Signs and Wonders: Bill Cosby wades once again into politically incorrect waters

by Warren Cole Smith
Posted 6/17/13, 10:32 am

Cosby speaks. In a recent interview, Bill Cosby said his humor—especially his groundbreaking The Cosby Show—came from his own life experiences, and from a desire to show an alternative to the poor parenting too common in culture. “I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb,” Cosby said. This is not the first time Cosby has waded into politically incorrect waters. In 2004, he spoke at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that integrated America’s schools. Cosby used the occasion to criticize big government and black leadership for creating a culture of dependency. But that evening, Cosby was an equal opportunity offender, saying Christians had done little to help the problems of the urban poor, either: “I’m telling you Christians, what’s wrong with you? Why can’t you hit the streets? Why can’t you clean it out yourselves?”

Early pregnancy prevents breast cancer. We’ve long known that women who have children have a reduced risk for breast cancer. But why this is so has been subject to much debate. Some pro-lifers claim that there’s a link between abortion and breast cancer. A new article published in Breast Cancer Research says that women who have children before the age of 20, a signal in the body called the Wnt/Notch signal permanently switches and prevents breast cancer cells from growing. According to Yahoo News: “Does the altered Wnt/Notch signal work this magic all the time? No, but apparently most of the time.” This finding could help explain the rising incidence of breast cancer: Fewer women are having babies, and they are delaying childbirth. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating teenage pregnancy. But it appears that our bodies are having something to say about our mostly materialistic desire to prolong adolescence into our mid- to late 20s and beyond.

Movie of steel. The critics are divided on the new Man of Steel. WORLD’s own review was lukewarm, at best. But the public loved it. It set a box office record for June, hauling in more than $116 million this weekend. Lots of Christian critics appreciate the sympathetic portrayal of Christianity in the movie. Gene Edward Veith, who writes often for WORLD, for example, wrote, “the movie is pro-life, anti-Nietzschean, pro-Kansas, pro-church (Superman goes to a church and talks to a pastor when he needs guidance), takes a shot at evolution, and it’s filled with blatant Christian allusions and symbolism.” Veith admits these elements are not “enough to make it a good movie.” He says the film has “hokie moments” and “I can see that some people might get mixed up with its multiple flashbacks breaking up the narrative.” Such criticisms are hardly kryptonite, however, so it looks like Man of Steel is on its way to becoming the big blockbuster movie of the summer.

Roaring lamb. One guy who would likely have delighted in Man of Steel was Bob Briner. Briner died of abdominal cancer at age 63 on June 18, 1999—14 years ago tomorrow. His book Roaring Lambs: A Gentle Plan to Radically Change Your World was an encouragement to many Christian writers and artists when it came out in the 1990s. Briner’s career was mostly spent outside the Christian media industry. He was a leading figure in professional sports management. He introduced National Basketball Association games to Chinese television and won an Emmy for producing a television show about tennis great Arthur Ashe. But it was Roaring Lambs that caught the attention of the Christian community, with its call to believers to be “salt and light” in whatever arena of life God has gifted them. When Briner discovered some things I had written, I started getting emails from him. We exchanged messages for about a year until one day I got one from him that said his health had deteriorated to the point that this would likely be the last time I would hear from him, but he wanted to send me one last email to encourage me to carry on. In the years since his death, I have run into many others with similar stories. He died of abdominal cancer, but not before completing one last book: The Final Roar. In 2000, Steve Curtis Chapman, Charlie Peacock, Steve Taylor, Ashley Cleveland, Michael Tait, and others collaborated on an album dedicated to Briner. The album won a Dove Award and was nominated for two others. In 2003, Briner became the first person inducted into Indiana Wesleyan University’s Society of World Changers. Those inducted since Briner have included Joni Eareckson Tada, Dr. Ben Carson, and Hobby Lobby founder David Green.

Warren Cole Smith

Warren is the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. He previously served as WORLD's vice president and associate publisher. He currently serves as president of MinistryWatch and has written or co-written several books, including Restoring All Things: God's Audacious Plan to Change the World Through Everyday People. Warren resides in Charlotte, N.C. Follow him on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

Read more from this writer