The Weekender 10-28-2016

by mike cosper

If you haven't listened to Cultivated: Conversations about Faith and Work yet, go check it out. In the first season of our show, we'll feature 12 profiles and interviews of leaders, writers, entrepreneurs, and artists. Our first guest is Gabe Lyons, the founder of Q. You'll hear him describe why Q was started, what his hopes are for Q's influence on Christianity and culture, and his pro-Life advocacy, especially for children with Down's Syndrome. 

Without further ado, here's my list for "best of the web" this week. 

  • Speaking of pro-life advocacy – Pro Life News HQ had a story this week about a bill in Indiana that Planned Parenthood is challenging. The purpose of the bill is to protect babies from "being aborted solely for their race, sex, or a genetic disorder like Down's Syndrome." You can read more about it here.
  • Evangelical Christians have an unexpected ally in Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times editorial columnist and political progressive. Kristof has consistently called for a cooling of rhetoric from the left with regard to evangelicals, pointing out meaningful ways they've contributed to causes around the globe. In this article (despite an opening line clearly intended to make evangelicals cringe), he debunks the idea that conservative evangelicals have embraced Donald Trump whole-hog. He cites notable leaders like Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, and Andy Crouch, as well as data that shows diverse political views amongst evangelicals in a recent Lifeway Research survey on evangelicals and politics. In this, Kristof wants the left to see that many evangelicals are tired of the culture wars and eager to find ways to work together for common good causes. Kristof writes: "[T]oo many secular liberals have moved from denouncing religious intolerance to embracing an irreligious intolerance of their own. Too often, liberals mock conservative Christians in ways that would outrage them if Jews, Muslims or others were the target. It is too often acceptable on liberal campuses to create a climate hostile and contemptuous of evangelicals — and that, too, is bigotry." Read the whole thing here. 
  • Rod Dreher is a columnist at the American Conservative who has long been cataloguing the aggressive anti-religious-liberty tactics and ideological bullying of the left. This week, he notes the recent bullying/shaming of Highlights for Children, a magazine that most of us probably read in elementary school. Then pressured about featuring families with same-sex parents, the magazine's editors said they were deferring to parents to introduce that topic to children at the right time. LGBT activists went into full freak-out mode, and the editors then released an apology. Dreher writes, "If “we believe that parents know best” isn’t expressive of the values of the magazine’s editors, there’s only one place it can go. And so, goodbye Highlights for Children, another innocent victim of the PC mob. Because an anodyne and beloved children’s magazine that doesn’t immediately accept an extremely radical redefinition of family that has taken place over the last 15 years must be punished." He goes on to describe an incident from more than a decade ago where a sex-ed program for middle-schoolers in Maine ignited a controversy. (Warning: the excerpts from that story get very graphic), and notes that this, more or less, is where we're headed. He ends on a positive note, citing three books coming in 2017 (including his own) that are suggesting a way forward for conservative Christians in a post Christian world. You can read the whole thing here. 
  • Nancy and David French are conservative writers who have been targeted maliciously by members of the alt-right. David French was on NPR's Fresh Air this week describing the experience. You can read the transcript or listen to the conversation here, or on Fresh Air's podcast. Nancy wrote in the Washington Post about being the victim of sexual assault in the midst of this election and the online abuse they've endured. It's hard to read – she describes her abuse as a child – but it's an even-handed critique of the nominees of both parties. You can read it here. 
  • Conservatives are dividing at a deep level right now, and many (especially young conservatives) are attempting to start new media outlets (ahem) and new institutions that more clearly represent their values. One such institution is Public Faith. It was founded by people like Alan Noble, Jemar Tisby, and Michael Wear, and its mission is to "to unify believers around our political vision, provide a public voice to advocate for this vision in the media and public square, and to promote healthy political action." I'm excited to see what they do in the days ahead. You can read all about their political vision here.
  • On another note entirely... Are you watching This is Us yet? If not... be warned. It's like Parenthood meets Lost with the emotional weight and likeable characters of the former and the what's-happening-next addictive quality of the latter. If you are watching it,  have you stopped crying yet? To me, it's an interesting development in a time when cable and streaming networks are getting all the acclaim for their dramas.
  • Lastly, if you missed SNL last week, at a minimum you should watch this sketch. As Dan Zak described it in the Washington Post, "it found common ground between African Americans and rural white conservatives: a sense of disenfranchisement, a distrust of authorities and, more playfully, an appreciation of curvy women." It also managed to be very, very funny. 

We'll be back next weekend. In the meantime, you can get this post inbox by subscribing here.