Weekly Roundup

UPDATE:  In case you missed it, Vladimir Putin recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he offers counsel to the United States.  Yesterday “President Obama” responded with his own op-ed for the Huffington Post

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Katelyn Beaty writes at Christianity Today about our Hunger for Outrage (specifically on the internet):

Outrage begins to eat us alive when it is not channeled into creative love. It does not produce the righteousness we rightly seek (James 1:20). And there is only so much love you can demonstrate in 140 characters on a glowing screen.

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Wednesday was the twelfth anniversary of 9/11.  Here are 9 Things You Should Know About the 9/11 Attack Aftermath.

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From National Journal:  Syria Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Barack Obama.

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Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal on Syria and Why America is Saying ‘No’:  “There is something going on here, a new distance between DC and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus.”

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Our fearless leader James Arnold has written an article for Biola University’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts on Giving Grace to “Crossover” Artists.

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John Mark Reynolds responds to a friend’s question about Vocation and Money.

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Digital Times argues that Part 2 of the Hobbit trilogy will be better than part 1 (but not by much).  The article is short, snarky and repetitive, so here’s the only paragraph you really need to read:

No, seriously. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is going to be the best part because hello, all the best stuff happens in it. “The Hobbit” Part Three-ie (out on December 17, 2014) is going to be the worst snooze cruise since Helm’s Deep. That’s because certain dragons are going to get whacked in the first of many hours and the rest is just going to be a big battle and then a long walk home.

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Speaking of The Hobbit, here is JRR Tolkien singing “Chip The Glasses And Crack The Plates”:

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One should always be careful about giving too much weight to “scientific journalism.”  Still, these developments are worth noting:  Global warming? No, actually we’re cooling, claim scientists.

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Love it or hate it, the very colorful (and very plastic) new iPhone 5c is probably here to stay:  Forget “Cheap”, The iPhone 5c Is Clearly The iPhone Jony Ive Wanted For iOS 7.

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Book nerds, time to geek out!  “Harry Potter” Gets Seven New Illustrated Covers.

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From The Atlantic:  Why Sequels Will Never Die: Hollywood’s Summer of ‘Flops’ Was Actually Its Best Year Ever.

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Mali, Syria, Obamacare, Detroit;  2013 has seen many debacles…all of which Mitt Romney warned us about during his 2012 presidential campaign.  This recently prompted Buzzfeed to ask:  Was Mitt Romney Right About Everything?  (The truth, of course, is that this is not about Romney.  He was not a visionary or a genius.  He was just saying what conservatives have been saying since long before 2012).

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If World War One Was a Bar Fight…

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Help Kickstart World War III!  Why?  Because Obama:

A Complicated Remembrance

The tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks snuck up on me. For one thing, we’re still calling them the September 11th attacks, as if it happened within the calendar year and all we need is the day and month for reference. Like many far more eloquent writers have said this week, the attacks radically changed my life in ways I never imagined. Here at Evangelical Outpost, to acknowledge the anniversary, we planned to reflect on one of the more difficult commands Christ issued to His followers: love your enemies. I signed up for the slot on September 8th. And I’m still waiting for something profound to say.

As a teacher, my first thought on an issue like this is always for my students. How are they really affected? How do they view this event, and is that view confined by their insulated experiences, or are they able to step outside adolescence and use it to further develop their fledgling worldviews? How can I help them keep asking questions? I teach juniors and seniors, AP US History and AP Government. How can I help them understand something that happened when they were eight years old?

One thing that has always fascinated me about history, and that my students are quick to identify early in the year, is the American tendency to name events in the way we wish those events to be remembered. The death of five rioters in Boston becomes the Boston Massacre; the murder of unarmed men, women and children is the Battle of Wounded Knee. Sometimes history rights itself. To describe the defeat of the Seventh Cavalry, we’ve jettisoned the inaccurate “Custer Massacre” and now refer to it as the Battle of Little Bighorn. But September 11th remains sterilely, elusively, named simply for its date. We haven’t sullied it in its naming, but neither have we identified it, as though we’re still reeling in shock from its existence. Perhaps we are.

We’re used to history. Names, dates, facts to memorize, causes and effects to trace… these are things that we know, things that comfort us as we look into the messy, tragic, violent stories of our past. They simplify things, give us categories to file away the confusion. But we’re too close to this event for a study guide. No wonder we can’t agree on how we should respond to it, even ten years later.

There is nothing sacred about September 11, 2001, no matter how much we wish there was. It was a day of tragedy, a day of injustice, a day of evil. But it was not a day of infallibility. We must examine the events of that day in their historical context. That context is ugly. The terrorists did not hate us for our virtues. If only it were so! The events were the result of a complex history of American interests, Middle Eastern politics, Islamic politicization, and the complicated interaction between the two regions. But that doesn’t fit a neat national narrative, especially in an election year, and it doesn’t make us feel better.

Which brings me back to my students. One thing I’ve noticed about the generation that grew up in the shadow of 9/11 is that we’ve done them a great disservice. We haven’t taught them how to respond to an event like this with anything other than a gut reaction. We feed them soundbytes, condemn those who question our reaction to the attacks or our part in setting the stage for them, and when it’s time to serve a grieving country, we encourage them to buy things to stimulate the economy. We carve out corners of mutual agreement on cable news networks and demonize anyone who disagrees with us as idiotic or unpatriotic, and thus cripple the rising generation to love its own country, much less its enemies.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from studying history, it’s that we are perpetuating a destructive cycle. It’s only when nations look to the global good for the sake of their citizens, rather than jealously guarding a sad national pride, that history moves in the direction of grace rather than the law of the jungle.

And so, all I have to say in remembrance on this somber anniversary, is that I pray we can break that cycle. I see the potential in my classroom, where students raised in a country that builds cathedrals to commerce, not religion, engage in conversation with fellow beings created in the image of God as if that sort of thing is still possible. This country could learn a lot from these teenagers. If it wants to survive and secure the blessings of liberty to itself and its posterity, it must.

In Memory of Those Who Were Lost: September 11, 2001

Today, around the world, many will remember the tragedies of September 11, 2001. Some will remember where they were the morning they noticed frenzied activity on television while a grave looking reporter recapped the shocking events of the morning. Others will remember a morning in Manhattan that was unlike any other; a morning that still weighs heavily on their hearts. Some will tell their story of narrowly escaping death on that fateful day while others will pause in somber remembrance of those whom they lost.
Pundits on the left and on the right will use this anniversary to remind people of the war, their opinions on the Bush presidency, and the direction they believe America ought now to take. I think that this is ok, but only to a point.
Tomorrow, let us debate critical questions of foreign and domestic policy. Tomorrow, let us criticize or praise the efforts of the Bush administration. Tomorrow, let our politicians return to the stump, let them make their arguments, and let the debate of this healthy democracy culminate in the sort of free and fair election that makes America the greatest nation in the world.
But let today be a day of national unity. Let today be a day where we remember those common threads of tradition, values, and principles that make this nation strong even in times of great tragedy and debate. Let today be a day that each and every American is reminded of their own mortality, of the profound blessing of life, and the incredible sacrifice of the courageous.
In memory of those who have gone before us. In memory of those lost on September 11, 2001. May God have mercy on us all.