Worth Reading - 3/4

1. Aaron Earls writes about how a progressive writer's recent conversion has received a mixed response from Christians. Some who seem to expect sanctification to be instantaneous:

Our relationship with Jesus should govern our political views, but the inverse is not true. Our political views do not govern or define our relationship with Jesus.

I understand that most of the people using her profession of faith as a means to attack Cox are not pastors or church leaders, but they’ve learned to value their political allegiances over their faith family from somewhere.

With our rhetoric, perhaps we have inadvertently taught the average Christian sitting in the pew that it is acceptable to mistreat someone from a different political perspective. The way many react to politics, they do, in fact, place their trust in the princes of our day—the political leaders and commentators.

Church leaders can (and should) make clear where they stand on social and political issues. But even more than that, we should leave no doubt as to where our ultimate allegiance lies and with whom we will spend eternity. We follow Christ and will forever worship Him with others who have done the same, not necessarily those who share our party affiliation.

As with anyone else, we should rejoice that Ana Marie Cox has professed faith in Christ and a desire to follow Him with her life. And as with anyone else, we should pray that God would bring those into her life who can help her grow into the likeness of Christ. We also should trust the Holy Spirit to do His job in the heart of Cox, primarily using His word and a local body of believers who know and love her.

2. Carl Trueman's reaction to a recent P.C. scandal at Georgetown University. As is often the case, Trueman's reaction is somewhat stronger than it may need to be, but his point freaking out about every perceived slight and its power to kill moral discourse is right on:

In fact, those who deploy language of extreme outrage for any apparent slight, fumble or misstep, are complicit in the linguistic and moral manipulation of society. In effect, they deprive themselves and indeed the rest of us of the language we need to articulate appropriately calibrated responses to real acts of oppression. As a result, we who oppose the kind of political righteousness which the Georgetown incident embodies need to be careful that we do not fall into the same pattern.

It is tempting to reply to the Georgetown nonsense by making a more or less univocal connection between the public humiliation and penitential obeisance of the enemies of the people and the carefully-scripted confessions of the victims of Stalin’s show trials. And the very title ‘Free Speech and Expression Committee’ is so rhetorically close to the ‘Committee of Public Safety’ that some reference to the likeness is irresistible. But to keep our own moral compass we need to make such comparisons with a certain irony. After all, I assume that nobody at Georgetown is going to be shot in an underground cell or enjoy the favor of Mme. Guillotine. That the hard left lacks irony is perhaps one of its most egregious—and most dangerous—traits.

Here is the original Forbes.com article that covers the story Trueman is talking about.

3. Aside from the overreaction over a cartoon at  Georgetown, there has also been a recent call for more honesty in public debate over GMO foods in the UK, as it has become apparent that much of the resistance to GMO is ideological, not scientific. This is not to promote or denigrate their potential benefits, but a call for realistic and honest dialogue instead of a concern about "winning" the debate no matter what happens to truth.

The committee makes several points in its conclusion, but I want to focus on just a couple. GMOs won’t necessarily solve any and all global food problems, but rather “a diversity of approaches–technological, social, economic, and political–will be required to meet the challenge of delivering sustainable and secure global food production. However, advanced genetic approaches do have a role to play.” It accuses the EU and U.K. government of misleading the public by consistently “framing genetic modification alongside other novel, controversial, or potentially harmful technologies…shut[ing] down opportunities for wider debate.”

Genetically modified organisms may help developing nations improve their crop yields thereby greatly reducing world hunger; they could help farmers devastated by natural disasters to quickly get back on their feet; they could cause significantly less damage to the environment than other technologies and methods of growing crops, and more. There may real risks with GMOs, but until the debate is open and honest we may never really understand what the actual risks are and what GMOS contribute to the global food economy.This technological innovation has the potential to greatly improve the prosperity of millions of people and yet the debate has been hijacked by emotions and fears.

4. David Platt discusses part of his intention in writing Counter Cultural, which is to help people to overcome the paralysis that comes from being overwhelmed by the gospel needs in culture: