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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Galli Report ~ July 24, 2014

 The Galli Report newsletter
July 24, 2014    

Realistic Progress on Race
After the horrific events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charleston, we read and witnessed an outpouring of righteous outrage. I for one was glad to see how so many whites and African Americans voiced anger over the racism that remains deep in our nation's veins. I would hope that we might express outrage over every great evil.
Outrage unfortunately traffics in exaggerations, over-simplifications, and naÏve proposals. The New York Times' David Brooks respectfully pushes back against mere outrage in his open letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of a book Brooks calls "a great and searing contribution to this public education" on race in America: Between the World and Me. I take more or less the same approach in a recent CT essay, where I propose that if indeed racism is so embedded in our culture as to constitute our nation's original sin, we might never "completely eradicate it" as many plead for. That doesn't mean we don't quit trying—any more than we quit dealing with any other sin—from theft to murder. But it might help us create solutions that keep the worst effects of racism at bay, without inciting the frustration that leads to violence or despair.
Why We Pray for Abortionists
I believe it is vital for us Christians to recognize and name our "enemies." Our temptation is to believe that love requires that we think of no one as an enemy. But this is mere sentimentalism and, more importantly, not love. Our enemies are real and many, but this is no reason to be afraid or angry or self-righteous. It is only to live realistically and to love genuinely.
I found a good example of this in "Pray for Those Who Persecute You," a clear-eyed look at abortion providers. Let's face it, such people are taking innocent lives ruthlessly, but as the author notes, this should elicit in us more than moral outrage. There should be room for the deepest compassion, because with every unborn child mutilated and/or killed, these abortion providers are losing something essential:
Anyone who can casually discuss tearing children to shreds while having lunch and a good cabernet is a victim of the father of lies. Anyone who thinks that divvying up murdered bodies does "a little bit of extra good" is a captive subject of the dictatorship of relativism. This video reminds me that anyone who traffics in abortion loses a vital and beautiful spark of humanity. Evil coarsens us and deadens us—robs us of the freedom life offers.
This is a terrible, terrible loss for their souls. It's not an unredeemable loss, for our gracious and powerful Lord can redeem and restore anyone, no matter how far gone. In the meantime, we are called not just to moral outrage, but to prayer for these people, and for the state of their withering souls. Who knows whom God might save next?
Private Writings from a Terrible War
Readers of The Galli Report know of my ongoing fascination with World War II. Those similarly fascinated will want to look at two recent revelations/discoveries. The first are telegrams sent to Hitler during the last days of the war, telegrams that sent him into a rage and apparently convinced him to commit suicide. The second is the diary of a young girl who endured the ravaging seige of Leningrad that killed 700,000—800,000 inhabitants, a quarter to a third of the city. At one desperate moment, she writes of an older woman:
[Aka] is just an extra mouth to feed. I don't know how I can even bring myself to write such things. But my heart has turned to stone. The thought of it doesn't upset me at all... If she is going to die I hope it happens after the 1st [of January], so we'll be able to get her ration card.
Perhaps I'm fascinated by the less-than-noble reactions of people in desperate times. I can easily see myself thinking/saying/doing similar things if I were transported to those brutal days. It isn't pretty to witness human wretchedness, but it does suggest the depths of the evil for which Christ died, and makes the Cross that much more glorious.
Real Life in the 'Bigs'
Like most young boys, I dreamed of playing major league baseball someday. I only got as far as playing high school ball, but it wasn't too many years into adulthood that I recognized how life in the big leagues might not be all glamour. This brief book review fills out some details of what the professional baseball life feels like to the men and their families.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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