It’s a man’s world and it always will be
Infamous feminist author Camille Paglia’s opening statement in a recent debate about whether men are obsolete:

If men are obsolete, then women will soon be extinct—unless we rush down that ominous Brave New World path where females will clone themselves by parthenogenesis, as famously do Komodo dragons, hammerhead sharks, and pit vipers.

A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism.  Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment.  Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology.

I wondered if Al Mohler had written her speech, especially when I came to this bit:

When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments. And without strong men as models to either embrace or (for dissident lesbians) to resist, women will never attain a centered and profound sense of themselves as women.

Read the rest of this astonishing turnaround here. It’s about on the same level as Bill Clinton campaigning for abstinence. It’s just a pity that so much damage is done to our culture along the way as progressives experiment with their latest theories. I can imagine many similar public reversals regarding homosexuality in 10-15 years, if our culture survives that long.

6 Surprising Scientific Findings About Good and Evil
Evolutionary theory has always struggled to come up with an objective basis for morality. The latest attempt by Harvard’s Joshua Greene argues:

  • Evolution gave us morality—as a default setting. One central finding of modern morality research is that humans, like other social animals, naturally feel emotions, such as empathy and gratitude, that are crucial to group functioning. These feelings make it easy for us to be good.
  • Gossip is our moral scorecard. Greene suggests that a primary way that enforce morality is through gossip. He cites the anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found that two-thirds of human conversations involve chattering about other people, including spreading word of who’s behaving well and who’s behaving badly. Thus do we impose serious costs on those who commit anti-social behavior.
  • Humanity may, objectively, be becoming more moral. Green is pretty optimistic about humanity. He says it’s far easier now than it ever was to be aware that your moral obligations don’t end where your small group ends. We’re just more conscious, in general, of what is happening to people very distant from us. What’s more, intergroup violence seems to be on the decline. Here Greene cites the recent work of his Harvard colleague Steven Pinker, who has documented a long-term decline of violence across the world in modern times.

And if your eyebrows are arching ever higher as you read this  - It’s easy to be good? We’re moral by default? Gossip is our judge? We’re getting better and better every day and in every way? – you’ll be relieved to know that this “scientific” research is solidly grounded upon games in labs!

What a relief to have the Word of God that explains the source of morality, makes God the judge of it (let me fall into the hands of God and not into the hands of men), and that reveals the only way to become more moral begins with admitting our immorality (1 John 1:9).

Religion Without God
In a ruling that recognized the Church of Scientology as a religion in the UK, Lord Toulson, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, said: ”Religion should not be confined to religions which recognize a supreme deity…”

The atheist writing this article sees a significant turning point here, though not going far enough:

What this means more broadly is that the tired old Protestant-inflected definitions of “religion” are losing hold in diverse Western nations. And it’s about time. Religion can no longer be seen as a “set of beliefs in God,” as conventional wisdom might put it. A global, plural view of religion must rid itself of emphasis on both “belief” and “God.” Religion refers to behaviors and practices as much as, and often more than, belief.

“Religion is simply doing the same things together.” Not only does it not require belief in God (Toulson), it doesn’t require any belief at all!

Do you shovel snow with your neighbor? You have a religion. Play tennis with a colleague? File for 501c.

Religion in America’s States and Counties
Click through to see a red v blue map with a difference. This time it’s Southern Baptist (red) v Roman Catholic (blue), the two largest “denominations” in the USA. Other interesting stats:

  • Some 21 states are requiring insurers under the federal health-care law to provide exemptions from contraception coverage for employers that object on religious or other grounds. And 13 states in recent years have banned abortions past 20 weeks.
  • Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in the nation, claiming 20 states scattered mostly throughout the Midwest and South. In the West, Buddhism is the largest non-Christian religion in 13 states. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion in 15 states, mostly in the Northeast. Hinduism reigns in two—Delaware and Arizona. And the Baha’i claim South Carolina.
  • Counties in many Western states and some New England states have high diversity, while there are pockets of low diversity throughout the middle of the country, Utah and the South.
  • Religious participation was highest in Utah, the Midwest and parts of the South reign supreme. Religious participation was lowest in California’s Alpine County (4.3 percent), Hawaii’s Kalawao County (3.3 percent) and Nevada’s Esmeralda County (3.1 percent).
  • The numbers of congregations per 10,000 people were lowest in New York’s Bronx and Richmond counties, Michigan’s Macomb County and Nevada’s Clark County, where there were only four congregations—defined as regular religious group meetings—per 10,000 people.

Statistics come from the “2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study,” an every-decade research effort sponsored by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, which gathers statistics for religious groups or scholars interested in such.

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The 2013 Issachar Award
Jim Hamilton says that “the book that best understands the times and teaches what God’s people should do” is What is the Meaning of Sex? by Denny Burk.

9 Ways to Pray for Churches and Pastors
Why not pick one a day instead of repetitive generic cliches?

Counseled by Casting Crowns
Paul Tautges explains four ways he is being counseled by song.

Free: 3 New Books in  R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series
Free eBooks on  How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience?What Is the Church?, and What Is the Lord’s Supper?

The Five Ingredients of an Effective Apology
Although it falls short of a biblical apology, some Christians could learn a thing or two from this Psychology Today article.

How Academia Resembles a Drugs Gang
This is a bit niche but Alexandre Afonso looks at how the academic job market is structured in many respects like a drug gang, with an expanding mass of outsiders and a shrinking core of insiders.

Ted Haggard On How Not To Repent

In 2006, Ted Haggard joined the “pantheon” of fallen megachurch pastors after being caught red-handed in a gay sex and drugs scandal. Most Christians weep over such incidents, grieve for the damage done to the church of Christ, pray that the man will repent and find forgiveness with God, and hope that he will take a quiet and unpublicized place in the church of Christ for the rest of his life.

Usually it’s a vain hope. As it was in this case too.

After a short period of “restoration,” the Haggards returned to the public eye with books, television interviews, and a re-launched ministry.

I suppose we all still hoped that despite appearances, there had been true repentance, that Haggard really had owned his sin, taken responsibility, accepted the blame, and sincerely confessed his guilt.

But a recent blog post raises a huge question mark against that hope. In Suicide, Evangelicals, and Sorrow, Haggard used the recent suicide of another megachurch pastor’s son, Isaac Hunter, to continue his attempts at resurrecting his name, reputation, and ministry. His post really is an almost perfect example of how not to repent.

So why highlight it? First, because it will help us to spot these characteristics when dealing with others who have fallen into public sin and scandal. Sadly, there are predictable patterns to these things that we’d do well to acquaint ourselves with so that we are not duped.  And second, because we can use it as a personal heart-check to examine how we respond to our own sin.

1. I’m no worse than anyone else. In a number of places Haggard basically says, “OK, I’m not perfect, but neither are you. We all fall short. We’ve all had sin intrude horribly into our lives. Only Christ is perfect.” In other words, why make such an example of me when you’re no better.

2. My problem was not spiritual. ”The therapeutic team that dug in on me insisted that I did not have a spiritual problem.”

3. It was something that happened to me. “Contrary to popular reports, my core issue was not sexual orientation, but trauma.” It’s not so much about what I did, or who I am, but about what someone else did to me.

4. I wasn’t responsible; someone else was to blame. ”I had a physiological problem rooted in a childhood trauma.”

5. I needed therapy, not faith and repentance. ”I needed trauma resolution therapy….I went through EMDR, a trauma resolution therapy.”

6. It wasn’t a personal choice. Haggard asks: “Do we actually believe that the many pastors who have been characterized as fallen decided to be hateful, immoral, greedy, or deceitful?” Then answers: “I think not.”

7. Christians are cruel and unforgiving. In a number of places Haggard attacks Christians saying that they lack sympathy, grace, and forgiveness. “My sin never made me suicidal, but widespread church reaction to me did.” He also speaks of the “brutal mail” and “hurtful communications” he received, and he imagines the Warrens and Hunters did too. He lambasts an “evangelical culture that alienates those who fall and spiritualizes their struggles.”

8. Attack the accusers. Throughout this piece Haggard is continually swiping at his accusers and those who initiated church discipline against him. They are “flat-earthers,” “Judaizers,” “scrutinizers,” “Pharisees” who are “too busy with the sins of others.”

9. You just don’t understand me: “When I explain [my trauma and the trauma resolution therapy] to most Evangelical leaders, their eyes glaze over.” He goes on to characterize Christians who rejected his excuses as simplistic fundamentalists.

10. My sins were not as bad as you think. ”My accuser failed his lie detector test and refused to take another, and I passed four lie detector tests given by three different polygraphers saying that the primary accusations were false.”

Sadly there is no shortage of naive people who will swallow this self-pitying self-justifying narrative hook, line, and sinker. (And sadly there’s no shortage of media outlets who will happily use Haggard as a stick to beat the “unforgiving” church with.)

Even more sadly, our own hearts can also do a Haggard when we are confronted with our own sins.

Real repentance looks and sounds radically different. It says: “I’m worse than you, worse than you think, and did worse than you can imagine. No matter what was in my past, I deliberately chose these sinful actions and accept full responsibility for them. I deserve whatever consequences result from them. I shamed my Lord and His church. If some Christians treat me badly, that’s OK, I understand. I can’t and won’t complain. I won’t say or write anything that will portray the Church or Christians in a bad light. I’ve brought enough damage on the church already. And I certainly won’t use the tragic suicides of others to further my own public rehabilitation.”

That’s the kind of repentance that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).


GM Drives Through the Glass Ceiling – Finally
A Detroit Free Press editorial underlines the significant cultural milestone of Mary Barra becoming the first woman head of a Big Three Automaker: “There is something especially notable, and pleasantly jarring, about a woman ascending to the top job at a company that has been so consumed with male ego and bravado.”

Avoiding the Idea of Death
Paul Wilkinson spots a new trend in sympathy cards. We seem to have gone from “died” to “passed away” to “passed” and now simply to “away.”

Being Against Gay Marriage Doesn’t Make You a Homophobe
A homosexual argues that people can oppose gay marriage without being “anti-gay.” While he still believes that those who are opposed to gay marriage are wrong, he provides distinctions that could help take some of the heat and anger out of this debate. Key line: ”Disagreement is not the same thing as discrimination. Our language ought to reflect that distinction”

And if you want to see real phobia in action look at how gay activists reacted to one of their own leaving their “lifestyle of death” to marry a woman, read Former Gay Activist Marries a Woman.

Raising A Generation of Helpless Kids
Tim Elmore of Growing Leaders has dedicated himself to developing Generation Y leaders (kids born between 1984 and 2002).  He says that many parents’ obsession with safety is ruining their kids’ prospects: “”We are consumed with protecting them instead of preparing them for the future. We haven’t let them fall, fail and fear. The problem is that if they don’t take risks early on like climbing the monkey bars and possibly falling off, they are fearful of every new endeavor at age 29.”

Where did we go wrong?

  • We’ve told our kids to dream big – and now any small act seems insignificant.
  • We’ve told our kids that they are special – for no reason, even though they didn’t display excellent character or skill, and now they demand special treatment.
  • We gave our kids every comfort – and now they can’t delay gratification.
  • We made our kid’s happiness a central goal – and now it’s difficult for them to generate happiness — the by-product of living a meaningful life.

And what are the uncomfortable solutions:

  • We need to let our kids fail at 12 – which is far better than at 42,
  • Kids need to align their dreams with their gifts.
  • Allow them to get into trouble and accept the consequences. It’s okay to make a “C-.” Next time, they’ll try harder to make an “A”.
  • Balance autonomy with responsibility. If your son borrows the car, he also has to re-fill the tank.
  • Collaborate with the teacher, but don’t do the work for your child. If he fails a test, let him take the consequences.

Riley Banks Q&A
And if that depressed you too much, read this inspirational story about a 17 year old girl who is making a profound impact in Kenya.

7 Enduring Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Just to keep you in the holiday spirit, Matt Lewis “preaches a sermon” on the classic film. Here’s how he introduces his 7-pointer:

If you’re looking for proof of the decline of values, comparing two holiday movies — Love Actually and Frank Capra’s timeless black-and-white classic It’s a Wonderful Life — is illustrative.

The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr recently penned an excellent takedown of the former, calling it the “least romantic film of all time.” Among the pernicious lessons imparted, Orr says, is the notion “that love is overwhelmingly a product of physical attraction and requires virtually no verbal communication or intellectual/emotional affinity of any kind.”

Fortunately, It’s a Wonderful Life is still around. And in contrast to Love Actually, it’s chock-full of terrific lessons, ranging from moral to financial to practical. Here are seven…”

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The Conditionality and Unconditionality of Grace
Sinclair Ferguson explains a vital distinction.

I’m giving you a whole pile of books this Christmas
Santa Armstrong comes to town bearing 26 books and three Logos 5 packages.

Athanasius on the Unique Place of the Psalms
And if this doesn’t get you singing the psalms, nothing will.

Why our Housing Schemes are not Post-Christian
This jives with my own years of working with men in the homeless shelters of Glasgow.

You Can be Hospitable Even with Little
Nicely timed encouragement.

Top 10 Reasons I Love Evernote
And just in case you’re not convinced, Tim Challies says Evernote Owns Me.

Three Special Offers on Jesus on Every Page

Jesus on Every PageTurned on my Mac this morning to discover Amazon selling the Kindle version of Jesus on Every Page at just $2.99. Not sure whether to be happy or sad about that!




Special OfferThat comes on top of the special offer of $100 of free Old Testament Resources if you buy before December 20.



SkypeLastly, and hopefully not leastly, if you are using or plan to use Jesus on Every Page in a group Bible study, I’d love to connect and chat with your group via Skype. Shoot me an email at and we’ll set up a time for a Video Q&A about the book.