If you’ve been breathing and sentient at any point in the last decade or so, odds are good you took in at least a couple of episodes of “The Office.” One of the supporting cast stars of that sitcom was actor John Krasinski.
Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, he recently went looking for some good news. And boy did he find it. Being an actor, he turned it into a show. Just not your typical show. Being a journalist by profession, I couldn’t resist.
“For years now, I’ve been wondering, why is there not a news show dedicated entirely to good news?” Krasinski explains on the first edition of his Some Good News (SGN) on, where else, youtube.com. “Well, desperately seeking my fix somewhere else, I reached out to all of you this week, asking — nay, begging — for some good news.” Interesting discussion with Steve Carrell, too:
Billions of people down through history have called upon the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, memorized His words and followed His teachings even though they never met Him in person.
Do you have any idea how amazing it is that we in the third decade of the 21st century even know His name, much less any of the unbelievable things He said about Himself and about us?
Think about these facts about Jesus:
He came from an obscure village, Nazareth, in a remote region, Galilee, of a backwater nation, Israel, that had been conquered and re-conquered repeatedly by the major powers surrounding it throughout ancient history, culminating in His lifetime with the imperial domination by Rome.
Whenever there are tough times either for the nation or for us as individuals, it’s inevitable that people ask where God is in the midst of the challenges, pain and setbacks.
HillFaith is focused on the 20,000 or so mostly young men and women who work on Capitol Hill for senators, representatives and congressional agencies, but I actually live in Maryland and attend Friendship Baptist Church with my wife, Claudia, in Sykesville.
Like thousands of other churches in America, our Sunday morning services, Grow Groups (what used to be known as “Sunday School”) and Connection Groups (small groups for fellowship, service and study) have gone online until the Pandemic is sufficiently past that groups will again be allowed to meet.
This morning’s service by Senior Pastor Mark Massey is on this question of where is God when we need Him in the midst of crises. I suspect there are more than a few HillFaith readers who are asking this question and perhaps Mark’s sermon thoughts will be helpful:
Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) died Friday after waging a long battle against the prostate cancer that prompted his retirement in 2013. I have no doubt that he would still be in the Senate today, absent the cancer.
Being a fellow Oklahoman and graduate of Oklahoma State University, I admit to having a particular interest in Coburn, but parochial considerations aside, I admired him immensely because he never succumbed to the temptations of fame and power that too often make Washington, D.C. what it is.
Coburn was first and forever a genuine man of the people, the real-life “Okie from Muskogee,” full of blunt courage, deep common-sense and immense admiration for the wisdom of America’s founders.
There was never any doubt about where this man stood on an important issue or worry that he would betray his principles. That is a priceless virtue in the nation’s capital and one that is far too rarely seen these days.
Coburn was a committed follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. His family said of his passing that, “Because of his strong faith, he rested in the hope found in John chapter 11 verse 25 where Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, will live, even though they die.’ Today he lives in heaven.”
The genuineness of his faith was seen in how Coburn treated his staff. Tears came to my eyes earlier this morning when I read these words from Keith Ashdown, who was Coburn’s staff director on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee:
“I was raised by a single mom. The closest thing I had to a father figure in my life passed away this morning,” Ashdown said in a tweet. “Senator Tom Coburn was a great lawmaker and even a better man. Working for him was one of the greatest honors of my life.”
And former long-time Coburn communications director John Hart’s tribute stirred my tears as well:
“His family came first and our hearts break for their loss. But those of us who had the joy and privilege of working with him were all his adopted sons and daughters. He made room in his heart for all of us and we kept in close touch with him until the end.
“He would always find time to challenge, encourage, correct and guide us. He touched us all deeply and gave us a gift that has blessed our lives and families beyond measure.”
One of the ways journalists covering Congress privately assess senators and representatives is by what their staffs say about them in candid, confidential moments. Coburn’s staff meant it when they expressed admiration for their boss, which was frequently. Coburn was so different from so many others we cover.
Count yourself blessed immensely if you ever have the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill — or anywhere else, for that matter —for a man like Tom Coburn.
Bob Perry is a commercial airline pilot who has seen the coronavirus pandemic up close and personal in recent days. He’s also talented, thoughtful observer from a Christian perspective, writing at True Horizon. Here’s a sample:
“Christianity exploded during the plagues and persecutions in the ancient world. And it did so precisely because Christians served those who most needed it. They comforted and cared for the sick and dying. This isn’t just a job for healthcare professionals. It’s a duty for us all …
Take an introductory astronomy or physics class on a typical college or university campus these days and at some point there will be a great deal of attention paid to the Three Laws of Planetary Motion discovered by Johannes Kepler, one of the chief movers of the Scientific Revolution.
What will almost certainly get little or no attention in the class will be the fact that Kepler was a believing Christian who recognized the deep theological implications of those laws. The reason little is said about Kepler’s faith is the myth that Christianity and science are opposites.
In the following video, historian Michael Keas takes viewers on a detailed and enriching review of the facts that make clear Christianity was an enabler of science beginning very early on and without it much of what we take for granted today might well not be with us:
We human beings are such curious beings. Consider for example how we often deal with subjects we’d rather, for whatever reason, avoid, delay or simply ignore. It’s called rationalization.
As we saw in Wednesday’s post, the vast majority of historians of the ancient world agree Jesus Christ was crucified, that his grave was found empty three days later and his disciples maintained to their deaths that they had seen and talked with the resurrected Jesus.
If those three facts are true, it means all of us then must decide what we’ll do with the claim of Jesus to be God and the only way any of us can be accepted into Heaven. The following video from reasaonblefaith.org addresses the four most common rationalizations for avoiding those three facts and the implications for each of us:
Donald Stevens is the new guy in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s office, serving as Counsel via Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Stevens is a 2014 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He also earned an MA in history in 2010 from the University of Oregon and a BA in chemistry in 2007 from Stanford.
Over on the House side, Ashlee Rossler has saddled up as Legislative Assistant/Counsel for Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio). Ashlee’s law degree was awarded by the University of Wisconsin School of Law in 2019 and she received her BA in international relations and political science from Syracuse University in 2015.
It must be Counsel Week on the Hill because number three here is Ronce Almondheading over to fill that duty for the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee via Ranking Minority Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Ronce’s law and political science MA are both from Duke University, while his BA in history comes from George Washington University.
LOOKING FOR A HILL JOB?
Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for Senators Don Nickle (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Bernhardt has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.
Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:6) Think about that – He said He alone holds your ultimate destiny and mine in His hands. As C.S. Lewis famously observed:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.”
But how do you know which is right, that Jesus was exactly who and what He claimed to be or He was a nutcase, a liar and a deceiver? The following video, the first of a two-part series produced by reasonablefaith.org, examines the three most basic facts that point us in the right direction:
Here’s a fascinating approach for anybody who wonders about the answers to these three questions — why are they here, what is the purpose of their life and what happens to them when they die — because the answers to four other questions are all yes.
That’s according to Dr. Frank Turek, founder of cross-examined.org and co-author of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist,” which is a book that anybody who wonders about these things should read, no matter your ultimate perspective.
The four questions are: Does Truth Exist? Does God Exist? Are Miracles Possible? Is The New Testament Reliable Enough To Show Us Jesus Rose From The Dead? This may be the most important three minutes and 44 seconds of your life:
But what about the other nearly five billion people who are followers of other religions such as Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, or who don’t believe in any faith? Countless millions of them never hear about Jesus?
Is God just for punishing those hundreds of millions who never hear about Jesus or His claims to be the only way any human being can find the way to eternal Heaven? This video from Reasonable Faith provides a thought-provoking response to that issue:
J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and career Los Angeles law enforcement expert, was asked recently what it was that prompted him to take a serious look at the evidence for Christianity.
“We had been together about 18 years before she convinced me to go to church. I was more than willing but I thought I would just be going as an attendee,” Wallace said of why he agreed to accompany his wife to a service. Even if it wasn’t true, he thought, it might be useful if it helped him and his wife raise their children.
“Did I mock the Christians I met? Yeah, I did,” Wallace continued. “A lot of the Christians I met were people we were taking to jail, so they were easy to mock.” Wallace specialized in the oldest unsolved murder cases and he recalled one individual in particular who had committed the crime 25 years before. “I found 12 years worth of Bible studies in that guy’s house,” he said.
Today, Wallace is one of the world’s best-known Christian apologists. He explains how and why it happened in the following video:
Leslie Shedd is the new Communications Director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Republicans, working for Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking minority member. Leslie earned her BA in political science and french from Clemson University in 2001 and her law degree in 2007 from the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law. Leslie is a devoted Clemson fan.
Moving over from the O’Rourke presidential campaign staff to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) as a special adviser is Allison Hunn. You may also know Allison from the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs where she served as a special assistant from 2013 to 2015. Allison’s BA in french was awarded by the University of Virginia in 2011. Her law degree came in 2018 from the University of California at Berkley. Continue reading “STAFF MOVES: Look Who’s Getting Promoted On Capitol Hill This Week”
You’ve almost certainly never heard of Ota Benga, a diminutive young man taken from the Belgian Congo early in the first decade of the last century, and literally put on display in New York City in a cage with a monkey.
There is much discussion in America’s public forums about the country’s historic racism, with the New York Times’ “1619 Project” being among the most notable. But the Times defended putting Ota Benga on display in a cage, as did many of the most respected scientists of the day.
This award-winning documentary produced by Discovery Science is 55 minutes in length, much longer than the typical video I post here on HillFaith. But it will mesmerize and horrify you, both for the evil it documents and the realization that those who promote the narrative underlying “1619” leave out of their account the most important truths.
There was a minor flap in some quarters of the media and other precincts of the intelligentsia a few days ago when a news photo appeared of Vice President Mike Pence leading a White House meeting of the coronavirus task force in prayer.
Among those disgusted/amused/outraged/otherwise non-plussed by the photo was evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who snapped: