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The Church Mothers Teach Us to Delight in Scripture

Monica and Macrina didn’t just influence Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa. They were biblical interpreters in their own right.

”What are you doing? In those books which you read, have I ever heard that women were introduced into this kind of disputation?” This almost awkwardly direct question comes from Augustine’s mother, Monica, when she finds out he is recording her comments for his book On Order. She is not so much honored as dismayed by the censure her inclusion may bring him. In response, Augustine concedes that some may dismiss him for including the voice of a woman in his writings. But he doesn’t give a whit for such critics, he says; such “proud and ignorant men” should attend more to the substance and less to the “dress” of what they read.

Though he expects some superficially minded people will look down on him for including a woman’s ideas, Augustine incorporates Monica’s contributions because her ideas are so good. He wants her to be a part of the discussion because her spiritual inclinations and intellectual chops make her indispensable. He writes of his mother, “By long intimacy and diligent attention I had by this time discerned her acumen and burning desire for things divine … her mind had been revealed to me as so rare that nothing seemed more adapted for true philosophy. Accordingly, I had determined to do my best that she be not absent from our conversation.” And so, through Augustine’s account, we gain a precious glimpse of this brilliant mother of the church.

Of the few early Christian women commonly known today, Monica, along with her near-contemporary Macrina, are perhaps the most familiar. But despite the records we have of their extraordinary spiritual and intellectual gifts, they are not commonly known for their own abilities. Instead, these ...

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Evangelical Biden Voters Straddle Partisan Divides

Unlike most Americans, they say many of their close friends will vote differently from them in 2020.

In another divisive election year, here’s one demographic that personally feels the strain of the nation’s partisan tensions: white evangelicals who plan to vote for Joe Biden.

The Pew Research Center recently found few Americans, Republicans or Democrats, have many close friends who support a different presidential candidate in the 2020 race. In religious breakouts provided to Christianity Today, evangelical Biden supporters emerged as the exception. Just under half say their close friends disagree with them over the upcoming election.

These longtime Democrats, former Republicans, and previous third-party voters represent an increasingly rare group straddling partisan lines, a position they’re in largely due to their faith.

White evangelicals who back Biden are about twice as likely (46%) as Biden supporters overall (22%) to say that many of their close friends plan to vote for Trump. And they are three times as likely to have close friends who support a different candidate as their fellow white evangelicals who plan to vote for Donald Trump (16%).

“Most of my family, friends from home, and a decent number of friends from college are Trump supporters,” said Clayton Job Myers, who graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in May. He plans to vote for Biden this year because of his opposition to Trump’s rhetoric and what he sees as religious posturing. “I do my very best not to let that change how I view them and how I treat them.”

As the country becomes more polarized, Americans may be drawn to the idea of friendships that overcome political divides. Many read and shared accounts of the unlikely relationship between Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg ...

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