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Friday, December 4, 2015

Something Smells Spiritual Here

What to Do When Someone Starts Shooting
I bumped into this highly practical article and could not stop reading it. "What To Do in an Active Shooter Situation" begins:
It's a sad fact of life in the 21st century that active shootings have become a regular occurrence in the United States.... While the media focuses on the firestorm of political debate these events cyclically create, I've rarely seen them discuss what people are actually supposed to do in these situations.
The author got in touch with a number of military, tactical, and law enforcement professionals and asked them, What's an average person supposed to do when a gunman starts shooting indiscriminately? And they "all answered the same way."

There was only one piece of advice I disagreed with strongly (see if you can guess what it is!). Otherwise it seemed like wise advice. But more interesting to me: the article offers insight into the many psychological dynamics of such events.
Something Smells Spiritual Here
Christianity Today associate editor Kate Shellnutt ruminates on the power of smell to evoke memories good, bad, and spiritual. Smell finds a surprising place in Scripture and in the history of theology.
When we smell, we allow a scent to enter our bodies, our brains, and our memories. And our spirits. Smell is there at our earliest moments—not just in utero (it's the second sense to develop, after touch) but at Creation. The first man meets God through smell, a big whiff of life and energy and Spirit. "Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Gen. 2:7).
Topic of the Week: The Fear of Free Speech
This week I couldn't get away from screeds aimed at college students who cower before "microaggressions" and "feel unsafe" when certain subjects are raised in the classroom. They are an easy target, of course, as are the administrators who bend to their hypersensitive feelings. But that wasn't the response of the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan when a student felt offended when a chapel preacher, explaining 1 Corinthians 13, made him feel bad for not showing love. Nor of some Princeton University students who said enough is enough: "We stand for academic freedom and open dialogue."

This same week, well-known author Wendell Berry called out the University of Kentucky for hiding a beautiful fresco in Memorial Hall because of its supposed racial insensitivity. He futilely reminded the university that the fresco was actually a crucial history lesson about racism. He happens to have known the artist and the reason she created the fresco in the first place.

Then there was this sobering essay that argues that silencing dissent is not confined to university campuses but also corporate offices.

The upside of all this: while some in our society strive valiantly to limit free speech, others vigorously continue to defend it! The fact that we are witnessing such a raucous debate over the issue signals that not all is lost.
Hubble's Most Fascinating Photograph
Read the short text to understand what you're seeing. And then gape in wonder. It's the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. "The specks of color and light you see are not stars; they are galaxies—10,000 of them in fact." And "the image is only one-forty millionth of the sky."
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today

More froM Christianity Today
What Jesus Said to Me After the Suicide Bombing
Our Savior knows what it's like to have people want to take your life.

Surprise Change in How Multiethnic Churches Affect Race Views
They're now altering black attitudes more than white ones. But is that bad?

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