Global cooling? This summer appears to be one of the coolest we’ve had in a long time. Last Thursday, Chicago had a high of 67 degrees, about 20 degrees below normal. United States cities and towns recorded more than 1,200 record lows in July. I have spent the past six weeks in Manitou Springs, Colo., as a guest of Summit Ministries, and I’ve been sleeping under a blanket almost every night. Those who want to keep the global warming narrative alive are scrambling for explanations. One possible explanation: Greenland’s ice sheet is melting and sending cold water into the oceans, causing a marked but temporary global cooling. I have no idea if any of that is true. I do know that the earth is a living system that is constantly heating and cooling. That’s what it does. I also know that we humans are excellent at adapting. That’s what we do. So whether we’re in a period of global heating or global cooling, I say: Bring it on. Dealing with whatever changes are coming our way should be interesting and fun.
Not a victim. I normally don’t give much space to celebrity news, but I saw an item that caught my attention and lets me make a point I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Young film star Kristen Stewart (Twilight and On The Road) has gone viral with a profanity-laced tirade against paparazzi photographers. She concludes by telling a photographer, “You don’t deserve to breathe the same air I do.” I agree with Stewart that celebrity photographers are a force for evil on the planet, but so is the celebrity culture in which Stewart herself is an active participant. Every so often, going back to the 1960s, we’ll hear about a celebrity “going off” on a photographer. But my advice to a celebrity who wants to avoid celebrity photographers when they go out for dinner: Don’t send out press releases saying where you’ll be eating dinner. I do sympathize with the stress of young stars such as Stewart, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and others. Their parents threw them into a star-making and humanity-devouring machine before they were fully formed adults. It’s no wonder so many of them end up dead or in jail. But it’s hard to call any of them victims. They all volunteered for the gig.
Coming to a church near you. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a wealthy gay Brit, says he and his civil partner Tony will go to court to force churches to host homosexual weddings. He told the Essex Chronicle that he will take legal action because “I am still not getting what I want.” Britain recently passed a law legalizing homosexual marriage, but it includes provisions to protect churches from being forced to perform the ceremonies. However, Drewitt-Barlow says, “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church. It is a shame that we are forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognize us. It upsets me because I want it so much—a big lavish ceremony, the whole works, I just don’t think it is going to happen straight away.” We live among a generation of people who think they should have something not because they’ve earned it, or because it is right and good for them to have it, but because they want it. Drewitt-Barlow’s statement epitomizes this sense of entitlement and narcissism. But don’t dismiss him. He and his partner became the first homosexual couple to be named on their children’s birth certificates. He has a long history of bullying Christians—and winning.
Remembering Flannery O’Connor. The novelist and short story writer Flannery O’Connor died 49 years ago tomorrow. A trip to her home and grave in Milledgeville, Ga., now a bird sanctuary, has become something of a pilgrimage for many Christian writers. She has become for many an example of what it means to write with integrity as a Christian artist in the modern world. I made the trip myself a few years ago, and wrote about it. This year, I have nothing much to add, except this: No one writing today follows the path Flannery O’Connor blazed for us more effectively than Bret Lott. I plan to celebrate Flannery’s birthday tomorrow by reading from Lott’s newest book Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, On Being a Christian. He devotes a chapter to O’Connor: “Humble Flannery.” I commend it to you.