By Melissa Wuske
Skeptical vs. Hostile About the Bible
In their annual State of the Bible survey, the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group aimed to get a better sense of the growing group of people who do not believe the Bible is inspired by God. To do that, they asked whether people believed the Bible writers were trying to manipulate or control people. About 81 percent of that group answered yes. This allowed the report to take a closer look at this group by breaking them into two groups: those hostile to the Bible and those skeptical of the Bible.
Around 72 percent of those hostile to the Bible think that it has too much influence on American society, while only 42 percent of skeptics hold that belief. Those hostile to the Bible are more likely than those who are skeptical to believe that morality is on the decline, but both groups are more likely to attribute the decline to corporate greed than lack of Bible reading. Around two-thirds of both groups have a Bible in their home, and 61 percent of both groups say they’re somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible (proven by a significant percentage of those surveyed who could back up that claim with knowledge of some basic Bible facts).
Tip or Gift?
More than half of Americans think the federal tax system is unfair, according to Pew Research. Some people are responding with what’s become known as the Libertarian Tip. The concept took off on social media when a person in Missouri wrote a 0 on the tip line of a restaurant receipt. Instead they left cash totaling more than 20 percent of their bill with a note: “This is not a tip. This is a personal gift and not subject to federal or state income taxes.”
Caring for North Korean Orphans
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) is starting a new program to care for the growing number of North Korean orphans living in China. Some of the children lost their parents to starvation, prison, or martyrdom as they fled North Korea. Others are the children of North Korean women who have been trafficked to China—a growing prevalence as China’s One Child policy and preference for male children has led to a lack of partners for Chinese men, who then use disreputable means to find women.
North Korean children have no legal status in China, even if one of their parents is Chinese, so they cannot be adopted and they face starvation or imprisonment if they return to North Korea. The VOM program will put children in small, family-like settings to give them a safe place to live and recover from the psychological trauma they’ve experienced. Staff and teachers will live with the students and disciple them in culturally appropriate ways.
A Special Pancake Recipe
When Rosa Parks’s personal papers were published, people got a glimpse inside the life of the famed hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the notable historical papers was a recipe on the back of an envelope: Featherlite Pancakes with an atypical ingredient—peanut butter.
“This recipe is quintessentially African-American,” said Adrienne Cannon, who curates Parks’s papers. Peanuts came to the U.S. through the African slave trade. They were often cultivated by slaves in the American South to supplement their diets. And they came to prominence through the work of George Washington Carver, who studied in Parks’s hometown.
For Nicole Taylor, a food writer, the recipe helps show a different side of an iconic figure: “She wasn’t just this person who was all about the civil rights movement. She cared about nurturing and feeding her family.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).