Last Week, Today

1. Yes, many Christian communities are toxic for my LGBT friends. But there's more. (WashPo)

Is being a celibate, gay Christian equivalent to being a single, straight Christian? Wesley Hill, drawing on his conversations with Julie Rodgers, notes that the former's sacrifice is not chosen but forced, and writes beautifully on the honor and recognition that those whom are forced to obey deserve in the church. 

2. When you want to find hidden graces in dark places (A Holy Experience)

Scott Sauls, author of Jesus Outside the Lines, writes about the experience of struggling with anxiety and depression as a pastor. Also worth reading is his exploration of both sides of the abortion debate, in light of the recent Planned Parenthood video. 

3. It's a Damn Good Deal (Foreign Policy)

Jeffrey Lewis (@armscontrolwonk) explains the Iran deal and predicts what is to come. 

"There are going to be lots of people who get red in the face, point out all the terrible things the Iranian government does, and generally make accusations quicker than they can be debunked or resolved through negotiations. It will be important to step back every now again, breathe deeply, look at how things have turned out in North Korea and Iraq and remember: This is a pretty damned good deal."

4. Obama: Let’s Lower Mandatory Minimums For Nonviolent Drug Offenses — Or “Get Rid Of Them Entirely” (Buzzfeed)

"... Obama said this type of justice constituted “the American tradition and in the immigrant tradition of remaking ourselves … in the Christian tradition that says none of us is without sin and all of us need redemption, justice and redemption go hand in hand.”

5. The Wedding Toast I'll Never Give (NYT)

A beautiful reflection on marriage by Ada Calhoun: "It is easy for people who have never tried to do anything as strange and difficult as being married to say marriage doesn’t matter, or to condemn those who fail at it, or to mock those who even try. But there is so much beauty in the trying, and in the failing, and in the trying again. Peter renounced Jesus three times before the cock crowed. And yet, he was the rock upon whom Christ built his church."

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