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Why there is always an organ shortage

I just need to point out that the perpetual shortage of human organs available for transplant isn’t an unfortunate circumstance, that’s its not really-sad-but-that’s-just-how-things-are, and it doesn’t say something about our society that so few people are willing to donate. We did this to ourselves. Selling organs is banned. This shortage, and the reason that girl is probably going to die, isn’t just happenstance, it’s the direct result of the absence of a free market in human organs. Selling a kidney is legal in Iran and guess what: there’s no waiting list for kidneys.  Free markets don’t create shortages.

Churchgoers ashamed of their faith

According to the survey, 66 percent of American churchgoers agree Christians should seek out honest feedback about their spiritual life from other Christians. Churchgoers also seem to think they live out their faith in a manner that is evident to others. Just 14 percent of churchgoers agree with the statement: “Many people who know me are not aware I am a Christian,” while 72 percent disagree with the statement. However, the survey also shows churchgoers often leave important elements of faith unspoken. Nearly a third (29 percent) agree “Spiritual matters do not tend to come up as a normal part of my daily conversations with other Christians,” while 50 percent disagree this is the case. Still, the survey reveals 57 percent of churchgoers agree they openly share about difficulties they are experiencing when they talk with Christian friends, while 1 in 4 do not.

Female breadwinners have unhappy marriages

Some may resent women who supplant them as providers, but most do not. . . . So expect this: in a breadwomen’s world, women will experience their own share of resentment, competitive feelings, and ambivalent emotions. In the short term, it may be women who are most unsettled by the new world order. . . . They will struggle to preserve their own sexual attraction to men even as they strive to remain feminine and pleasing. . . . They will cling to the hope that this is all temporary. They will feel, in their heart of hearts, that something is wrong. The fact is, men have made a lot of progress; the question is whether women have come as far.

Am I conservative?

I am not and never have been a Republican. I feel roughly as alienated from that party as I do from the Democratic Party. I hold a number of political views that strong-minded Republicans typically find appalling: I think racism is one of the greatest problems in American society today; I am not convinced that austerity programs are helpful in addressing our economic condition; I am absolutely convinced that what many Republicans call free-market capitalism is in fact crony capitalism, calculated to favor the extremely wealthy and immensely powerful multinational corporations; I think that for all of the flaws of Obamacare, it was at least an attempt to solve a drastically unjust and often morally corrupt network of medical care in this country; I dislike military adventurism, and believe that our various attempts at nation-building over the past decade were miscalculated from the outset.

France and same-sex marriage myths

The French are a tough crowd. I learned this when I took to the stage at the March 24 manif and fielded the boos from over a million marchers at the mention of “homophobia.” They weren’t booing me, thank goodness; they were booing the idea of people accusing someone of homophobia for asking obvious questions about the logistics of surrogacy contracts for gay men like Perez Hilton. The crowd cheered me on for most of my six-minute talk. But the moment was educational. Whereas in the English-speaking world we observe some British conventions of privacy and politeness, it is never a good idea to tell French speakers that some questions are off- limits. They are a blunt people. It’s one thing to get booed by a few hundred people in a gymnasium. It’s completely another to stand below the Arch of Triumph and hear over a million French people boo at the same time. You feel the zeitgeist with much more force. It seems like the buildings, the sky, the trees, and even the birds overhead are groaning at you. This is not a scenario that will allow you to fudge facts.

The Christian view of suffering

A robust theology of suffering is necessary but not sufficient, Carson insists, for at least two additional attitudes characterize mature Christians: (1) they admit their guilt before God and cry to him for renewal and revival (see, for example, Neh. 8-9), and (2) they are quick to talk about the sheer goodness of God. To be sure, Carson’s framework is not necessarily the most helpful thing to offer someone first entering the throes of terrible suffering. “You’ve just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma; do you want this lecture?” he asks. Of course not—and you shouldn’t. The importance of relational sensitivity and tangible compassion in the midst of crisis cannot be overestimated. Moreover, when the immediate needs are concrete (e.g., water, security, shelter), God’s people should be quick to respond in love.

Pop culture, men, and lowered expectations

Message boards, blogs, and Twitter are all filled with the ranting and ravings of men between the ages of 18 and 40 who are livid about this super hero movie trailer or that casting decision in the new Star Trek. Layers of expectations are placed upon highly anticipated films or television shows that can only hope to crash-and-burn in the eyes of those same devoted fans. And for what? Because people you don’t personally know made a product you had nothing to do with and after choosing to pay U.S. currency (or devote hours of your life) to watch it you are less than satisfied with the final product? Who cares? The easiest answer: I do (and have most of my life).

Europe’s other crisis: religion

The problem for many of the spiritual leaders attending is that Europe is also undergoing a crisis of religious identity. In several countries, church attendances and religious affiliation have plummeted in recent decades. Just 51 percent of citizens in the EU’s 27 nations said they believed in God, when questioned for a 2010 survey. In Sweden, Estonia and the Czech Republic that number fell below 20 percent – although more said they believed in the existence of “some form of spirit or life force.” Forty percent of the French declared they believed in neither god nor spirt, along with 30 percent of the Dutch, 27 percent of Germans and a quarter of the British. In the 20 years up to 2010, the Evangelical Church of Germany, closed 340 churches and is considering giving up another 1,000, the news weekly Der Spiegel reported in February. Dutch churches are reportedly closing at a rate of two a week – around 4,000 remain from the estimated 19,000 built since the 13th century. From 1999 to 2010, the Church of Sweden says it lost 800,000 members. Even in the traditionally more devout Catholic countries of southern Europe, faith is under pressure. A survey released in February showed 70 percent of Spaniards describe themselves as Catholic, a fall of almost 10 percent in a decade. Among Spanish Catholics just 12.5 percent attend mass at least once a week.

All faiths agree on religious liberty

A Jew, a Catholic, and a Protestant—but also a Muslim, a Mormon, a Sikh, and an Orthodox Christian—walk into, not a bar, but a religious freedom conference where they all sit on a panel entitled “Many Faiths, One America.” And here’s the punchline: they all agree. Not, of course, on doctrinal issues, but on the centrality of religious liberty to the American regime and on the pressing need for a united front to address growing threats to it…Americans of all faiths should not accept the premise of an omnipotent state that doles out favors to various organized interests. This not only encourages factionalism, but it makes religious liberty the exception, rather than the rule.

Atheist believes Christians unfairly treated in media

The non-believing child of secular Jews does his tribe proud by volunteering the opinion that Christians get a bum rap in the national media. The portrayal of Christians as “doctrinaire crazy hothead people” doesn’t square with fond recollections of former public radio colleagues who kept Bibles on their desks and invited him to screenings of Rapture movies (At WBEZ? Really?).

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