John Stonestreet and Shane Morris

Who Knows Best? The Push to Replace Parents

In internet lingo, to “say the quiet part out loud” means to reveal one’s true intentions or motives that were supposed to remain publicly unsaid. Recently, a couple of prominent organizations that deal with children have “said the quiet part out loud” when talking about parental rights. 
The first was the National Education Association, which has a long history of advocating extreme, sexually progressive ideology in schools, such as, for instance, advising teachers to hide transgender students’ name and pronoun changes from parents. In November, the NEA tweeted: “Educators love their students and know better than anyone what they need to learn and thrive.” 
Hmm. Could they be overlooking anyone? Such as, I don’t know, students’ parents? It’s as if any right that parents have to be involved and aware of their children’s education ends at the ability of progressive teachers to shepherd their students into alternative lifestyles, sexual practices, and abortions. 
Speaking of abortion, another group that deals with vulnerable children and teens also recently said the quiet part out loud. Parental rights advocate Megan Brock tweeted a clip from a video conference by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab. In it, Dr. Sarah Wood explained the group’s strategy for circumventing Pennsylvania’s parental notification law for minors seeking abortions. 
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Democracy Isn’t a Worldview: Politics Can’t Answer Our Deepest Questions

Democracy isn’t a worldview: It’s worldview dependent. The laws a democratic society produces depend on the worldviews of the people who vote and legislate. To treat democracy like a fundamental source of values and a way of seeing reality is to misunderstand democracy, government, and the human condition. Also, it is asking a political system to answer questions it cannot. It’s simply not big enough.  

Though election day is behind us and the direction of the country set, politics will most likely continue to overstep into most of our lives and our culture. After all, the presidential campaign season has already begun.  
Without abandoning the political sphere altogether or downplaying its importance, Christians must push back against the all-consuming nature of politics. For many of us, that will mean less time on social media, fewer podcasts, less talk radio and cable news, and more time cultivating our knowledge of Scripture and theology. In this loaded cultural moment, anyone not intentional about what is shaping and forming his or her view of the world is at risk of the political illusion.  
Take a recent statement by President Joe Biden, tweeted just before the midterm elections: “Democracy is more than a form of government,” he (or whoever runs his Twitter page) wrote. “It’s a way of being. A way of seeing the world. A way that defines who we are, what we believe, and why we do what we do. Democracy is simply that fundamental.” 
In other words, to lightly paraphrase the president, democracy is a worldview. But is that true?  
On one hand, the quasi-religious tone used to describe a system of government is a bit like The Washington Post’s melodramatic slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Popular sovereignty is not a “way of seeing the world” that “defines who we are, what we believe, and why we do what we do” any more than the market economy or trial by jury are worldviews. Instead, each is a reflection of prior values, which are shaped by deeply held beliefs about reality. We do things (like voting) that are important to us, and they’re important to us because of how we see the world. 
In other words, the president had it exactly backwards. He’s assuming that democracy determines how we view the world. 
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The Weight of Culture and Our Strange New World

Just a small sampling of recent headlines reveals what a disorienting cultural moment this is: Man wins a women’s swimming championship, Supreme Court nominee refuses to define the word woman, Biden administration endorses gender reassignment surgery for minors. Back in 2020, theologian and historian Dr. Carl Trueman provided a full account of how something that was unthinkable a generation ago became unquestionable today. The dramatic shifts in how we think about gender and sexuality are among the fruits (not roots) of a much deeper shift in how we think about the human person. 
Trueman’s book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self described the origin story of what has been called “the cultural identity crisis.” Centuries ago, thinkers, writers, and activists began to rethink, redefine, and over-sexualize the concept of self. By describing this process, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self felt like a long-overdue answer key for our cultural moment. Weighing in at over 400 pages, it is the definitive account of the thinkers, ideas, expressions, and consequences of the sexual revolution.  
Thankfully, Dr. Trueman also heard the many pleas for a less academic approach to these essential concepts, one that works out the same essential analysis but for those Christians dealing with the everyday chaos of the culture he so aptly describes. The new and much slimmer version is called Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution. 
In it, Trueman tells the story of the development and propagation of ideas that sparked a revolution in how Western people think about themselves and others. Eventually, these ideas transformed how we think about sex and the human body, about social institutions like the family and the role of the state, and about meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.  

God Continues to Work Behind Bars

Incredibly, 40% of Santa Fe Province’s inmates now live in these Christian communities that exist “behind bars.” Not only are residents finding greater peace, many are also granted greater freedom. One former hitman and convicted murderer, Jorge Anguilante, is allowed to leave prison every Saturday for 24 hours to minister back home at a church that he started. No one seems afraid he will escape. As he told reporters, his life as a contract killer is “buried,” and Jesus has made him “a new man.”

God has a long history of working inside prisons. The very first book of the Bible describes how God granted Joseph favor with a prison warden, something that eventually led to the saving of his family, the saving of Egypt, and the preservation of God’s promises to establish the nation of Israel. The book of Acts gives several accounts of God working in prisons. For example, after Paul and Silas were miraculously released from jail in Philippi, the jailor and his whole household converted. And, Jesus Himself said that those who visit and care for prisoners are actually visiting and caring for Him.
Of course, the founder of the Colson Center knew firsthand how God worked behind bars. Chuck Colson devoted much of his life to working with inmates, wardens, and justice systems, as well as with policymakers and family members of those incarcerated. Today, Prison Fellowship is the largest and among the most effective and well-respected prison ministries in the world.
God is still working in prisons, as a recent news story from Religion News Service demonstrates. What Rodrigo Abd and German De Los Santos describe as taking place in an Argentinian prison, most of us would identify as a revival: evangelical Christians taking over entire cell blocks in one of that country’s most crime-ridden cities.
Rosario in Santa Fe Province is the birthplace of Communist revolutionary Che Guevara. Drug dealing and murder are common career choices there. Many young men end up as assassins, serving drug lords who, according to one prosecutor, often run their networks from within overcrowded prisons.
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“Luxury Beliefs”

Those who adopt “luxury beliefs” often have a parachute of trust funds, good lawyers, and social connections. Even so, as Nicholas Kristoff wrote a few years ago in the New York Times, many upper-class progressives don’t actually preach what they practice, instead choosing to live fairly traditional, monogamous, drug-free, generally moral lifestyles… which makes their “luxury beliefs” even more like fashion accessories.

Certain lifestyle choices strongly correspond to long-term success: staying in school, avoiding pregnancy outside of marriage, regularly attending church, and abstaining from drug abuse, heavy drinking, and risky sex. Decades of research show these choices correlate with physical health, economic prosperity, and personal happiness. They also correlate more with the traditional and religious sides of the values aisle.
Tech billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and CEOs of megacorporations like Disney and the NFL tend to hold far more progressive views about sex, marriage, drugs, and religion. Along with media elites and progressive politicos, they often loudly reject those values that lead to health, wealth, and happiness. Why then do they not suffer the consequences of their views?
According to one Cambridge academic, permissive attitudes about sex, marriage, drugs, and religion are “luxury beliefs; more status symbols for cultural elites than blueprints for the way they live. Rob Henderson first floated the idea of “luxury beliefs” in an essay in the New York Post, later at Quillette, and most recently in a podcast. He argues that beliefs that tend to be disastrous for poor and middle-class communities have become the modern equivalent of buying expensive clothes or hiring servants. It’s a way of showing off your wealth and signaling your status to fellow members of the upper class.
Having grown up in multiple foster homes before enlisting in the Air Force and later attending Yale, Henderson has experienced much of the socio-economic spectrum. He knows first-hand how destructive the progressive behaviors held in reverence by many elites are to ordinary people.
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Is Darwinian Evolution Running Out of Time?

The theory of intelligent design is often dismissed as religion pretending to be science. Critics argue that the theory doesn’t make any predictions or contribute to our knowledge of the natural world, and plus, it’s not taken seriously in any peer-reviewed scientific journals. However, a new paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Theoretical Biology makes a strong case for the need for intelligent design.
The paper is called “On the waiting time until coordinated mutations get fixed in regulatory sequences.” If that title is all Greek to you, don’t worry; you’re in good company. This technical, math-intensive paper was written by intelligent design researchers Ola Hössjer, Günter Bechly, and Ann Gauger. As Casey Luskin explains at Evolution News, the project came out of the Discovery Institute’s ID 3.0 research initiative, which aims, in part, to test how plausible Darwinian evolution is on a mathematical level. And though it’s just a beginning, this paper’s conclusions should make die-hard Darwinists nervous.
Here’s the background. The fossil record has been a perpetual problem for Darwin’s theory ever since it was first published in 1859. Put simply, the fossil record doesn’t look like the theory predicts it should.
If, as Darwin proposed, all the diversity of life on earth developed through natural selection, sorting random variations over untold eons, living things should change very gradually. This means the record of evolution we find in rocks should look gradual, too. Invertebrates should turn slowly into fish, which should turn slowly into amphibians, which should turn slowly into reptiles and mammals, and so on.
What we actually find is the basis of what philosopher of science Stephen Meyer calls “Darwin’s doubt”: the fossil record consists of numerous “bursts” of biological diversity, such as the famous “Cambrian explosion,” in which new body plans and animal phyla appear in the fossil record seemingly without ancestors.
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