Daily Briefing: July 17, 2017

Your daily update of world news

  • Facebook re-sculpts our memory?
  • Sunday Scaries and Monday Blues?
  • Cancelled wedding turns into homeless party?
  • Happy World Emoji Day!
T O P   N E W S

GOP Push to Pass Health-Care Law Faces New Setback (WSJ)

“A Republican push to pass a sweeping health-care law experienced another setback as Senate leaders said they would delay a vote set for this week, sparking fresh doubts about whether congressional leaders can muster support for a marquee GOP policy priority.
“Senate leaders announced a delay after Sen. John McCain said he would recover in Arizona from surgery removing a blood clot above his left eye,leaving supporters short of the votes needed to move ahead with the bill.
“The delay prolongs the uncertainty over the bill’s prospects. GOP leaders have pursued a fast-paced timeline, as health-policy changes are often controversial. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate GOP leadership, told reporters last month that passing the bill is “not going to get any easier” with time. Another GOP senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said the bill “is not like fine wine; it doesn’t get better with age.”

Nick Note: Is Winter here yet? Game of Thrones returned last night but I missed it because I was preparing for Made in America week (side note: I don’t watch or recommend Game of Thrones). During “Made In America” week, President Trump will highlight locally made products from around the country.Speaking of around the country, a new Washington Post/ABC News pollindicates 36 percent of Americans approve of President Donald Trump’s performance. In counties Mr. Trump won during the presidential election, 50 percent of adults approve of his job performance while 46 percent disapprove.No doubt these low numbers are partially due to the ever-evolving Russian story. New details emerged over the weekend that there were at least eight people in the room when it happenedAttorney Jay Sekulow said repeatedly yesterday on the Sunday shows that the president did not know about the meeting Donald Jr. held with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. “There’s not a violation of the law.” The meeting may have been legal, but was it ethical? This week, we will be reminded of the innovative spirit and the creative energies that characterize the American populace and benefit the world. In 1630, Puritan leader John Winthrop called this new and exceptional project a “City upon a Hill.”  As he and his men sailed to the New World, he said: “The eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work, we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us.” Many of us are Americans, but for those of us who are Christians, we have a great task before us. As lights reflecting the Father of all lights, we are to let our light shine before all women and men (James 1:17, Matthew 5:13-16). It may not be winter, but the fields are ripe for harvest (Luke 10:2).

9 killed in Arizona flash flooding were family celebrating a birthday (USA Today)

“A flash flood at a popular swimming hole north of Payson killed nine people from an extended Phoenix family, and left one missing, officials said Sunday.  Officials have not released the names of the dead, but family members, who drove to Payson to help search told The Arizona Republic that 14 family members were at the swimming hole to celebrate one of their birthdays when the flood struck around 3 p.m. MT.”

Nick Note: This is gut-wrenchingly tragic. Tim Keller’s Walking with God through Pain and Suffering helped my thinking when it comes to such tragedies: “If you have a God infinite and powerful enough for you to be angry at for allowing evil, then you must at the same time have a God infinite enough to have sufficient reasons for allowing that evil.”

Indiana woman turns cancelled wedding into a party for the homeless (The Guardian)

“An Indiana woman who didn’t want her canceled $30,000 wedding to go to waste threw a party for the homeless instead. Cummins told the Indianapolis Star that she and her fiance called off the wedding a week ago. She declined to give a reason, but said they were left with a nonrefundable contract for the Ritz Charles and a plated dinner for 170 guests.”

Nick Note: This sounds like a modern day manifestation of Luke 14:13-23.

C U L T U R A L   N E W S

Women Get More Questions On Risk From Startup VCs Than Men Do–And Far Less Money (Forbes)

“Researchers from Columbia University and the Wharton School of Business announced the results of their study on how women and men fare when questioned on the viability of their startup ventures. They found that participants consistently faced different kinds of questions depending on their gender, with male competitors receiving more questions about their project’s potential for growth, and female competitors fielding more questions about potential risks and losses–and that this had a very measurable impact on the funding they received.
“According to Kanze, only around 2% of VC funding goes to women entrepreneurs, despite the facts that women own 38% of U.S. businesses and now represent 7% of VCs, up from 3% in 2014.
“According to the psychological theory of regulatory focus, investors adopted what’s called a promotion orientation when quizzing male entrepreneurs, which means they focused on hopes, achievements, advancement, and ideals.” She continued, “Conversely, when questioning female entrepreneurs they embraced a prevention orientation, which is concerned with safety, responsibility, security, and vigilance.”

Nick Note: Is it possible to be a Christian feminist? Last night I led a discussion on feminism. I tried my best not to mansplain feminism to a group that included women. I traced the history of the feminist movement up to the present and then offered a potentially biblical understanding. The VC culture has come under great scrutiny lately with numerous allegations of sexual harassment. In the Scriptures, we read about the effective leadership of Deborah, thebravery of Esther, the persistence of Ruth, and the courage of Mary — to name but a few. Looking back, it is quite clear: we are better today because of women’s contributions from yesterday and their visions for tomorrow (James 2:9).

The ‘Sunday Scaries’ Are Real — This is Why (NBC News)

“The term “Sunday scaries,” although not scientific, describes a common feeling of anxiety that builds up over the course of Sunday afternoon and evening. According to a survey conducted by job site Monster, up to 76% of Americans self-reported having “really bad” Sunday night anxiety, compared to just 47% of people around the world.
“The Sunday scaries, or blues, can be the byproduct of the anticipation of the week ahead. This is an anticipatory anxiety —not the stress in the moment, but the anticipation of what will come puts people in this fight or flight mode,” says Dr. Cooperman, adding that there’s a physiological component as well. “The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and they release adrenaline and cortisol,” she explains. “They flood the system and you have a real stress reaction and it feels like real anxiety.”

Nick Note: Do you have a case of the Mondays this morning? Kierkegaard notes: “To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self.” As you venture, you may not have time to stop and smell the flowers, but at least look at them. “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you (Matthew 6:28-30).”

The Decline of Marriage Is Hitting Vegas Hard (Bloomberg)

“Nevada’s marriage rate has plummeted in recent decades, an extreme version of a pullback happening across the U.S. The forces that have reshaped the nation’s economic life since the 1970s have helped make marriage an institution increasingly reserved for the well-educated and more affluent.
“The wedding chapels where August works have seen business dwindle, he said, and Vegas is pushing to reverse the decline in an industry that generates as much as $3 billion in economic activity annually. In 2015 the surrounding county introduced a $14 surcharge on marriage licenses to pay for marketing,and local business leaders helped start a Wedding Chamber of Commerce last year. The data show an effort working against a broader national shift.”

Nick Note: Elvis officiants are All Shook Up in the Heartbreak Hotel because of this recent trend. Consider this: half of Americans older than 18 were married in 2014, down from 72 percent in 1960. 39 percent of married millennials report that their wedding ceremony took place in a place of worship and was administered by a religious leader. Approximately the same number, 37 percent, reported that their wedding ceremony took place somewhere other than a religious venue and was administered by someone other than a religious official. Increasingly, millennials are getting married later or cohabitating earlier. Some might attribute this to the divorce culture that they were raised in, others might argue that they are more concerned with their career, and many believe this is another instance of their lack of institutional commitment. However, Proverbs 18:22 is still true. 

Facebook is re-sculpting our memory (QZ)

“In one experiment, he showed that it was possible to implant false memories by showing subjects photos of an event that they could have conceivably experienced, but didn’t. In another, he found that not only did looking at photos boost the memory of that particular event, but also impaired memories of events that happened at the same time and were not featured in the photographs. His research has shown that weaknesses in our memory are positive attributes in allowing us to think meaningfully about the future.
“Photographs have the potential to distort memory,” he says. “When we threw in photographs of events that could’ve happened within the sequence but didn’t, they would become a false memory.”
“To put that in a real world context, excessive scrolling through photos from a party last year could make you swear you remember Harry’s terrible late-night karaoke, when in fact you went home at 9pm.”

Nick Note: Nickelback wants you to look at this Photograph but that is not a good idea. Besides, what are you doing listening to Nickelback? But in all seriousness, pictures from the past have the capacity to distort our memory in the present. However, words written in the past (i.e. Scripture) have the propensity – when properly stored – of being able to keep us from sinning against Him (Psalm 119:11). This is how He reminds us of who we really are and who he really is.  

N E W S   Y O U   C A N   U S E

Speedy babies crawl in diaper derby race

Nick Note: Watch it here. “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).”

Little Girl Has Cutest Wedding Speech Ever

Nick Note: Watch it here. Just as these adults experience great delight listening to this little girl, our God in heaven has great delight in hearing from us(Proverbs 15:8).

Another Aaron Judge homer? Not on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s watch.

Nick Note: Watch it here. “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31).”