— Friday, August 16th, 2013 —
This week marks the commemoration of the death of Elvis Presley, for those of us who believe he’s really dead. It also marks the return of “The Cross and the Jukebox,” the first since we made our transition from Southern Seminary to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. So I decided to put the two together.
On this week’s episode, we listen to Elvis’s song “Suspicious Minds.” I don’t think this is his best song, necessarily, or his most iconic. But I think it’s important for a couple of reasons. First, it marks the transition from the one Elvis we know- the young rock and roll pioneer- to the other Elvis we know- the Vegas singer in the rhinestone-decked lounge suit. Keep Reading…
— Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 —
In light of the tumult in Egypt right now, here’s why I think we ought to care about Egypt, both in the short term and in the long term.
I remember, when the original revolution began in 2011, for the most part, finding it all exhilarating. I agree with Thomas Jefferson about those “unalienable rights” embedded in our common humanity. And I agree with John F. Kennedy that we should “pay any price, bear any burden” to “ensure the survival and success of liberty.” Who couldn’t cheer the downfall of a lawless, autocratic regime such as that of Hosni Mubarak?
But, on the other hand, I know why President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton so carefully parsed their words at the beginning of the uprising. After all, isn’t there something to be said for stability, for treaties kept? What if, as in other places, the fall of the dictator simply leads to a bloody terrorist theocracy? Callous realism and utopian idealism have both led to chaos and bloodshed, and it’s often hard to sort out the consequences of such world upheavals. Keep Reading…
— Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 —
In light of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s actions on Internet pornography, here’s why I think we ought to care about digital porn.
There’s a situation in counseling I come across all too often: a couple will typically tell me first about how stressful their lives are. Maybe he’s lost his job. Perhaps she’s working two. Maybe their children are rowdy or the house is chaotic. But usually, if we talk long enough about their fracturing marriage, there is a sense that something else is afoot. The couple will tell me about how their sex life is near extinction. The man, she’ll tell me, is an emotional wraith, dead to intimacy with his wife. The woman will be frustrated, with what seems to him to be a wild mixture of rage and humiliation. They just don’t know what’s wrong, but they know a Christian marriage isn’t supposed to feel like this. Keep Reading…
— Sunday, July 14th, 2013 —
On a wall in my study hangs one of my favorite pictures. It’s a photograph of a line of civil rights workers—in the heat of the Jim Crow era. They’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder, all of them bearing a sandwich-board-type sign. The sign reads, simply: “I Am a Man.”
I love that picture because it sums up precisely the issue at that time, and at every time. The struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in this country wasn’t simply a “political” question. It wasn’t merely the question of, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it from before the Lincoln Memorial, the unfulfilled promises of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution (although it was nothing less than that). At its root, Jim Crow (and the spirit of Jim Crow, still alive and sinister) is about theology. It’s about the question of the “Godness” of God and the humanness of humanity. Keep Reading…
— Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 —
Willie Nelson, the legendary country musician, has framed himself as an “outlaw.” He flouted the conventional norms of the Nashville music industry, and even, legend says, smoked marijuana in the Carter White House. He’s less of an outlaw, though, when he talks about the sadness of his failed marriages. There’s something in the way he speaks about divorce that I think resonates across culture today, something we need to hear. Keep Reading…
— Thursday, June 27th, 2013 —
With the recent Supreme Court decisions all over the news, some Christian parents wonder how they ought to explain all of this to their small children. I’ve faced the same question as my children have asked, “What is the Supreme Court doing that’s keeping you so busy?” So how does one teach the controversy, without exposing one’s children to more than they can handle? Keep Reading…
— Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 —
The Supreme Court has now ruled on two monumental marriage cases, and the legal and cultural landscape has changed in this country. The court voted to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and remand the decision of the Ninth Circuit in the Proposition 8 case, holding that California’s Proposition 8 defenders didn’t have standing. The Defense of Marriage Act decision used rather sweeping language about equal protection and human dignity as they apply to the recognition of same-sex unions. But what has changed for us, for our churches, and our witness to the gospel? Keep Reading…
— Friday, June 7th, 2013 —
This week on “The Cross and the Jukebox” we’ll be looking at a song I’ve received numerous requests for over the last few weeks: Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round.”
The story told in this song is one of working class despair, and one of boredom—one that leads people to all kinds of methods of escape. Whether it’s “Mama hooked on Mary Kay,” or “Daddy hooked on Mary two doors down,” the cycle of life for these people is itself like a merry go ‘round—it’s just the same thing over and over again.
And yet, what is at the root of all this boredom?
Listen with me to this song, as we discuss where this boring nihilism comes from, and how the gospel can undo it.
— Thursday, June 6th, 2013 —
Next week my denomination will receive the report from a special committee tasked with seeking unity between Calvinists and non-Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention. The report concludes what I’ve long suspected: we have much more uniting us across these questions than dividing us, and most of us are ready to love one another and work together.
I think it’s important, though, to consider how both the Calvinist and Arminian streams in Christian life bring important emphases together when it comes to one of the most important questions of our time: religious liberty. Keep Reading…
— Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 —
Recently a bill was passed in the Louisiana legislature that would make it easier for families to contract with women as surrogate mothers. The bill has now gone to Governor Bobby Jindal for his signature or veto. It’s also an issue that Christians should pay close attention to.
In this episode of the “Moore to the Point” audio program, I welcome bioethicist Jennifer Lahl, the founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network to discuss this difficult issue. Mrs. Lahl is an expert when it comes to surrogacy and is a winsome voice for how to think about ethical issues from a biblical perspective. Keep Reading…