Pornified America–The Culture of Pornography

“For most of my life, I gave little thought to pornography. It was not something I considered relevant to me, nor did I consider it–in the daunting spectrum of social, cultural, and political problems–a particularly pressing issue facing this country,” recalls Pamela Paul, author of Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families. Her new book is likely to attract attention as it represents one of the few comprehensive reports on how pornography has transformed American culture.

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What If There Are No Adults?

The transition to adulthood used to be one of the main goals of the young. Adulthood was seen to be a status worth achieving and was understood to be a set of responsibilities worth fulfilling. At least, that’s the way it used to be. Now, an entire generation seems to be finding itself locked in the grip of eternal youth, unwilling or unable to grow up.

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Christianity Recedes in Europe–Is America Next?

“I don’t go to church, and I don’t know one person who does.” That statement, taken from Brian Kenny, a 39-year-old graduate student in Dublin, Ireland, launches readers of USA Today into a consideration of Christianity’s receding influence in Europe. In “Religion Takes a Back Seat in Western Europe,” the newspaper considers the rapid pace of secularization in Western Europe, and the social, moral, and political impact that has resulted from Europe’s loss of faith.

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Evolutionists in a Panic–What’s Going on at The New Republic?

What’s going on at The New Republic? The current issue of the magazine features two broadside attacks on the movement known as Intelligent Design, and the magazine’s online edition adds a third. The articles are filled with rhetoric, vitriol, and urgency. Clearly, panic is setting in in some quarters–and that panic is over evolution.

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“The Cohabitation Trap”–Why Marriage Matters

Does living together before marriage lead to successful marriages? The very fact that Psychology Today takes up this question in its August 2005 cover story is significant. In essence, the article “The Cohabitation Trap: When ‘Just Living Together’ Sabotages Love,” provides a fascinating look into how secular social science evaluates the question.

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Deliberate Childlessness Revisited

Clearly, I hit a nerve. Almost two years ago, I published an article entitled “Deliberate Childlessness: Moral Rebellion With a New Face.” In that article I addressed the growing phenomenon of married couples who simply choose not to have children. After reviewing various responses–some extreme in intensity–I have taken time to rethink the issue and to revisit the question. At this point, I am even more convinced that deliberate childlessness represents a serious moral issue and that many Christians are deeply confused about the topic.

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Video Games–The New “Playgrounds of the Self?”

Just a couple of years ago, I was talking to a group of college students–mostly young men–about pressures, temptations, and challenges that come with living in our postmodern world. Predictably, many of these students mentioned challenges related to technology, such as the availability of internet pornography. What took me by surprise was their near-unanimous judgment that video games represent a persistent pattern of temptation they often find very hard to resist.

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Expository Preaching and the Recovery of Christian Worship (Part Three)

Authentic expository preaching is marked by three distinct marks or characteristics: authority, reverence, and centrality. Expository preaching is authoritative because it stands upon the very authority of the Bible as the word of God. Such preaching requires and reinforces a sense of reverent expectation on the part of God's people. Finally, expository preaching demands the central place in Christian worship and is respected as the event through which the living God speaks to his people.

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Expository Preaching and the Recovery of Christian Worship (Part Two)

If preaching is central to Christian worship, what kind of preaching are we talking about? The sheer weightlessness of much contemporary preaching is a severe indictment of our superficial Christianity. When the pulpit ministry lacks substance, the church is severed from the word of God, and its health and faithfulness are immediately diminished.

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Expository Preaching and the Recovery of Christian Worship (Part One)

Expository preaching is central, irreducible, and nonnegotiable to the Bible’s mission of authentic worship that pleases God. John Stott’s simple declaration states the issue boldly: “Preaching is indispensable to Christianity.” More specifically, preaching is indispensable to Christian worship–and not only indispensable, but central.

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The Unchurched Next Door: A New Look at the Challenge

Thom Rainer thinks that most Christians have no clue about how unchurched people really think. Given Christianity’s mandate for evangelism, this represents a big problem. In The Unchurched Next Door, Rainer and his research team consider the real issues involved in reaching unchurched Americans. His findings will surprise many Christians–including many pastors–and offer vital insights as the church looks forward into the twenty-first century.

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Hiroshima and the Burden of History

“Stimson, what was gunpowder? Trivial. What was electricity? Meaningless. This atomic bomb is the second coming in wrath!” Those words were spoken by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Less than a month later, on August 6, 1945, Colonel Paul Tibbets and his crew flew the Enola Gay, their specially modified B-29 bomber, and dropped “Little Boy” over the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

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“Being 13”–TIME Takes a Look at the New Adolescents

“What does it mean to be 13, back stage adults, watching on tiptoe, waiting to go onstage?” That question sent TIME Magazine and a team of its reporters into an extended investigation of the lives of America’s youngest teenagers–contemporary 13-year-olds. The magazine’s report will at times shock, inform, and interest America’s parents and all others concerned with the nation’s young.

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Can We Live Without Tradition? Part Two

In his article, “The Future of Tradition,” author Lee Harris suggests that America’s current culture war is the result of society’s existing customs and traditions being called to the bar of reason and ruthlessly interrogated and cross-examined by an intellectual elite. What happens when such traditions are dishonored and abandoned?

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Can We Live Without Tradition? Part One

Every civilizational form assumes some role for tradition. No cultural moment emerges from a vacuum, for every generation responds in some way to the tradition it has inherited. Without an appreciation for the role of tradition and the inheritance of moral wisdom, the achievement of civilization becomes dubious if not dead.

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Defining and Defending Conservatism–Senator Rick Santorum’s “It Takes a Family”

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) admits that political conservatives have often failed to present a comprehensive vision of the underlying commitments and convictions that frame the conservative vision. Beyond this, he laments the fact that some conservatives fail to link those basic convictions with political decisions and matters of public policy. He’s out to reverse that failure, and his new book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good is one of the most important books written by a political figure in recent American history.

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Reaping What We Sow–The Harvest of Moral Relativism

A culture, like an individual, reaps what it sows. The seed of honor produces a harvest of honorable acts. The seed of anger eventually yields violence. The law of the harvest is part of the divine design for human society, and it allows no exceptions. A society which sows reverence for life will reap a culture of kindness and a legacy of respect. A people shorn of this seed will eventually produce a harvest of unspeakable horror, anguish, and inhumanity.

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America’s Vanishing Protestant Majority–What Does it Mean?

Writing in 1927, French observer Andre Siegfried described Protestantism as America’s “only national religion.” To miss this, Siegfried advised, is “to view the country from a false angle.” Now, less than a century later, a major research report provides proof that Protestantism no longer represents a clear majority of Americans.

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It Takes One to Know One–Liberalism as Atheism

“It takes one to know one,” quipped historian Eugene Genovese, then an atheist and Marxist. He was referring to liberal Protestant theologians, whom he believed to be closet atheists. As Genovese observed, “When I read much Protestant theology and religious history today, I have the warm feeling that I am in the company of fellow nonbelievers.”

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In Defense of the Natural Family

The last two centuries have witnessed a massive transformation in the way human beings live, think, work, and arrange their lives. At the same time, the institution of the family has been under sustained attack, in turns dismembered and disabled by cultural trends, direct attacks, and subtle cultural shifts. Now, barely into the 21st century, we face the reality that the institution of the family is facing an even more fundamental challenge–the challenge to maintain a coherent definition of realities as basic as marriage, kinship, and the natural family.

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