The Teen Code–A Wake Up Call for Parents

Bookstore shelves abound with titles offering advice for parents. Various psychologists, self-appointed “experts,” and medical doctors offer advice on a range of topics, reflecting an ever broader array of worldviews. Books on parenting adolescents have been a special growth industry for some time, with puzzled and harried parents often trying to figure out what is going on in the minds of their teenagers. A new offering in this field, The Teen Code, now offers advice on parenting teens with a unique twist–the book was written by a 17-year-old boy.

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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part Three

The Christian vision of beauty not only tells us why the world is beautiful–but not quite. Secondly, the Christian worldview explains why the face of a child with Down’s syndrome is more beautiful than the cover girl in the fashion magazine. The unity of the good, the beautiful, the true, and the real calls us to look below the surface and to understand that the ontological reality of every single human being is that we are made in the image of God. The imago Dei is the beauty in each of us, and the rest is but of cosmetic irrelevance.

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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part Two

The Christian vision of beauty explains why the world is beautiful, but not quite. We are often struck by the beauty of the created order, and this feeling is validated for us in Genesis chapter 1, where the Creator’s own verdict is that the creation is good. The goodness of creation is therefore nonnegotiable, and again the unity of the transcendentals reminds us that if it is good, then it is also necessarily true, and real, and beautiful. Thus our metaphysic and our aesthetic, our understanding of truth and our evaluation of ethics, all come together in creation. The creation as God made it was good and beautiful and true and real.

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A Christian Vision of Beauty, Part One

There is something intrinsic to humanity that is drawn to beauty.
There is something of an aesthetic desire in us–an aesthetic appetite.
And yet beauty is in crisis; it is a contested category. In the
reigning confusion of the popular culture, the artificial is often
confused for the real, the pretty for the beautiful, and the untrue for
the true–all of which, as we shall see, are essentially one root
confusion.

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America’s Second Civil War?

Our nation’s political rhetoric is filled with references to unity and national cohesiveness. Nevertheless, this unity is often more superficial than substantial, and talk of national unity wears thin when the culture appears to be ripping apart at the seams.

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The Sexual Clash of Civilizations

In the aftermath of the fall of the Iron Curtain, prominent writer V. S. Naipaul declared the dawn of a “universal civilization.” According to Naipaul’s vision, the end of the Cold War was a signal that the entire planet was moving toward a single civilizational form that would transcend ethnic differences, ideological cleavages, and the fault lines that have separated cultures in the past.

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Armistice and Insanity—The Horror of War

“Hostilities will cease on the whole front at 11 hours today, French time. Until that hour, the operations previously ordered will be pressed with vigor. At 11 hours our line will halt in place, and no man will move one step forward or backward.” Those were the orders released just before 9:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918 in an address to the U. S. Army’s 79th Division. That order announced the end of “The War to End All Wars,” now known as World War I. Yet in one of the most bitter ironies of this bitter conflict, thousands would die between the time the armistice was signed and hostilities ceased.

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The Grace and Greatness of True Humility

CNN founder Ted Turner once remarked, “If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect.” In a strange and almost perfectly ironic sense, this statement encapsulates the spirit of our age–an attitude that gives lip service to humility while celebrating self-promotion. C. J. Mahaney seeks to set the record straight in his new book, Humility: True Greatness.

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Civilization Under Siege—The Riots in Paris

“Civilization is hideously fragile,” argued C. P. Snow. “There's not much between us and the horrors underneath, just about a coat of varnish.” Snow's statement takes on ominous overtones in light of the raging riots in and around Paris.

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The Moral Education of Physicians—Why It Matters to All of Us

“Modern medicine is one of those extraordinary works of reason: an elaborate system of specialized knowledge, technical procedures, and rules of behavior,” explains Paul Starr. “By no means are these all purely rational: Our conception of disease and responses to it unquestionably show the imprint of our particular culture, especially its individualist and activist therapeutic mentality. Yet, whatever its biases and probably because of them, modern science has succeeded in liberating humanity from much of the burden of disease.”

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Jimmy Carter’s Endangered Values

Former president Jimmy Carter has written yet another book — his twentieth — and he has hit the media circuit in order to promote his latest project. Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis represents the former president’s return to familiar themes, even as it will add new layers of confusion concerning his actual beliefs and values.

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America’s Parents Served Notice–You are not the “Exclusive Providers” of Sex Information to Your Children

Who decides what children will be taught about sex? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals served notice on America’s parents this week, ruling that parents of elementary-aged school children have no right to be the “exclusive providers” of sex information to their children. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is generally considered to be America’s most left-wing court. Nevertheless, the decision handed down on November 2 represents one of the most outrageous infringements upon parental rights ever made by an American court.

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Why Moms and Dads Matter–New Research

“In the last four decades, a feminist revolution has swept the globe,” observes W. Bradford Wilcox. Indeed, a rising tide of feminist concerns has reached almost every part of the world, with ideological feminism exerting its greatest influence in Western Europe and North America. The feminist revolution Wilcox describes has brought, he acknowledges, “many beneficial changes to our world.” Nevertheless, the same movement has “brought less welcome developments to the global scene,” and one of the most unwelcome of these developments is what Wilcox describes as “the androgynous impulse.”

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Britain’s New Age Prince Comes to America

First, an admission–I am an unapologetic Anglophile. I love British history, celebrate our common roots, and would live in England if I could not live in America. Similarly, I am conservative enough to admit that I am sometimes given to romantic thoughts about a constitutional monarchy as a keeper of national tradition. All that conservative romanticism has its limits, however. And that limit is represented by the current Prince of Wales. Britain’s Prince Charles is a walking refutation of a hereditary monarchy. How did the House of Windsor come to this?

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The Baby Boomers and Their Times

“I hate the Baby Boomers. They’re the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history . . .” Those words represent the assessment of Paul Begala, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton, himself the first Baby Boomer president. Evidently, it takes one to know one–Begala is a boomer himself. The Baby Boomers represent the largest generation in American history, and their full impact is yet to be fully realized. After all, the first Baby Boomer will turn sixty years of age in just a few weeks. In one sense, the generation is just hitting its stride.

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Christianity and the Dark Side: What About Halloween?

The issue of Halloween presses itself annually upon the Christian conscience. Acutely aware of dangers new and old, many Christian parents choose to withdraw their children from the holiday altogether. Others choose to follow a strategic battle plan for engagement with the holiday. Still others have gone further, seeking to convert Halloween into an evangelistic opportunity. Is Halloween really that significant?

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A Growing Cloud of Confusion–The Supreme Court on Religion

Over the past half century, the U. S. Supreme Court has accomplished a feat America’s founders would surely have found to be inconceivable–they have created a perverse cloud of confusion over the question of religious liberty and the place of religious language and symbols in the public square.

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Gay Culture and the Riddle of Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan is a man of ideas. In recent years, Sullivan has emerged as one of the most influential intellectuals in American public life. Furthermore, he has been identified with some of the most controversial issues of our times–a fact that is hardly surprising given his libertarian view of morality, conservative views of politics, Roman Catholic views of Christianity, and the fact that he is a prominent homosexual advocate.

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Radical Enhancement and the Denial of Human Dignity

Should human beings accept certain limitations in terms of cognitive ability and physical strength? These questions take on a whole new urgency in the face of recent developments in the fields of psychostimulants and other pharmaceutical innovations. Moreover, as if these developments do not represent enough of a challenge, the development of computer-enhanced human intelligence may be just around the corner.

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