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Does God Really Want Missionaries to Risk Their Lives?

Fri, 22 Oct 2021
On Saturday, a gang kidnapped 17 North American missionaries in Haiti as the party returned from an orphanage in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Since then, the group, known as 400 Mawozo, has demanded a ransom of $17 million for the victims, who include five men, seven women, and five children. While many locals have been kidnapped in recent years as security on the country’s roads has been increasingly threatened, this incident has drawn significant international attention.
This kidnapping comes roughly two months after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan. America’s departure and the chaos that ensued led many expats, including aid workers and missionaries, to leave the country.
Anna Hampton is the author of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk, which is based on her doctoral dissertation at Trinity Seminary in Newburg. She’s been in full-time ministry for 28 years, more than 17 of those years in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and other parts of Central Asia and the Middle East. She and her family are now based in the US, but still doing work in Central Asia, so Anna Hampton is a pseudonym.
Hampton joined global media manager Morgan Lee and executive editor Ted Olsen to discuss how the Bible discusses risk, what has shaped Western Christians’ perspectives on this issue, and how saviorism affects how we make these decisions.
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Music by Sweeps
Quick to Listen is produced Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu
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What ‘Ted Lasso’ Understands About Redemption

Fri, 15 Oct 2021
Season 1 and Season 2 spoilers ahead.
The second season of Ted Lasso ends with an image of Nate. The once kitman, recently promoted Greyhounds assistant coach is not wearing Richmond attire as we see him lead team exercises on the pitch. Instead, he’s in all black, staring at the camera, as we realize he’s the head coach of Westham United, the team recently purchased by season one nemesis Rupert Mannion. Just minutes before, we’ve watched Nate verbally berate Ted during halftime in a game that could put Richmond back in the Premiere League.
Nate’s arc, from neglected staff member to dismissive and arrogant coach, who struggles with self-loathing and insecurity, is just one of the themes we want to discuss. But a show known for the kindness and forgiveness of its characters also had much to say this year about toxic masculinity and father and son relationships. The program has also had much to say about actions and consequences, except that we feel that there were a few oversights here this season.
Marybeth Baggett is professor of English and Cultural Apologetics at Houston Baptist University and an associate editor for Christ and Pop Culture. Her 2019 book Morals of the Story received a CT Award of Merit in our Book Awards. And she’s working on a book about the philosophy of Ted Lasso with her husband, who is also at Houston Baptist.
Baggett joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss how the show defines redemption, why it focused so much on father-son relationships, and what Nate can teach Christians about love.What is Quick to Listen? Read more.
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Music by Sweeps
Quick to Listen is produced Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu
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What Francis Collins Changed for Christians in Science

Sat, 09 Oct 2021
This week, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, announced that he would retire at the end of the year. An evangelical Christian who previously worked as the head of the Human Genome Project, Collins’ 2009 appointment still drew scorn. From a 2010 profile in the New Yorker:
Collins read in the Times that many of his colleagues in the scientific community believed that he suffered from “dementia.” Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard, questioned the appointment on the ground that Collins was “an advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs.” P. Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota at Morris, complained, “I don’t want American science to be represented by a clown.”
Nevertheless, Collins served under three presidential administrations. During the pandemic, Collins has spoken out a number of times in his efforts to dispel misconceptions about the virus and vaccine. 
Prior to his term at the NIH, Collins was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also wrote the best-selling book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, which won a CT Book Award. 
Elaine Howard Ecklund joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss Collins’s legacy in the scientific and Christian communities.
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The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu
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Did We Get Tammy Faye Wrong?

Fri, 24 Sep 2021
In this third decade of the 21st century, we’ve seen a lot of religious scandals, with Christian leaders abusing their power and position. Too many. Nevertheless, still to this day when you say the words religious scandal—more often than not folks will think of two television personalities of the 1970s and ’80s: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
The “Jim and Tammy” show was the basis of what became a massive ministry and theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina. It was called PTL, an abbreviation that stood both for Praise the Lord and for People That Love. Then came revelations that PTL had been massively and illegally misusing funds, diverting church funds to pay for their extravagant lifestyle and selling more lifetime vacations at the theme park than the theme park could possibly support. At about the same time, The Charlotte Observer also revealed that Jim Bakker had been engaging in extramarital sex and that ministry funds had been used for hush money. The Assemblies of God kicked them out of the denomination. Jim Bakker went to jail.
During Jim’s imprisonment, the couple divorced. Tammy Faye, meanwhile, became a kind of campy celebrity, appearing in a VH1 reality TV show, hosting a syndicated talk show, and becoming a kind of gay icon. In the year 2000, seven years before her death, a documentary came out called The Eyes of Tammy Faye, narrated by drag queen star RuPaul.
Last week, a biopic based on that documentary came out with the same title: The Eyes of Tammy Faye. It’s directed by Michael Showalter, stars Jessica Chastain, and is getting a fair bit of buzz for its highly sympathetic portrayal of Tammy Faye as a misunderstood and maligned Christian woman.
Christianity Today’s Ted Olsen and Kate Shellnutt talked about Tammy Faye’s enduring appeal with Leah Payne, associate professor of theology at George Fox University and Portland Seminary. She is author of Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism, is working on a book on CCM for Oxford University Press and cohosts the Weird Religion podcast.
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Music by Sweeps.
Quick to Listen was produced this week by Ted Olsen and Matt Linder.
The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu.
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Drones Have Changed the Moral Calculus for War

Fri, 17 Sep 2021
On August 29, as American troops were accelerating their pullout from Afghanistan, the U.S. military ordered its last drone strike in the 20 year war. The missile destroyed a parked car that military officials said was operated by an Islamic State sympathizer, and contained explosives for a suicide attack on the Kabul airport, where American forces and civilians had gathered for evacuation. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told a news conference, “We think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.”
Last week, separate investigations from The New York Times and The Washington Post questioned those assertions, reporting that the driver was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime engineer for the California-based aid group Nutrition and Education International. The supposed explosives, said the Times, were canisters of water Ahmadi was bringing home to his family because Taliban’s takeover of the city had cut off his neighborhood’s water.
The Times also reported that 10 members of the Ahmadi family were killed in the Hellfire missile attack, including seven children.
General Milley told reporters, “We went through the same level of rigor that we've done for years. Yes, there are others killed. Who they are, we don't know. We'll try to sort through all that.”
The British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has counted that the US military conducted more than 13,000 drone strikes in Afghanistan over the years, with at least 4,126 people killed, including at least 300 civilians and 66 children. Drone policies changed over the years under during different presidencies. As did the way the US counted civilian deaths by drone strikes. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has a dramatically higher count for civilians killed in Afghanistan by drones: more than 2,000, with more 785 of them children. If accurate, that would mean that about 40 percent of civilians killed by drones in Afghanistan were children.
It appears that drone warfare will continue to play a major role in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, President Biden promised Islamic State—or ISIS-K, “We are not done with you yet. … We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.” But without troops in the country, that hunting will almost certainly be done mostly through unmanned aircraft.
Back in 2011, CT ran a story asking “Is it wrong to kill by remote control?” This week, we want to revisit that question.
Our guest this week is Paul D. Miller, is professor of the practice of international affairs at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He earlier served in the US army, the CIA, and on the National Security Council staff as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
These days, in addition to his post at Georgetown, he is a research fellow with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is author of Just War and Ordered Liberty, published earlier this year from Cambridge University Press. Among that book’s chapters is one one on the ethics of drone warfare. Quick to Listen listeners may also remember Dr. Miller from our January episode on Christian Nationalism.
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Music by Sweeps.
Quick to Listen was produced this week by Ted Olsen and Matt Linder
The transcript is edited by Faith Ndlovu
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