Daily Briefing

Today's news with biblical insight.

September 25, 2018


Top News

7. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's ex-girlfriend posts medical record alleging abuse (Star Tribune)

“U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s former girlfriend Karen Monahan has posted a medical document on social media that shows she told a doctor in 2017 that she had been in an abusive relationship with Ellison.
“Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general, has denied the allegation, which emerged in August. Monahan’s son first told the story on social media, and she later confirmed what her son said. During a fight, Ellison pulled on her legs and feet while she was lying on a bed, Monahan said.”
Nick Note: While the Kavanaugh saga included an interview on Fox News last night, the Ellison allegations spilled onto social media yesterday. And this might not be the last of them. Late last week, Ellison said he couldn’t rule out future abuse allegations. This #MeToo movement took another turn yesterday when thousands participated in a national walkout. People wore black and used the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors on social media. Watch a protest here. Should we believe survivors or support survivors? In this broken world, there are both Tamars and Jezebels (2 Sam. 13, 1 Kings 16), women who have been hurt and women who seek to hurt. As Christians, we must listen closely and pursue after the truth diligently. We cannot let the Jezebels harden us.

6. Amber Guyger, Dallas Officer Who Killed Botham Jean in His Home, Is Fired (NY Times)

“The Dallas Police Department on Monday fired an officer who fatally shot her neighbor inside his apartment this month, an episode that gripped the city and led to protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in his own home at the hands of law enforcement.
“The department’s chief, U. Reneé Hall, announced the termination of the officer, Amber R. Guyger, citing her arrest in the killing of Botham Shem Jean, who lived above Ms. Guyger in a Dallas apartment complex. Ms. Guyger, who was off duty, entered Mr. Jean’s apartment the evening of Sept. 6 and fired her service weapon twice, striking him once in the torso.”
Nick Note: Cornel West believed justice is what love looks like in public. Tim Keller concluded that justice is more than righting wrongs but also doing charitable rights, generously sharing with those in our communities. The presence of injustice pollutes the streams of righteousness that God so desires(Amos 5:24). In his book White Metropolis, Michael Phillips writes how Dallas city leaders from the past transformed the community into a laboratory of forgetfulness, attempting to erase the strife from the collective memory. Their experiment failed and the tension in Dallas is palpable. Bryan Carter, pastor of Concord Church here in Dallas, voiced sentiments similar to Martin Luther King in this now viral video from his sermon last week (watch here). In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King wrote: “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”As you all know, my propensity is to share research (herehere, and here) that gives context about the situation, but my encouragement this morning is to share a cup of coffee with someone and talk about the situation. John Piper, in his book Bloodlines, is right: “The aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are passionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil.”

I'm biased but DBU is great. The professors challenged me yet also prayed for me. They didn’t forsake faithfulness in the pursuit of excellence, getting the best out of me while still caring for me. Learn more about DBU here.

Cultural News

5. You really, really want to go to the gym but still avoid it. New research may explain why. (WaPo)

“No matter what you think you want, researchers say your brain wants you to be sedentary to conserve energy. When you start contemplating physical activity, it forces your brain to work harder to counteract the urge, the study found. Even when you’re headed up to the gym to get exercise, for example, your brain may tell you to use the elevator rather than the stairs, Boisgontier said… Some people might call it laziness. But “if you look at it from an evolutionary perspective, it’s not being lazy,” he said. “It’s minimizing energy costs. This minimization was useful during evolution because it provided us an advantage for survival.”
Nick Note: Like A Rock – Bob Seger sings it and we are it. A new report from the World Health Organization found that 1.4 billion people aged 18 and older were insufficiently active in 2016. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men do not get enough physical activity. However, Americans do like to Move It Move ItIn 2017, 53.8 percent of Americans met recommended physical activity guidelines, up from just 41 percent who met those guidelines in 2005. Though our brains may prefer to conserve energy, we know from the Scriptures that biological proclivities don’t excuse biblical priorities (Rom. 7:15-24). We continually must renew our minds in order to do that which is pleasing to him (Rom. 12:1-2, Eph. 5:10). Understanding our body is a temple, we must steward our body and renovate our mind for the glory of his name and the joy of our soul (1 Cor. 6:19-20). 

4. Why do people share? It's contagious, six-year study of Hadza people shows (Science Daily)

“In fact, whether a particular individual will share generously depends less on the individual and more on the group they happened to live with at the time.
"We found that year after year, willingness to share with others clustered within residence groups or what we call 'camps,'" says lead author Coren Apicella of the University of Pennsylvania. "People were living with other people who were similar to them in levels of generosity."
"We also found individual willingness to share changed from year to year to match their current campmates and found no evidence that people preferred living with more cooperative people," adds Kristopher Smith, the study's first author.”
Nick Note: Give It Away – George Strait sings it and the Red Hot Chili Peppers immediately insist upon it. While studies suggest and our behavior confirms a propensity to act in our self-interest, new research also reveals a streak of pro-social behavior (generosity). Children as young as 18 months engage in instrumental helping (e.g. helping someone reach something beyond their grasp) and altruistic helping (e.g. giving away a favorite toy to a sad child). By sharing, we not only help others, we also help ourselves. Studies suggest those who share are happierhealthierless stressed, and live longer lives.Winston Churchill rightly noted, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Giving blesses others and delights us. And as Olivia observed in The Twelfth Night, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” (Acts 20:35)

3. Here's how much weight Americans gain after settling into a relationship (Fox News)

“Three out of four Americans in a relationship (79 percent) are carrying around a bit of “love weight,” according to new research. 
“A study of 2,000 people in relationships found that the average respondent had gained 36 pounds since they’ve first started dating their current partner — 17 pounds of which were gained in the first year alone… Men were also much more likely to report a weight gain during the first year of a relationship than women (69 percent and 45 percent respectively.)
“An increase in ordering takeout or cooking at home while drinking togetherwas the second biggest reason “love weight” occurs (34 percent). Being comfortable in your relationship and no longer feeling the pressure to look your best all the time was cited as a big reason (64 percent).”
Nick Note: I Want To Know What Love Is and where the buffet line begins. Scientists have observed that the average person puts on 1 to 2 pounds a year from early adulthood through middle age. But it appears as though relationships intensify those gains. Another study looked at college students and class attendance. They found that students in romantic relationships were twice as likely to skip class. A 2010 study found that when college students put their hand on a heated block, they could withstand the heat for longer if they were shown a picture of their partner. Relationships change us because people shape us – for better or worse. The closer we let them in, the greater influence we let them have. As Christians, we love generously and befriend cautiously (1 John 4:19-21, 1 Cor. 15:33, 2 Cor. 6:14). The quality of our friendships is of far greater value than the quantity of our friendships (Pro. 18:24).

News You Can Use

2. 1-Yr-Old Sees Dad Without Beard For 1st Time & Has Sweetest Reaction. (InspireMore)

Nick Note: Watch it here. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)”

1. 7-year-old girl's version of the US national anthem is stunningly good (Mashable)

Nick Note: Watch it here. “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. (Pro. 22:29)”