Weekend Reading: July 30, 2016

Good morning and welcome to the weekend reading.  This is a little later than I’d normally send this along, so I may have missed your early morning reading window. Therefore I am going to be brief today, and I hope you enjoy some of the articles and other good stuff I enjoyed this week.  Here goes…

Let’s begin with some of the presidential race. I appreciated this article by Wayne Grudem.  Grudem is one of the most respected evangelical theologians in America, and one of the smartest people you’d ever meet. He spoke out against Donald Trump during the primary campaigns (as he points out in this article), but now he makes the argument for why he will be voting for Donald Trump. I think he probably goes a step too far in saying that Christians could receive judgment for not voting at all for a Presidential candidate. The force of that argument loses some of its moral teeth when one considers that on the other side of the coin, Christians are considering whether voting for an amoral serial adulterer who changes his positions regularly, will be something they’re answerable for at the Judgement (the Russell Moore argument). Nevertheless, he makes points worth considering and praying over as you contemplate how to cast your ballot this November. (h/t Kate W.)

This past week the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton as their nominee. Fellow Weekend Reader David Clementson has a column in Newsweek (and like five other publications) that compares the acceptance speech of Hillary to that of The Donald, using an analysis of language intensity to discern who had the best speech. Very interesting stuff here!

One of the consequences of Hillary winning the Democratic nomination was that Socialist Bernie Sanders chose to publicly endorse and support her. There have been several comments on this development, ranging from those who think Bernie has lost all his influence with his own supporters (who heckled and protested at the convention), to those who feel he will have a lasting impact on the campaign going forward.  Fred Barnes has a piece that evaluated Bernie’s impact, and the consequences of his decisions. Here’s an excerpt:

By the third night of the Democratic convention, speakers were pointing Clinton toward the center, away from Sanders, his followers, and their agenda. In the New York Post, John Podhoretz wrote that Clinton needed to remove “a Sanders-sized ball-and-chain” from her leg. His delegates caught on quickly to what this meant. They booed.

In a bit of irony, as the Dems were inside the convention hall proclaiming their desire never to erect walls (a pun aimed at border protection – and perhaps another example of how Trump’s message has dominated the campaign), outside the convention hall revealed a different story.

Before the Dem convention began in Philadelphia, a major security breach occurred at the Democratic National Headquarters (DNC), causing myriads of emails to be posted on WikiLeaks.  The FBI suspects that Russian government-sponsored hackers were the culprit, and the President refused to refute the suggestion that Donald Trump may have encouraged such an action. In fact, later in the week Trump seemed to encourage the Russians, this time facetiously remarking that they focus their technical abilities on finding the emails Clinton deleted during her time at the State Department!

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference here in an apparent reference to Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Here’s a sample of the emails the hackers posted.

The upshot of this was that the Chairman of the DNC was sacked, and that Trump seemed to steal the thunder of the Dem convention before it even began.  Lord knows I have many a disagreement with Donald Trump, but its impossible not to acknowledge that he may be the most skilled earned media personality to have come along in a generation. The man simply has a brilliance for driving and dominating the news cycle.

Another interesting socio-political development that I noticed this week was Brigade. It’s a website where Facebook friends can visit and give answers to certain questions that are being discussed in the political arena today. It seems pretty much fraught with social disaster, and I’m not sure anyone can learn anything political here. But I wonder how influential it will get in the weeks and months to come…something to keep an eye on.

On to other topics…

Philip Holmes writes over at Desiring God, about ‘The Evangelical Drug of Choice‘. I think the Pokemon Go app has raised a lot of interesting discussion of this kind, and I’m still thinking about all the consequences of the technological age in which we live. Here’s a little snippet:

Our ability to access entertainment and escape from reality has swiftly and effortlessly encroached on every aspect of our lives. Impatiently waiting at a traffic stop? Grab your smartphone. Is your wife annoying you? Login to Netflix. Is the subject in class dry or irrelevant? Check your Twitter timeline. Bored? Instead of meditating and praying, we go searching for Pokémon.

And while I’m posting about DG, John Piper posted a while back about some lessons he wants us to learn from his trip to Europe. This is a good one to just quickly skim and think about. Remember that Europe has often been seen as a predicate to what America will be like in several decades.

Finally, I enjoyed this little ESPN profile on golfer Patrick Reed (h/t Marty G.). The way it’s written is typical sloppy sports writing (supposedly a list of 10 things about Reed, which are hardly discernible – the author would have been better off to simply write a standard column). Still, there are some really funny items buried in here that you’ll enjoy.  This is especially pertinent this week as PGA pros play in the final Major of the year. 

That’s it!  I hope you enjoy the weekend.

PJW

 

 

 

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