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The Autistic Brain – Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is a hero in the autism community, and for good reason. At 65 years of age, she is one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known adults with autism. She grew up in an era when children with autism were shunned while their mothers were blamed. But Temple’s mother would have none of it; she fought to get her daughter help, which often meant pioneering new forms of treatment for the mostly unknown disorder.

Thanks to the efforts of many, including caring, dedicated, and creative teachers, Temple came out of her shell. Today Dr. Grandin is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and has designed equipment used in nearly half of all cattle processing facilities in North America, leading to significant improvements in the treatment of animals. This and other aspects of  Temple’s life story were beautifully portrayed in an HBO movie starring Claire Danes that received seven Emmy awards. 

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You’re an Author, So You Must Be Rich

Let agent Steve Laube disabuse you of such myths.

Rick Warren Asks for Prayer After Son Takes Own Life

Matthew Warren, 27, who struggled from birth with mental illness, has taken his own life.   This is a good time to join with millions of others in prayer for Pastor Warren and his family.  Here’s what he wrote to his staff:  

To my dear staff,

Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us.

No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.

You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a beeline to that person to engage and encourage them.

But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.

Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, “Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.

Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.

Pastor Rick

May our LORD sovereignly use this tragedy to accomplish great good.

Edith Schaeffer (1914-2013)

Edith Schaeffer, widow of renown apologist Francis Schaeffer, went home to be with the Lord today. Alongside her husband, she was instrumental in running the day-to-day operations of the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland since its founding in 1955. The name “L’Abri” came from the French word for “shelter.” L’Abri was a large home that people could come and stay to discuss God and the meaning of life, along with other spiritual questions. 

One of the Schaeffers’ many legacies was helping others see that the Christian worldview was intelligible–it wasn’t just a leap in the dark. On the contrary, Christianity made good sense, and it could satisfyingly and reliably explain the world and everything in it, including suffering and evil.  Another legacy was hospitality, something Edith was particularly known for.

Edith ultimately wrote or co-wrote eighteen books (see below), including Affliction, a book on suffering, and the autobiographical The Tapestry: the Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, each of which received the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively). Those looking for a good biography on Francis Schaeffer should consider Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life by Colin Duriez.  To my knowledge, there is no book-length biography of Edith Schaeffer.  The best way to benefit from Schaeffer’s work is to pick up The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview (5 Volume Set), which, at over 2000 pages, is well worth the price.

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Doug Wilson, Race and Slavery

Thabiti Anyabwile has written an excellent summary of Doug Wilson’s controversial book Black & Tan: A Collection of Essays and Excursions on Slavery, Culture War, and Scripture in America.  In the days to come Anyabwile will interact with Wilson’s view, but for now here’s a summary of the summary:

Wilson rejects racism, but on slavery argues that:

1. The Bible speaks authoritatively about slavery and Christians are duty-bound to obey its teaching (p. 14, 37).

2. The slave trade was an abomination and is clearly rejected in the Bible (1 Tim. 1:10; Exod. 21:16). 

3. The slavery regulated in the Mosaic law differs from slavery in pagan empires like Rome.

4. Christians must denounce as a matter of biblical principle any racism, racial animosity, or racial vainglory involved in American slavery or any other race-based system of slavery.

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President Clinton Flips on DOMA

Want an indication of how quickly the cultural landscape has shifted on the issue of same-sex “marriage”? In a Washington Post op-ed today, President Clinton flipped on DOMA, arguing that the law he signed 17 years ago, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress, is in fact unconstitutional.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is one of two major marriage-related cases to be heard by the Supreme Court in the near future. The other has to do with the Proposition 8 law passed in the state of CA in 2008, and is scheduled for oral arguments later this month.  Emily Belz explains the significance of both cases. Excerpt:

The lead-up to the high court taking these two cases parallels the lead-up to the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. At the state level in the decades before Roe, voters blocked referendum after referendum to legalize abortion by sizable majorities. But then the Supreme Court stepped in and overturned many state-level restrictions on abortion with one decision. Similarly, in the last decade, 38 states have passed traditional marriage laws, either by referendum or in legislatures. The Supreme Court could upend those laws with these cases.

One difference is that public opinion against same-sex “marriage” is weaker than it was against abortion at the time of Roe. In the last 15 years, opposition to gay marriage has dropped by 20 points according to the Pew Research Center, down to 43 percent this year. In 1972, a Gallup poll showed that 66 percent of Americans opposed elective abortions. The court, of course, enjoys ignoring public opinion in all of its cases.

The court will likely hear both cases in late March, according to court expert Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog.

Republicans and Their Faulty Moral Arithmetic

This weekend Gov. Romney and his wife returned to the national stage with a lengthy interview on FOX news.  Why did his campaign fall short?  In a sentence:  Only one in three voters sensed that Mitt Romney “cares about people like me.”  Fair or unfair, perceptions shape elections.

In today’s WSJ, Arthur Brooks pens a devastatingly accurate assessment on why Republicans are struggling to connect with voters.  He notes that “citizens across the political spectrum place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak.”  Then he writes:

Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

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Why Are Conservatives Losing The Marriage Debate?

Rod Dreher quotes a young adult who supports gay marriage:

Your conception of marriage, the traditional one, is that a man and a woman get married for the purpose of procreation. Marriage isn’t really about romantic love in this conception, but rather a framework for the rearing of children. If we take for granted that this is what marriage is, then I don’t think it’s bigoted at all to not have gay marriage, so long as the coupling is respected.

The problem for people my age is this: your definition of marriage was displaced prior to our lifetime. I have no memory of when that definition was true. Virtually everyone under the age of 30 has lived their entire lives under a culture that believes marriage is an expression of romantic love between two people.

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Howard Hendricks (1924-2013)

Denny Burk offers a great testimony to the life and legacy of Dr. Howard Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for over 60 years. Hendricks was a masterful, passionate teacher, and a remarkable mentor to many.

Dr. Ben Carson – Message at National Prayer Breakfast

Dr. Benjamin Carson addressed the National Prayer Breakfast this past Thursday morning. He’s the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the author of America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great (currently the #1 book on Amazon). It’s a phenomenal speech in many ways, covering an array of topics–political correctness, personal responsibility, the value of education and hard work, even the federal deficit, national debt, tax policy, and health care.

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