Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Word of the Year

 

I don’t know if this is a specifically Christian practice or if people who aren’t Christians do something similar, too, but it’s become a Thing in my church community to choose a “word” for the year. This is usually an area where we want to see God grow us, something to pray about and focus on as the months continue. Now, I realize that the way I’ve written this paragraph kind of sounds like I’m being critical about having a prayer word (as some call it, including myself), but I actually love the idea.

This year isn’t the first time I’ve had a prayer word. Last year my word started out as “maturity,” but then about a month in, it changed to “abide” and remained that way for the rest of the year. I had a Scripture passage to go with it (John 15:1-11), which I memorized and reviewed once a week. It was the right word for me for that time, and I did, praise Jesus, see some growth in my abiding in Christ.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Compassion

 

My husband was watching some commentary on loan forgiveness. The talking heads kept reiterating that this wasn’t “compassionate” because it isn’t “fair” to the people who paid off their loans.

Regardless of your feelings regarding that particular policy, I want to dispel this ridiculous idea that Compassion = Fair.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: ‘What is Mankind?’ from Psalm 8

 

“O Lord… When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:4-5

This is one of my favorite passages in all the Psalms. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like one that would support a pro-life message, but there is God’s love for His creation throughout. Yes, He must love His heavens, the immense burning stars and spheres that circle them and the moons that circle the planets, the comets with their flaming tails that streak across the solar systems, the harmony of their motions, the galaxies that they compose. How beautiful He must think. And here we are on this little planet in the corner of this immense universe, tucked away and subject to all the powerful and destructive forces, to all the corrosive and poisonous chemicals.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Choosing Faith

 

Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroad. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand. We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states. We took the classes, completed the home visits, and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for a third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home. But as usual, our plans came to a halt.

My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents, our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance.

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On this episode of “The Learning Curve,” Bob & Cara are joined by Dick Komer, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice. Komer led the oral argument this week before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiffs in the high-profile school choice case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. They review the details of the Montana case and the nativist history of the Blaine amendments that remain in nearly 40 states. Komer also compares Espinoza with the recent Trinity Lutheran case, shares his take on the justices’ thinking and the outlook for success, as well as the political challenges that persist even if the plaintiffs prevail.

Stories of the Week: In Tennessee, a contentious new education savings account program for students from low-performing districts is attracting nearly 60 participating private schools. Alaska is considering consolidating 54 school districts into 18 – will this erode communities, or bring about long-overdue cost savings? West Chester, Pennsylvania is using a new online learning program to win back students who left the district for charter-run cyber schools.

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Member Post

 

We lived in South Florida for 11 years, we looked hard for good barbecue and all we could find was drek. (We did find some that the folk from up north gave rave reviews.). Then we spent some time around Taos, Albuquerque and Santa Fe New Mexico, found some that was adequate but not like […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Where to Go in a Methodist Church Split?

 

Many of you have heard of the proposal for a formal separation of the United Methodist Church into a conservative and a liberal church. On one hand, our bishops and bureaucracy are strongly liberal. But despite being a mainline church, American Methodism has a plurality of conservative, traditionalist members, and there’s a strong evangelical current. Moreover, through our missionary work, we have grown strongly overseas, especially in Africa, and these members are overwhelmingly conservative. Last year, the number of conservative delegates grew to an outright majority and were able to pass the Traditional Plan, which re-enforced existing discipline for clergy violating rules against homosexual practice or performing same-sex marriages.

So, with the discipline clear and with a growing conservative majority, is all well for my side? It seems not. Acknowledging the liberal hold on the institutions and the episcopacy, a proposal has been put forward that anticipates the formation of a new traditional Methodist denomination and would allow individual congregations or whole conferences to vote to separate from the UMC and join the new church. There would be a $25 million payment to the new denomination. I haven’t seen anything about the ownership of local church property, but I suspect congregations would keep those. The property fights that have characterized recent splits in other denominations have been blessedly absent in our discussions.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Essence of Conservatism from Sir Roger Scruton

 

I’m not part of the Quote of the Day group, so I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes by posting this, but when I got this in my feed this morning I knew it had to be disseminated.

“Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull. That is one of the lessons of the twentieth century. It is also one reason why conservatives suffer such a disadvantage when it comes to public opinion. Their position is true but boring, that of their opponents exciting but false.” — Sir Roger Scruton 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Make Your Life Matter

 

“Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.” — Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, the brilliant writer and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, never lost his will to fight for truth. In part, he wrote to inspire people to embrace their lives, since he knew only too well how short and fragile life could be.

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Member Post

 

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, has an article at National Catholic Register on the persecution of Christians in Africa. This is a subject that does not receive much coverage from the leftist press – they seem more concerned about “islamophobia” – whatever that is, than the killing of Christians. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Christianity Today Supports Trump’s Impeachment: ‘Therefore, What?’

 

I put these thoughts together after receiving a text from a Christian friend. Sorry, it’s a bit long. I’m still working through my ideas. Interested in people’s responses.


As 2019 came to a close, many in the Christian evangelical community were rattled by the publication of an editorial in Christianity Today in which the author argues that Donald Trump should be both impeached and removed from office and chastises evangelicals who continue to support him: “Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency,” the author chides.

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara talks with Montse Alvarado, Vice President & Executive Director of the Becket Fund, about the implications of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, the pervasiveness of 19th-century, anti-Catholic Blaine amendments across the country, and some of Becket’s legal victories in high-profile religious liberty cases. Montse also offers encouraging insights from a recent Becket poll on younger generations’ commitment to religious freedom. She shares the inspirational stories of human rights champions recognized by the Becket Fund, such as former Cuban religious dissident and political prisoner Armando Valladares, and the Nobel Prize-winning writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.

Stories of the Week:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Hate, that is. And we ought to resist its use in all but those circumstances in which it names an operative motive for human action with something like precision.  More

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Member Post

 

It’s Epiphany in Augsburg and that means …well, this year it means that the MEHR Conference hosted by the Augsburg House of Prayer will be filling the Augsburg Convention Center with 12,000 Catholics, Evangelicals, Eastern Orthodox and Messianic Jews who gather for four days of corporate worship and prayer. For those who are unfamiliar with […]

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Member Post

 

Usually when we see the word “Jewish” in a newspaper headline, you can be sure it involves violent anti-Semitism. Not this time: https://www.foxnews.com/us/jews-talmud-anti-semitic-attacks-meadowlands More

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Member Post

 

Real conservatism is about the things we love, not reacting to what makes us afraid. Conservatives need to break the false narrative that we are determined by nostalgia and a hatred of change. Willam F. Buckley, the ever fading icon of the American right, famously wrote of Conservatism that “It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, […]

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Member Post

 

It is a peculiarity of Christianity that our end is our beginning. “It is the last hour”, the disciple John says. Since the first year following Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, Christians have been waiting for His glorious return. The “end times” began in Year 1 Anno Domini and have continued to the present day.  More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Not a Mask

 

I’m tired but can’t sleep; an experience everyone has at some point. But not everyone fears to close one’s eyes for what thoughts and dreams will rush into the void of sensation. Not everyone screams and mutters without making a sound in a familiar internal battle to “just shut up and go to sleep.”

Mental illnesses are as varied as personalities. We speak of symptoms and causes generally, as with diseases and purely physical ailments, because there is a utility in generalizations and playing the odds. But depression, crippling anxiety, compulsions, hallucinations, and other psychological oddities are not like a rash that looks the same on anyone.

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Member Post

 

It’s much less distressing to say something stupid here than it is in public. If I say something just too embarrassing I can just go away for a while, nobody every calls me or sends me a message – that’s not a whine, by the way. I am an introvert. Crowds are exhausting. But some […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

The great philosopher Immanuel Kant has a strategy for making sure our actions are consistent with moral law. It’s called the Categorical Imperative (CI). The moral law (ML) Kant is talking about is universal: A moral law has no exceptions. So the first version of the CI Kant gives us is that the justifications for […]

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