Friday, 22 September 2017
There are real issues that deserve full coverage, not another fake story about the end of the world.
Rohingya Muslims are fleeing Myanmar for their lives. Puerto Rico is picking up the pieces after a devastating hurricane. One of the most divisive pieces of legislation in American history is being debated. North Korea and the U.S. are dancing around rhetoric last heard in the Cold War. It appears that no journalist is facing a shortage of issues and controversies worthy of their time—real issues that deserve full coverage and our attention.
In light of all of these significant and worthy issues that should deserve coverage, my question to the media is, why instead have you chosen to dedicate significant time and resources to the ravings of a poorly-credentialed conspiracy theorist like David Meade?
The “expert” of a profession that has been called ‘Christian Numerology,’ Meade has been the subject of article after article, bolstering his claims and linking his views to mainstream Christian theology. While some may see the unfounded discoveries of men like Meade as urgent news, I feel compelled to point something out: there is a lot going on in the world right now.
As I said in the Washington Post, Meade is a “made-up expert in a made-up field talking about a made-up event.” So, why is he in so many news reports today?
Taking Our Eyes Off the Good
In giving people like Meade a platform, media outlets have unwittingly legitimized his illegitimate findings. They’ve given (yet another) ill-informed Christian a megaphone by which he (and others before him) can make Christians look foolish and distract us from ...
Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s directorial debut reveals just how dissatisfying good fortune can be.
As far as I’m concerned, the phenomenon of “hate-watching” was invented for women viewing romantic comedies. I dislike the trappings of romance and the pitiful reduction of characters to clichés that define most rom-coms—yet I still watch at least a few every year. I do so in part because a good one can feel like comfort food: It’s warm and soothes my secretly mushy heart.
Nancy Meyers’s rom-coms, including It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give, are good examples of the genre’s potential. Now, though, her daughter has also gotten into the rom-com business: Home Again, which came out September 8, is written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. It is her first feature film; Nancy Meyers also co-produced it.
Home Again is about how sometimes we have to re-find home. I love that idea. In my 30s, I’ve already spent some quality time searching for, clinging to, creating, and recreating “home.” Unfortunately, though, the movie implies that home is about the people with whom we make it—a concept often taken for fact in this genre about “soulmates” and finding “The One.”
Alice (Reese Witherspoon), the film’s protagonist, is a 40-year-old woman starting her life over after a divorce. She has two daughters, a floundering career, and a big house. She has recently relocated her family back to Los Angeles, so it’s natural that Alice would lack a community or a sense of home that is more than a place. Yet she happens to own a place that feels like a resort.
Because she’s floundering—but still has the room to “be a patron of the arts”—she allows three young men who are attempting to make ...
Kurds and Christians both want security and autonomy as minorities in Iraq. But one’s dream could dash the other’s.
A referendum that could lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish nation is set for September 25.
Upwards of 35 million Kurds—a majority-Muslim community and the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—are on the verge of turning their century-old dream of a homeland into reality.
Victimized by the Ottomans during the Armenian (and Kurdish) genocide of the 1910s and regularly persecuted since, Kurds have long been a marginalized population. Ironically, the recent upheaval in the Middle East has presented them with an opportunity. Many are moving to take advantage of regional mayhem and political malfeasance, filling a void of security and governance with self-determination.
The idea of a free Kurdistan isn’t popular among non-Kurds. Turkey has openly fought with its Kurdish population in a decades-long conflict that has killed between 30,000 and 40,000 since 1984; the Syrian regime readily repressed Kurdish rights; and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq murdered tens of thousands of Kurds in the country’s north.
But as war has ravaged Syria and Iraq, and as the Islamic State swept from Raqqa to Mosul and nearly to Baghdad, Kurds are not throwing away their shot.
Kurds in Syria have declared autonomous enclaves collectively called Rojava. In neighboring Iraq, where Kurds have claimed a level of autonomy since 1970, the recent turmoil has given Iraqi Kurdistan new territory and greater autonomy. It has also given Iraqi Kurds momentum to push the referendum.
Christians in the Middle East share a special bond with Kurds: they’re both minorities. That doesn’t mean they’re always political bedfellows, but they often share common interests. ...
What “First They Killed My Father” tells me about suffering and the imago Dei.
The other day I chatted with a friend who has lived in the US for a year or two—a refugee from Afghanistan who recently got an entry-level job in her field of engineering. She was ecstatic, eager to work her way back up the ladder. While drinking green tea, I casually asked her about her new job and what it was like to be an engineer in Afghanistan. Her two-year-old daughter was with us, eating red cherries as the juice spilled down the front of her second-hand party dress. “Oh,” my friend said, “there are no engineers there anymore.” I looked at her blankly. “What do you mean?” “All of the engineers were killed,” she told me. “The Taliban, they wanted the country to go backward. So they killed them all. Now there are villages waiting for buildings to be made, but there are no engineers to help anymore.”
She said it all so matter-of-factly while wiping her kid’s messy hands that I could barely understand her meaning. After the conversation, however, I thought a lot about how her story and others like it seem so unusual to me until they start to pile up and accumulate. As I hear more and more from my refugee and immigrant friends, as I read the news and try to pay attention to current events, suddenly I start to find that my safe and secure existence is the anomaly. My lack of proximity to suffering is what marks me as different—the outlier in a world full of horror.
I thought about this conversation as I watched the new Netflix film First They Killed My Father (a Cambodian Daughter Remembers). I’m not sure anyone is strong enough to watch a genocide unfold through the eyes of a five-year-old. And yet, this is precisely who experiences these ...
Leadership means hard work and service.
Leadership is not about you.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that leadership is not for you—leadership is something you can learn and excel at. But no matter how many theories you study or how many clubs you led in high school, if your leadership is about you, you will not be an effective leader.
Leadership Means Hard Work
Taking the lead is not easy or glamorous. It’s not something we do for our own comfort. Author and former Overseas Missionary Fellowship director Oswald Sanders summed it up this way (and it applies to men and women):
The young man of leadership caliber will work while others waste time, study while others snooze, pray while others daydream.
Are you prepared for this kind of work?
We see this in how the Bible talks about leadership. Look at Romans 12:6-8:
According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. (emphasis added)
“Leading, with diligence.” This is the essential attitude that Paul assigns to leadership—it is as essential to leadership as generosity is to giving or faith is to prophecy.
Leadership Means Service
Ministry leadership is servant leadership. The Bible tells us this again and again. God demonstrates it in His own love for us—in Jesus Christ entering this messy world, washing his disciples’ feet, and dying for unrepentant sinners.
This attitude of powerful love and painful sacrifice is the attitude we are to adopt, according to Philippians 2:5. And look at the verses that set the stage of that ...