Friday, January 22, 2016

'The Selfish Side of Gratitude'


'Same God' Debate Hears from Experts
You'd think that in pondering the question "Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?" it would be good to hear from those on the front lines of ministry with Muslims. The Occasional Bulletin of the Evangelical Missiological Society helps us do that in a special 32-page section of their journal. In light of the controversy at Wheaton College, Robert Priest asked 21 missiologists and missionaries about the missiological implications of the question. The section is summarized nicely by CT here.
 
#BlackLivesMatter Is Complicated
The public call for police to back off of proactive policing ("deterring criminal activity by showing police presence and engaging the public to learn their concerns") is understandable after Ferguson and other incidents of police brutality. The policy was designed to help stop crime before it happens, and since its genesis in the 1990s, it seems to have worked in many cities. But sometimes it works "too well," as recent police shootings suggest.

The problem with most sudden shifts in policy is that we fail to consider how we'll handle all the potential consequences. In this case, some evidence suggests that police are being pressured to step away from proactive policing, which in turn is emboldening some criminals. This piece by Heather MacDonald outlines the evidence. I found it overly strident as she battles liberals and an article in The Atlantic that argued, "Fears of 'a new nationwide crime wave' are premature at best and wildly misleading at worst." Still, her substantive arguments give one pause. I suspect this is one of those issues in which we must listen carefully to both sides.
 
'The Selfish Side of Gratitude'
This piece was published on the last day of 2015 as the holiday cheer was mellowing out. Barbara Ehrenreich (who describes herself as a "mythbuster by trade") examines the platitudes of the self-help world, which among other things, promotes thankfulness as a way to feel more positive. Her argument?
There is a need for more gratitude, especially from those who have a roof over their heads and food on their table. Only it should be a more vigorous and inclusive sort of gratitude than what is being urged on us now.
 
When You're Tired of Sharing Your Feelings
"Small groups are the heart of our church," proclaim many congregations. Ah yes, but what type of small group? Here's a video plea for something completely different: "Shallow Small Group Bible Study."
 
Grace and peace,
 
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor, Christianity Today



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A Sane Approach to the Refugee Crisis
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