Worth Reading - 5/20

Here are some links worth following today.

1. This week, a memorial service was held for the British version of Oscar Schindler. He died last year. In his life, he saved hundreds of children from the Nazis in World War II. This link goes to the NPR story. Below I've included the audio and a video from BBC from the 1980s.

2. A family has been on a road trip for seven years and over 100,000 miles. This BBC story is quite interesting.

“We’re at our best when we’re travelling,” says Graeme who describes his family as “longtime nomads” who prefer the backroad journey to the actual destination. The Bells hail from Cape Town, South Africa, and first tested the life as short-term nomads in their beloved Defender, “Landy”. Long-haul road-tripping — or “overlanding”, as it is known to those who do it — involved plenty of vehicle research. After considering Toyota Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols and even the odd Unimog, the Bells settled on Land Rover’s venerable Defender 130 Double Cab Pickup. In the family’s back garden, Graeme installed a stout aluminium canopy before embarking on their first big overland jaunt — to Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro and back, a distance of close to 7,500 miles. Overland bug bitten, the Bells have since shipped Landy across the Atlantic and explored South America and Central America and into the US and Canada. Most recently, they drove from Argentina to Alaska.

3. A recent Barna poll shows that much of the population sees race as an ongoing present issue. Except that Evangelicals (they don't define the term, unfortunately) and conservatives don't seem to believe it. There are some important numbers and some food for thought here.

When it comes to the lived experience of people of color in this country, seven in 10 Americans agree they “are often put at a social disadvantage because of their race” (67%). However, once again evangelicals and Republicans are less likely than the general population to believe this is true. For example, evangelicals are 11 percentage points less likely than the adult average to believe people of color are at a social disadvantage (56% compared to 67%), and this gap widens even further when you look at the figures from another angle.

Evangelicals are more than twice as likely as the general population to “strongly disagree” that people of color are socially disadvantaged because of race (28% compared to 12%). This is also the case for Republicans who are 10 percentage points less likely than the adult average (57% compared to 67%), and 21 percentage points less likely than democrats (57% compared to 78%), to believe people of color are at a social disadvantage (57%), and more than twice as likely as democrats to “strongly disagree” that people of color are socially disadvantaged because of race (17% compared to 8%).

There are also deep divides between black Americans and white Americans. 84 percent of black Americans agree that people of color are often put at a social disadvantage because of their race, while only 62 percent of white Americans agree—lower than the national average, though still higher than either evangelicals or Republicans.

4. Ed Stetzer took to the pages of the Washington Post to call Christians to talk more in public. . . about Jesus Christ. In this opinion article, he calls out Christians who talk more about being Christian than about the Christ they claim to serve.

Even in our multi-faith environment, this calling should not be offensive to those of other faiths or no faith at all. Evangelism does not mean coercion. We can and should respect each other and strive for tolerance across varying beliefs, but that does not require pretending those differences do not exist. One of the core beliefs of Christianity is that Christianity should be propagated.

It isn’t necessary for every Christian to rent a stadium to proclaim the gospel to thousands. Most Christians can gain a hearing for the gospel while exchanging life stories at the coffee shop, taking a meal to a hurting family or standing for justice in an unjust world.

What evangelism requires is that when we care for a friend or speak out for a cause, we tell others that our faith is the reason. We tell them the good news that was told to us.
Samuel Levenson’s life verse—and only tattoo—is Jeremiah 29:11, and with good reason. Levenson first encountered the biblical promise when his spiritual life was in a lull, his career was in a slump, and he was enduring a harsh and brutal exile in the pagan kingdom of Babylon. His only sustenance during this time of doubt, depression, and being a captive of King Nebuchadnezzar, was the clear promise in Jeremiah Chapter 29 that God had plans laid out for him—plans for a future and hope—despite his people’s obstinate rebelliousness.

6. There is a lack of trust between many students and educational institutions. Mark Bauerlein discusses some of the possible root causes of this growing distrust at First Things.

This relentless emphasis on costs and risks is a sign of the times. When parties don’t trust one another, they need a concrete yardstick to ensure that the contract holds. A moral sense, skill in inquiry and logic, humanitas . . . they won’t do. Money, not knowledge or character, happiness or piety, is the trustworthy measure in any marketplace, which is what college admissions has become.

Young people live in a society of guardedness. It casts life as potentially rewarding but ever perilous. My generation assumed that going to a respected university would set us on a path toward maturity and prosperity. The system would take care of us.

My son’s generation doesn’t have that trust. They’re never certain of where they stand in any institution’s eyes. In the last year, college students invaded the offices of the president, hounded deans out of office, and denounced their professors. Their demands for “safe space” have been roundly mocked in the national press. Beneath their overdone indignation, however, the mistrust of institutions simmers. And if administrators and professors have responded with cowering conciliation, it may be because they know that, on this matter, the students are right. After all, the gauntlet students run just to get in tells them that the institution doesn’t trust them, either.