for certification. Nor has anyone filed a complaint after being turned away.

Nonetheless, Philadelphia has denounced CSS as discriminatory and launched an investigation into their practices. Unless the group agrees to provide written certifications for same-sex foster parents, the city will terminate CSS’s contract in June.

One foster parent affected by the city’s decision has opened her home to more than 130 children over the last forty-six years. Philadelphia honored her as one of its foster parents of the year in 2015. But because she is certified through CSS, her home has been vacant since April.

The city claims that foster parents could simply work through another agency. However, switching agencies can be a bureaucratic challenge. In addition, CSS provides its foster families with holistic support, making social workers available for calls at any hour.

As the Journal notes, “Philadelphia is penalizing Catholic Social Services because its beliefs about marriage don’t mesh with progressive cultural values. To protect the city’s conscience, Philadelphia demands that Catholics violate their own. Who is really intolerant here?”

“No longer welcome in American culture”

These are troubling times for those of us who affirm biblical morality.

We’ve grown accustomed to being ridiculed in popular culture (a character on The Simpsons calling Christianity a “dopey religion” is just a recent example). We recognize that our affirmation of biblical marriage will continue to anger those who brand us “intolerant” and “homophobic.”

A perceptive Time article headlined, “Regular Christians Are No Longer Welcome in American Culture.” In his keynote address at the recent First Amendment Lunch in Washington, DC, Albert Mohler described the times in which we live:

“Religious freedom, freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press, along with the other rights recognized and respected within the Bill of Rights, are all threatened even as other rights are marginalized. Even more distressingly, a new regime of invented rights threatens to replace the rights that are clearly enumerated within the text of the Constitution.”

When the growing bias against biblical morality affects innocent children, the “culture wars” have moved to an especially troubling place.

Use our influence to advance biblical morality

How should we respond?

Engage in the political process. I’ve often stated my belief that God is calling more Christians into public service than are answering his call.

Pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1–2). Ask God to guide them and to bring them to repentance where necessary. Encourage believers who are running for office and serving in political leadership, asking God to use their witness for his glory and our good.

Defend believers whose rights are under attack. For example, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty brought a lawsuit on behalf of Catholic Social Services against the city of Philadelphia, claiming that the city has breached its contract with CSS and is violating the group’s right to religious liberty. Organizations such as Kelly Shackelford’s First Liberty are doing outstanding work in defending Christians whose faith is under legal assault.

“You can turn the world around”

If you’re wondering whether your faith and faithfulness can make a real difference in our culture, remember how God works. He uses a shepherd’s sling to slay a giant; he turns a boy’s lunch into a feast for thousands; he transforms Galilean fishermen into world-changing apostles.

His kingdom is like a mustard seed that becomes a tree so large “the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32).

Why does he do this?

Paul explained: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).

Read again the last phrase: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” The King of the universe most uses those who most glorify him. Self-dependence is spiritual suicide. Christ-dependence is spiritual victory.

Edmund Burke warned: “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” By contrast, Thoreau asserted: “Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.”

Will you “live your beliefs” today?

 

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Denison Forum – Trump administration to propose funding cuts for abortion providers

There is good news and bad news in today’s news.

Let’s start with good news for those of us who believe life is sacred from conception to natural death: The Trump administration has announced its intention to propose new regulations regarding abortion. The ruling would prohibit Planned Parenthood and other abortion referral entities from receiving grant money through Title X, the government’s family planning program.

Title X funds cannot be used for abortion, but Planned Parenthood still receives more than $50 million from the program for other services. Under the new policy, clinics could not accept the money at all if they recommend or perform abortions.

I agree with Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, who called the ruling “a responsible and commendable step toward our goal of totally separating taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.”

In bad news, viral outbreaks in India and Africa are escalating. More students have been killed in schools this year than soldiers in combat zones. A sixteen-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Baltimore police officer.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Trump administration to propose funding cuts for abortion providers

Denison Forum – Woman seeks leniency for man who laced her tea with abortion pills

Brooke Fiske was seventeen weeks pregnant. Her then-boyfriend and the father of their child, Dr. Sikander Imran, was pressuring her to get an abortion, but she refused.

She told reporters what happened next: “When I was drinking my tea in the evening, I got to the bottom of the cup. There was a gritty substance in there, and when I looked at it, I could tell that it was a pill that had been ground up.”

Imran had placed the abortion-inducing drug in her tea. She began having contractions and was taken to the hospital, where she went into labor and aborted their child.

Imran was arrested and pled guilty to fetal homicide. He was sentenced to prison last Friday and has lost his medical license. He could also be deported to his native Pakistan.

The illogic of abortion

Their story is making headlines because Fiske asked the judge to give Imran a lighter sentence during his trial. “When something tragic happens, it’s really important to try to find a way to move forward and to use it for good,” she explained.

I believe their story should make news for a different reason as well.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Woman seeks leniency for man who laced her tea with abortion pills

Denison Forum – What I would have added to the royal wedding

History was made Saturday in Great Britain. The day after another horrific shooting, this time in Santa Fe, Texas, it was good to watch good news. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married before a watching world, we witnessed a fascinating mix of tradition and innovation.

There was much in the wedding to celebrate. But I would have added a vital element to the ceremony.

Celebrating inclusiveness

Seated directly opposite Queen Elizabeth II was Meghan Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, a descendant of slaves on plantations in the American South. A black choir sang; a black cellist performed; a black minister preached. African-American women flew from America to join the procession in the streets and participate in history.

Denise Crawford, a court stenographer from Brooklyn, made my favorite observation of the day: “One of the children of slaves is marrying a royal whose forerunners sanctioned slavery; the lion is lying down with the lamb.” She added, “Today is a day that history will never forget.”

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female” in God’s eyes (Galatians 3:28). Nor should there be in ours.

Observing tradition

The couple’s decision to wed on a Saturday was unusual, as royal weddings usual occur on weekdays. The Queen was married on a Thursday; William and Kate were married on a Friday.

Continue reading Denison Forum – What I would have added to the royal wedding

Denison Forum – Who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?

Today is Meghan Markle’s last day before she becomes royalty.

It was announced this morning that she has asked Prince Charles to walk her down the aisle in tomorrow’s wedding. She has already had her final dress fitting. (It is rumored to cost $135,000 and will be paid for by Prince Harry and his family.)

She booked her manicurist to come to Kensington Palace, ensuring her nails are ready for the moment when she and Harry exchange rings. And she has reportedly been doing regular workouts at home and jogging around the park to relieve stress.

In addition to preparing to marry Prince Harry, she’s also been preparing to join his family.

According to reports, Meghan has been required to master the silver service and learn how to handle seafood, drink soup, and so on. She has been taught to curtsy, something required when she meets Duchess Kate Middleton and every royal who ranks above her.

(The perfect curtsy, in case you were wondering, is “back straight, head up, with a bent front knee and your back leg behind you.”)

Continue reading Denison Forum – Who will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle?