By Tom Krattenmaker Award-winning Portland-based writer Tom’s article also featured on USA Today
“Love your enemies,” Jesus said.
But does the daunting concept really apply to our hostile politics today? Can Democrats love conservatives? Is it possible for Hillary Clinton supporters to — gasp — love Donald Trump? Can Trump be loved even by Republicans who are convinced he is destroying their party?
As a staff member at Yale Divinity School and as a secular person who has been unpacking the central teachings of Jesus for an upcoming book, I have come to see ways in which this principle can be applied today. Even to the inveterate commandment-breaker and bad-behavior-modeler Donald Trump.
Rick Lancaster is a disabled Tacoma Washington Vietnam Veteran who is calling his new scooter an answer to prayer and a miracle. Lancaster said he was “lonely, very lonely, did a lot of crying, a lot of weeping, and a lot of praying.” His prayers were heard by an Oklahoma woman who helped make this act of charity possible. Watch more below:
Richard Hammar, an attorney specializing in legal issues for churches and clergy, recently released his report on the top five reasons faith-based organizations, including churches, went to court in 2015. Hammar categorized state appellate court and federal court rulings—around 12,000 decisions total—to identify which types of litigation most threaten religious organizations.
As you’re likely aware, record flooding has devastated Baton Rouge. Since our last update just a few days ago, 10,000 more people have been displaced bringing the total to 30,000. The flooding is now officially the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy.
The governor of Louisiana had this to say about the flooding: “When you have a storm that is unnamed – it wasn’t a tropical storm, it wasn’t a hurricane – a lot of times people underestimate the impact that it would have…. But this is historic. We are seeing unprecedented flood levels as the waters move south.”
Lying swimmers should return to clean-up Rio
By M. Martin
U.S. Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and James Feigen told Rio’s Civil Police that they were robbed at gun point. Several of the swimmers have come forward to retract their story. Now that they all face possible sanctioning in addition to the crush of worldwide negative press one has to ask what now?
Mother Teresa was voted the most admired person of the 20th century, and is loved the world over. Still, she was not without her critics. This book closely examines their accusations.
What virtually all of her critics have in common is an unabiding disdain for Catholicism and most were, or are, militant atheists. Their strong embrace of socialism is another conspicuous characteristic. What they abhor about Mother Teresa is her strong faith and her altruism.
Mother Teresa’s conviction that life begins in the womb, and that abortion is a violent act, does not sit well with her atheist critics. They are also contemptuous of her private, voluntary efforts to tend to the needs of the poor: socialists see such behavior as a deterrent to state programs, the only ones they find acceptable.
In a recent blog David Mathis quoted John Piper on the Olympic Games. Some timely biblical thoughts with the Olympics going on now:
The Bible doesn’t mention baseball, basketball, or football, but God has something explicit to say about the Olympics.
The ancient Games were common knowledge in the first century, just as the modern Olympics are today. For more than a millennium, the Games happened every four years in Greece. Everyone knew about the Olympics. “Everyone who competes in the games,” writes the apostle Paul, “exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25, NASB).
God wants Christians to see through the Games to ultimate reality. Paul, explains John Piper, took the well-known Olympics and
taught the Christians to transpose them into a different level, and to see in the Games a reality very different than everyone else is seeing. He said in effect, “The Games are played at this level of reality. They run at this level. They box at this level. They train and practice and deny themselves at this level. They set their sights on the gold at this level.
…“Now I want you to see all that at another level. I want you to transpose the temporary struggles and triumphs of the Olympic Games onto a different level of reality — the level of spiritual life and eternity and God. When you see the athletes run, see another kind of running. When you see them boxing, see another kind of boxing. When you see them training and denying themselves, see another kind of training and self-denial. When you see them smiling with a gold medal around their neck, see another kind of prize.”
Several months ago I was asked by World Magazine some questions about religious persecution. Here are my responses.
There’s a lot of talk in evangelical circles about the likelihood of increased persecution of believers in the years ahead. Do you think that forecast is on target?
Yes. However, I don’t believe we should live in fear and dread of persecution, but realize that God tells us to expect it (2 Timothy 3:12) and not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12). He promises to use it to increase our perseverance and build our character (Romans 5:3-5), and increase our happiness in Christ (Luke 6:22-23). God will use persecution, as He always has, to thereby strengthen His church and extend the Gospel message, not destroy it. Persecution in America will probably never be as extreme as it has been in countless places throughout church history and as it is around the world today.