Weekend Reading: April 1, 2017

Welcome to the weekend – I hope its a good few days for rejuvenating reading and renewing your mind before Monday comes for you!  I’ve been traveling all week, only getting back last night at 1am. So I’m personally looking forward to some rest.

I have just a few stories for you today, but before I get to those, I want to take a moment up front and ask for your prayer for the family of Nelson Penn, who suddenly lost his wonderful wife Robyn this week to cancer. They were a part of our last church family here in Ohio, and have young kids who are undoubtedly going to be hurting.  Though you may not know them, please take a moment and lift them up before continuing.

On to a few stories I found thought-provoking…

Often we have discussions politically about China, and sometimes the nature of its horrid civil rights record pops up. As much as China wants to be like the west economically, the freedom we currently have in America to educate our children how we think is best is not afforded to parents over there – as a new story out of China details (h/t Kate W.).

The Chinese education story is interesting if you consider that in Russia, it was largely the press that was used to either prop up communism, or promote glasnost.  This is something detailed in a new(er) book by Arkady Ostrovsky called ‘The Invention of Russia’ that I’ve found pretty interesting thus far.

The New York Post, often sensational in its headlines and news coverage, has an interesting opinion piece this week from John Crudele bashing rival NY Times, ‘The New York Times’ ongoing dishonesty only helps Trump‘. Though we have to take all of this with a grain of salt, considering the source, Crudele makes some good points in his documentation of the Times’ dishonestly.  Personally, I find it fascinating how much mainstream media outlets are struggling to do their work in the world of a President Trump. Perhaps if they’d been more pure in their journalistic principles, and stuck to a truly non-partisan form of reporting in the first place, they’d not have even had to wrangle with this President…perhaps…

Speaking of the media, and how it intersects with the Trump administration, this week Fox restored Judge Andrew Napolitano to his role of on-air commentator. Napolitano, you might recall, had stated on air that he had three sources who informed him that President Trump’s claim of being surveilled by the Obama Administration was true, and that it was done by the British at the behest of the American President (Obama) through a sort of wink and nod agreement. This type of agreement is apparently used from time to time to get around the legal issues of spying on one’s own citizens without a warrant.  During the last two weeks, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes made a trip to the White House to say he had seen evidence to support Trump’s claim. This caused all manner of outrage, most of which took the form of accusations that Nunes didn’t share this information with the ranking Democrat(s) on the committee (eye roll).

Of course all of this controversy and political correctness misses the point. In a world where we all generate countless points of data throughout our day, how that data is collected, sold, and utilized by companies and governments is more and more important – and concerning. The supreme irony of this is that for all the Democratic bluster over President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, it is looking as though President Obama’s actions more closely mirrored what Vladimir Putin would do to a political opponent. He did stop shy of the Putin style of treatment; Trump lived to see Election Day, after all.

Can you imagine Hillary Clinton having had this kind of power? 

Speaking of power and its abuses, Ivanka Trump has (rightly) decided to take an official role in the White House. I think this is good because, as I commented last week, if you’re going to have an official cell phone, office, security clearance, and get to sit in on all the important meetings, then you should be saddled with the responsibility of being an official employee. It’s only right – whether you think this is nepotism or not.  For me, that’s not the issue. It’s a matter of operating within the chain of command and under the responsibilities of the laws associated with positions of power of this kind.  She has graciously declined any salary for her position – which makes the move to rectify her earlier course, much more palatable to anyone examining the situation (at least from a political perspective).

What is the Roman Catholic view of justification, and how does that differ from the Protestant view?  I appreciated R.C. Sproul’s short discussion on this topic this week.  He takes some time to tear down a few straw men arguments that Protestants often use, and gives some background as to why and how Catholics view of salvation came to be what it is today.  Being that this is the 500th anniversary year of the Protestant Reformation, I’m going to continue to come back to some of these themes throughout the year, in an effort to discuss why the Reformation took place, and why its important even in our day.

Making the rounds on social media this week: Children who eat too much sugar are developing diseases that only alcoholics used to get

Some satire: Stone-Hearted Man Scrolls Past Jesus Meme Without Sharing It

Not Satire…though perhaps it should be: Alone in the Wild for a Year, TV Contestants Learn Their Show Was Canceled

Interesting Take…from WaPo: How Trump’s presidency is succeeding

Foreign Affairs: Erdogan’s International Network of Muslim Cleric Spies

More….From the New York Times (ironically): The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus

Tech:  Uber to Suspend Autonomous Tests After Arizona Accident

Off the beaten path….The Broomway: A perilous medieval road leading right into the sea. 

That’s all I have for now!  There are probably 10 more stories and books (including items some of you sent me) that I still have yet to digest. Hopefully I’ll have more time next week for that!  Until then, have a wonderful weekend!

PJW

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