The Daily Briefing highlights the news of the day and research that reveals the spirit of the day.
The Daily Briefing is a newsletter sent straight to your inbox every morning that provides biblical insight on today's news. This five-minute read gives an overview of the news driving the day and provides Nick Notes. These Notes offer biblical insight of the highlighted article.
Dr. Nick Pitts writes the Daily Briefing each morning. Nick earned his PhD from Dallas Baptist University, where he also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Global Engagement. Nick also co-hosts the Point of View radio talk show each Wednesday and frequently appears on Glenn Beck's Think Tank. His op-eds have been published by Huffington Post, Religion News Service, Townhall.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“House Republican leaders removed Representative Steve King of Iowa from the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees on Monday night as the party officials scrambled to appear tough on racism and contain damage from comments Mr. King made to The New York Times questioning why white supremacy is considered offensive.
“The punishment came on a day when Mr. King’s own party leadership moved against him, with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, suggesting Mr. King find “another line of work” and Senator Mitt Romney saying he should quit.”
Nick Note: Leadership is a privilege, not a right. We the people entrust certain individuals to lead us into a more perfect union. When trust falters, progress is hindered. Rep. King responded by calling this move a “political decision that ignores the truth.” However, this isn’t the first instance when King has uttered problematic statements. He once argued that we can’t “restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.” He has likened diversity to “cultural suicide by demographic transformation.” He is entitled to his opinion but not to a leadership position. King’s future in Congress may be uncertain but God’s love for King is not. God’s abounding grace and perfect patience outlasts any news cycle (Jer. 17:14, 1 Tim. 1:16). In this morning’s NY Times, David Brooks rightly notes: “Even the quest for justice can turn into barbarism if it is not infused with a quality of mercy, an awareness of human frailty and a path to redemption.”
“More than 30,000 Los Angeles public-school teachers began the largest school strike in the country on Monday and the first in three decades in the district. Holding plastic-covered signs on rain-drenched picket lines across the city, they demanded higher pay, smaller classes and more support staff in schools.
“The strike effectively shut down learning for roughly 500,000 students at 900 schools in the district. The schools remained open, staffed by substitutes hired by the city, but many parents chose to keep their children at home, either out of support for the strike or because they did not want them inside schools with a skeletal staff.”
Nick Note: Taco Bell brought the cheese out and L.A. teachers decided to walk out. America’s favorite Mexican food restaurant debuted a nacho-cheese dispensing billboard yesterday, the same day teachers in the second largest school district walked out. Coincidence? Watch this footage from the strike.The strike revolves around 2 issues – teacher pay and classroom size. The annual mean wage for teachers in California is $74,940. However, 94 percent of public school teachers reported paying for supplies without reimbursement. On average, they spent $479. Concerning class size, Alex Caputo-Pearl took to the Los Angeles Times to explain the significance of this issue. "Class sizes often exceed 45 students in secondary schools; 35 students in upper elementary grades; and 25 students in lower elementary grades." California ranks 43rd out of 50 when it comes to per-pupil spending. In the biblical narrative, we read about the importance of doing your work well and being fairly compensated for that work (Col. 3:23, 1 Tim. 5:8, Jam. 5:4). You might not be a lawmaker in California, but you can be a day-maker in your hometown. Studies indicate teacher burnout is real but encouragement is effective. Just don’t be too cheesy…
5. In China, they’re closing churches, jailing pastors – and even rewriting scripture (The Guardian)
“Early Rain is the latest victim of what Chinese Christians and rights activists say is the worst crackdown on religion since the country’s Cultural Revolution,when Mao Zedong’s government vowed to eradicate religion.
“Another church in Chengdu was placed under investigation last week. Less than a week after the mass arrest of Early Rain members, police raided a children’s Sunday school at a church in Guangzhou. Officials have also banned the 1,500-member Zion church in Beijing after its pastor refused to install CCTV… One of the goals of a government work plan for “promoting Chinese Christianity” between 2018 and 2022 is “thought reform”. The plan calls for “retranslating and annotating” the Bible, to find commonalities with socialism and establish a “correct understanding” of the text.”
Nick Note: A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer but rather because it has a song. This Chinese proverb often fills my mind when reading about Christian persecution in China. Despite increasing government pressure, church leaders like Pastor Wang confidently assert that “the rulers have chosen an enemy that can never be imprisoned – the soul of man.” While some churches in the US inflate their numbers, Chinese churches deflate their numbers to escape the government’s notice. Religious belief is protected in China, but religious practice is not. Chinese officials are burning Bibles and tearing down crosses. Despite their efforts, God’s church cannot be thwarted. Upwards of 100,000 come to saving faith each week. According to the research of Fenggang Yang, author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival Under Communist Rule, China will become the largest Christian country in the world. By his calculations, the number of believers in the People’s Republic of China will rise to 160 million by 2025 and 247 million by 2030 (Phil. 1:6). The Chinese government can rewrite the Scriptures but they cannot change the actual ending.
“Gillette is embracing the #MeToo movement in a new digital ad campaign aimed at men, the latest message from an advertiser attempting to change societal norms.
“The ad, dubbed “We Believe,” opens with audio of news about the current #MeToo movement, bullying and “toxic masculinity.” A narrator then goes on to dispute the notion that “boys will be boys,” asking, “Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can’t hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses.”
“The latest ad, created by Gillette’s ad agency Grey, is among the first to address the #MeToo movement head on, and to blatantly tell men to change their behavior.”
Nick Note: Watch the ad here. Do you think it went too far? Some argue that this ad serves as the latest attempt to emasculate men. Last week, the APA warned that “traditional masculinity” can be “psychologically harmful.” A recent NY Times article noted that being a good Dad gets you promoted to Mommy. Some think it went too far and others think it was just right. On average, there are 321,500 victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States -- one person every 98 seconds. Half of women have been sexually harassed in the workplace. 63 percent didn’t report it. We clearly have a problem in this culture but what is the solution? Boys will be boys until parents raise them to be men. Such men bring order to chaos. They humbly lead like Ittai, sacrificially risk like Abishai, boldly stand for truth like Daniel, bravely fight against evil like Jonathan, and gently serve expecting nothing in return like Jesus (2 Sam. 15, Pro. 20:6, Ez. 22:30, 1 Pet. 3:15, Jer. 12:5, 1 Chron. 16:9, Pro. 3:5-6, Ps. 84, 2 Cor. 5:10, Matt. 6:33). The measure of a man is not the best he can get but the most he can give.
“But at some point, the bodybuilding goes too far. If a bodybuilder or any other weight-training buff gets too preoccupied with the game, it can lead to a psychiatric disorder called muscle dysmorphia (MD).
“Often called “bigorexia” by media, muscle dysmorphia has been on the rise in several countries. According to ABC News, as many as 2 percent of people in the United States have a body dysmorphic disorder. Experts believe about a quarter of those have a problem with bigorexia.
“That number might sound small, but it actually means that 1 in 50 Americans are struggling with general body dysmorphia… In addition, one older study published in Comprehensive Psychiatry found that MD symptoms affected over 8 percent of bodybuilders (2).”
Nick Note: Do The Hustle? Maybe just take a seat on the dock of the bay next to Otis Redding. Approximately 1 in 20 teenagers have used steroids to increase their muscle mass. That number almost doubles for men in their 20s and 30s. And a growing number of middle-aged men are even turning to anabolic steroids to make themselves look and feel more youthful. The sportsnutrition market accounted for $28.37 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $45.27 billion by 2022. For all too many, the mirror doesn’t reflect their appearance as much as accentuate their flaws. Only 24 percent of men and 20 percent of women felt “very or extremely satisfied” with their weight, according to a study back in 2017. The mirror may scream their flaws, their spirit may affirm deep insecurities, but the affirming voice of God says: “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)” God's approval is not contingent upon your size.
News You Can Use
Nick Note: Watch it here. “For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:29-30)”
Nick Note: Watch it here. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matt. 25:13)”