Karen Swallow Prior foresees the end of abortion: “Our modern-day willingness to settle for sex apart from commitment, to accept the dereliction of duty by men who impregnate women (for men are the primary beneficiaries of liberal abortion laws), and to uphold the systematic suppression of sex’s creative energy and function are practices that people of other ages would have considered bizarre. As we enter late modernity and recognize the limits of the radical autonomy and individualism which have defined it, the pendulum will correct itself with a swing toward more communitarian and humane values that recognize the interdependency of all humans.”

Wendy Alsup writes from the hospital bedside: “I heard that someone asked Edith Schaeffer (wife of Francis Schaeffer) who, in her opinion, was the godliest woman alive. Her reply was that she didn’t know, as that woman was quietly worshiping God as she dies of cancer in a third world country. Her point was that great godliness and purpose in God’s kingdom is lived out in daily, quiet faithfulness–in perseverance in the faith in the long, hard slog of life, not with the accolades for or resolutions to suffering for which we often long.”

Rosalind Picard describes how she came to faith: “Have you ever tried to assemble something mechanical, and it only kind of works? Maybe the wheels spin, but not smoothly. Then you realize you were missing a piece. When you finally put it together correctly, it works beautifully. This is how it felt when I handed my life over to God: I thought it had worked fine before, but after it was ‘fixed,’ it worked exponentially better. That’s not to say nothing bad ever happened to me—far from it. But in all things, good and bad, I could count on God’s guidance, comfort, and protection.”

Matthew Boffey gives good advice on how best to use a biblical commentary: “In seminary, we were generally not allowed to consult commentaries until we had translated the text, diagrammed its structure, parsed its key words and verbs, and summarized its message. These are not official prerequisites; our professors just wanted us to gain interpretive instincts. They wanted us to converse with commentaries, not merely listen to them.”

Bekah McNeel reports on Iraqi Christians seeking asylum: “Whether Iraq will accept deportees is still up for question. The country previously refused to do so, but cut a deal agreeing to repatriate its citizens in exchange for being removed from the list of banned countries under President Trump’s second ‘travel ban’ executive order. However, the details of the agreement remain unclear, and court documents show that the US government had to cancel at least one Iraq-bound flight for deportees because of the Iraqi government’s refusal to accommodate them.”

Jay Watts reviews Unplanned: “Unplanned shows abortion. It offers important information within the context of a story that is interesting enough to carry the audience to the end of the film. However others parse the details of Abby Johnson’s real-life moment of conversion, the movie version of it is a surprisingly watchable mix of elements that is certain to get people thinking and talking about abortion.”

Emily Lordi reviews My Soul is Satisfied: “At the same time, I realized, she might not have cared. Church was, in part, a place where she could be tired—where she had come to expect to be lifted up. Toward the end of ‘Never Grow Old,’ the last song featured in the film, she sings quietly to herself, away from the mike, her face in shadow. The shot feels almost intrusive, like something we shouldn’t see. But it also reveals how much membership in a church community depends on a willingness to experience the deepest stirrings of the spirit alongside, in view of, others.”

Norman Wirzba digs into the hospitable nature of a garden: “It was his reputation for hospitality that got him into trouble. Scholars believe that sometime around AD 303 Diocletian singled him out as one Christian especially deserving of death. The emperor promptly dispatched two soldiers to do the job. They had an enormous distance to cover, much of it through treacherous and hostile terrain. As they approached Sinope, they came upon Phocas’s farm. They explained their mission to him. Phocas insisted that they spend the night at his home. He assured them that he could direct them to the man on the following day. Meanwhile, they needed a good meal and a good night’s rest, which he provided. While the soldiers slept, Phocas went to his garden to dig a grave.”

Nicola A. Menzie reports on the controversy surrounding the recently concluded Sparrow Conference: “Uwan, who said she saw about 10 women walk out during the discussion, mentioned the term ‘whiteness’ more than two dozen times throughout the 30-minute talk. Sarah Humphries, a 30-year-old white woman from Denton, Texas, attended the Sparrow Conference for the first time, specifically to hear from Uwan and another black speaker, Jackie Hill Perry. In a phone interview, Humphries said audience members near her seemed upset by Uwan’s remarks — especially when she said the word ‘whiteness.’”

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