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March  2012

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Trayvon Martin, Hoodies, and the Power of Images


Mar 30 2012
Understanding our visual writing helps explain how we respond to the case.

My brother has two daughters. One of them looks like me. Guess which one I have a special bond with? Oh, sure, other factors played a part as our relationship developed over the years, such as our mutual love of fashion and books, and her sister's bent toward ...

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An Open Letter to My College Students


Mar 29 2012
In the end-of-semester stress and exhaustion, my students have lost touch with the meaning of their education.

College students and faculty know this point of the semester is the toughest. Spring break has recently passed, and finals are too far away to rejoice over the close of the term and too close to allow for much rest amid the amount of work still due.

The kids are ...

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Mike Daisey, Apple, and Our Culture's Crisis in Truth-Telling


Mar 28 2012
Are "emotional truths" acceptable if they lead to greater awareness? How we answer matters a great deal.

Last week the popular NPR show This American Life did something completely unprecedented in the history of the program. It retracted an entire episode.

This decision has garnered media attention for two reasons. First, This American Life (TAL) is a journalistic ...

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When Christian Bookstores Ban Female Body Parts


Mar 27 2012
Unpacking the Rachel Held Evans-Thomas Nelson dust-up over the 'v-word.'

For me, it was the word crap. Later, it was the phrase darn it. Darn it.

for another friend, it was her dream of drinking champagne in a bubbly tub. Yet another friend had trouble mentioning drinking wine, location unknown.

And for yet another, it was walking into ...

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Is It a Sin to Look Your Age?


Mar 26 2012
How 'old is cold' stifles true beauty.

One of my pastors was preaching from Genesis 12, and he came to the part of the story where Abram and his wife Sarai head to Egypt during a time of famine. The account highlights the cowardly moment when the patriarch asks his attractive wife to tell the Egyptians ...

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What Jason Russell's Mental Breakdown Shows Us about Ourselves


Mar 22 2012
Our churches still have much to learn about mental illness.

It was the latest installment in a blitz of headline-grabbing publicity for Invisible Children—but it was a story they never intended. During almost two weeks of astounding success for their new-media publicity blitz, Kony 2012 attracted plenty of controversy ...

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Hungry for the Hunger Games: Why We Need Dystopian Tales


Mar 22 2012
We can't shelter young readers from the world's violence forever.

This weekend, Americans will finally find out whether the newest young-adult-book-turned-movie lives up to the fanfare. Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy attained vast popularity before the movie, and the addition of young, sexy Hollywood has only increased ...

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Confessions of a Lustful Christian Woman


Mar 21 2012
The first step Christians can take to help women struggling with lust is to acknowledge that they exist.

I watched Butterfield 8 with my husband last weekend. Elizabeth Taylor won an Oscar for her role as the sexually abused and sexually addicted call girl that falls in love. Her story is precisely what I've heard on the road from girls as young as 12. Sexual abuse ...

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Five-Senses Spirituality: Why Our Whole Bodies Need God


Mar 20 2012
'Awaken Your Senses' teaches Christians to know the Father through our flesh.

This, year, as last, I'll make an empty tomb cake for my Sunday school class of 4- to 6-year-olds. I'll bake one small square cake for the base, and one small dome-shaped cake for the tomb. I'll frost both with sand-colored frosting, perhaps scatter raw sugar ...

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Confessions of a Male Feminist


Mar 19 2012
I thought I was pro-woman, until I showed up at the 2012 women's film festival.

I have failed most all the women in my life.

Don't worry, this isn't one of those essays. By most of the world's accounting, I've treated women well. I've been a loyal friend and fiercely devoted husband to one woman for nearly a quarter-century—my entire ...

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Marriage: When Pre-Engagement Hopes Meet Reality


Mar 16 2012
I used to think a husband would save me from loneliness. Now, engaged at age 39, I believe he'll save me from my self-centeredness.

Words are my life. As an avid reader and an English professor, I can easily get carried away by their magical power to evoke emotion and crystallize conceptions. But sometimes my enthusiasm for language leads me to idealize a word so fully that it conceals rather ...

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The Best Naked Pregnant Woman on a Magazine Cover


Mar 15 2012
Why Jessica Simpson's recent 'Elle' cover is worth celebrating.

I know it's been done before. Sure, I get that it's designed to shock and awe. And indeed, I realize it may cause some to stumble and plenty others to stand in judgment. But I must say: although I usually shake my fists at the number of scantily clad "cover girls" ...

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Dad-in-Chief: Parenting Lessons from Rick Santorum and President Obama


Mar 14 2012
We need more political leaders modeling family sacrifice—especially for children with disabilities.

When Sarah Palin first accepted the vice presidential nomination in 2008, I thought I should be excited that a fellow mother of a child with Down syndrome might sit in the White House. But my response to her candidacy was mixed at best. Long before she became ...

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My Church's Lenten Challenge: Get a Tattoo


Mar 13 2012
Sometimes in order to believe something, we need to bear it on our bodies.

"There are some things one can only believe singing," author Lauren Winner told our small writing group. We were gathered in a large, sunny room at Laity Lodge, perched above the prettiest spot on the Rio Frio River in the Texas Hill Country.

As a worship leader, ...

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What A Flight Attendant's Outburst Revealed About My Own Fear


Mar 12 2012
The scare revealed I am more afraid of death than I should be.

Last Friday as the afternoon unfolded and we set our sights on the weekend, a story about an American Airlines flight cropped up on news outlets everywhere. A plane had been grounded at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport following an incident that sent two flight attendants ...

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