Final Call (January 17)

Welcome to Final Call, a brief, hand-picked selection of news, articles, videos, and curiosities from the Internet and beyond.

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Marks of a Moral Revolution

We all know that sexual mores have been changing over the past years and decades. But is it right to consider this a full-out moral revolution? In Reinventing Liberal Christianity, Theo Hobson describes the three marks of a revolution. Read them and decide for yourself if this is, indeed, a moral revolution.

  1. What was universally condemned is now celebrated.
  2. What was universally celebrated is now condemned.
  3. Those who refuse to celebrate are condemned.

That rings true, doesn’t it?

Mini Q&A

Q:Should we as Christians use the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend?” I’m on the fence, having concerns on one side with how the world views girlfriend-boyfriend relationships and the connotations in terms of physical and emotional intimacy. But on the other hand, I feel I would lose clarity or even alienate others by not using them.

A: I don’t see this as an issue of should, since that word indicates a kind of moral duty or obligation. It seems to indicate that one of the available options must be wrong. But I don’t think that’s the case. I find “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” trite or silly terms, especially when referring of older people (There’s something awfully strange about a person in her forties or fifties introducing her boyfriend). Yet at this point these are the culturally-accepted terms, and we’ve got few useful alternatives. Until there are better ones to choose from, I think we’re stuck with them. We may wish for better terms, but there’s no sin or shame in using them for now.

Tooth and Claw

Alfred Lord Tennyson famously told us that nature is red in tooth and claw. If you watch nature documentaries you will learn that this is true. Here are kangaroos proving the point:

But then here are hares giving it their best shot and just looking hilarious (and kind of cute) doing it:

Conscientious Grumblers

I trust you’ll enjoy this excerpt from J.R. Miller’s Every-day Religion. The phrase “conscientious grumblers,” a play on “conscientious objectors,” is brilliant! You’ve probably met one or two of them.

There are those who take to gloom as a bat to darkness, or as a vulture to carrion! They would rather nurse a misery than cherish a joy. They always find the dark side of everything, if there is a dark side to be found. They appear to be conscientious grumblers, as if it were their duty to extract some essence of misery from every circumstance. The weather is either too cold or too hot; too wet or too dry. They never find anything to their taste. Nothing escapes their criticism. They find fault with the food on the table, with the bed in which they lie, with the railroad-train or steamboat on which they travel, with the government and its officials, with merchant and workman—in a word, with the world at large and in detail.

They are chronic grumblers. Instead of being content in the state in which they are they have learned to be discontented, no matter how happy their lot! If they had been placed in the Garden of Eden they would have discovered something with which to find fault! Their wretched habit empties life of all possible joy and turns every cup to gall.

On the other hand, there are rare people who always take cheerful views of life. They look at the bright side. They find some joy and beauty everywhere. If the sky is covered with clouds, they will point out to you the splendor of some great cloud-bank piled up like mountains of glory. When the storm rages, instead of fears and complaints they find an exquisite pleasure in contemplating its grandeur and majesty. In the most faulty picture they see some bit of beauty which charms them. In the most disagreeable person they discover some kindly trait or some bud of promise. In the most disheartening circumstances, they find something for which to be thankful, some gleam of cheer breaking in through the thick gloom.

When a ray of sunlight streamed through a crack in the shutter, and made a bright patch on the floor in the darkened room, the little dog rose from his dark corner, and went and lay down in the one sunny spot; and these cheerful people live in the same philosophical way. If there is one beam of cheer or hope anywhere in their lot they will find it! They have a genius for happiness. They always make the best out of circumstances. They are happy as travelers. They are contented as boarders. Their good nature never fails. They take a cheerful view of every perplexity. Even in sorrow, their faces are illumined, and songs come from the chambers where they weep. Such people have a wondrous ministry in this world. They are like apple trees when covered with blossoms, pouring a sweet fragrance all around them.