Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
When life is hard it can feel as though the Lord has pulled back. When life is easy it can feel as though he is cheering us on. The first is wrong, the second may be. Like pilots who trust their instruments, we must trust what God has revealed in Scripture. And we should realize, if we do not trust it when it tells us things we do not want to hear, we are less likely to trust it when it tells us things we do want to hear – e.g., the depth of his love for us.
Misattributions: Abraham Lincoln did not say, “If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.” Vince Lombardi did not say, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” Mark Twain did not say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.” Bill Gates did not say, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are, you’ll end up working for one.” Tocqueville did not say, “America is great because it is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” St. Francis did not say, “Preach the Gospel. If necessary use words.” Gandhi did not say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” And Machiavelli did not say “The ends justify the means.” John F. Kennedy did say that the Chinese symbol for crisis is the combination of the characters for danger and opportunity but he was wrong. Which brings us back to Abraham Lincoln, who did say, “You can’t trust everything you read on the Internet.”
Without Comment: 1) Though only 3.5% of high school athletes play a Varsity sport in college, an E&Y study finds that 52% of the women who move into a C-suite job played competitive sports in college; 2) Over 7B Prager videos have been downloaded since the company started 10 years ago (1.2B in 2022 alone); 3) The national debt currently stands at 31T, which is about $94K for every person in the country; 4) This Columbia University study suggests that in addition to being more patriotic and more religious, conservative teenagers are generally happier than their liberal peers; This survey suggests that liberal, white girls are more likely to be depressed than their peers; This article notes that just over 50% of liberal, white girls have been told they have a mental health issue; 5) This report notes the U.S. Capitol Police’s claim that threats against federal law makers are up 400% in the last six years; and 6) This you.gov survey suggests that Ds and Rs are deeply divided in what sources they trust for news, but they both trust the Weather Channel most of all.
WOTW: Technology shock, post-antibiotic age and mommune (single women living together in nonromantic relationships in order to help each other raise their children) all receive honorable mention this week. Full honors go to pneumonia front (a Chicago weather event where temps drop at least 20 degrees in 20 minutes – i.e., like this past Tuesday!).
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Quotes Worth Requoting: 1) How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. Annie Dillard; 2) Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims. John Stonestreet
Resources: Click here to listen to last week’s Mother’s Day sermon; here for my interview with Jason Brown (CEO of Marketplace Chaplains) or here to read chapters four and five from FutureView, my 2016 effort to predict the next five years. Few things are harder to read than dated books on the future, but for the most part I stand by these chapters, which explore advancing technology, including AI.
The DeChurched: News is leaking out about The DeChurching of America, a soon-to-be-released book based on a study of the 40M Americans who “used to attend church once a week but now attend once a year (or less).” The 40M break into three groups: The Mainline – who started leaving in the 70s, the Roman Catholics – who started leaving in the 80s, and the Evangelicals – who started leaving in the 90s. Of the 15M Evangelicals who are now dechurched, 8M are labeled “Cultural Christians” and are noteworthy for at least two reasons: 1) Only 1% of this group believe that Jesus is the Son of God; and 2) Most of them are waiting to be invited back.
Exodus is Trending: What do Dennis Prager (conservative radio host and founder of Prager University), Jordan Peterson (Canadian intellectual and professional provocateur) and Leon Kass (distinguished academic and political philosopher) have in common? They are talking and writing about Exodus – Moses’s 3,400-year-old account of the Jews flight from Egypt. P, P and K are not unique in speaking about Exodus. Rabbis and pastors do so all the time. But their interest is noteworthy. Why Exodus? Why now? I think that as society fragments, we are seeing renewed interest in the legal and religious framework God revealed to the Jews. (When all else fails, read the instructions.)
Minimum Wage: What percentage of the U.S. workforce do you think works for minimum wage?
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Evil: To those asking why I haven’t commented on SatanCon – the annual gathering of Satanists which held a convention in Boston earlier this month: 1) I know little about them; 2) I suspect they’re at least as comic as they are dangerous; and 3) I am less nervous about evil that announces itself as such than I am evil that presents itself as good. BTW, I am especially concerned about the latter that resides in my own heart.
IS2M (It Seems To Me): 1) Given the rise of young adults who struggle with anxiety, depression and narcissism, our efforts to boost self-esteem were either too little or too much. I think the latter; 2) People had a lot more fun at the beginning of the sexual revolution than they’re having now; 3) Claiming the West is important (to say nothing of claiming the West is the best) will get you cancelled, but Joseph Henrich is right, the world is WEIRD – i.e., it is shaped by cultures that are (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic); and 4) Fifteen years ago there was a debate about what to call the first decade of the 21st Century. Nominations included the Oughts, the Naughts, the Naughties, the Zips, the Preteens, the Ohs and the Oh-Ohs. Remarkably, no winner has definitively emerged, but this week I heard several pundits reference the decade and they all called it the “Oughts.”
The Answer: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, less than 2% of the U.S. Work force works for minimum wage (1.9% in 2019 and 1.4% in 2020).¹ Compensation is complicated – and there are some who work for less than this – but this number was much lower than I expected. I was not surprised, however, to learn that working a minimum wage job in the U.S. (i.e., $30K/year) puts you in the top 5% of the world’s income. You can figure out where your salary places you here.
Closing Prayer: Forgive me my sins, O Lord, forgive me the sins of my youth and the sins of my age, the sins of my soul, and the sins of my body, my secret and whispering sins, my presumptuous and my crying sins, the sins that I have done to please myself, and the sins I have done to please others. Forgive me those sins which I know, and those sins which I know not. Amen. (Unknown Author – 6th century).