Natural Disasters and the Value of Life, Rising Crime, and Deaths from Despair

BreakPoint This Week


John Stonestreet

Maria Baer

John and Maria discuss the destruction from a series of tornados that swept the Midwest and South this week. The explore the worldview significance of the devastation in light of our culture’s lack of any understanding of an inherent value and dignity of life.

To close, Maria asks John about the way society is experiencing a rise in acts of desperation, through crime and violence, and the avoidance of the deaths from despair.


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God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
Deitrich Bonhoeffer | Westminster John Knox Press | 2012

Every Moment Holy
Douglas McKelvey | Rabbit Room | 2017

— References —

Segment 1:

Rare tornadoes strike America’s heartland, destroying homes and knocking out power

At least 21 tornadoes were reported across three U.S. states — Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota — between Wednesday and Thursday this week. This happened five days after tornados tore through Kentucky that have killed 74 as of Tuesday morning.

ABC News>>
Fox News on Kentucky>>

Opioid Deaths Pass A Grim Milestone

So how can the church help in this opioid crisis? Before we talk about how, we need to discuss why we must. It’s not clear that any other institution, particularly those that lost so much public trust in the last 25 years, has anything much to offer. They are largely exhausted as social resources.

The Gospel is never exhausted. It offers a clear sense of who we are, a source for meaning and purpose that goes beyond our age’s radical individualism, and a potential source of the kind of social support everyone, especially men, desperately need. It also offers a clear call: to run into the brokenness, not away from it. To go where people are, into broken communities and families, often to those beyond our comfort zones, and be part of the solution. The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost; can we, who claim Him as Lord, do less in the face of this challenge?



Kids Are Dying. How Are These Sites Still Allowed

A few years ago, a website about suicide appeared. On it, not only do people talk about wanting to die, but they share, at great length, how they are going to do it. Through public forums, live chats and private messaging, users can get advice as they make their plans. Times reporters were able to identify 45 people who killed themselves after spending time on the site, several of whom were minors. The true number is likely to be higher.

NY Times>>


Assisted suicide pod approved for use in Switzerland

“The person will get into the capsule and lie down. It’s very comfortable. They will be asked a number of questions and when they have answered, they may press the button inside the capsule activating the mechanism in their own time.”

The Hill>>


Segment 2:

Our Nation’s Crime Spike and the Need for Shalom

Communities must develop around virtuous citizens and mutual responsibility. The more shalom is cultivated within a community, the less “the stick” of coercion is needed. An essential ingredient is what Edmund Burke called the “little platoons” of society, the flourishing of non-governmental, local networks and institutions, an often intangible infrastructure of education, creativity, care, and problem-solving.



Chicago Mayor Invests $400 million in social plan to curb violence

“We may not call all of these (aspects in the “Our City, Our Safey” plan that highlights violence prevention, street outreach, affordable housing, job training, health and wellness, and community development)  things part of the tools of public safety, but they absolutely fundamentally are. Because when people are healthy, when communities are vibrant, when folks feel like they have ownership of the geography under their feet, communities thrive.”

~Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on $400 million safety plan targeting 15 communities in Chicago

Chicago Sun Times>>

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