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April  2011

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Sin, Grace, and the Royal Wedding

Apr 28 2011
What I'll tell my 6-year-old daughter about marriage as we watch the festivities together.

I'm just going to say it: I can't wait for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding. One, I love weddings. (The dresses! The flowers! The dancing!) Two, I love pomp and circumstance. Probably because much of my life feels chaotic, the order and ritual of weddings, ...

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Sex Sells - So Does Virginity

Apr 27 2011
Nickelodeon star Miranda Cosgrove is being marketed as the embodiment of purity in a sex-saturated culture. Why Christians should be concerned.

In February I reviewed Peggy Orenstein's new book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. The book takes a hard look at the culture that imposes itself on our nation's daughters, and challenges the notion that ...

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'Three Cups of Tea,' Three Cups of Me

Apr 25 2011
There's ego behind every published fabrication, including Greg Mortenson's, and Christ is its remedy.

The publishing world has been aflutter recently following a 60 Minutessegment that raised doubts about the truth of author and philanthropist Greg Mortenson's work and writing.

Mortenson, best known for the 2006 memoir Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote ...

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How Do I Explain Easter to My Children?

Apr 20 2011
The reality of a human raised from the dead is hard enough for adults to understand, much less kids. But here are some approaches I've taken.

I don't know how to explain Easter to my children—Penny, 5, and William, 2. I've tried two approaches so far. I've talked about it directly: "Some people killed Jesus and he died and God made him alive again."

When I said that, William asked, "What does died ...

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A Christian Woman's Midlife Crisis

Apr 19 2011
With the guidance of older, wiser mentors, women can face the existential angst of midlife hoping for a new identity in Christ, one stripped of status and comfort.

When we flipped our new calendars to January 1, 2011, the first wave of baby boomers began turning 65. According to the Pew Research Center, every single day for the next nineteen years, ten thousand more will join them.

As psychologist Vivian Diller recently noted, ...

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Why I Let My Son Wear Pink

Apr 18 2011
The real trouble with the J. Crew ad controversy is not a gay/transgender agenda but our culture's sexualization of children.

In case you missed the news story that Jon Stewart has named "Toemageddon," here are the facts: Retailer J. Crew sent out an online ad last week in which creative director Jenna Lyons appears in a photo with her 5-year-old son, Beckett. A quote from Jenna reads, ...

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Obese and Beautiful

Apr 14 2011
As the West exports its fat stigma to developing countries, the church might export its welcome embrace to those on all ends of the body mass index.

The New York Times recently reported that the West is exporting its ideals of beauty and body size to developing nations, including our stigma against overweight people. We are, it is said, globalizing the "fat stigma." It appears that our prejudices have so proliferated ...

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The Praying Artist: God Is My Editor

Apr 13 2011
How praying through my work changed me (Part 2).

Prayer is one of those disciplines we often approach like going to the gym: either do it big, time-wise, or not at all. But with "prayer time" often looking like prolonged concentration and bodily stillness, it can be difficult to do faithfully. Limbs get stiff, ...

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Rethinking the Death Penalty

Apr 12 2011
Why recent information has shifted discussion about capital punishment away from debating morality and toward exposing abuse in the criminal justice system.

In March, the state of Illinois became the sixteenth state to abolish the death penalty. In his remarks after signing the bill, Governor Pat Quinn didn't debate the morality of executing murderers. He didn't discuss whether or not the death penalty deters heinous ...

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Navigating the Sea of Electronic Media

Apr 8 2011
How we can foster a family environment that deters sexting, distracted driving, 'Facebook depression.'

The New York Times last week told the story of eighth grader Margarite, who "sexted" (sent a naked photo of herself via cell phone) her boyfriend. When he and Margarite broke up, the boyfriend forwarded the message to another girl—a former friend of Margarite's ...

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The Praying Pedestrian: A Lenten Discipline

Apr 7 2011
How praying for my neighborhood changed it (part 1 of a 2-part series).

In the nondenominational Bible churches of my youth, Lent was considered a "Catholic thing." But as I've attended PCA churches in my adulthood, I've gained appreciation for the church calendar and, in particular, this pre-Easter season of penitence. Observing ...

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Liberty U. Students on Interracial Marriage Trends

Apr 5 2011
I asked five female alumni whether their marriages mirrored recent sociological data on mixed-race marriages in the South. Here's what they told me.

Some moons ago, my first official "date" was with a black boy. (I am white, by the way.) Technically he was half-black, but in the remote Maine community where I grew up, it didn't make much difference either way. There was one black family in town; they had only ...

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'It Must Stop'

Apr 4 2011
The death of 14-year-old Hena Akhter spotlights concerns the international response to sexual assault.

Last July, Bangladesh's High Court declared fatwas, a ruling or legal opinion given by an Islamic religious leader, illegal. Investigations and news reports of fatwas invoking violence against women led human rights organizations to submit petitions to the court, ...

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Keeping Kids Junk-Food Free

Apr 1 2011
What Christian communities might learn from Amelia Brown, the Philadelphia principal who sees childhood obesity as the next urban crisis.

Amelia Brown, principal of the William D. Kelley School in Philadelphia, recently called on parents and Operation Town Watch Integrated Services (which helps neighborhoods fight crime and drug deals) to position themselves strategically around corner stores around ...

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