Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All Around the Web - March 5, 2014

HT: Church Mag

Thabiti Anyabwile - The Artistry of Sex Forgotten in the World
Sex is meant to beget artistry, not just children.

When it comes to sex Christians can be among the most act-centered and least worshipful. We can fall into docetic notions of the body’s corruption and fail to recognize the solidity and artistry God himself has given to the body–and to sex. I’m reminded of all this by a brief aside Francis Schaeffer makes when commenting on the Song of Solomon. He writes:
How often do Christians think of sexual matters as something second-rate. Never, never, never should we do so according to the Word of God. The whole man is made to love God; each aspect of man’s nature is to be given its proper place. That includes the sexual relationship, that tremendous relationship of one man to one woman. At the very beginning God brought Eve to man. A love poem can thus be beautiful. So if you are a young man or a young woman and you love a girl or you love a boy, you may indeed write beautiful love poetry. Don’t be afraid. That too can be praise to God. And when the two people are Christians it can be a conscious doxology (Art and the Bible).
“When the two people are Christians it can be a conscious doxology.” If all of life is worship, we ought not box up our romantic lives and sit them in the garage. That part of our lives belongs to the realm of praise, too. “The whole man is made to love God”–including the sexual man. The whole man is made to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ–including the sexual man. That means Christ not only rules our sexual lives but that we also offer up our sexual lives as beautiful artistry, as worship.

One sad irony of our times (of all times really) is that the artist class has taken all the art out of human sexuality. I’m thinking here  mainly of cinematic arts and music, but it’s probably as true in other areas. Not since the pottery scene of “Ghost” or the poetry of “Love Jones” has art even been associated with romance. The link is mostly severed. So, here’s another place where the Christian life takes on redemptive meaning and promise. For if we presented a sanctified imagination in sexual matters, the world might be touched in the most intimate human act with the beauty of holiness in the worship of God.

Russell Moore - Why Johnny Cash Still Matters
Today would be Johnny Cash’s 82nd birthday. Unlike many celebrities whose name dies out with the obituaries of their fan base, Cash continues to matter. And I think it matters that we understand why.

Cash remained—to the day of his death—a subject of almost morbid curiosity for a youth culture that knows nothing of “I Walk the Line.” At the 2003 awards show, 22-year-old pop sensation Justin Timberlake, beating Cash for the video award, demanded a recount. Why would twenty-something hedonists revere an old Baptist country singer from Arkansas?

In one sense, the Cash mystique was nothing new. For the whole length of his career, onlookers wondered what made him different from the rest of the Hollywood/Nashville celebrity axis. Much of it had to do with the “man in black” caricature he cultivated. Cash joked that fans would often say to him, “My father was in prison with you.” Of course, Cash never served any serious jail time at all, but he could never shake the image of a hardened criminal on the mend. People really seemed to think that he had “shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”

Denny Burk - Does this look like Jim Crow discrimination to you?
Last week, Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt joined their voices with the opponents of Christianity. In short, they argue that Christian business owners who refuse to participate in gay weddings are unjustly discriminating against gay people. Powers even went so far as to say that legal efforts to protect these Christians are tantamount to Jim Crow laws for gay people. Again today, Powers has another op-ed doubling down on her stance against these Christians.

This Jim Crow narrative has really taken hold in recent weeks, but I want to invite you readers to consider whether it really is a good analogy. In the Jim Crow South, white business owners regularly refused service to black people because of their skin color. Are these Christian business owners try to do the same?

Consider the case of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Washington State who is being sued by the attorney general of the state for refusing to involve her business in a gay wedding. You can watch her in her own words in the video above, but here’s what happened. Stutzman had been serving a gay couple in her flower shop for over ten years. She considered the men to be her friends, and they considered her to be their friend. The two gay men said that throughout their decade long friendship, they did not know that Stutzman believed homosexuality to be a sin. She didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. She was a friend to them and served them while knowing full well that they were gay.

Radical - The Spoken Word of God

CNS News - In Mississippi, 72% of the Babies Aborted Are Black
Although whites outnumber blacks in Mississippi by nearly 2-to-1, 71.67% of the babies aborted in Mississippi are black, while 26.6% are white.

Based on data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 39,052 black babies were killed by abortions in Mississippi between 1995 and 2010. During that same time period, 14,529 white babies were aborted in the Magnolia State.

The total number of abortions between 1995 and 2010 in Mississippi was 54,484. In addition to blacks and whites, that number also includes abortions among Hispanics, "Other" (meaning Asian and Native American), and "Unknown," as published by the CDC.

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