Lil’ Wayne, Pepsi and Twisted Sexuality / By Ryan Rindels

Last month, Pepsi Co. broke ties with the rapper Lil’ Wayne over controversy stemming from a song released on his most recent album titled “Karate Chop.” In the tune Wayne describes beating a woman in a sexual act until part of her body “looks like Emmitt Till.”

Till was a young African American killed in Mississippi in 1955. Originally from Chicago, he was visiting relatives for the summer. At some point, Till allegedly whistled at a white married woman named Carolyn Bryant who proceeded to tell her husband of Till’s actions. Her husband, Roy Bryant and a friend, J.W. Milam proceeded to track Till down, nab him at gun point and drag him to a barn where they beat him mercilessly before shooting him in the head. The men then threw Till’s body in the Tallahatchie river where it was discovered by some boys fishing a few days later.

Till’s mother was so distraught and outraged that she had her son’s body transported to Chicago where she insisted Emmitt be given an open-casket funeral. His mother’s wishes were carried out and Till’s partially decomposed and grossly disfigured face was displayed at the service. The incident was published in the paper along with the photo of Till’s swollen corpse.

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Should the Pursuit of Gender Equality Lead to the Potential Drafting of our Women? / By Ryan Rindels

The Las Vegas Sun recently published an article titled, Listen-up ladies, Uncle Sam might want you too, which discusses the possibility of women being drafted to fight in the military.

In light of a recent law that now opens up combat units to women who meet the physical qualifications, commentators have noted that conscription, irrespective of gender has become plausible in the future.

Drafting women to fight alongside men may make many uneasy, but strict egalitarians point out the consistency of such a policy. Why not? What makes women different from men anyway? Gender is a social construct after all. The idea of drafting women to fight in combat is a disconcerting idea. It is still to be seen whether the Federal government would enact such a policy, but considering conscription is widely unpopular and an all-volunteer force is sufficient, compulsive service for women is not a pressing issue.

For a strict pragmatist, the deciding factor is whether a man or woman can physically and emotionally do their job, not whether they were physiologically born a man or woman. This pattern of thinking is evident in more ways than one. For instance, read Greg Gibson’s article on a recent Massachusetts school that has removed gender boundaries by granting boys and girl access to each other’s locker rooms.

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An Issue of the Heart: How the Connecticut Shooting Draws Attention to Human Depravity and Redemption / By Ryan Rindels

In light of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting — 3 weeks old by now — victims are daily being buried and we are, at times, still looking for answers.

Why did this happen? How could it have been stopped? What compelled a 20-year old, white suburban, middle-class kid to murder his own mother, 6 educators and 20 children?

In the chaotic tide of anger, sorrow, and futility, we invariably go back to Jesus. Jesus is sought as the source of comfort, assurance and hope. But he’s also himself questioned—either explicitly or implicitly, he’s questioned. And Christians certainly wonder what he’d say if he was with us in bodily form and witnessed the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

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The Seminary Days of Francis Chan / By Ryan Rindels

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary was privileged to have well-known author, speaker, and church planter, Francis Chan, speak at chapel this September.

Chan has had a profound influence on many among this generation who have read any of his books, listened to his sermons, or heard him speak at conferences. His best-seller, Crazy Love, is a favorite among evangelicals. Crazy Love inspired and convicted me to get involved in ministry at a pregnancy resource center doing counseling—something I wouldn’t have done before reading it.

Upon introducing Chan, Golden Gate’s president, Dr. Jeff Iorg called him, “a Prophet in our day.”

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The Nones: A New Generation of Seekers and Skeptics / By Ryan Rindels

If you’ve done evangelism among the millennials (those born during the years 1977-2000) you’ve likely heard the moderately absurd statement, “I don’t really believe anything.” If you haven’t yet, expect to hear it a lot more in the future.

USA today published an article last month describing a growing category of adults who claim no religious affiliation. The article was titled, “Meet the ‘Nones’: An Emerging Force.”

The ‘Nones’ claim no religious affiliation, are typically not part of a faith community and generally have a conglomeration of beliefs.

Author Cathy Grossman pointed out the increase of this semi-spiritual, syncretistic demographic: “The big news about people with no religious identity, the Nones, isn’t that they’re No. 2 now in the USA, 19.6% and climbing, it’s the diversity among these 46 million people.”

Noteworthy among the Nones is their apparent apathy. They are more Oprah Winfrey than Christopher Hitchens. They’re not the ardent atheist bulldogs of the recent past. They are skeptical of any religious dogma or definitive statements about faith.

As Grossman said, Nones are seekers and spiritually inclined—at least in principle. “They’re still open to spirituality. The study find: 68% believe at least somewhat in a God or a higher power, 41% say they pray, 23% consider religion at least somewhat important in their life.” [Read more…]

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