Consider the Culture 🎨
This is a debate between Christian Frank Turek and skeptic Paul Ens (a.k.a. Paulogia on YouTube, who worked for George Lucas for a period of time) about how our cultural fascination with pop culture like Star Wars and superheroes may (or may not) point to our ultimate longing for Jesus. I enjoy these stories and so I found this debate entertaining and worthwhile.
Family Focus 🏡
One commentator describes the transformation this way: “The old attitude was that one must work for the marriage. The new attitude is that the marriage had better work for me” (Jonah Goldberg, Suicide of the West, 267). My uncle worked for his marriage. He was willing to forgo short-term pleasure for the sake of his wife, his children, and the glory of God. He believed that keeping his marriage vows would enhance his joy in this life and in the world to come.
But those who expect marriage to “work for me” often assume that “God just wants me to be happy” in the thin and predictable ways. Their focus is on me and my immediate needs. They will most likely bail when any significant, protracted marital trouble comes.
The “marriage-wrecking lie” of the article’s title is that God wants you to be happy—as you define happiness. Farley shows us that God does indeed want us to be happy, but our ideas of how to attain happiness are weak and immediate, while God’s ideas of how we attain happiness are difficult but soul-building. God cares more about our eternal pleasure than our immediate pleasure.
Christianity Is True ✝️
The perceived conflict between science and religion would seem to be alive and well – and maybe even growing!
But if you give us this hour, I’m confident my guests today will convince you that the Science versus Religion trope is little more than a meme … a myth … a con.
Explore the Scriptures 📖
Well-meaning friends often share this misquoted truth with me when they learn of our family’s circumstances over the past few years. Many quote it as a verse straight from the Bible.
We moved cross-country with two toddlers and, within a week of moving, were surprised by the news I was pregnant with boy-girl twins. Meanwhile, my husband changed careers and had to figure out a brand-new field on his own. I gave birth to the twins only to discover shortly after holding them in my arms that one of them had Down syndrome.
Two months later, COVID-19 hit and I had to supervise my two older children doing school from home while I breastfed newborn twins. While continuing to reel from the news that we were suddenly parents of a child with special needs, we discovered the other twin had a rare disease that would require very involved at-home medical care and multiple surgeries. In between surgeries, our baby with Down syndrome began having brain-damaging seizures that required multiple hospitalizations.
All these events took place in rapid succession. The emotional toll on our family is incredible. Suffice to say, the weight on our souls has felt absolutely unbearable, and we’ve been clinging to Christ for dear life.
Most of us have not faced the incredible pressures and circumstances that Albanese has faced. Will God give her, or you, more than you can handle?
Consider Another Perspective 🤔
The most basic reason it’s so hard to talk about race that Adams identifies is simple: sin. He looks at James 4:
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war.
— James 4:1–2 (CSB)
Then Adams walks through eleven fruits in our lives that make it hard to talk about race, stemming from eleven roots of sin in us.
As Adams says, race is a difficult conversation. It requires nuance, humility, and work to do well. I cannot commend this video or podcast to you enough.
Read and Reflect 📖
Devastated and confused by the brutal crucifixion they had just witnessed, two travelers leave Jerusalem, walking together on a dusty road to the town called Emmaus (see Luke 24:13-35). They are processing and debating all they had seen, when a stranger starts walking alongside them. The stranger wonders why they are so upset.
The two travelers are shocked that he doesn’t know already. They then explain that a man named Jesus has just been murdered. He is the prophet whom everyone had been hoping for—the Messiah, or in Greek, the Christos. This Jesus was supposed to set Israel free from Roman oppression and evil, everywhere. But rather than freeing people, he was arrested, convicted, and executed as a criminal.
But then the stranger, who later reveals himself to be the risen Jesus, starts talking about the Hebrew Bible—the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms. He says that these Scriptures had been describing that kind of Messiah all along, promising a loving Messiah who instead of fighting against people, serves them, suffers death, and then rises again three days later.
The two travelers are shocked. Who is this guy? But the promised Messiah that this stranger was talking about was there in Genesis as the snake crusher who would have his heel bitten. He was there in Isaiah as the promised suffering servant. The real Messiah was there in the Psalms, poetically imagined and deeply hoped for.
In all their knowledge, these two confused, hurting people had missed that part. They needed to learn how to see that this diverse collection of literature we call the Bible tells the story of Jesus, the Christos, the Messiah.
But how could they learn to see this? And how can we?
This is completely optional, and everything that is currently free will continue to be free. Thank you for reading The Garden Weekly.
Best with a Cup of Tea ☕️
This article was written in late March 2022 when a college transgender woman swimmer won the national championship against several natural-born women.
Here’s where I am on the dispute. In the vast majority of life circumstances, I do not believe that a trans person should face discrimination because they are trans. But there are limited circumstances where biological realities mean that some distinctions are not only wise, they protect other classes of Americans from both unfairness and intrusion on their rights.
To understand my reasoning, let’s go back to the founding and guiding texts of the American republic—texts that don’t just create specific legal doctrines but embody a particular biblically-informed morality about the dignity and worth of all people.
All people, including transgender people, bear the image of God and are therefore worthy of our gentleness and respect. That does not require us to change our beliefs about whether transgenderism is good or bad for the human flourishing of an individual or society, but it does require us to treat people as our Lord would have.
All men have sinned and fallen short of God’s righteous standard. All of us deserve his just wrath. We were not good people that earned God’s mercy. All people are called to repent and place their believing loyalty upon Jesus. All people are called to throw themselves upon God’s mercy because we cannot save ourselves.
When that truth buries deep in our hearts, we cannot help but act with compassion and gentleness with those who struggle and suffer with feeling alien in their natural bodies. Jesus, the friend of sinners, is our Lord. Let us live up to our name Christians, little Christs, and imitate him.
Keep Your Mind on Things Above
I will be praying for you this week.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
— Galatians 1:3–5