IVP - Andy Unedited

February 8, 2019

Why Do We Hate Each Other?

Why are Americans so at odds with each other? Why have so many people entrenched themselves in opposing camps, viciously vilifying each other? What has turned us into a nation of Us vs. Them?

Is cable news responsible? Did the Russians do it? Does it go back to Newt Gingrich or the Robert Bork confirmation?

In Them NebraskanThem Ben Sasse.jpg Senator Ben Sasse has a very unpolitical answer. It's because, he says, we are lonely. We have fewer friends. We are more disconnected from our communities. So we grasp for a group to feel part of, to identify with. More and more that manifests itself in our political and social identities.

Since World War II single-person households have tripled to 26 percent. Technology has also pushed us into self-reinforcing corners where we just don't encounter people as people who might have differing views. Other significant factors are at work as well.

Yes, cable news and radio talk showmen and show women have taken advantage of our situation. And yes, the Russians have fanned the flames too with more than 50,000 Russian-linked Twitter accounts fueling outrage by sending automated messages on both sides of issues. But these only feed on a pre-existing condition.

What's Ben Sasse.jpgthe cure for our illness? The last half of the book offers several worthwhile remedies, from setting tech limits in our personal lives to building into a neighborhood or community to re-educating ourselves on how democracy works and what it stands for.

Sasse regularly says the book is not political in the sense of party politics or hot-button issues. He is right. The book is social and personal. When he does touch on political examples, he is to be commended for being very evenhanded--criticizing and praising as appropriate both right and left, both politicians and journalists, both Republicans and Democrats. Sasse models how we can treat each other as human beings, as fellow Americans who deserve our listening ear and our respect.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:27 AM | Comments

February 6, 2019

The Importance of Being Factual

The world is better than you think. Really? Really. Consider these--all based on UN statistics:

  • Life expectancy has risen worldwide from 31 years in 1800 to 72 years in 2017.
  • No country in the world has an average life expectancy of less than 50 years today.
  • The percentage of undernourished people has dropped from 28% in 1970 to 11% in 2015.
Continue reading "The Importance of Being Factual"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:59 AM | Comments

January 23, 2019

Making the Rough Places Plain

Philosophy, notoriously, can be abstract and obscure. Yet philosophy is also a noble effort to grapple with some of the most difficult and pressing questions humans can face. What is the good? What is real? How can we know and be certain?

In A History of Western Philosophy C. Stephen Evans provides a model of conciseness and clarity in telling the story of Western philosophy from the days before Socrates to the present. As much as is possible Evans uses plain language to briefly tell the story of each key figure and of their ideas. Obviously, some passages can be hard but that is due to the difficulty of the material not the style of the author.

Continue reading "Making the Rough Places Plain"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:11 AM | Comments

January 8, 2019

Bible Myth #17: Who Rejoices in Heaven?

Who rejoices over one sinner who repents? We all know the answer. Or do we?

When the Pharisees complained about Jesus hanging out with irreputable tax collectors and sinners, he told them three stories. First, the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to find the one that's lost. Then the woman with ten coins who searches for one. Finally, the father and his two sons.

At the end of the second story, after the woman finds her coin, she asks all her neighbors to celebrate with her. Jesus concludes, "In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10).

So who is rejoicing?

Continue reading "Bible Myth #17: Who Rejoices in Heaven?"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:16 AM | Comments

December 18, 2018

Christmas Eve 1968

Fifty years ago next week, a manned spacecraft for the first time entered orbit around another celestial body--the moon.

The year 1968 had been a harrowing one for the country and the world. It began with the devastating Tet Offensive in Vietnam and was followed by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The "Prague Spring" was crushed by Soviet tanks in August with the tumultuous Democratic National Convention a week later.

Weary and worn, we were ready for some good news. That night, Christmas Eve, the crew of Apollo 8 sent a message to everyone on earth in what has been called the most watched television broadcast in history. Here is what they said:

Continue reading "Christmas Eve 1968"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:24 AM | Comments

December 12, 2018

Persuading People Who Don't Want to Be Persuaded

Persuading anyone is hard. Persuading people who have already made up their minds is even harder.

Continue reading "Persuading People Who Don't Want to Be Persuaded"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments (4)

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.