Who has it better?

Does American society and culture favor men or women in 2017? In the race of life, who has the lead? How do we decide? 

Prior to the inauguration of Donald Trump, a controversial man and president, my oldest daughter sent me an interesting New York Times article entitled “Republican Men Say It’s a Better Time to Be a Woman Than a Man”. The article was interesting, albeit leftward-biased in a typical NY Times fashion. Following is one father’s response to the age-old question, “Who has it better?”

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Physical Beauty and the Christian

Physical beauty, whether in a lilac or in a lady, is a gift from God. We must enjoy it, develop it, protect it, value it, and ultimately give Him the glory. 

My recent travels led me to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a conversation with Felicity, a Boyce College undergraduate studying the Bible before she moves on to a degree in cosmetology. A beautiful and engaging young woman, Felicity believes that her call in ministry is to help others be beautiful and engaging. Helping other coeds with hair, makeup, and the like is a joy to her, and a source of some badly needed cash.

Yet there is a proverbial fly in the ointment. Felicity has a wonderful Christian role model who works in the industry, and she has reported to Felicity that cosmetology is hard for people dedicated to Christ. Many people involved, both workers and clients, act as if physical appearance is all that matters. Youth and vanity, already lauded in much of American culture, become idolized in the walls of the salon. Should a committed Christ-follower even be in such an environment? If so, how can she keep her heart pure? Felicity asked me what I thought on this issue, and I have written some thoughts below.

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Translation of the Manual of Islamic Sacred Law

English translations of religious and other texts commonly exclude sections in the original language that might be offensive to Western readers. Understandable as this is, such omissions hide important material needed to understand the author’s work, and each other. 

Reliance of the Traveler is the classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d 1368 AD). For those of us who do not know Arabic, Nuh Ha Mim Keller provided a revised edition which shows Arabic and English in parallel (Amana publications 1991).  It is an essential resource for people studying Islam and is an important part of the Shariah, including the Quran and the Hadiths (the words and example of Mohammad). According to Wikipedia, many countries in the world use at least part of the Shariah in their legal system, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gaza Strip, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, West Bank, and Yemen.  Organizations such as the Islamic State (ISIS) base their law on a strict fundamentalist version of Shariah, and there are strong movements to implement Shariah in the rest of the world, including the West.

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Misrepresenting Christianity in a Public School

Schools, public and private, are places where people of all ages learn important things that will help them and others. They are also places of indoctrination and coercion, where truth is skewed to serve someone’s ideology. 

My son is a high school student who is currently taking his required World History class. The teacher is covering religions, and has recently been studying Christianity. While sometimes students misunderstand an instructor’s point when they tell others what happened in class, parents can gain insight into the class by what the teacher sends home as well as what their children report. These issues came up in our discussion:

Allegation 1 – Paul invented the doctrine of Original Sin

To address this allegation, we must first understand the word “sin”.  The Bible represents sin as a broken relationship between the Creator God and His creatures, human beings. The relationship was broken by the rebellion of man against the command of God in the original idyllic state, the Garden of Eden. Each individual commits sins, individual acts of disobedience to his Creator, but the human race as a whole is separated from God through our act of corporate rebellion. Whereas in other religions sin is considered a single act, usually involving breaking some taboo, in Christianity sin is a state of being. Since people are in this state, rebellion against God, they commit individual acts of sin. Stated another way, in other religions people may be sinners because they sin, but in Christianity people sin because they are sinners.

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