Here are some links worth reading from the past week.
1. Thomas Kidd explains why the Bible clearly rejects the chattel, race-based slavery as it was seen in the United States.
It is hard to imagine a more challenging historical and scriptural topic than slavery. It has become ammunition used by skeptics who have denounced the Bible as fundamentally immoral. I believe that maturing Christians should grapple with these kinds of Bible "problems," instead of just assuming that the Scriptures give us transparent answers to all of life and history's conundrums.
Moreover, we can in fact make a powerful argument for how the Bible undercuts slavery, as it was typically practiced. But the argument requires more work, and more historical understanding, than the simplistic notion that the Bible is "against slavery."
Usually, when we think about the practice of slavery, we think of slaves working on a plantation. Fair enough. In antebellum America, slaves found themselves working in a variety of jobs, but agricultural labor was the most common. And when you focus on this kind of "slavery in the abstract," you have a tougher time making a Christian case that it was absolutely wrong.
2. Bruce Ashford discusses 12 ways to create a toxic political atmosphere. This is a tongue-in-cheek piece, but highlights some of the things that led us to our present climate.
Treat the other as a category rather than a person. If this person is nothing more than a category—secular progressive, religious conservative, establishment lackey—then you are free to dismiss him as such. Just imagine that he is an aggregate of the common vices and errors you ascribe to people of that category. Then (“voila!” as they say) you are free to demean and degrade the person as if he were an impersonal collation of vices and errors. Vices don’t deserve your respect, and errors don’t require patience. Show neither.
Refuse to listen attentively to the other. Instead of focusing on others and their words, make sure you focus on yourself. Control the conversation, shifting attention away from any good point the other might make. As they are engaging you in debate, try to pay minimal attention in the moment so that you can devote your attention to scoring debate points whenever their mouth finally closes. It’s about winning, isn’t it, folks? And nobody gets medals for listening.
3. Erick Erickson reconsiders his opposition to both Clinton and Trump. You need to read the full article to get the weight of it.
The polling has drawn ever closer. More and more people wonder if those of us who are NeverTrump should finally yield knowing that we can beat Hillary Clinton. I am in an odd position. I am mindful that should Trump win, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump. Likewise, I know if Trump loses, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump and Trump supporters will blame people like me for his loss. I suppose I should say not that I’m in an odd position, but that I am in a no-win position.
With Donald Trump’s rise in the polls and the increasingly competitive nature of the race, it is time to reconsider my opposition to Trump. After all, I view Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as anti-American.
I realize saying Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is, in my view, “anti-American” offends some or comes off as hyperbolic, but I think her candidacy is fundamentally anathema to and is fundamentally in opposition to basic, historic American values. I believe the founders of this country recognized individual liberty as negative liberty. It was not what individuals could do if government helped them that made this country great. Rather, it was what individuals could do if government left them alone.
4. Tim Challies on the unfortunate reality that women fear for their safety more than do men. We wish it was not so, but is is.
As dawn breaks I run across a lonely parking lot, cutting a long corner. As I pass a building, a depot of some kind, I spot a young woman walking. She must be going to the neighborhood I’ve come from. Our paths will cross. She’s eighteen, maybe nineteen. As I come closer her eyes search mine and ask, “Are you going to hurt me? Am I safe?” “Hurt you?” I hear my mind say. “I’m called to love, to love you more than I love myself. How could I ever hurt you?” I’m grieved that the world is this way, that the world has become this way. I smile what I hope is an assuring smile and nod as I pass by.
Pitch darkness lit only by sporadic street lights and occasional headlights. I run one of my new routes, down a brutal hill and back up, down and up again until I’m too tired to go on. A woman, in her fifties perhaps, is on the sidewalk ahead of me. I approach her, the hill’s steep grade propelling me almost to a sprint. She hears or senses me coming, she clutches something in her hand, her body tenses, flinches a little. I think, “I won’t harm you. I would never harm you. I live by an ethic that says that I need to be willing to die for you even though I don’t know you.” Between breaths I say, “Good morning!” as cheerfully as I can. I continue down the hill and by the time I loop back she is gone.
5. A podcast with Destin Sandlin from Smarter Everyday where he talks about being a father and why he is an internet creator.