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Amanda Casanova

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

John Piper suggested in a new piece for his site, Desiring God, that he may not be voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden in the presidential election.

“I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person,” Piper writes. “Flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality and factiousness are not only self-incriminating; they are nation-corrupting.”

Piper says he is not making an endorsement and he doesn’t intend to “dictate how anyone else should vote.”

He said he is “baffled that so many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only toxic for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as deadly.”

He said voters should consider the person and how he impacts the nation, not just in policy, but in his character and convictions.

“This is true not only because flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures.”

In supporting a person who is unrepentant, Piper says Christians sometimes value laws and policies over the person.

“I find it bewildering that Christians can be so sure that greater damage will be done by bad judges, bad laws, and bad policies than is being done by the culture-infecting spread of the gangrene of sinful self-exaltation, and boasting, and strife-stirring (eristikos),” he said.

Piper also said in the post that abortion is “wickedness,” but there is another deadly sin.

When a leader models self-absorbed, self-exalting boastfulness, he models the most deadly behavior in the world,” Piper writes. “He points his nation to destruction. Destruction of more kinds than we can imagine. It is naive to think that a man can be effectively pro-life and manifest consistently the character traits that lead to death — temporal and eternal.”

Following the article’s publication, speculation over who Piper plans to vote arose. This caused the longtime pastor to take to Twitter to confirm that he is neither voting for Trump nor Joe Biden.

“The article we posted today explains why I won’t be voting for Biden or Trump. That choice to “write in” is relatively unimportant. But the reasoning really matters.”

Photo courtesy: John Piper Facebook

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

Luci Swindoll, a devotional author and speaker, died this week from COVID-19 complications. She was 88.

According to Christianity Today, Swindoll was one of the first Women of Faith speakers in the 1990s and also wrote books about Christian singleness.

She was most known for her message to Christian women to find purpose in God and not in the world.

“Legalism is the worst thing that ever happened to the church,” she said. “When I realized that God deals in grace … it set me free to be who I really am.

“Everything changed because of grace,” Swindoll said. “Now all we have to do is know him, trust him, see what he does with our lives, and love people into the kingdom. I don’t think it’s our place to tell people how to live. … We can’t make people believe, but if they see in the believer love and fun and joy and just the thrill of being alive, they say, ‘What is it they have that I don't have? I want it.’”

Swindoll was born in 1932 in El Campo, Texas and raised in Houston. When she was 12, she decided she would not get married.

But in 1950, Swindoll, 18, became engaged to a man just before leaving for college at Mary Hardin-Baylor College. She realized she didn’t want to settle down and broke the engagement.

“I learned it was okay to be myself and like myself—and survive—in spite of my mother’s strong disapproval. She had no category for me because I thwarted her domestic dreams for her only daughter. What was to become of me if I ended up without a husband?” Swindoll wrote.

She worked as a cartographer in Dallas and 30 years later, retired as manager of the Right of Ways and Claims Department for Exxon Mobil. From 1959 to 1973, she performed in some 34 operas.

In 1996, she joined a group of Christian women to start Women of Faith. The event grew from about 2,000 women to more than 20,000. In 2016, the Women of Faith events ended.

“When I’m with the Lord face to face,” Swindoll said, “it is my own life that I lay down and not the prefabrication of one who always tried to be somebody else.”

Photo courtesy: Luci Swindoll Facebook

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Christian recording artist Sean Feucht is slated to bring his worship protest tour to the nation’s capital this Sunday (Oct. 25) despite concerns around mass gatherings during a pandemic. 

Feucht’s tour has received widespread criticism from public health officials and other faith leaders who challenge the wisdom of hosting events where neither he nor many attendees wear masks or abide by social distancing restrictions. 

As reported by The Daily Beast, the National Park Service has already approved a permit for the event, which organizers expect up to 15,000 people to attend. The concert is part of Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” tour, which has consisted of sporadic and sometimes impromptu performances — featuring attendees belting out praise songs — at various locations across the country.

The Park Service provided Religion News Service with Feucht’s permit Wednesday afternoon, which grants him use of part of the National Mall from 6:30 am on Saturday, October 24, 2020 to 1:00 am on Monday, October 26. It briefly details a “COVID-19 mitigation plan” provided by Feucht’s team that includes erecting a sign at the table where Bibles are given away, temperature-testing the crew (who will be provided with masks and gloves) and placing sanitation stations near restrooms.

The Park Service noted that a COVID-19 plan “is not a requirement or condition of the permit,” and acknowledged that social distancing restrictions will not be enforced.

“While the National Park Service strongly encourages social distancing, the use of masks and other measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, we will not require nor enforce their use,” read a statement from a spokesperson.

The Park Service did not answer more specific questions regarding criticism of the event.

Washington’s COVID-19 restrictions explicitly prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people. However, while the National Mall is located at the heart of the city, it is administrated by the federal government.

“It violates D.C.’s COVID-19 plan and it’s almost certainly going to lead to a superspreader event— and cause many new cases, hospitalization, and even death. It violates virtually every principle to mitigate this pandemic. It’s disgraceful,” Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told The Daily Beast.

The California musician’s tour is framed as a protest against state and local ordinances restricting various religious activities in order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that has killed at least 220,000 people in the United States so far.

However, not all of Feucht’s concerts have occurred in places with such restrictions. His band recently performed in Nashville, Tennessee, without applying for a permit, even though churches in the city are allowed to worship in person.

Feucht has framed his concerts as a dispute between “politicians” and Christians like himself, but pastors are among his fiercest critics. 

“All I see is a concert with no social distancing,” the Rev. Thomas McKenzie, pastor of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, told Religion News Service. “It seems to be this is more about Sean and less about Jesus.”

The Metro Nashville Health Department later released a statement saying it was “very concerned” about the event in the city, adding that it planned to “pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer.”

Some of Feucht’s performances, such as one planned in Seattle, have been canceled by authorities. But he has held concerts in the street anyway, packing hundreds into small spaces in defiance of local regulations and recommendations put forth by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Article originally published by Religion News Service. Used with permission.

Photo courtesy: ©RNS/Julia Duin