Recommended Reading

You may have heard that the 19th Century American Methodists' teaching that we should abstinence from alcohol was a factor in the development of Welch's Grape Juice - so that church members could receive communion wine without any alcohol in it.  But have you heard about how the Methodist Movement in Ireland helped give rise to Guinness Beer?  Check out that story, "God and Guinness", HERE.

This election season has brought with it a lot of talk about immigration and the potential building of a "great wall" along our southern border.  United Methodist theologian (and one of my seminary teachers) David Watson takes on these issues from a Biblical Christian vantage point in THIS POST in a way that I think is very helpful in preventing evangelical, traditionalist, and Bible-centered Christians from degenerating into slogan-slinging.

Here is a nice piece from First Things called "Dressing for Others" reflecting on how wearing a clergy collar or clergy garb can serve as an invitation to conversation.  I am one of the (growing) minority of United Methodist clergy who do wear the collar on a regular basis, a practice that is also common among Anglican, Roman Catholic, Easter Orthodox, and Lutheran clergy.  It also seems to be relatively common among non-denominational clergy in the Black Church tradition.

Everything we've been told for decades about obesity is wrong.  It is not just about eating fat...or even eating carbs.  It is about how the body digests different foods differently.  Check the whole story HERE.

In a world with too much scary news already, I almost hate to share this next one; but if it is true, it deserves our attention.  From Newsweek: In Europe and Russia there is Talk of War (this article is a few weeks old now; with the collapse of the Syrian peace talks - again - there has been more of this sort of talk recently - and not only talk, but large scale training operations for Russians civilians).

As an advocate (and practitioner) of traditional Christian sexual morality, I see it as my duty to try to point out how submission to the "higher standards" set by the Bible and Christian tradition, while difficult in our current culture, actually leads to happier, more fulfilled lives and deeper human flourishing.  HERE is a piece from a Roman Catholic source pointing to new evidence that the sexually "free" culture produced by the sexual revolution in our society is actually making people more miserable - and women especially (a sad irony since they are the very ones who were supposed to be liberated by the sexual revolution).

Here is an interesting piece about racial disparity in my "second hometown" of Baton Rouge.  I don't agree with all of the assertions in this post - in fact there are a couple assertions that I believe the author (who is not from Baton Rouge) simply gets wrong.  Nevertheless, the author does make some good points - especially how common (we might even be tempted to say "common sense") economic practices - when combined with 'de-facto' residential segregation, actually contribute to resource-scarcity in minority neighborhoods.  Because these are deep-seated and complex problems that go way beyond any gun issue or any protest of the moment, much of our media and public discussion has barely scratched the surface of these deeper problems (and the way we do public discourse these days - both on social media and mainstream media doesn't do "deep" very well), but they need urgent attention.  Check out "It's not getting worse.  It's been there all along."

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