By / Feb 11

Jeff, Chelsea, and Travis discuss three big international stories for Christians to consider. They cover an update on the Chinese Uyghur genocide, how Christians are often left out of Middle East peace accords, and what we can learn about the fragility of democracy from the coup in Myanmar. 

This episode was sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Being the Bad Guy by Stephen McAlpine.

Resources from the Conversation

By / Jan 22

In this episode, Josh, Brent, Julie, and Meagan discuss the inauguration, QAnon in light of Trump leaving the White House, the new COVID-19 variant, Uyghurs “genocide,” the four nominees for SBC president, the March for Life going virtual this year, and the states Americans are choosing to work from home in. Julie also gives a rundown of some of the ERLC’s most popular content from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Julie

Julie Masson serves as Director of External Engagement for the ERLC. She is responsible for strategic planning, development and implementation of the ERLC brand strategy across all ERLC departments and provides leadership and oversight for the ERLC marketing team as well as coordinating external affairs and partnership deliverables. Julie and her husband Jesse spent two years in Spain with the International Mission Board before moving to Kansas City where they live with their three children. She is a graduate of Iowa State University. You can connect with her on Twitter: @juliermasson

Culture

  1. Joe Biden sworn in as 46th president of the United States
  2. Trump departs on final Air Force One flight
  3. QAnon reels following inauguration
  4. STATEMENT ON 2021 MARCH FOR LIFE
  5. New California Variant May Be Driving Virus Surge There, Study Suggests
  6. Field of Flags’ put on display at the National Mall ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration
  7. U.S. declares China’s actions against Uyghurs “genocide”
  8. Randy Adams announced as nominee for SBC president
  9. Pastor @EdLitton to be third candidate for SBC president
  10. The states Americans headed to the most in 2020, according to U-Haul

Lunchroom

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Sponsors

  • A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Children About Gender: by Jared Kennedy. This short book walks through six conversation topics designed to help you apply the truth and hope of the gospel to the complex issue of gender. 
  • Stand for Life: At the ERLC, we stand for life. Our work to save preborn babies and care for the vulnerable is vital to our work. Believing that abortion can end in our lifetime, will you join us as we STAND FOR LIFE?
By / Oct 14

In recent years, the Chinese government has escalated its persecution of religious minorities. The communist regime is using totalitarian tactics of forced labor, mass sterilization, and pervasive surveillance targeting Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Since 2017, China has detained more than one million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Countering China morally for these atrocities is a key part of the ERLC’s international engagement. To continue that work, Jeff Pickering and Chelsea Patterson Sobolik welcomed Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian of Axios to share her reporting on China.

“China is committing a cultural genocide against an ethnic minority and the world is basically, hardly even blinking. And that matters because this shows the kind of government, and the kind of ideology, that is driving what will be the most powerful country later in the 21st century.”– Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios China

Guest Biography

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is the China reporter at Axios, where she covers China’s influence in the United States and abroad. Before joining Axios, she served as the lead reporter for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ China Cables project, a major leak of classified Chinese government documents revealing the inner workings of mass internment camps in Xinjiang. She also previously worked as a national security reporter for The Daily Beast and as an editor and reporter for Foreign Policy magazine. Allen-Ebrahimian holds a Masters in East Asian studies from Yale University. She is the author of the weekly Axios China newsletter. 

Resources from the Conversation

By / Oct 8

Over the last few weeks, I have been studying the country of China with my seven-year-old daughter. We have researched landmarks, language, customs, and geography. I want to teach my daughter about the diversity of God’s creation, so when we looked at maps of China and its regions, we looked at pictures of the various people groups that live in the country’s different regions.

I intentionally pointed out the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwestern China where the Uighur people have faced brutality because of their race and a campaign of genocide at the hands of the Chinese authorities. I could not ignore this historical moment in our geography lesson. So without going into graphic detail, I shared with her that a government is designed to protect its people (Rom. 13:1–7). But in Xinjiang, the government is hurting its people.

As we studied China, our family also looked forward to the latest live-action Disney movie, “Mulan.” The film recounts the story of a fearless young woman who risks everything out of love for her family and country to become one of China’s greatest warriors. The movie’s anthem is “Loyal, Brave, True,” a song that proclaims the importance of fighting for freedom and to protect one’s family.

With core themes like these, I didn’t anticipate the dilemma I now face. Since the movie’s release, I’ve learned that the movie was filmed in Turpan, a city where local officials operate concentration camps that hold Uighur people. In the movie’s closing credits, Disney explicitly thanks multiple Chinese government entities including Turpan’s public safety bureau, which is responsible for operating camps in the area. Moreover, Liu Yifei, the actress who plays Mulan, has used her platform to speak out in support of the Chinese Communist Party and against freedom for the Chinese people. In light of these realities, the ideals of loyalty, bravery, and truth that the film upholds look more like a thinly veiled facade behind which Disney is hiding actions that actually support China’s totalitarian government.  

My prayer for my daughter is that she won’t grow up turning a blind eye to injustice and suffering but rather see that she has a stewardship from God to be loyal, brave, and true.

We have decided we will eventually watch the movie, though some families have made the choice that they will not. As a parent, I am now faced with several questions. Do I simply teach my daughter the surface-level values of the film? After all, Disney has often presented heroes and heroines that fight for justice and truth. Or, do I pull back the veil and begin to teach my daughter about the complexities of evil?

This is an ongoing work in progress, but here is where we have started:  

  1. Teach your kids about human dignity. It’s not lost on me that my daughter and I enjoy many privileges. We experience safety and freedom while at the same moment Uighur families experience the horrors of persecution. This is grace, because the Uighur people are equal to us in the eyes of God. They are inherently his image-bearers, but they have not been treated with dignity.
  2. Teach your children to seek justice while trusting in God’s sovereignty. When we see injustice happening in our world, we have a desire to take necessary action. But, as Christians, when we act, we should do so hoping in the truth that God is sovereign over both good and evil. God’s Word promises that Jesus will return one day to put an end to injustice and evil on this earth. This fact serves as a reminder for me to teach my daughter to pray for the Uighur people. We pray for world leaders to honor the dignity of the Uighur people by standing up to the Chinese authorities, and we pray that the Uighur people would hear and believe the good news of the gospel—that they’ll find hope in Christ in the midst of this present darkness.
  3. Teach kids to respect government authorities but also help them realize that human governments are broken. It’s part of our civic duty to serve our communities and country by giving back to others. And it’s important to teach our children to be good citizens. As I teach my daughter the history of our nation, I’m careful to emphasize our civic duty as citizens of the United States within the context of a biblical worldview in which God’s sovereignty reigns supreme. Our children should know that bravery is required when seeking to protect others or build up our communities. But our children also need to learn that governments never carry out truth and justice perfectly. Broken institutions are bad saviors. We should not lead our kids to put their hope in man-made institutions but in God alone. Governments will fail, but ultimately God’s justice will not fail.
  4. Finally, help your kids pay attention to history and what is happening around them. I want to teach my daughter to recognize good and evil in the world as she grows. One way to help her grow in discernment is to help her learn history and then think about it in light of the Scriptures. What events and people have led to this current moment? How can I relate current events to her in age-appropriate ways? Parents will differ about whether or not it’s appropriate to pull back the veil on Disney’s connections to the Chinese authorities. Your child’s age and emotional makeup should factor into your decision about what information they can handle. But every parent should seek to talk to their children about current events and help their children to evaluate the world in light of a biblical worldview.

I began this series of geography lessons to help my daughter see that God has created a world that is bigger than her limited view. I believe it’s important for her to learn from an early age that God’s world is bigger than the community of like-minded people around us. I also want her to hide the truths of God’s Word deep within her heart so that as she grows to have a larger view of the world, she’ll also bravely seek justice, goodness, and truth. My prayer for my daughter is that she won’t grow up turning a blind eye to injustice and suffering but rather see that she has a stewardship from God to be loyal, brave, and true.