Writing in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis proffered:
“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”
Countless people are grateful for Tenisha Copeland’s good decision over 24 years ago:
1. Marquise Copeland’s Mom Refused to Abort Him. Now He’s Won the Super Bowl.
From The Daily Citizen:
Marquise Copeland is undoubtedly one of the most talented athletes in the nation.
And yet, he almost didn’t make it into this world.
When Marquise’s mother, Tenisha Copeland, was pregnant with him, she endured so much pressure from family and friends to abort him that “it put her in a state of clinical depression, requiring hospitalization.”
But Tenisha refused, and after being released from the hospital, was received by Open Door Maternity Home in Euclid, Ohio, which is “a residential ministry for pregnant teens.”
It was there that Tenisha “learned to trust Jesus and drew close to Him,” and soon after, gave birth to Marquise.
When choosing between colleges, Marquise opted for the University of Cincinnati so that his mom could be close enough to drive to his games.
Movingly, “Tenisha continues to live in the Cleveland area with her daughter Jayla and will be cheering her son on as he plays in the most important game of his football career.”
This is only possible because Tenisha courageously chose life for her son, even in the face of criticism and condemnation from her friends and family who encouraged her to abort Marquise.
‘God is So Good’: Los Angeles Rams Win Super Bowl 56
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the final minutes of Super 56 Sunday night.
Aaron Donald, defensive tackle for the Rams, described the win as “the best feeling in the world. God is great. It’s a blessing.”
Matthew Stafford called it a “team victory” adding that he was “so proud of this group.”
Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp thanked God and his teammates. “I don’t feel deserving of this,” he said. “God is just so good. I’m so thankful for everyone that’s been in my life that’s pushed me.”
RELATED: From Focus president Jim Daly:
Even if you’re a Bengals fan, you can still appreciate how Rams head coach Sean McVay appears to have a good handle on what matters most of all in life. He’s planning to marry this summer, and on the eve of the Super Bowl, he said:
“I want to have a family … I have always had a dream about being able to be a father. I know I love football and I’m so invested in this thing … But at some point … I want to be able to have a family and I want to be able to spend time with them.”
- Number of Abortions Down 60% in Texas Following Enactment of ‘Heartbeat Bill’
From The Daily Citizen:
In May 2021, the state of Texas enacted a “heartbeat bill” prohibiting abortions after a preborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected. This generally occurs around six weeks gestation.
The bill, Senate Bill 8 (SB8), contains a novel legal procedure that allows private citizens to enforce the law by suing abortionists or anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion.
Anyone found guilty under the law faces a $10,000 fine per violation.
After numerous trips up and down the legal system, including several to the U.S. Supreme Court, the bill remains in effect and has been saving the lives of preborn babies for months. The private enforcement caveat is why the bill has survived its legal challenges so far, though the legal fights over SB8 are ongoing.
According to a new report, abortions in the state of Texas fell by 60% in the month after SB8 went into effect in September.
Planned Parenthood released a statement that pro-life supporters can rejoice at, calling the numbers “the very beginning of the devastating impact” of the law.
- Who Will Be the Next Supreme Court Justice?
From The Daily Citizen:
When Justice Stephen Breyer officially ends his service on the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of June, there will undoubtedly be a nominee already confirmed by the U.S. Senate and ready to step in to replace him.
Who will that nominee be? President Biden has promised to nominate a Black woman for the honor of serving as the 115th Supreme Court justice in the court’s history. We also know that he is currently reviewing the records of potential nominees and has most recently stated he has done a “deep dive” into four possible selections, although he didn’t indicate what names he might be considering.
Two other factors come into play whenever Supreme Court candidates are discussed these days: (1) the political makeup of the Senate and how that might affect the confirmation vote; and (2) the age of the nominee. With all other factors being equal with regard to qualifications, presidents from both parties tend to favor younger nominees who can serve longer.
A majority of the Senate must vote to confirm. The Senate is evenly divided at the moment, and the president says he is looking to win some Republican votes for whoever his nominee turns out to be.
- CNN Host Van Jones Becomes ‘Conscious Co-Parent’ With Friend Noemi, Announcing Birth Of Baby Girl
From the Daily Wire:
CNN host Anthony Kapel “Van” Jones is all for disrupting the nuclear family and thinks others should do the same. The 53-year-old host recently welcomed a baby girl with his friend, Noemi, and made a case for other platonic couples to do the same.
The Emmy award-winner called this decision “conscious co-parenting” in a statement Saturday.
“After the COVID lockdown, I got clear that I wanted another kid. I discovered that my friend Noemi also wanted a baby. So we decided to join forces and become conscious co-parents,” he said, according to People. “It’s a concept that I hope more people will explore and consider.”
“This month we welcomed to Earth a baby girl, whom we will raise as coparenting partners. This is a special time for our families. I feel grateful, joyful and blessed. As we create a safe and loving environment for this blessed young soul, I respectfully ask for privacy. Thank you for all the love and support,” Jones continued.
5. GOP pushes U.S. schools to post all class materials online
From the Washington Times:
Republican state lawmakers across the U.S. are trying to require schools to post all course materials online so parents can review them, part of a broader national push by the GOP for a sweeping parents bill of rights ahead of the midterm congressional elections.
At least one proposal would give parents with no expertise power over curriculum choices. Parents also could file complaints about certain lessons and in some cases sue school districts.
Teachers say parents already have easy access to what their children learn. They worry that the mandates would create an unnecessary burden and potentially threaten their professional independence – all while dragging them into a culture war.
The bills arose from last year’s debate over the teaching of race, diversity and sexuality. The GOP insists the changes are needed to give parents a measure of control over what their children see and hear in class.
- God and Man at Yale Law
From the Wall Street Journal:
Was it divinely ordained that a boy raised by aggressively atheist parents would one day, in his eighth decade, make a passionate public case for God? This mischievous thought crosses my mind as I speak to Anthony Kronman, whose book “After Disbelief: On Disenchantment, Disappointment, Eternity and Joy,” forthcoming in March, aims to persuade America’s “relentlessly rational” elites to acknowledge the existence of “divinity.”
Those elites include his colleagues at Yale Law School, where Mr. Kronman, 76, is a professor and former dean. “In the academic circles in which I live and work,” Mr. Kronman writes, “the only respectable view of God is that he doesn’t exist.” He elaborates in an interview, saying that they regard his public professions of spirituality with “skeptical bemusement.” To the extent religion figures in their conversations at all, “it often does so as a synonym for prejudice and superstition—the attitude [Barack] Obama expressed, in an unguarded moment, when he made his regrettable comments about ‘guns and religion’ ” while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
Mr. Kronman’s ambition is to repair “the schism between those for whom religion continues to matter and those who view it with amusement or contempt.” The political implications of this split are especially profound in America, which Mr. Kronman says is unlike any other country in both its “commitment to secular values” and the “seriousness with which it takes religious beliefs.” The combination of the two has frequently been a source of national strength, but in recent decades it has given rise to hostility and bitterness.
- Swiss Approve Ban on Tobacco Ads
From The New York Times:
Advertisements glamorizing cigarettes will soon be a thing of the past in Switzerland, after voters on Sunday overwhelmingly approved legislation forbidding tobacco companies from displaying them in public spaces.
Health advocates have said that the legislation, which was approved in a referendum, was a significant step toward tightening the country’s loose tobacco regulations.
“Many organizations have stepped up to the plate and advocated for a solution that prioritizes youth protection,” said Flavia Wasserfallen, a member of the Swiss National Council and a proponent of the initiative.
Across much of the West, tobacco advertisements long ago fell out of favor, but they have lived on in this Alpine nation, with displays for cigarettes and e-cigarettes showing up on billboards, in movie theaters and at events like music festivals.
8. Breaking Social Media’s Grip on Teens
From the Gospel Coalition:
We humans are hardwired for fellowship. After all, we’re made in the image of the triune God. Learning to belong has always been particularly tricky for teenagers, but social media (combined with a pandemic) have stunted their opportunities for community and relational growth. Teenagers are missing crucial skills and experiences and aren’t learning to function as “members of one another” (Rom. 12:5, CSB).
Whether you’re a parent, youth minister, youth volunteer, or mentor to a teen, here are three ways you can help break the grip of social media on the teens you love.
1. Teach teenagers to prioritize true community.
Instagram platforms and Snapchat groups are not communities. They’re helpful communication tools, but they cannot begin to replicate the joys or challenges of physical togetherness. The disembodied interactions of social media likes and comments fail to truly satisfy because we were created for communication not just with words and clicks, but with tone of voice, body language, and touch. It’s impossible to work, serve, worship, laugh, or cry together if we’re not physically together, frequently and intentionally.
2. Show teenagers the joy of embodied community.
As adults, we encourage teenagers to engage in meaningful relationships both by participating in community ourselves and by opening our homes and our schedules. It’s one thing to text a teen and tell her to “break a leg” in the fall play; it’s another thing entirely to show up and sit through the performance. Again, technology serves as a relational tool, but the relationship actually happens when you hug her backstage after the show. If you can’t be there, by all means, send a message, but the message you send by showing up won’t be lost on her: presence matters.
3. Help teenagers expect and navigate conflict.
Removing screens and engaging with real people in real time can be messier and more painful than digital communication. Our teenagers should be prepared for conflict, rejection, frustration, and misunderstanding when they interact with other people, Christians included. Even the disciples dealt Jesus some heartache.
Teenagers are just stepping into the first act of the lifelong drama of belonging. Let’s remind them of the grace they have received in Christ, which gives us the courage to risk heartache in order to gain the joy of fellowship. Let’s make sure our teenagers know that bear hugs and holy kisses (1 Pet. 5:14) beat XOXO every time.
- Teens Find Rising Used-Car Prices Dash Hopes of First Car
From the Wall Street Journal:
Chase Smith had been saving for her first car long before she had a license to drive. But when the 16-year-old was ready to buy, she saw the prices and hit the brakes.
“It was definitely very frustrating, especially because all my friends have cars,” said Ms. Smith, who was eager to end her one-hour bus trips to school in upstate New York and stop catching rides from her parents. “But in the end, I just know it’s a smart decision,” she said.
Buying a used car, or receiving one from parents, has long been a rite of passage for generations of young drivers in the U.S. Skyrocketing prices and a shortage of preowned inventory are adding new strains to a teen’s initiation into the driving world, prompting some shoppers to delay purchases and others to stretch their budgets.
Used-car prices were rising before the pandemic hit, but in the past two years, they have consistently hit more records as supply-chain disruptions have slammed the auto industry, leading to a shortage of cars new and used.
10. How getting divorced can make you sick — and even lead to early death
On Valentine’s Day, a reminder regarding the power of love. From The New York Post:
Recent studies show that around 40 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. Though the divorce rate has fallen since its height in 1981, psychologists still rank marriage breakup as “one of the top stressful and consequential life experiences we have, just below death of a loved one.”
Divorcees are 23 percent more likely to die younger than those in marriages, according to a 2011 analysis of 6.5 million people in 11 countries. It’s considered “a costly life event” up there with smoking. A South Carolina study adds to the pile of disconcerting data: Of 1,300 people studied over 40 years, the divorced were 57 percent more likely to die than their still-married counterparts.
Happily married people live longer, have lower rates of cancer, stroke and heart attack, and tend to be less stressed overall, according to a multitude of longitudinal studies. (People in rocky marriages also fare poorly health-wise, but not as badly as the divorced, according to Williams’ book — possibly because knowing the person you’re living with is irredeemable prompts you to look elsewhere for emotional support.)
Furthermore, heartbreak really does harm our hearts. People unhappy in love — in broken or unhealthy relationships — suffer higher rates of heart disease. There’s even a condition called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or “broken heart syndrome,” which occurs when a sudden distress (like getting dumped) causes heart attack symptoms in healthy people. The effects are real: Five percent of these people will die, while 20 percent suffer long-term complications.
Heartbreak’s side effects don’t stop at the heart. Researchers at Ohio State University found that after a recent divorce people produce fewer natural T-cells, key for fighting off infections and cancer.