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Friday, October 30, 2015

Really Good News about Really Bad Sinners

The Really Good News about Really Bad Sinners
Here's a story that starts out seeming like bad news but turns out to be the best news: "David Was a Rapist, Abraham Was a Sex Trafficker." The title is too hyperbolic for my taste, but it does help make the point that God is no respecter of sinners, and will forgive and use even those who have done vile things. And just when I think this applies to vile sinners out there, I look into my heart and see a bottomless black hole of vile and realize this good news applies to me as well.
The Problem May Not be Prisons
I've used this newsletter to bemoan the enormous size of the U.S. prison population, especially compared to that of other nations. Our bulging prisons suggest that something has seriously gone wrong somewhere. Some indict the criminal justice system, others American racism. To be sure, we sometimes lock people up too quickly for relatively minor offenses, and the criminal justice system is affected by racial bias. This article—The Decriminalization Delusion—looks at the hard numbers of who is in prison and why. The author concludes, and the subtitle of this week's long read says, "America doesn't have an incarceration problem—it has a crime problem."

I suspect he's largely right. Not that this solves anything. In fact, it leaves us with a bigger and more challenging question: What is going on in American society that so many people, especially minorities, turn to crime rather than legitimate enterprise to make their way through life?
Missionary Spies
While we're pondering bad news, I would be remiss if I didn't make my Christian readers aware of this awful story: "The Pentagon's Missionary Spies: U.S. Military Used Christian NGO as Front for North Korea Espionage." I grant that it is tempting for missionaries to work with the U.S. military when they see rampant injustice and oppression in the country they serve. The irony is that when exposed, such efforts hamper the work of the U.S. as well as missionaries and the people they seek to serve. (I apologize to busy readers, because this is another long read.)
The Art of Pumpkin Carving
As a public service to the readers of this venerable newsletter, I point you to "Life as a Professional Pumpkin Carver." It shows how the prosaic pumpkin can become a work of art. May you be inspired tomorrow!
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

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