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Weekly Briefings with Dr. Nick Pitts

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1. Georgia college says sharing the gospel is “fighting words”
“In the latest, Georgia Gwinnett College is trying to have a lawsuit dismissed claiming the student plaintiff had spoken “fighting words” on campus and had no first amendment protections. The fighting words? The student, Chike Uzuegbunam, went to a free speech zone on campus and shared the gospel.

“Georgia Gwinnett College has now filed a motion to dismiss claiming sharing the gospel is akin to fighting words and has no legal protection.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: School officials said his speech “generated complaints” and constituted “disorderly conduct.” Such is the gospel, turning the world upside down since the 1st century (Acts 17:6) The college campus is where young curiosity meets inquisitive experts. The students should be free to asks questions and put forward truth claims. The professors should be free to test their hypotheses, pushing the knowledge base further. Freedom of speech is a necessary component to this. In this great American experiment, we should be free to give a response for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). However, we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). If the world must hate you, let them hate you for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10), not for being rude.

2. Ann Coulter vows to speak at Berkeley despite cancellation
“I WILL BE SPEAKING NEXT THURSDAY,” the right-wing commentator tweeted, calling the move to cancel her planned event on April 27 a ban on free speech.

“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue,” said the letter from Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton. “Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: In a shocking twist, Ann Coulter is going against the grain. A Gallup poll showed that sixty-nine percent of college students said they would be in favor of prohibiting “intentionally offensive” speech on campus. But who defines offensive? Relative to Americans 35 and under, 41 percent think “the First Amendment is dangerous.” George Washington noted, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” French writer Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” Is this a smart move for Coulter? Should she heed security warnings or not cower in fear? Perhaps the better question for Coulter to answer is this: what is the purpose of her event? To encourage her base or reason with the opposite side – who appear to be unreasonable since they are using their free speech to limit her speech? All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).

3. One dead, two wounded as Paris police come under fire
‘The Islamic State, through its affiliated Amaq News Agency, quickly asserted responsibility for the attack, which sent panicked pedestrians fleeing into side streets and prompted police to seal off the renowned Champs-Elysee, close metro stations and order tourists back into their hotels. The terrorist organization said the attack was carried out by a Belgian national it identified only as Abu Yusuf al-Baljiki, a pseudonym.

“The incident occurred three days before France holds the first round of a hotly contested presidential election, with candidates from across the political spectrum vying to succeed François Hollande as president. Hollande scheduled an emergency meeting late Thursday to discuss the attack.”  READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: French voters will go to the polls on Sunday for the first round of presidential elections. Candidates perceived as tougher on crime and terrorism, like the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, could benefit this tragedy. Here is an explainer of Sunday’s election. And here is an overview of France’s presidential candidates. And here is how we can pray for the tragic situation: that God would transform the leader of ISIS into a son of God, that God would provide comfort and grace to the victims’ families and friends, that justice would flow like a mighty river, and that God would provide immeasurable wisdom to the leaders in the coming days (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 1:2-4, 2 Corinthians 9:8, James 1:5, Acts 9, Amos 5:24).

4. Millennials differ from other generations in almost every regard. There’s data to Prove it!
“In 1975, 25% of men between 25 and 34 had incomes of less than $30,000 (adjusted for inflation) per year. By 2016, it was 41%…The number of young women ages 25 to 34 in the workforce jumped more than 40% between 1975 and 2016…Between 1975 and 2016, the number of young female “homemakers” dropped from 43% to 14%.

“1 in 3 young Americans lives with a parent or parents. Of those, 1 in 4 does not work or go to school….In 1975, far more young adults lived with a spouse than a parent. By 2016, more young adults lived with their parents than a husband or wife.
“41% of young families had a student debt in 2013, up from 17% in 1989 and the amount owed on those loans has almost tripled.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: I am an Uber-riding, selfie-taking, student-debt-accumulating, city-dwelling, norm-bucking millennial. Don’t group me, because Nobody puts Baby in a Corner. I defy your labels, but admire your fascination. I am someone born between 1980 and 1997, and I have the participation trophies to prove it. I have chosen to write in the first person knowing it is looked down upon, but norms don’t apply to me because that is your truth, not my truth. But in all seriousness, the chief characteristic that explains most millennial statistics is this: a deep distrust of institutions. For millennials, institutions have always been seen in a less than glamourous light. Enron with business, Lehman Brothers in finance, the Catholic church regarding religion, divorce with families, and Bill Clinton/David Vitter in politics. So what have millennials done? We flee institutions yet remain convinced that we can change the world. But M. Talleyrand is prophetically right: without individuals nothing changes, without institutions nothing survives. Let’s not replicate the David/Absalom generational relationship (2 Samuel 15). Instead, let’s aim for Elijah/Elisha (2 Kings 2). As the Beatles crooned, come together, right now.

5. Creativity Makes You Seem More Attractive
“To Christopher Watkins, a professor of psychology at Scotland’s Abertay University and the author of the study, the results show that creativity can help boost the romantic and social prospects of average-looking men. Creativity, Watkins says, is a proxy for intelligence, and it signals the ability of your potential future mate or friend to solve tricky problems.

“In the first two studies, a high creativity rating made the less-attractive women seem even uglier, and “less-creative but attractive women were preferred relative to creative but less-attractive women.” In other words, if you’re female, the only thing men care about you sculpting are your eyebrows.” READ THE FULL STORY

Nick Note: It may be just my imagination, but The Temptations are prophets if this research is correct. But what constitutes attractiveness? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or is there some objectivity? In the Scriptures, we read that God shines forth in perfect beauty from Zion (Psalm 50:2). He shines to such an extent that David said he just wanted to gaze at this beauty all the days of his life (Psalm 27:4). As Christians, we are to be creative. Specifically, we are to create heaven down here on earth (Matthew 6:10). Instead of heeding John Lennon’s lyric to Imagine there’s no heaven, we should use our imagination to make little bits of heaven here on earth. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m really just a son of the King…

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