Zig Ziglar used to say, “How you see your future is much more important than what has happened in your past.”
In our first story, we’re reminded the population bust may be the most important thing most people aren’t even talking about:
1. The Toll of the Dwindling Birth Rate is Far Greater Than Underpopulation
From Public Discourse:
Perhaps we can all agree that the continuation of humanity is a social good. But the consequences of the dwindling birth rate are far greater than questions related to population figures. Our generation’s celebration of “I don’t want to” has profound, even existential, implications that extend far beyond our personal preferences and lifestyle choices.
Choosing to forgo family life (excluding, of course, reasons beyond our control, like infertility or health issues that preclude procreation or adoption) denies two core aspects of human nature: our need to connect with others and our desire to find enduring meaning in life.
Our culture perceives the splintering of the nuclear family as, in the words of one Public Discourse author, “a virtuous expression of individual autonomy.” This type of autonomy is often celebrated as one of the greatest goods, one that many are reluctant to sacrifice in favor of pursuing family life and its responsibilities and challenges. If the focus on individual autonomy that pervades our society feels abnormal, it’s for a reason: it doesn’t quite square with how we’re wired.
As social creatures, we naturally carry responsibilities to care for, protect, and nurture others. If not our own biological or adoptive children, then our spouses. If not spouses, then our aging parents. If not our nuclear families, then the poor, the marginalized, and the most vulnerable in society. All of us walk through phases during which we, too, are dependent. This dependence, which starts in utero with our physical connection to our mothers, comes full circle in our final days. By our very design, we are wired not for total independence, but rather, radical dependence on others. Marriage and family life allow us to practice and cultivate this principle of radical dependence that is so central to human nature.
- Perception Diverges from Reality on Mass School Shootings
Jason Riley writes in the Wall Street Journal:
Saturation media coverage of such terrifying events as the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, can leave some people with the impression that these things occur far more often than they do. Three years ago, on the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo., the New York Times published an article noting that public perceptions of school safety are largely at odds with what the data show.
“The unique horror of mass shootings,” the Times reported, “means they occupy a central place in parents’ fears, and in the nation’s political debate about gun access and school safety, even though they remain rare.” Most gun-related deaths—54% in 2020—are suicides. Mass shooting casualties are less than 1% of all gun deaths, and there have been 13 mass school shootings since 1966. These data points are cold comfort to those mourning the shooting victims in Uvalde, but they ought to inform any public policy response under consideration.
There are an estimated 400 million guns in circulation in the U.S., which leads gun-control advocates to conclude that school shootings are an inevitable outcome of having so many guns around. Correlation is not causation, however, and research has failed to find a causal relationship between changes in gun-ownership rates and changes in the level of school violence involving firearms. A recent analysis of the Rand Corporation’s firearms database by the University of Oklahoma’s Daniel Hamlin found significant increases and decreases in school gun incidents during periods when gun-ownership rates remained relatively stable.
Gun violence that occurs away from school settings tells a similar story. Gun-ownership rates in rural areas are higher than in urban areas, yet our cities tend to be far more violent. Whites own firearms at much higher rates than blacks or Hispanics, yet gun violence among the latter two groups is much more commonplace. Moreover, proponents of additional gun laws ignore that shootings continue to plague places such as Chicago, which already has some of the country’s most severe gun restrictions. How passing more gun regulations, or taking guns away from the law-abiding, will deter criminals is a question they can’t answer.
3. Why Most Pastors Avoid Politics
From the Wall Street Journal:
research shows that only a very small fraction of American pastors invoke politics from the pulpit. The reason isn’t ministers’ fear of running afoul of the IRS, but instead a strategic calculation about their own careers and the future of the churches they lead.
In 2019, I conducted a survey of 1,010 Protestant Christians asking them if they had heard their pastor discuss a list of 10 political issues from the pulpit over the previous year. The list ranged from simple encouragement to vote on election day to hot-button issues like abortion and gay rights. The survey showed that 30% had heard none of the issues discussed in church, while another 25% said they had heard only one. The most commonly mentioned issue was religious liberty, cited by 30% of respondents. Just a quarter of churchgoers said that they had heard a sermon about gay rights or abortion, and only 16% had ever heard Donald Trump’s name invoked from the pulpit.
These results suggest that overall, there is an overwhelming absence of sermonizing about politics in American houses of worship. As a Baptist pastor who has preached nearly every Sunday of my adult life, I can fully understand why that’s the case: Pastors are worried about their jobs.
Workers in almost all sectors of the American economy are afforded some kind of legal protection against being fired. But because lawmakers and the courts want to give religious organizations wide latitude when it comes to hiring and firing their clergy, most legislation that deals with employment discrimination includes a ministerial exception. Because of this carve-out in the law, if a religious leader is fired, there is very little legal recourse available to him or her. This precarious position means that clergy often shy away from being political from the pulpit, worried about angering a portion of their congregation that could oust them from their job.
Another reason that pastors typically steer clear of being overtly political from the pulpit is that it impedes the ability of their church to attract new members for long-term, sustainable growth. Religious organizations, by their very nature, want to find a larger audience for their message. They strategize and organize outreach efforts to cast the widest net possible.
When the NBA star Michael Jordan was once asked why he was not more political, he simply responded, “Because Republicans buy sneakers, too.” If growth is the guiding principle for a church, there’s little utility in alienating a significant portion of the market by endorsing a specific candidate or party.
- Supreme Court Blocks Texas Law Regulating Social Media Platforms
From The New York Times:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a Texas law that would ban large social media companies from removing posts based on the views they express.
The court’s brief order was unsigned and gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices act on emergency applications. The order was not the last word in the case, which is pending before a federal appeals court and may return to the Supreme Court.
The vote was 5 to 4, with an unusual coalition in dissent. The court’s three most conservative members — Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch — filed a dissent saying they would have let stand, for now at least, an appeals court order that left the law in place while the case moved forward. Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, also said she would have let the order stand, though she did not join the dissent and gave no reasons of her own.
Justice Alito wrote that the issues were so novel and significant that the Supreme Court would have to consider them at some point.
5. Doctors Verify the ‘Scientific Evidence’ Proves Trans Swimmer Lia Thomas’ Unfair Advantage Over Females
“There are social aspects to sport, but physiology and biology underpin it,” Dr. Michael J. Joyner, a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, told The New York Times in a story published Sunday. “Testosterone is the 800-pound gorilla.”
As CBN News reported, NCAA rules require at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment in order to compete in women’s events. Thomas, who came out as transgender in 2019, has undergone two years of testosterone suppression and began swimming on the women’s UPenn team at the start of her senior year.
But peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that even with this treatment, athletes with biologically male DNA and physiology still have an unfair advantage when competing against biological women.
“Lia Thomas is the manifestation of the scientific evidence,” Dr. Ross Tucker, a sports physiologist who consults on world athletics told The Times. “The reduction in testosterone did not remove her biological advantage.”
6. Canada to temporarily decriminalize some drug possession to tackle abuse problem
From The National Post:
Canada will temporarily decriminalize the possession of some illegal drugs like cocaine, MDMA and opioids for personal use by adults in British Columbia (B.C.) to help tackle a burgeoning drug abuse problem in the province, the government said on Tuesday.
The substances would remain illegal, but adults found in possession of up to 2.5 grams of the illicit substances will no longer be arrested, charged or have their drugs seized, according to an official statement.
B.C., Canada’s westernmost province and the epicenter of the country’s overdose crisis, had requested the federal government for such an exemption in November.
Over 26,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses roughly between 2016 and 2021 across Canada. Since 2016 in B.C., when the province declared a public health emergency, over 9,400 deaths have been recorded due to overdose.
7. Together ’22 – Cotton Bowl Stadium Event Features Christian Speakers and Artists
From The Daily Citizen:
In June 1972, Campus Crusade for Christ sponsored Explo ’72, a music, evangelism and training event featuring the Rev. Billy Graham and Dr. Bill Bright. They brought together artists like Love Song, Andrae Crouch and the Disciples, Larry Norman, Children of the Day, Johnny and June Carter Cash and Kris Kristofferson.
Around 80,000 college and high school students came together at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, Texas. After training in evangelism, the students scattered across the city to spread the good news, before heading back home to share their faith in cities across the country.
Together ’22 is taking place this June 24-25, to mark the 50th anniversary of the event and to “empower the next generation of Christians to ‘Make Jesus Known.’”
Evangelist Nick Hall is spearheading the free stadium event. The founder and president of Pulse Ministry, he has a desire to lead people to Christ and equip others to do so. He’s bringing together speakers, teachers and Christian music artists for the weekend of worship, evangelism, prayer and training.
For Hall, there’s a personal connection with Explo ’72. He told The Daily Citizen that students from North Dakota traveled to Dallas and heard the gospel, then they took it back to their state to share with others.
Hall’s father became a believer through those students, a direct result of Explo ’72.
8. Kirk Cameron Ignores His Critics – and We Should, Too
From The Daily Citizen:
After decades in Hollywood, Cameron has thick skin, developed over time and fortified by his strong faith. But it wasn’t always the case. Growing up in an agnostic/atheistic home, the former Growing Pains’ star found the Lord at the age of seventeen.
“I had everything that I wanted,” he remembered. I had as much money as I wanted to spend. I was traveling around the world meeting famous people. I was a famous person. I had everything that I wanted. But I met a man, who was the father of a girl that I liked, and I got to talking to this man, and he said, ‘There’s still something that you don’t have, though, Kirk. You have a lot, but you don’t have the Lord.’”
Cameron attended a church service, heard the Gospel, and spent over a month questioning, talking and pondering. One day, alone and sitting in his car on the side of the road, he prayed a “clumsy” prayer of salvation.
Many childhood actors have faced a very different fate – suffering through multiple marriages and divorces, cycling in and out of substance abuse rehab facilities, or even spending time in jail. Lindsay Lohan, Macaulay Culkin, Danny Bonaduci and Dustin Diamond come to mind.
By contrast, Kirk and his wife, Chelsea, are poised to celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary in July. They have six children, four of whom were adopted. “For me, my family and my faith have been what’s really been my anchor, and grounding me, and helping me navigate through a lot of the things that really destroy marriages in Hollywood, and in your own personal integrity,” he once said.
We should all admire Kirk Cameron’s principled, brave outspokenness. He’s willing to use his platform and his celebrity to advance biblical truth. We should be cheering him on. Actors are trained to play to a crowd and seek the applause of their public, but it’s clear that the kid we once knew as “Mike Seaver” in Growing Pains is laser-focused on using his time to bring honor and glory to God, and Him alone.
9. 50 Short Books Packed with Wisdom
From the Gospel Coalition:
Some of the 50 books below—listed in chronological order of publication—are “classics.” Others are newer, lesser-known, or newly edited volumes collating a sampling of an established sage’s wisdom. I certainly don’t agree with every word in all of these books, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned much from them. They’re all books that have shaped me in my love of God and his Word and my understanding of his world.
Perhaps pick up a few of them for summer reading—you won’t be disappointed!
Athanasius, On the Incarnation (fourth century). Timeless, beautiful wisdom on one of the bedrock (yet mysterious) doctrines of God. 110 pages.
John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life (fourth century). Wisdom on the theology, mystery, and meaning of the marriage sacrament. 114 pages.
Augustine of Hippo, On Christian Teaching (fifth century). Wide-ranging Christian wisdom from one of the church’s greatest thinkers. 208 pages.
Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (15th century). Classic devotional wisdom on loving Christ and living like him. 144 pages.
Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed (1630). Encouraging wisdom for the weak, weary pilgrim to pursue Christ confidently, knowing the nature of his heart. 160 pages.
John Owen, The Glory of Christ (1684). Puritan wisdom that rehearses the inexhaustible glories of Christ and invites the reader to bask in them. 184 pages.
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God (1692). Tidbits of wisdom from a humble Carmelite monk on cultivating awareness and utterly treasuring God’s presence. 42 pages.
Click here to see the entire list.
10.Dozens of Babylon Bee Headlines Have Come True. Here’s the Complete List.
A spreadsheet recently shared by Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shows more than 70 instances where reality has very closely matched content on the satirical website.
The first entry is a headline that reads, “Captain America Rebooted as Feminist, Atheist, Transgender Hydra Agent,” which was originally published Oct. 7 2016. By March 15, 2021, the Babylon Bee was right, as Marvel had named its latest Captain America as an “LGBTQ+ activist.”
BEE: Sheltered Atheist Kid Not Allowed to Watch ‘Veggie Tales’
ACTUAL: Atheist Parents Coping Because Their Kids Believe in God Thanks to ‘Veggie Tales’
BEE: SAT To Be Replaced with DNA Test to Determine How Oppressed You Are
ACTUAL: College Admissions in a COVID Year: SAT’S Are Out, Personal Stories Are In
As Dillon observed, quoting Shakespeare, “Jesters do oft prove prophets.”