November 30, 2018


Top News

7. U.S. life expectancy declines again, a dismal trend not seen since World War I (WaPo)

"The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide.
“Overall, Americans could expect to live 78.6 years at birth in 2017, down a tenth of a year from the 2016 estimate, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Men could anticipate a life span of 76.1 years, down a tenth of a year from 2016. Life expectancy for women in 2017 was 81.1 years, unchanged from the previous year.”
Nick Note: These numbers make Henry David Thoreau look like a prophet – “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” As the life expectancy declines, I am captivated by 4 contributing factors: suicide rates, depression levels, the drug overdose numbers, and the loneliness figures. The suicide rate was 14 deaths per 100,000 people. That's the highest since 1975. Concerning depression, rates have jumped up 33 percent over the past 3 years16.2 million adults in the US had at least one major depressive episode in the past 12 months. Relative to drug overdoses, they have quadrupled since 1999. Drug overdoses set another yearly record in 2017, topping 70,237 (that number was 63,632  in 2016). Loneliness is tied with this. 71 percent of opioid deathsare among single and divorced men, despite only making up 32 percent of the population. In the Scriptures, Cain rhetorically asked a question that we must quickly answer -- we are our brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9). The good Samaritan had to cross the road but we may only need to cross the room (Luke 10:25-37). 

6. CNN drops Marc Lamont Hill after anti-Israel remarks at UN spark backlash (Fox News)

“CNN announced Thursday that it had fired commentator Marc Lamont Hill after he gave a speech at the United Nations in which he used language critics describe as a dog whistle advocating the elimination of Israel.
“Hill had come under criticism for his remarks during a Wednesday meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. He accused the Israeli government of “normalizing settler colonialism" and called for a "free Palestine from the river to the sea," a remark that got applause from participating diplomats.”
Nick Note: Words always come from the heart and the truth always comes into the light (Mt. 15:18, Lk. 8:17). Watch Hill’s controversial comments here. Israel is situated between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. To “free Palestine from the river to the sea” is to abolish the state of Israel and harm the Jewish people. In related truth news, Michael Cohen (Pres. Trump’s former personal attorney) pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate project that Trump and his company pursued at the same time he was running for president. Earlier this week, news also broke that Paul Manafort had breached his plea agreement with Justice Department by lying to the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Hills time at CNN has come to an end because of the truth and the Mueller investigation continues in pursuit of the truth. Unfortunately, the truth may be cloaked in mystery for a time or ambiguously incomplete for a season, but the truth always emerges like the Truth was resurrected after 3 days (John 14:6, 1 Cor. 15:3-4).

5. Baton Rouge Pride hopes interest in first Drag Queen Story Time leads to more family-friendly events (The Advocate)

“It took less than 72 hours for 250 spots to fill up at Baton Rouge Pride's Drag Queen Story Time…The event, a first for Baton Rouge, will feature two drag performers, decked out as princesses, reading to children ages 3 and up and their parents. There will also be discussions about the two children's books being read and snacks provided by St. Margaret's Episcopal Church."
Nick Note: Grand gestures in common events often have interesting motives. Unlike transgender people, drag queens are self-identified men who have little desire to be women. According to researchers, drag culture exaggerates femininity by distorting norms to satirically educate and selfishly entertain. The research clearly indicates that children cannot process the intricacies that come with drag culture. This story time won’t educate them but these gestures aren’t for them. David Brooks wrote an insightful column earlier this week on virtue. A pre-social media generation defined virtue by how compassionately you act. Today, virtue is defined by how vehemently you react and how passionately you affirm. In this particular instance, a drag queen story time requires you to quickly RSVP to prove your tolerant virtue. Another example includes Rudolph. Watch this HuffPo video vehemently reacting to the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie. The captions react to the “antiquated norms” in the movie. Training up a child requires diligent work, a supportive community, and wise counsel (Pro. 22:6). There will come a day when children are exposed to drag queens. But that time shouldn’t coincide with Story Hour.

A Tender Tennessee Christmas? Not yet. But in the meantime, click here to watch this year's annual Christmas Tree Lighting at DBU!

Cultural News

4. Toddlers Are Swearing More Than You Might Think, According To A New Survey (The Sun)

“A new survey conducted in the United Kingdom by Day Nurseries UK found that around 12 percent of nursery school staff — equivalent to one in 10 — often overheard toddlers swearing, as TODAY reported. 
“Around 13 percent of the 1,125 staff members who responded to the survey also noted that they have heard toddlers swear more often than currently than they once did, as The Sun reported.”
Nick Note: I Swear. You better not, John Michael Montgomery. 90s boy band All-4-One might have covered your hit song but that won’t cover the mess made from your dirty language. Nevertheless, research indicates that women not only swear more than men, but their preference and willingness to cuss has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. 67 percent of millennial women and 66 percent of millennial men curse at work. Additionally, 47 percent of millennial men and 40 percent of millennial women prefer to work in a place that welcomes profanity. Studies suggest a relationship exists between the use of profanity and the perception of honesty and authenticity. Even in the Scriptures we read passages in which such words convey truth in an emphatic manner (Romans 3:4, 6:2, Philippians 3:8). However our words, and our whole lives for that matter, must also take others into consideration (Ephesians 4:29, Philippians 2:3). Everything you say and do will be used against you but also can be used to shape others close to you. 

3. Researchers Built A Smart Dress To Show How Often Women Are Groped At Clubs (QZ)

“For the project, titled “The Dress for Respect,” researchers built a dress embedded with sensor technology that tracked touch and pressure. The information was then relayed to a visual system so that researchers could essentially track harassment in real time… In just under four hours, the women are touched a combined 157 times.”
Nick Note: Can’t Touch This. Unfortunately chivalry appears dead, MC Hammer. Watch this video of them making the dress and explaining the experiment. A recent Gallup poll found that 45 percent of women don’t feel safe walking at night. In another study, 65 percent of women polled said they have experienced street harassment. 41 percent said they experienced a physical form of harassment, like flashing or groping. Despite these alarming numbers, only 56 percent of women prefer a man with manners. Regardless of preference, it appears we need to channel William Wilberforce and instigate another Reformation of Manners. Laurence Sterne rightly noted that respect for others guides our morals and respect for ourselves guides our manners. We need selfless men like Boaz who do not prey on women but respect them(Ruth 2). We need encouraging men like Paul who specifically acknowledge women’s past contributions and gratefully identify their current work (2 Tim. 1:5, Rom. 16:3-15). Women experience this problem but men must embody the solution. 

News You Can Use

2. Seven-year-old girl shows friends her new prosthetic leg for first time and their reaction is beautiful.

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. (Rom. 12:15-16)”

1. A soldier's worry her beloved dog wouldn't remember her while she was deployed in Africa quickly dissolved by the pup's unbelievably excited reaction. (ABC News)

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. (Is. 49:15)”