Category Archives: faith

That is life’s trophy

Professional tennis star-a nun. What? Sounds like two different stories doesn’t it? In this case, it’s the same life story. Andrea Jaeger first picked up a tennis racket at the age of eight. By 14, she was a tennis pro. Soon she was challenging tennis greats like Chris Evert and Tracy Austin; she was ranked number two in the world. Then came a serious shoulder injury that required seven surgeries and she was forced to retire. She took her prize money, she moved to Colorado, and started a charitable foundation that helps sick, abused, and at-risk children. So she became an Episcopal nun, and she was actually burying her life in a ministry to needy children. According to USA Today, after her injury she was told, “Your life’s over. You’ve failed. You’ll never amount to anything.” Oh, were they wrong. The article on her new life concluded this way: “Her name will never be etched on Grand Slam hardware, but she can live with that. ‘It’s like I have kids’ names in my heart,’ and she says, ‘That is life’s trophy.'”( Read more )

He couldn’t have won the award now named after him!:

Princeton Theological Seminary just reversed the decision to recognize Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, for his church-planting and public witness.

( Read, or listen to the rest of this commentary.)

An Unlikely View…a Different Review on Beauty and the Beast

This movie was not created to be a catalyst for the gospel. It was not designed with an agenda to lead people to the cross or challenge them in their walk with the Lord…and yet that is exactly what our family took away. Was there sin in the movie – yes. There was a hateful man that treated women and men like the dirt beneath his feet, who lied, who abused, who lifted himself above everyone else. There was the inclusion of magic, of prejudice, the belittling of women, the hint of homosexuality, the abuse of the elderly, the worship of idols to name just a few. Not a one of these sins greater than the next; not a one less ungodly than the the other. None of them so blatant – all just a piece of the tapestry of the film. As a mama, I had a choice. I could have pointed out all of these things to my children before going into the theater.I could have painted a picture of hating all of these things and they would have watched the movie through that lens – absolutely. Instead, I asked them to view with God in mind. They did observe those same things, these sinful moments, but with the perspective of God in mind they viewed them with a broken heart, from a place of understanding our need for Jesus in this world. My little girl hopeful that she too would come to a place where she trusted the hope that is in Jesus – that she doesn’t have to be a ‘beast ‘ forever. My oldest challenged in his faith, strengthened in his walk. Their mama moved beyond what she can adequately express.

( Billy’s thoughts – Read the rest of this thought provoking post. )

Be an encourager, don’t just protest the bad 

( Below is the Breakpoint radio commentary for today. )

When it comes to culture, do you consider yourself a foot soldier or a gardener? Okay, that’s a bit cryptic. But let me explain.
When was the last time you participated in a boycott? Or shared a Facebook post alerting your friends to a dangerous cultural trend?
Good stuff. Now, let me ask you this: When was the last time you went to an art museum? Or bought tickets to the theater? Or listened to a great piece of music? Or wrote a poem and shared it with friends?
I ask, because, I believe even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong.
That’s what my friend Makoto Fujimura says in his new book, “Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life.” You may have heard me interview Fujimura before. He’s a brilliant artist and writer who has thought long and hard about the relationship between faith and the arts. “Culture,” he argues, “is not a territory to be won or lost but a resource we are called to steward with care. Culture is a garden to be cultivated.”
In other words, Fujimura wants us to shift our thinking away from the “culture wars” model, in which we think of culture as a battleground. Of course we need to have convictions about culture, and to stand by them. But Fujimura wants to offer a better way for us to influence culture for good. His image of a garden is just one of many he draws from nature, to show how we can carefully and patiently help to cultivate that cultural environment and make good things grow in it.
So, how do we do this? Fujimura suggests that both Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies. He asks us to consider investing in cultural works, as we’re able to afford it. (As an example, he mentions customers who have purchased his own paintings by giving him a little money every month until they were fully paid for.) He suggests that leaders in the church, the arts community, and the business community form partnerships to help support each other and nurture the culture around them. He cites the example of singer Mahalia Jackson, who encouraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to “tell ’em about the dream,” spurring him to make his most famous speech. Such encouragement can flow in both directions.
This isn’t always easy work, but it’s extremely valuable and worthwhile. It requires thoughtful engagement instead of blanket condemnation, and it may call for us to broaden our understanding and deal with ideas that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. But from such efforts come moments that he calls “generative,” or “life-giving.” Christians who enjoy and support art and culture, who make it a priority in their lives, and who reach out to those in the arts instead of reflexively pushing them away, can help bring the culture toward a renewed appreciation of goodness, truth, and beauty. And that is good for everyone.
Fujimura acknowledges that Christians in the arts, or even just Christians who love the arts, can feel caught between two worlds. But he argues that this is not a bad thing. The person in this position may in fact be playing “a role of cultural leadership in a new mode, serving functions including empathy, memory, warning, guidance, mediation, and reconciliation.”
One of the best things about “Culture Care” is Fujimura’s optimism about our future—especially if you’re feeling a bit weary and battle-scarred from the culture wars. He firmly believes that, as tough as this cultural moment is, we can turn it into a “genesis moment” by learning to nurture and care for our culture and those who create it. If you want to be part of that effort, I can’t think of a better way to start than by picking up this excellent book.

The power of a story 

Listen to a commentary here.

Even the death of a son, can be used for something good, and great 

Listen to the radio spot.

Christians Don’t Retire from Kingdom Work

( Listen to the Breakpoint radio commentary from yesterday here, or read it below. )
Narrowly escaping the jaws of a large reptile might get you thinking about your life. But you don’t have to wait ‘til then to make important changes.
C. S. Lewis wrote that pain is God’s megaphone—something He uses when He can’t get our attention any other way. I know at least one Christian who has an idea of what that’s like: God got his attention after—and I’m not making this up—he was nearly eaten by a crocodile.
Bill Beattie was a businessman whose life was going quite well. He’d been happily married for 35 years, and his three children were leading productive lives. He expected to spend the years ahead peacefully serving as an elder in his church in Danbury, Connecticut.
But God was prompting Bill toward other things. Problem was, Bill wasn’t listening. That changed after a canoeing adventure on the Zambezi River, home to hippos and crocodiles, during an anniversary trip to Africa with his wife Kathie. Bill recalls, “I was a novice canoeist and had foolishly rejected Kathie’s suggestion of canoeing lessons prior to the trip.” The guide gave them a five-minute training session, and sent the couple paddling away, headed downstream. They were “eyeball-to eyeball with hippos at every turn,” Bill recalls. The expression on Kathie’s face told him that his wife was terrified.
And she was right to be. They suddenly struck a submerged tree trunk and capsized the canoe. The rescue team quickly picked up Kathie, but their canoe could not hold another person. Bill tried to right his own canoe and climb on top of it as the crocodiles watched.
Struggling with his canoe, Bill didn’t notice, but his companions did, that a 13-foot crocodile came within 10 feet of him before turning and pursuing some of the flotsam from the canoe that had gone floating down the river.
Around the campfire that evening, Bill reflected on what had happened that day. It was extraordinary, he says, “that the croc did not attack and drag me to the bottom. I sensed that God had intervened on my behalf to save me for His purposes.”
Back home, Bill began to consider his areas of strength, and consulted with friends. Believing God was leading him to start a ministry for at risk, inner-city boys, he founded the Pathways Danbury, a mentoring ministry which now reaches girls as well. Christian adults provide them with one-on-one mentoring, Bible study, and tutoring. They can attend Bible camp in the summer, and if they graduate from high school meeting standards of excellence, they’re given a $10,000 grant for education, business, or housing. Some 70 boys and girls are now involved in the Pathways Danbury mentoring program, which was expanded in 2008 to include Pathways Academy Middle School and the “Say Yes” after-school program.
The key to their ministry, Bill notes, “continues to be sharing Jesus on a long-term basis to kids who are at risk for drugs and alcohol . . . delinquency and family instability.”
Now frequently on BreakPoint, we like to share stories of Christians like Bill who are making a difference in the world by tackling the brokenness in their own backyard. We do this to remind us that all is not lost… that God has his people everywhere, enlisting them in his Kingdom work to make all things new, like Bill in Danbury, Connecticut. And if God is at work there, He’s at work around you too.
Bill’s story also reminds me how much Chuck Colson hated the idea that retirement is about spending the rest of your life on the golf course. He would have none of that. Christians don’t retire from Kingdom work, he’d often say. Bill’s story was told in a manual for the Halftime Institute, which offers resources to help believers intentionally aim the second half of their lives at serving Jesus. We’ll link you to it at BreakPoint.org.
But there’s no need to wait until you’re nearing retirement: God has placed you where He has for a purpose right now. And if you’d like to lock in on a life plan for Kingdom work, the Colson Fellows program will prepare you for that. Study with great worldview teachers, and join motivated fellow believers for an intense and intensely rewarding nine months of worldview teaching and preparation to engage the culture around you. Just visit ColsonFellows.org for more information.

Believe it or not, Breakpoint made a fake news list 

Strangely enough, BreakPoint made a list published by Harvard University library. Even stranger is the list itself.
Back in November, Melissa Zimdars, an assistant professor of communications and media at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, published a list called, “False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical ‘News’ Sources.” Last week, the list went viral when Harvard University Library linked to it as a helpful guide to “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda.”
Now, there’s no question that there’s a problem with fake news online, especially when it comes to political news. In fact, we’ve talked about this before on BreakPoint and The Point, warning about passing on that news story before fact checking it, simply because it agrees with your bias. And Christians, who are called to be people of truth, have been just as guilty of this as anyone else.
That said, Zimdars’ list is strange, and in a very important way, self-contradictory. While many of the sites she identifies as “conspiracy,” “biased,” “fake,” “clickbait,” or “unreliable” certainly deserve those titles, there is a vastly greater number of conservative and right-leaning sites listed than liberal and left-leaning sites.
For example, all pro-life websites are listed as “biased,” but pro-abortion sites aren’t listed at all. Also missing are sites like Vox, Slate, and BuzzFeed – though the list flags similar sites on the other end of the political spectrum such as Drudge and National Review.
And BreakPoint.org, our website, made the list as “unreliable.”
Now to be fair, Professor Zimdars acknowledges that her analysis is limited, and that the problem of fake news and the “if it bleeds, it leads” approach that dominates journalism today is a problem too big to be solved by her attempt to keep a running tally of media offenders.
But she, like so many other media experts and academics today, seems unaware of her own bias. And she is biased. And well, so are we. It’s what a worldview does, and none of us are exempt. Not you. Not me.
Of course that doesn’t mean that all sites are equal. Some worldviews better reflect reality than others, and no matter our worldview, we do live in the same world of facts. That said, let me take this time to clarify how we at the Colson Center see our responsibility to truth and facts each and every day on BreakPoint.
First, our primary allegiance is to the One who is the Truth– Jesus Christ. So we strive to tell stories truthfully without changing, embellishing, or conveniently omitting facts that matter. In fact, each day on our website, we’ll link to additional sources, including those we may disagree with. Now do we make mistakes on occasion? You bet. And we’re grateful for our listeners who are quick to tell us when we do.
Second, because the One who is the Truth is also the Way and the Life, we will take the world and other worldviews very seriously.
Third, we will strive to be as wise as serpents. We will not allow our commentaries to be dominated by outrage or despair. Christians are to be people of hope, and getting angry is no strategy in and of itself. We also need to think: How might I respond? What is my Christian responsibility?
And of course, our worldview commits us to the inherent dignity of each and every person. Therefore, we must be, as Fr. Robert Sirico said, “brutal with ideas and gentle with people.” People, even those who call our commentaries “unreliable,” are never our enemy. They are among those made in God’s image and for whom Christ died.
Now I’ll conclude by saying that I fully agree with what Professor Zimdars wrote on how to consume the news these days. “The best thing to do,” she writes, “in our contemporary media environment is to read/watch/listen widely and often, and to be critical of the sources we share and engage with on social media.”
Or as St. John said, “Test everything.” But to evaluate other sources we must be grounded in truth. And so make sure that among your sources is the ultimate source more reliable than any of the others: the revealed Word of God.

The Bible welcomes you to question/test it, but not the book of Islam 

Listen to a radio commentary on faith.

Bible based faith, and Shack

Listen to sermon by Dr. Michael Youssef….

The Shack Uncovered