How Does the “Selfie Culture” Affect Young Women Today?

by Rachel Marie Stone | It’s not healthy to dwell too much on how we look.

A selfie? Whether it’s spelled with an ‘ie’ or a ‘y’, Oxford defines it as;

“A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

Branding yourself is not a new concept. However branding yourself with the image that you want the world – or your followers to see – is a new form of personal branding. And the way you see yourself in a selfie is tailored toward the way you expect others to see you and not the way your close family, friends and relations sees you.

 

 



Do Ideals Matter Anymore?

by James Kalb | In any event, individual goals aren’t enough for a workable society. There also has to be an overarching principle, traditionally the common good, that ties everything together. Liberal society doesn’t like to talk about the common good, since it views the good as a matter of personal taste, so it takes equal freedom as its overarching principle, understanding it to mean that everyone should be able to get what he wants, as much and equally as possible (image, annakusuma.com).

Man is a rational animal. From a moral standpoint, that means he aspires to act—and often does act—in accordance with principles that join together to form an ideal of life.

He’s also social, so his ideals aren’t simply individual. In part that’s because they relate to social functions. What is it to be a proper mother, father, soldier, scholar, or priest? And in part it’s because they reflect a tradition of life and thought. So we have the Stoic ideal, the Christian ideal, the contemplative ideal, the ideal of the liberally educated man, and so on.

All ideals, even when they don’t relate to specific social functions, have social as well as individual effects. They guide what we do, and give our lives purpose, order, and dignity by connecting them to higher and broader concerns. They define who we and our people are, and make us answerable to others and our own sense of honor.

At least that’s how things used to work. Every major occupation had an ideal of life associated with it. The soldier and priest are obvious examples, but there was also an idealized peasant (the Russian word for peasant simply meant “Christian”) and an idealized merchant—prudent and reliable in business affairs, but also public-spirited and concerned for the well-being of his fellow merchants and the larger community. And people of every kind were subject to the ideals of life associated with family, community membership, and religion.

All of which now sounds old-fashioned and even medieval. After all, modern society isn’t organized by ranks and orders and their associated ideals of life but by markets, business enterprises, regulatory bureaucracies, consumer choices, and the machinery of persuasion. The result is that today ideals give place as a guide for life to fashion, legal standards, political correctness, and personal ambitions and lifestyle choices.

And why not? If markets, managers, experts, bureaucrats, and PR men run everything, ideals of life get in the way. Who today favors stereotypical views that lead people to resist change? What responsible person wants a subordinate employee to stand on a point of honor, or insist on his idea of what a Christian man ought to do? Such conduct is considered narrow-minded, self-centered, obstructive, and antisocial. To many people it suggests serious psychological disturbance.

The results of the change are pervasive. Honor disappears, since it implies identification with a recognized ideal of life. Character, a more general term that implies steadfast adherence to a system of standards, loses its significance. People mention it opportunistically, for example as a way of attacking political opponents, but it can’t count for much in a world in which tolerance is the highest virtue and rigidity a very serious vice.

Even so, people have to make decisions somehow, and they’re happier if their lives feel in order, so they still need organizing principles. But what?

One possibility is authenticity, discovering who you really are by looking within and (as people used to say) “doing your own thing.” But that doesn’t really suit present-day society. After all, it implies I am this and you are that, which seems unequal, unfree, and rigid. For that reason it seems likely, for example, that current understandings of “gender identity,” although useful rhetorically as a way to debunk sex as an objective natural category, will eventually give way to the “gender fluidity” suggested by the current multiplication of gender categories.

There’s also the problem that few if any succeed in discovering their true inner selves apart from an overall view such as Catholicism that tells them what those selves are. But orthodox religion and other settled systematic views are now thought rigid, stereotyped, and unsuitable for modern life. So they won’t serve to save authenticity from incoherence.

That mostly leaves careerism, devotion to doing well in a money-making occupation; professionalism, complying with the standards that govern the occupation; and consumerism, spending the resulting income in accordance with intelligently developed taste. As organizing principles they have some advantages, since they keep people busy and mostly direct their efforts toward useful or at least inoffensive ends. On the other hand, their focus is much too narrow to support a way of life that is satisfactory individually or socially. Also, they work best for healthy, energetic, talented, and focused people, and that doesn’t include everyone. So putting them first means growing class divisions, and for non-careerists it often means drift, drugs, and other distractions and intoxicants.

In any event, individual goals aren’t enough for a workable society. There also has to be an overarching principle, traditionally the common good, that ties everything together. Liberal society doesn’t like to talk about the common good, since it views the good as a matter of personal taste, so it takes equal freedom as its overarching principle, understanding it to mean that everyone should be able to get what he wants, as much and equally as possible.

A current application of that principle is political correctness, which tells us that equal freedom requires continuous revision of customs and attitudes to get rid of inequalities and restrictions related to sex, religion, cultural heritage, and other aspects of traditional social organization. Not surprisingly, suppression of some inequalities shifts the work of social organization to others, so inequalities and restrictions based on modern methods of organization—money, ownership, certified expertise, bureaucratic position, political affiliation, government regulation—are increasing.

Since life remains unequal and unfree, equal freedom fails on its own terms as an ultimate principle. Nor does it have anything to say about the good life, and the damage it does to traditional social organization leaves important human needs, such as those relating to family life, largely unmet.

It turns out, then, that the principles intended to replace traditional ideals of life don’t work well. The overall effect of their growing dominance is that substantive standards for conduct disappear, so the way people think about life becomes irrational. They come to assume that conduct is determined less by standards and ideals oriented toward a reasonable understanding of life than by impulse, inclination, and personality, which is understood as a complex of habitual tendencies. Even if conduct is ordered toward an ultimate goal, such as career success, the goal is understood as simply a personal choice and thus arbitrary.

At bottom, then, the current view is that we happen to prefer some things to others, so we do what we feel like doing, and not much more can be said about the matter. That situation offers the Church a golden opportunity for evangelization, since it’s so unsatisfying, but unfortunately it has deeply affected how people within the Church look at things. Senior churchmen now tell us that “realities are greater than ideas,” so we should downplay doctrine and adopt an extreme emphasis on discernment that turns morality into something rather like the pursuit of authenticity. Such tendencies have led some bishops, cardinals, and heads of religious orders to go so far as to teach that it’s impossible for some people to avoid adultery, so Christ’s emphatic comments on the topic can’t be taken seriously.

So much for the ability of the Church to appeal to people who want a way of living and thinking about life better than the one fostered by current confusions and errors. So much also for John the Baptist and Saint Thomas More, both of whom had their heads chopped off because they came down on Christ’s side in disputes relating to adulterous marriages. Today, it seems, they would be told to follow the paths of accompaniment and ecumenism rather than make such a fuss.

The executions raise an important issue. In the Republic Plato notes that his democratic regime, which is based on the liberation of preference, soon collapses into a tyrannical regime based on the obsessions of the strongest. What else can happen when no higher principle keeps the liberated preferences in order? So current tendencies that abolish rational conceptions of life aren’t taking us anyplace good. It seems then that instead of accompaniment we need a decisive break. For that deeply humane purpose nothing would be more helpful than renewed emphasis on the traditional doctrine and discipline of the Church. Once again, it appears that if the Church truly wants to help the world she should simply be the Church.

You may read the original article in the Catholic World Report.

James KalbJames Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command (ISI Books, 2008), and, most recently, Against Inclusiveness: How the Diversity Regime is Flattening America and the West and What to Do About It (Angelico Press, 2013).



Mormon church challenges legality of leaked documents

by Kimberly Winston | “Issues and Ideas Leading People Away from the Gospel.” Graphic courtesy of MormonLeaks

There’s WikiLeaks and VatiLeaks. And now there’s MormonLeaks.

MormonLeaks — a group of former Mormons who leak documents related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — is engaged in a legal tussle with the church over its latest batch of published data.

This is the first time the church, based in Salt Lake City, has officially taken notice of MormonLeaks, which has published 66 internal church documents since the group’s founding in December.

At issue is a church-produced PowerPoint presentation that shows people, organizations and issues the church believes is luring people away. Each is presented in a bubble, organized from the far left to the far right across the image.

Among those on the list is Ordain Women, a group that seeks church priesthood for women, currently reserved only for men; John Dehlin, founder of Mormon Stories podcast, which has been very critical of the church; blogger Denver Snuffer, who was excommunicated from the church for apostasy; and others.

The chart also lists “Incredulity over Church history” — a reference to skepticism about the historicity of events recounted in the Book of Mormon — pornography and secularism as issues pulling people out of the church.

The PowerPoint slide has roiled the Mormon blogosphere and has come to be called “an enemies list” by many inside and outside the church.

Lawyers for the church, which claims some 15 million members worldwide, asked MormonLeaks to take down the documents, claiming they are copyrighted and not authorized for publication. MormonLeaks’ lawyer has countered that claim by saying the documents were obtained legally and that it has a “right to distribute it in its capacity as a journalistic resource.”

MormonLeaks was founded by Ryan McKnight, a Mormon activist with a history of leaking church information. Most of its leaked documents deal with church finances. A 2012 Reuters investigation estimated member tithes alone bring the church $7 billion a year.

Read the original article on RNS

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She covers atheism and freethought for Religion News Service.



People Who Could Hurt Your Church

by J. Lee Grady – In all my years of ministry I've noticed that the devil's tricks are actually the same no matter where I go (image: pinterest)

For more than 2,000 years the church has survived wars, persecution, heresies, tyrants, charlatans, false prophets, swindlers and divisive rebels. Satan has attacked the church from outside and infiltrated it from within, yet Christianity is growing faster in some parts of the world than at any time in human history.
People Who Could Hurt Your Church
 
 
 
 
 
But that doesn't mean the devil is backing off. He is a relentless enemy, and we must constantly be aware of his schemes. When the devil attacks, he normally uses human agents to carry out his work. That is why church leaders are called to protect God's people from those who might hijack our mission.
 

In all my years of ministry I've noticed that the devil's tricks are actually the same no matter where I go. He uses a familiar cast of characters to sow discord in the church, to distract us from our mission and to veer us off course. If these people are busy in your church, they must be confronted. Never allow these six people to get their hands on the steering wheel:

1. The financial controller. Every church needs the wise counsel of older saints, including those who have business experience. But sometimes when spiritually immature people are put in such positions, they can develop a sense of ownership or entitlement. If this is not checked, they begin to use their money to buy influence. This was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5—and their severe punishment made it clear that God doesn't like it when people try to control His church with their money.

James 2:1-7 warns church leaders not to seat rich people on the front row of the church. Yet in many congregations, wealthy members have bribed their way into a place of favor so they can make decisions. Weak pastors won't challenge this behavior because they fear offending big donors.

2. The self-appointed prophet. We should earnestly desire the gift of prophecy in our churches. But the apostle Paul also warned the Colossians about super-spiritual people who claim to always know what God is saying to the leadership (Col. 2:18-23).

The difference between true prophets and self-appointed ones is their attitude. Legitimate prophets are loving, servant-hearted and submitted to godly authority. Dangerous prophets are those who can't be corrected. They are spiritually proud, they tend to be loners and they leave a trail of damaged relationships in their wake. Never allow someone like this to be in a leadership position.

3. The attention-getter. In the church we encourage volunteers to discover their gifts. This works well until someone comes along who needs to prove something to himself or everyone else. Then things get weird—especially because churches have platforms and microphones. Emotionally needy people want the stage. They may even ask for a chance to preach or sing a solo—and they might get mad if you don't let them.

From my reading of Scripture, God does not pick people who want the spotlight. He calls broken men and women who know they have nothing to offer. He chooses leaders who trust not in their own ability but in His. We must teach immature attention seekers that God must crush all selfish ambition before He puts them in a visible position. And we must teach that ministry is about serving when no one else sees.

4. The bitter avenger. The church is full of people who have been hurt by pastors or by other church members. That's understandable. But if someone has not resolved their hurts, they can spread their resentment like a cancer. Hebrews 12:15 warns us to be careful of those with a "root of bitterness" because this will cause trouble and defile many. Bitterness is often the cause of church splits. Never allow a bitter person to be in a leadership position.

5. The sexual predator. Paul told the Ephesian elders to "be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock" (Acts 20:28). This watchful attitude is especially important in today's carefree sexual environment. Wolves prey on the innocent—and that includes children, abused women who have low self-esteem and anyone struggling with sexual confusion. Churches must enforce strict rules about who works with kids and youth. And we must be willing to confront any immoral person—man or woman—who is using church to find a new sex partner. 

6. The immature know-it-all. Long ago, Satan led an angelic rebellion in heaven. Since then, many young leaders have tried to overthrow older leaders to start new movements. This process is always messy and divisive—and those who lead such rebellions discover that the ugly cycle is repeated when they get old. What goes around comes around.

We could eliminate this pain if young leaders would emulate David, who waited patiently for God to give him the throne instead of grasping for King Saul's position. Any young leader who is too eager to rule has not been fully tested. 1 Timothy 3:6 warns that we should never put a new convert in a position of leadership, "so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6).

The Bible has given us clear warnings about who to trust in leadership. Never give these six characters a position in your church until they have fallen on the rock and allowed the Holy Spirit to transform their character.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, 10 Lies Men Believe, Fearless Daughters of the Bible and The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale. You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at themordecaiproject.org.

 



8 Myths About Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System

Reuters file photo
Ron Cantor/Messiah's Mandate | Israel's Iron Dome defense system is not 100 percent effective.
After a week of quiet, it is back on. Hamas is firing rockets (sometimes 10 at a time) all over Israel.
But it's all paradise in the Holy Land, because we have the Iron Dome. Or is it?
While the U.N. Humans Rights 'cartel' says we have unfair advantage over the terrorists who attacked us and even hinted that we should share our Iron Dome technology with Hamas, there are some myths about its effectiveness.
 
1. IronDome is 100 percent effective.
While the Iron Dome has been a miracle in so many ways, 10 percent of the missiles evade it. That means one out of every ten missiles the Iron Dome targets will get through. While these are pretty good odds, we are talking about a living, functioning society. Imagine San Francisco being bombarded with rockets. I use San Francisco because of Nancy Pelosi's absurd declaration that Hamas is a Humanitarian organization—or at least the Qataris assure her of this (by the way, the Qataris, those fine humanitarians told the leader of Hamas that if he signed the Egyptian ceasefire, he could be kicked out of the country).
Thank God for His intervention. Today a rocket slammed into an Ashkelon mall injuring no one! All my in-laws are from Ashkelon.
Another soldier reports targeting a Hamas missile with the Iron Dome but missing three times. He said the rocket would've hit close to Tel Aviv's tallest building, but at the last minute, a powerful gust of wind redirected it into the sea. Thank God, but still, we must live with these near misses.
 
2. Because of the IronDome, Israel's economy has been unaffected.
My friend Yosi works as a cook at a beachside restaurant in Ashkelon. When we delivered a check to him and his wife to help with their expenses, he was going to work for the first time in three weeks. Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire. Of course, by the time we left, the Iron Dome was taking on incoming fire. That was one of the eight ceasefires that Hamas has broken.
Yosi is back home.
Israel's tourism industry has taken a hit. Who wants to come to a country that is being bombarded with Rockets? Families are not going out to eat. Jobs are being lost. Wages can't be paid. Hamas knows this—the media doesn't tell you.
Sure, it is easy to say that this is nothing compared to what Gazans are going through—and that is true. But Israel is taking on fire simply because we exist as a Jewish state. Gaza is taking fire for blatant, belligerent and illegal targeting of noncombatants by their Terrorist leaders. Israel has no choice.
 
3. Israelis must be enjoying the action knowing that the Iron Dome will protect them.
I shot this video while seeking protection from an incoming rocket. When it was all over and I got back on my bike to ride home, I broke down in tears over the absurdity of living in a country where terrorists indiscriminately target civilians to murder them—and then other countries justify it.
I am a 49-year-old man—and I was in tears. Imagine being a 5-year-old boy or girl … Living in Ashkelon, not Tel Aviv … where every night you have to run for your life—several times! It is traumatizing, illegal and inhumane. A country cannot be expected to live like this.
I was driving home from Ashkelon last week when I saw traffic stopped on the other side of route 4. On the other side, a car was engulfed in flames. While I am sure the there was no one inside, as we are told to leave our cars as soon as the siren sounds, it doesn't lessen the emotional trauma on children seeing that image.
The aforementioned Yosi has been sleeping in a tiny protective room with no air conditioner in 90-degree heat, along with this wife, child, mother-in-law and sister-in-law.
 
4. The Iron Dome quietly does it job.
My brother-in-law has an Iron Dome battery almost next door to his home. I don't have the exact stats, but of the over 3,400 rockets fired at Israel from Hamas, Ashkelon has been a favorite target. I would guess that about 15 to 20 rockets a day are launched towards the coastal city.
Each time, a siren sounds that is designed to wake you up quickly. Then, if the Iron Dome believes the rocket is a threat to civilians, it targets the rocket. My brother in law told me, "Each time it is like a plane taking off"—from his backyard. Try getting a good night's sleep.
 
5. Once the Iron Dome hits it's all is good.
This is true, unless shrapnel falls from the sky and hits you. In the moments after I shot the video of the Iron Dome taking out its target—a Hamas Rocket meant to kill innocent civilians—a huge piece of shrapnel fell to the ground at a murderous speed, landing in a public park where children were playing.
While I was writing this, Hamas sent 13 rockets to areas all over Israel.
According to Israeli Police, pieces of rocket (shrapnel) fell on Jerusalem's Hebron Road, a major thoroughfare in southern Jerusalem. A boom was heard over the capital minutes before, likely from the interception of the rocket. (TimesofIsrael.com)
The giant piece of shrapnel fell in a public park where kids were playing.
 
6. Israel can shoot Iron Dome anti-rocket missiles forever.
Well, hopefully we can, but please understand, each rocket costs $50,000. That amount is well beyond the average yearly income of Israelis.
 
7. Hamas Rockets are "not armed."
I heard a legal advisor for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas state this. In reality, each Qassam Rocket has between 12 and 44 pounds of explosives in its warhead consisting of metal bearings. You must fact-check EVERYTHING that the Palestinian Authority or Hamas say. The same adviser said Hamas is absolutely not using children as Human Shields, despite the overwhelming proof to the contrary.
 
8. The Iron Dome eliminates any lasting trauma.
Understand that I missed most of this war because I was in the U.S. Since returning, I have only had to run from rockets four times. And still, every sound that I hear, whether it is a car speeding up, a washing machine on the spin cycle, or children playing, I think it is a siren announcing an incoming rocket.
If that is what I am going through, imagine what type of PTSD symptoms the children of S'derot, Ashkelon and Ashdod are experiencing. Fear of going to sleep, dreaming of incoming rockets, thinking that you will die before summer's end or that you parents will be killed … this is a traumatic experience I would not wish on anyone.
 
Just today a woman was seriously injured in a traffic accident when the sirens began to blare. So despite the lack of direct success that Hamas rockets have achieved, there is an indirect success that can life altering and deadly.
 
In conclusion, I would to suggest that every talking head, like Jon Stewart, who assumes that living through a war like this is easy because we have the Iron Dome, come to Israel and rent a hotel room in Ashkelon or S'derot. Let's see how long you last. And maybe, just over your hotel, to be fair, we won't use the Iron Dome … as you say it is using disproportionate force. But what you will discover, is that when it is you and your family being attacked, disproportional force is exactly what you will want!
Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah's Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book is Identity Theft. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.
For the original article, visit messiahsmandate.org.


Can Christians transcend the nihilism of our politics?

Followers of Christ are called to “hope all things.” According to Paul, this is one of the defining features of love. (image source)

I heard a story recently about a fairly well-known evangelical figure who was confronted about public statements he had made in writing and interviews. A fellow believer met and reasoned with him for several hours, explaining that he believed the leader had deceived his audience. When the facts became overwhelming, this influential evangelical conceded that he had been playing fast and loose with facts. However, since his overall message was true and important, he reasoned, it was justifiable to fudge the details in order to motivate voters to make the right decision.

You’re wondering who this evangelical leader is, but in a sense it doesn’t matter, because he could be just about anybody. The belief that American voters must be manipulated rather than reasoned with if we want to institute any meaningful change is endemic. But this belief is essentially nihilist because it makes all political discourse a matter of coercion, a matter of who is doing the coercing and to what ends. I call this nihilist because it makes power, not truth, goodness, or beauty, the foundation of politics.

Followers of Christ are called to “hope all things.” According to Paul, this is one of the defining features of love. If this is true, then for Christians, there is no room for nihilist politics. We are obligated to treat our neighbors as people who deserve honest appeals. This does not mean that all political discourse must be highly rational. There is a place for appeals to emotion, as well as to beauty. Don’t think I am denouncing all political ads that appeal to our emotions. While I do think that our politics could do with a great deal more logic and reason, I reject the idea that only what is rational is relevant to political discourse.

No, my objection is to appeals that are dishonest, and dishonesty can be cloaked in “reason” or “emotion” or “patriotism.” The most common and insidious form that this takes is the example I began with: when we lie about particulars in order to justify a general truth. I call this insidious because it occurs so subtly and is so easy for us to personally justify.

A recent high-profile example of apparent deception for a greater good came from presidential candidate Ted Cruz. According to some accounts, the senator used publically available voting data to shame neighbors into participating in the Iowa caucus. The Cruz campaign sent official-looking letters that urged Iowa residents to vote and gave them and their neighbors a letter grade for past voting. According to the New Yorker, these “grades” were made up and did not reflect residents’ actual voting history. This tactic received significant backlash from voters and Iowa state leaders alike. They felt it was coercive to use shame to get people to vote and deceptive for the Cruz campaign to assign letter grades to voting records, as if the grades were an official part of that record.

Cruz isn’t the first candidate to use this strategy. In 2012, President Obama’s reelection campaign used a similar strategy. The MoveOn campaign mailed out 12 million letters that used “social pressure” to drive voters to the polls. Apparently across the aisle, politicians believe that manipulative, deceptive practices are sometimes necessary to win bigger, more important battles.

But it’s not just political elites who fall into nihilism, where truth is subservient to the power to persuade. Our public conversations about news events and politics often fall into this, too. Let’s say I share a sensational news report about something that Sarah Palin recently said. I add some commentary to the post about how the quotation represents how ignorant Palin is, and several of my friends join in the mockery. Then another friend points out that she never actually made that statement. Embarrassed and anxious to save face, I reply, “Sure, this quotation is fake, but she says stuff like this all the time. The point is, she’s ignorant.”

The problem with this justification, aside from it being an excuse for deception, is that particulars do matter. Maybe Palin has said some outlandish things in her career, but if she hasn’t said those particular words, then by sharing that story you are changing the way people understand her. Put differently, even when a general idea is true, if we misrepresent the particulars, we will necessarily misrepresent the general truth.

As Christians, we should know better than to spread untruths, even when we believe they further a greater, worthy cause. But if you pay attention, you will find people from elite politicians to average citizens accepting and practicing a political nihilism. The fear is that if we don’t exaggerate the facts, if we don’t overstate our argument, if we don’t make a threat sound more serious than it really is, if we don’t make up a few stories that could be true in some sense, then voters won’t be moved to act. And everything will remain the same or get worse.

What this logic assumes is that we cannot trust our neighbors. That we cannot hope all things about them and their ability to reason, understand complex issues, and vote. We treat our neighbors as children who have to be tricked in order to get them to do what we believe is best for them. This kind of hopelessness and disregard for our neighbors is paternalistic and unloving. And this logic denies the sovereignty of God by suggesting that we have cheat to save our country. If God is truly God, then recourse to sin is never necessary to make the world a better place, even in politics.

Hoping all things about our neighbors does not mean that we must be naïve. Not everyone has a college degree, not everyone has time to sort through the rationale between different policies, and not everyone has the resources to fact-check arguments they hear. To be realistic and yet hope all things means that we desire and hope our neighbors will engage thoughtfully with an issue at the level they are capable of given their life situation. The difference is that we should never lose hope in reasoning together such that we resort to coercion and power for the “greater good.”

As this political season rolls on, remember to love your voting neighbors, regardless of who they support and why. Love them, and in that love, hope that they can be reasoned with.

O. Alan Noble, Ph.D., is editor in chief of Christ and Pop Culture and an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University. He received his Ph.D. from Baylor in 2013. He and his family attend City Presbyterian in OKC. You may not follow him on Twitter.