A Child Understands Divorce

 

Dr. Dobson shares a touching poem that speaks to the real tragedy of divorce

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The Good news and Good news from Tehran that might not make it on your evening news

 

 


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“President Oprah Winfrey.”

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Is she running for President? Is she not running? I’ve got no idea. But here’s why Oprah might win if she runs, and more important, what that says about us.

“President Oprah Winfrey.” Get used to those words, because I’m telling you, she can win. During the Golden Globe Awards, the world’s best-known talk-show host accepted a lifetime achievement award and gave a speech that earned a thunderous ovation and ignited chatter of an eventual run for the White House.

Now, Oprah hasn’t been on TV regularly for almost seven years, and for most people, television years are like dog years. But the immediate veneration during and after the Golden Globes reveals that she’s still a guiding star for countless Americans. Don’t believe me? Rasmussen polled likely voters on a potential Oprah-versus-Trump race, and if the election were held tomorrow, she’d win by ten points.

Now whether or not the diva of daytime television will make a bid for commander-in-chief, I don’t know. But there’ still a lesson here for all of us. Specifically, there are two books that describe why she could win. And you need to read them.

The first is one we’ve talked about often on BreakPoint: Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” This prophetic book showed how entertainment was dominating our culture, distracting us, and teaching us to value the trivial. As a result, celebrities became our heroes—experts on all topics, and apparently, serious contenders for high political office.

And Oprah’s celebrity status is unparalleled. Not to mention her brand offers people care, community, and a sense of faith. – all via the glowing rectangle.

But while Postman’s book can help us understand our cultural addiction to celebrity (and why that would help and not hurt a presidential run, as it did Donald Trump), it can’t explain the level of Oprah veneration we saw last Sunday night. That’s why I recommend Ross Douthat’s “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.”

Writing in the New York Times just a few days ago, Douthat argued that if there is an American religion, Oprah is the pope. In “Bad Religion” he explained what American religion is.

America has always been a breeding ground for heresy; think the Mormons, the Shakers, Scientology, etc. But until recent decades, American heresies were peripheral to American culture. Today, western culture spurns its Christian roots, and the historically central Christian denominations have failed to cultivate strong Christian faith within their ranks. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Oprah’s self-help, self-centered, New Agey, do-it-yourself, gooey spirituality has now moved to the center of American religious life.

According to Douthat, Oprah’s “god within” philosophy is the dominant creed in America, and has been at least since the nineties.

In the 1950s, the shared, common inheritance at the cultural center of America was embodied by mainline Protestant and Catholic churches and by religious figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Reinhold Niebuhr, Fulton Sheen, and Billy Graham. Today, we couldn’t even imagine such a thing as “America’s pastor” or a national theologian. Instead, celebrities like Oprah have become, as Douthat puts it, de facto popes.

But before we point fingers without, the church has a lot to answer for within. We’ve so emphasized a “personal experience” with Jesus, we’ve largely neglected what’s True about Him. So, Oprah’s theology of self-empowerment and experience-centric spirituality falls on eager, but theologically unformed, ears.

Whether or not she runs for president, it shouldn’t surprise us just how many Americans are ready to entrust the country to an entertainer who offers spiritual hope.

But it should also remind us that our problems aren’t primarily economic or political. America’s greatest affliction is a poverty of meaning, of purpose, of something to fill that great spiritual emptiness we feel at the heart of our nation.

And as Chuck Colson said often, and I will repeat, salvation will never come on Air Force One.

 

Why Oprah Might Be President: Two Books that Explain

You can get copies of “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman and “Bad Religion” by Ross Douthat at the Colson Center online bookstore.

 

Resources

Amazing NFL play dumb NFL call or rule

 

In a last second play in a NFL Playoff game yesterday the Vikings top  the Saints. This was not only amazing because the Min. Vikings fans have had so many heart break losses in the playoffs. It looked like the Saints were going to win but somehow the Vikes pulled it off. Good job to them. My heart goes out to the Saints.It appeared had this one almost in the bag. But in football, nothing is ever for sure until the clock hits 0.   The dumb thing that happened  the Vikes Scored with no time left on the clock. There was no way the Saints could come back. The media ran onto the field. Players for the Saints were told they had to come back out for the extra point for the game to be official. It took extra time just waiting. This is the kind of thing that makes fans, and others hate the NFL. It is not always best to go by the rule book.    

 
 
 
 

Cool way of telling kids they have a snow day by school leader

 

Millard superintendent delivers snow day news in ‘mic drop’ video

No turning back

No Turning Back

In what countries is it particularly difficult to be a Christian? Janet Parshall will tell more in this week’s commentary.

 

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Alabama’s Big Win Tagovailoa’s Big Faith ( this makes me happy even though I was pulling for the GA. BUll Dogs )

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Two years ago on BreakPoint we told you about a promising young Christian football player. On Monday, he was the hero of Alabama’s national football championship win.

Alabama’s stunning come-from-behind NCAA championship victory over Georgia was fueled by freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. In a remarkably humble interview after the game, especially given what he’d just accomplished on national television, he said: “I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With him all things are possible.”

Now two years ago, on BreakPoint, I talked about Tagovailoa’s faith—back when he was still in high school. Here’s a part of that broadcast from 2015:

 

Sports Illustrated recently told the story of Tua Tagovailoa, who is considered to be the best high school football player in Hawaii. The junior quarterback at Honolulu’s Saint Louis High School is drawing comparisons to the school’s most famous alum, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

On the surface the comparison is understandable. Besides playing for the same high school, both quarterbacks share a similar style that makes them a threat on the ground and in the air. And like so many great players in Hawaii, they share a Samoan heritage.

And it’s this last bit that’s the most intriguing and inspiring part of the story, at least for Christians.

At the heart of the Sports Illustrated story about Tua is his relationship with his late grandfather. It’s a story about a Christian from one generation passing a spiritual legacy to the next generation. The article is filled with Bible verses. It tells readers that the entire Tagovailoa clan gathers “every evening for prayer and teaching,” and to sing a Samoan hymn that “asks God to be present in everything they do.”

This is something that Tua has in common with his hero, Marcus Mariota. Mariota, as we’ve said before on BreakPoint, is also a Christian whose goal is “to go out and show the world that Christ lives.”

Football fans have long noted the disproportionate number of Samoan players in the NFL and in big-time college football. By one estimate, “a Samoan male is 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than an American non-Samoan.” Football greats like the late Junior Seau and Troy Polamalu are only two members of this illustrious line.

Less known, and even more important, is the role that Christianity has played in the lives of so many of these players and in Samoan society as a whole. Stories like that of Tagovailoa, Mariota, Polamalu, and former Raiders quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo are a testimony to the extraordinary success that 19th and 20thcentury missionaries had in converting the Samoan people to Christianity.

When the first missionaries from the London Missionary Society arrived in 1830, they found that there were already some Christians on Samoa. In keeping with Polynesian culture, it arrived via longboat, probably from places like Tonga and Tahiti, where Wesleyan missionaries had already been at work.

Western missionaries then built on the Samoans’ attraction to Christianity. By 1855 the entire Bible had been translated into Samoan. And before long, native Samoan religion had been replaced by Christianity.

Today, virtually every Samoan self-identifies as a Christian of some sort. More than 60 percent describe themselves as “very religious.” Prominent Samoans frequently refer to Samoa as a “Christian nation.” The preamble to Samoa’s constitution describes Samoa as “an independent State based on Christian principles and Samoan custom and traditions.”

What’s more, 91 percent of all Samoans agree with the statement that Samoa is “one of the most religious nations on Earth.”  Thus, Christianity’s influence on Samoan life and culture is hard to dispute. This legacy and heritage are on display in stories like that of Tagovailoa’s. The missionaries who brought Christianity to the Polynesian world wound up transforming an entire society.

Now, I’ve got no idea whether Tua Tagovailoa is the next Marcus Mariota on the field. But what matters is that he seems to be following an even more important Samoan tradition off of it. And that is worth celebrating.

 

Alabama’s Big Win: Tagovailoa’s Big Faith
For more on the faith and athletic exploits of Tua Tagovailoa, check out the article links in our Resources section.

 

Resources

Everyday is a gift ( the other side of the Assisted-suicidedebate, the right side. )

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Every single day is a gift. And you can’t let that go.” For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Assisted-suicide advocates are good at producing moving stories about people who decide to end their lives because of the suffering.

And too many, especially Christians, abandon principle—that every human life is sacred from conception ‘til natural death—for feelings: sadness, empathy, and pity.

So here’s a story to strengthen your commitment to life—even when life hurts.

In 2014 Marine veteran J. J. Hanson learned he had terminal brain cancer and only three months to live. But instead of giving up, he decided to live as if every day with his wife and son were a precious gift. As Hanson told the Daily Signal, “I needed care, not assisted suicide pills.” He became a passionate advocate for life with the Patients Rights Action Fund, a group that opposes assisted suicide.

Hanson died on December 30th. But you need to see his story. Please come to BreakPoint.org, and I’ll link you to an inspiring video about his end of life journey.

 

Resources

Man of Steel

  • Youtube video

Resolve to Pray for Life in 2018 Expect the Lord to Answer

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Most of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions rather quickly. But here’s one that I hope you’ll keep—for life.

If you’re a regular listener or reader of our BreakPoint commentaries, you know that we are staunchly pro-life. And likely you are, too. Every human life, in or out of the womb, is precious and invested with a special dignity, having been created in God’s image. But in our culture, life is assaulted.

Christians should, at the same time, both love unborn babies and their mothers, and also hate what abortion does to them—and to our broken society.

Many of our BreakPoint listeners and readers are active in the pro-life movement. Many of you have walked a picket line, written a letter to the editor, or volunteered at a pregnancy care center. Many of you have given money, sacrificially, to support pro-life organizations.

And yet, despite all this effort by you and millions like you and the great progress made by the pro-life community, the monstrous evil of legal abortion continues.

The statistics, 45 years after Roe v. Wade, are so well-known by now that, incredibly, they fail to shock us as they should. Around 60 million unborn American babies—think of it!—60 million, have succumbed to abortion since 1973. That’s more than the combined populations of Texas and New York.

Each year some 652,000 abortions are still performed in the U.S. About one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. Nearly half (49 percent) of abortions are among women and teens 24 years of age and younger. These are sobering and, if we’re honest, depressing numbers.

And yet, there’s good news, some really good news. First, public opinion is turning against unlimited abortion. Even young people, who are generally liberal on social issues, are quite conservative when it comes to life. A study by Students for Life of America found that just seventeen percent of millennials support anything-goes abortion. And a Knights of Columbus poll in 2014 found an incredible 84 percent of Americans want to restrict abortion to the first three months of pregnancy or less!

Second, many states have enacted laws over the years that have restricted abortion and even forced some Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to close their grisly death mills— in fact, 37 abortion clinics closed in 2017 alone. Praise God!

And the best news of all is that God is with us on this issue, and He answers the prayers of His people.

Is anything impossible for God? Jesus Christ reigns over heaven and earth, He loves the little children, and He is perfectly willing and able to answer our prayers for them. And there are some things that we’re called to that will only, only be accomplished through prayer.

So let all of us who love life, born and unborn, commit to praying through this New Year, asking and expecting God to act. That’s something that all of us, no matter our political, financial, or social status, can do.

And so, once again, we’re asking you to join thousands of others in what has now become an annual effort here at BreakPoint and the Colson Center: the 21 Days of Prayer for Life.

Come to BreakPoint.org/21Days to download a free “21 Days of Prayer for Life” prayer guide, complete with moving stories, statistics, discussion questions, and of course, prayer requests for life. Even more, each day will equip you to not only pray but also to make the case for life with friends and neighbors. And it’s free. Use it in your family, your churches, your small groups. Breakpoint.org/21Days.

There’s also a 21 Days of Prayer for Life app for your smart phone or computer. When you download the app, you’ll not only get the 21 days of pro-life devotionals and training, but you’ll receive pro-life prayer requests six days a week all 52 weeks this year. Can you imagine what would happen if thousands of Christians would pray for life and against abortion every day of 2018?

Again, that’s BreakPoint.org/21days.

Resolve to Pray for Life in 2018: Expect the Lord to Answer

Download the free pdf resource “21 Days of Prayer for Life” and join pro-lifers everywhere as we intercede for those who have no voice.

 

Resources

The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture

  • Scott Klusendorf | Crossway Books | March 2009
CDCs Abortion Surveillance System FAQs

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

An NFL team invites one of it’s mature fan’s to her playoff games

Here is the story.