Worth Reading - 3/4

Here are some links worth reading this weekend:

1. The President of the SBC's ERLC explains why he's stopped using the term 'Evangelical.' This is largely because it is being misused to indicate a political stance instead of faithfulness to gospel doctrine and praxis. His explanation is helpful as we seek to understand how self-proclaimed evangelicals can lobby for morally corrupt policies:

The word “evangelical” has become almost meaningless this year, and in many ways the word itself is at the moment subverting the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Part of the problem is that more secular people have for a long time misunderstood the meaning of “evangelical,” seeing us almost exclusively in terms of election-year voting blocs or our most buffoonish television personalities. That’s especially true when media don’t distinguish in election exit polls between churchgoers and those who merely self-identify as “born again” or “evangelical.”
Many of those who tell pollsters they are “evangelical” may well be drunk right now, and haven’t been into a church since someone invited them to Vacation Bible School sometime back when Seinfeld was in first-run episodes.

2. My friend, Amy Whitfield, writes about how politics has changed in the last two decades. As an avid follower of American and World politics, Amy is faced with a different tone and rhetoric than has been used in her experience. This impacts how she parents and the questions that she has to answer for her children as she seeks to educate them on politics. Note that this was written before one candidate made crude reference to his genitalia at the RNC debate.

I'm learning that every teachable moment is a gift, if we can just open our eyes to see the light. As much as I want to shield them from the very worst, I have decided to tell the truth. We talk about the good things and the bad things. We talk about what we can learn. We talk about being good citizens no matter what the context, and no matter what rights we may have to lay down. And we talk about a perfect city that I assure them is completely real.
In a different time, when every day felt like “morning in America,” it could be difficult to long for something else. And when it all seemed fixable, it was easy to think that we didn't need rescuing.
But today I am pointing my children to something better, because it has become appallingly clear how much we need it. I take them with me to the polls to show them that part of participating in this world means using my voice. But I want them to know that when I cast my vote in that booth, I’m casting my cares somewhere else.

3. An article in the Atlantic that talks about the merits of going to a Free Market approach to water rights in the American West. Is this what we must do to cope with the drought?

Farmers might prefer to sell their extra water rather than letting it soak into the ground, but there, too, the laws get in the way. Not only is it difficult to prove that water sales satisfy standards for beneficial use, but they are generally forbidden across state lines. Where intrastate trades are allowed, they are conditioned on not causing harm to other rights holders in the surrounding area. That’s a laudable intention, but it forces farmers who want to sell their water to spend thousands of dollars on engineers and lawyers.
The West’s cities, meanwhile, are forecast to add at least another 10 million residents over the next three decades. Where the water to serve those people will come from is anyone’s guess. City and state leaders have seriously discussed building a pipeline from the Missouri River, seeding clouds with silver iodide to create rain, and towing icebergs from the Arctic. Their most pragmatic hopes lie in desalinating ocean water, an expensive and energy-intensive process.
Something has got to give.

4. Bible scholar, Patrick Schreiner, discusses the moral significance of our jokes and what we laugh at.

The biggest questions in the world matter for our everyday lives more than we often realize. For instance, how you understand time, space, and God will affect what makes you laugh.
On a casual reading of Paul’s letters, some might assume that Paul ignores philosophical questions. Yet Paul did not shy away from the deepest, most complicated questions at all. In fact, he tackled them with the strength and confidence of a bull in a rodeo. But unlike many philosophers, Paul’s philosophy was wrapped in pastoral garments. He thought that our understanding of time and space should determine the types of jokes we tell and what sort of husbands and wives we should be.

5. An article at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics on the need to create opportunities for economic inclusion of the poor, not just create a system of handouts. This is a basic lesson, but one that bears repeating.

The underlying causes of poverty reveal that economic freedom matters greatly.
Creating lasting change in the realm of foreign aid and international development requires a strong understanding of the nature of poverty.
The poor lack access to the market, they have no property rights, and they have little to no justice in the courts.
By understanding the components of economic freedom, we can change the direction of our efforts to aid the poor and start to place a greater emphasis on creating more free economically free societies that protect the poor and seek their flourishing.

6. A Podcast by Russell Moore on how his family does family devotions.

7. While the capitalism is not a perfect economic system, looking at some of the improvements in the quality of life in the U.S. in the last 100 years gives us reasons to celebrate the benefits of the system. Some of the reasons include:

  • Life expectancy at birth for people born in 1915 was 54, versus 79 today.

  • Over half of the 100 million in the US was under 25, versus only a third of our 321 million.

  • 87% of births were outside hospitals, versus 1% today.

  • The population was 90% white, versus 63% today.

  • 13% of the population was foreign-born… which is equal to what it is today! (N.B. it dropped below 5% by 1970.)

  • 50% of the population was rural, versus 20% today, and 78% lived in their state of birth, versus 59% today.

  • 85% of men over 14 and 23% of women over 14 were employed full-time, versus today’s over 16 full-time stats of 69% for men and 57% for women.

  • 14 % of people ages 14–17 were in high school; 18% of the population ages 25 and older had completed high school, compared to 85% in 2014. (You could leave school at 14, instead of 16-18.)

  • Only federal employees had 40-hour weeks; the typical was 55 to 65 hours for the lower and middle classes.

8. A new Christian satire site has launched. The Babylon Bee appears to be on track to be a legit, humorous way for us to poke fun at ourselves. In any case, a recent post by Karen Swallow Prior is very funny. 

In an effort toward uniformity and correctness, the Counsel on Biblical Gender Roles is updating all its official materials with the correct spelling of “complementarian,” according to Executive Director Pat Doyle. “Biblical roles and spelling rules go hand-in-hand,” Doyle added. “It’s hard for a doctrine to be taken seriously when those who advocate for our view don’t even know how to spell it.” The organization will undertake updating all of its existing publications to replace the frequent misspelling, “complimentarian,” with the correct spelling, which, grammar experts say, has an entirely different meaning.
“‘Compliment’ means to say something nice to someone,” Trisha McAuliffe, an adjunct English instructor at Rochester Community College explained. “‘Complement’ means a fitting counterpart.” She had, however, never heard of complementarianism.