Commentary: Abortion Is Wrong. That’s Not Why Roe v. Wade Is Wrong.

A better case for overturning a bad Supreme Court precedent.

Hopes are running high among pro-lifers these days. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s departure from the Supreme Court, many of us can’t resist a peek at the political crystal ball. Dare we entertain the thought of finally overturning Roe v. Wade?

Possibly. At one point, it looked like the current nominee to replace Kennedy, Brett Kavanaugh, would cruise to confirmation. But recent allegations of sexual assault have muddied his path. In any event, nobody knows for sure whether Kavanaugh (or anyone else on the president’s short list) would cast a tie-breaking vote against Roe. Or whether the Court’s other conservative members would play their scripted roles. Or whether a challenge to the Court’s abortion jurisprudence would even reach the current cohort of justices.

In the meantime, as we game out different scenarios, a word of caution—one that might, at first glance, seem outlandish. Pro-life Christians should take greater pains to separate opposition to abortion from opposition to Roe v. Wade.

Wait, that can’t be right. Isn’t Roe responsible for backstopping America’s heinous regime of abortion-on-demand? Quite so. There’s a reason the annual March for Life occurs each January on Roe’s anniversary—and that it culminates with a peaceful demonstration outside the Supreme Court building. There’s a reason the marchers carry signs and hear speeches raging against the Court’s infamous handiwork.

Yet for all our focus on scrapping Roe, a salient fact remains: The wrongness of this decision has precisely nothing to do with the wrongness of abortion. Taking the life of an unborn child is a sin against God and man. Roe, by contrast, is an offense against …

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Why Our Spiritual Formation Isn’t Just for Us

As we reflect and discover our Story of Now, we recognize the message of love and hope that God has given us to share with others.

Imagine if you were talking with someone and having a normal conversation. As you’re sharing about a difficult project at work, or a conflict you’ve had with a friend, that person suddenly recites a quote from Shakespeare: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not seek revenge?”

You’d struggle to see how a Shakespeare quote made any sense to the conversation. It would seem as though that person were trying to take the conversation in an unnatural direction. Even if the friend had told you that he was once a theater major and loved the works of Shakespeare, it would still seem awkward.

When it comes to sharing Jesus, many Christians feel like what they have to say is about as relevant as an awkwardly-recited Shakespeare quote spoken unnaturally during a conversation.

Most Christians have seen models of sharing Jesus that feel like scripts to rush through rather than a conversation with a friend about what it looks like to follow Jesus daily. But what if talking about Jesus moved beyond scripts and stories about his presence in our lives and was instead woven into our normal conversations?

All of our stories begin with Jesus.

When we cross from spiritual death to spiritual life our chapters play out like a full-length feature film that all leads back to him. Yet it’s in the daily grind where we can tell our Story of Now with people far from God. We share snapshots of what life with Jesus looks like.

Imagine if you weren’t a Christian and all of your friends were sharing snapshots of Jesus in their everyday lives. They would begin to see a diverse and personal picture of Jesus in the real lives …

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Steve Gaynor, Arizona secretary of state candidate, was accused of underpaying workers

A worker alleged that he and others were underpaid for overtime work through a “scheme” of shifting pay period dates to evade pay for overtime work.

      

 

 

Tempe man arrested after group struck by car outside casino

Lewis Jake III fled from the Casino Arizona parking lot after striking four people with his vehicle Sunday. Officials arrested him in Tempe on Tuesday

      

 

 

When Pastors Are Sexual Abuse Survivors

Childhood trauma can sabotage ministry in sinister ways.

It took me 20 years to acknowledge I’d been molested in sixth grade.

I’d always had a memory of the molestation, but it was fuzzy, distant, and I had no category to place it in. Thank God it wasn’t worse, I thought, or that could have really messed me up.

Eleven years into ministry, I emotionally imploded. My newborn son wasn’t sleeping or breastfeeding. My wife had postpartum anxiety, and we fought constantly. My home felt like a scary, overwhelming place, where more was demanded of me than I could provide. I distanced myself from a wife who only wanted a husband who would say, “It’ll all be okay.” That’s typical of sexual abuse survivors: we’re terrified of emotional threats, and we hide from feelings that overwhelm us. How could I tell her everything would be okay when I was barely keeping the panic in my heart at bay?

Things were no better in the ministry I led, where attendance was down and I was receiving confusing messages from my supervisor intimating that the church’s pastoral management team wasn’t happy with me. I became defensive and combative, subconsciously afraid everyone would realize what I already knew: I was a failure. There was something wrong with me. Something shameful.

I didn’t cheat on my wife—thank God—but I got closer than I thought myself capable, and while my marriage survived this near-miss, my job did not. I was fired when my wife was six months pregnant. I experienced daily panic attacks and drastic weight loss, and I was told by a recruiter that my resume now had Scarlet A that would keep me out of ministry for years.

For the first time I began to wonder if—underneath my sin, unwise choices, arrogance, and …

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One-on-One with Keith Getty on the Sing! Conference and the Importance of Song, Part 2

The Sing! Conference is about creating a new song and a new hymnal for churches.

Ed: In addition to the family hymnal, you also dropped the North Coast Sessions at the last Sing! Conference. Is that focused on the Psalms? And if so, why is that?

Keith: Yes, that’s true. Really, a lot of the Sing! Conference is about creating a new song and a new hymnal for churches—that’s a big part of where we’re going with everything we’re doing. One of the things we’re doing is this first collection of hymns and songs that were inspired, in part, by the Psalms. The album was actually recorded right on the Northern coastlines of Ireland.

When was the last time you were in Ireland, Ed?

Ed: About three or four years ago. You were in Northern Ireland, Keith, but my ancestors are actually from the city of Drogheda in, well, Ireland.

Keith: Yes, Drogheda. You have to drive through Drogheda to go to Dublin. We once drove through Drogheda to go the Dublin Airport. But when we were up in the North Coast, I remember looking over Scotland, and would you believe this, but we actually started the whole North Coast Sessions album with an old Scottish sound tune. The tune is called, “Martyrdom Left the Miserable Scots Call Home Miserable Names to Their Songs.” Our piper, Patrick, was with us in a little harbor town called Port Braddon and as he was playing, he was looking straight across at Scotland.

This project marks our first attempt at a collection of songs. We took 80 days out of this year alone just to study the sounds and study the music. It’s just an incredible experience. Honestly, it’s been probably the most transformative writing experience of my career.

Ed: My oldest daughter (who is studying opera) prefers a church that’s much more traditional— she does not like what …

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We know her, the woman testifying in front of Senate Judiciary Committee. We are her.

We have heard her story. We have told the story ourselves. We know others might not believe her. We know her because we are her.

      

 

 

Scottsdale house mixes mid-century and contemporary styles

The Scottsdale house was designed in the mid-century style and was recently remodeled with a “soft contemporary” feel.

      

 

 

The Cost of Religious Freedom

When advocacy for persecuted Christians harms their fellow believers.

While Andrew Brunson languished under Turkish detention this year, thousands of Iranians had death sentences suspended. A factor in both was international advocacy.

Brunson, an American evangelical pastor in Izmir (biblical Smyrna) for two decades, was arrested two years ago in the aftermath of a failed military coup. The government linked him with a Sufi Muslim network allegedly behind it.

The network’s head, Fethullah Gülen, had long resided in Pennsylvania, and Turkey demanded a trade.

Many religious freedom advocates took up Brunson’s cause. But White House advocacy brought the pastor to the world’s attention.

“If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until [Brunson] is free,” said Vice President Mike Pence in July at the US State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

One day earlier, Brunson had been moved from prison to house arrest. It appeared a deal was in the works.

Whichever side reneged, Turkish President Recep Erdoğan matched President Donald Trump blow-for-blow in the acrimonious rhetoric and economic sanctions that followed, making the chances for Brunson’s near-term release appear remote.

Meanwhile, 5,000 Iranian prisoners have new leases on life. After years of pressure by the United Nations and human rights groups, Iran’s parliament amended laws demanding the death penalty for low-level narcotics trafficking.

Why did advocacy succeed for the drug dealers but not the pastor? And what should be made of Youcef Nadarkhani, the Iranian house church leader released in 2013 after much international advocacy—only to be …

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One-on-One with Keith Getty on the Sing! Conference and the Importance of Song, Part 1

Getty’s five-year conference engages theology, the arts, and song.

Ed: So first, tell me how the Getty Music Worship Conference, Sing!, went a few weeks ago.

Keith: It was amazing. We had a wonderful lineup of speakers. But most importantly, it’s really helping individuals, families, and churches to grow and thrive. It was year two of five for the conference and the theme was taken from the Psalms.

We had three different groups in attendance. We had those engaged in theology who were looking at really deep and rich theology. We had artists and vibrant artistry—those who are creatives, musicians, or involved in choirs and orchestras. Then, we have leaders of music in churches and in homes. We had a lot of worship leaders in that group, but we also had over 400 people who lead children’s music as well.

When these three groups come together, it’s an extraordinary and innovative explosion. You end up with these beautiful moments of inspiration, color, and beauty, combined with such powerful, thoughtful praise. The dissection of all that happens during the conference takes place in seminars, late at night, and over meals throughout our time together.

All of us ended up experiencing the peace of the Lord and a reassurance that this was an important event. It’s really been a privilege to be a small part of it.

Ed: For next year, you’re leading in with the theme about the life of Christ. Tell me more about this shift.

Keith: Well, I originally put together a five-year plan.

For the first year we decided to look at the congregational singing 500 years after Luther and the Reformation year. Then, we took on the Psalms, because that’s the Bible’s songbook. In year three, we’re going through the life of Christ, and in year four we will be singing through the Scriptures. …

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