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I’m tired but in a good mood. I guess it’s the time of year – that should be enough to explain me.

Here’s my take on six timely topics known as Doyle’s Half Dozen.

  1. Gaineses gain while confused liberal media loses

I know very little about Chip and Joanna Gaines. I think my first awareness of them happened about a year ago. A friend on Facebook posted a photo posing with them at a ballgame with a caption, “Guess who I ran into?” I had no clue who they were, but after reading comments underneath the photo, I could tell they apparently were a big deal.

Since then, I learned they do a show on HGTV about remodeling homes. There was a time when I watched such shows, but Karen’s been busy lately.

This week, however, I know a lot more about the Gaineses (yes, I spelled it correctly! And this is a good time to bring this up before you do your Christmas cards. Do NOT use an apostrophe when trying to emphasize the plural form of a noun. If your last name ends with “s,” use “es” to refer to your family. If you think it’s too weird to spell it that way, then sign your card “from the XXXXXs family.”).

Apparently, a couple of media sources are trying to make a big stink about Chip and Joanna’s church, especially their pastor who preached a sermon awhile back about homosexuality and holds to the Biblical teaching of marriage being between a man and a woman.

I did a news search on Chip and Joanna and got almost 250,000 results. More often than not, you can tell which way a news story leans on an issue by reading its headline. One header that caught my attention was on Denny Burk’s blog, “Chip and Joanna Gaines Must Be Stopped.” I’ve referenced Burk before, and I appreciate his take on this issue with the Gaineses.

Also, check out Ryan Smith’s blog, “Christian McCarthyism: Chip & Joanna Gaines.” His conclusion is a good one, saying he believes the Gaineses “do not want to cause unjust scrutiny based on a culture war in which they never took up arms.”

As of now, I think there are more positive results from this than negative ones. I do feel badly for Chip and Joanna receiving attention because of this media exploit.

People are beginning to understand that Christians can be friends with those who disagree with their views, while also holding firm to Biblical teachings on marriage and homosexuality. One of the best responses came from the satirical Babylon Bee:

“’We’re not saying people can’t be Christians,’ a Seattle woman said in a Facebook comment. ‘This is a free country, after all. But when Christians decide to actually have Christian beliefs about things—I’m sorry, that’s just too far.’”

Even those who support the lifestyle of practicing homosexuals have defended the Gaineses. I have even read that the media sources that stirred up this mess are being accused of discrimination.

I am curious to see if this is still news this time next week.

  1. Life on the rise

I just read “The Weekly,” an email newsletter put out by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which reported the abortion rate in America is on the decline. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the total number of abortions has decreased 20 percent from 2004 to 2013 (the latest year to be reported at this time).

It is understood that our country is becoming more understanding of the sanctity of life. More and more people are coming to the realization of human life existing in the womb, though there is still powerful pushback from those who adamantly want the practice of abortion to prevail under the disguise of “reproductive rights.”

The newsletter reports, “While the number of innocent deaths caused by abortion remains unacceptable, the overall trend-line is encouraging. The long-term decline in the rate of abortion, says Michael New (National Review), is ‘perhaps the best evidence of the success we have had in enacting protective laws, shifting public opinion, and building a culture of life in the United States.’”

  1. Boasting blogs

I am thrilled you are reading “Doyle’s Half Dozen.” I hope you also consider reading other blogs on WordSlingers, as we feature many quality bloggers on the site. Two that were published this week pertain to practical involvement with the local church.

Stephanie Boone, one of our newest bloggers, wrote “Four Reminders for Worship Team Members.” Stephanie points out how those who lead corporate worship through music should be genuine worshippers. I also appreciate her connection of leading worship with the art of hospitality, as well as her challenge to make relationship with God the highest priority.

We feature another Ryan Smith blog this week. Check out “The First Three Ways to Serve Your Church.” This is quite enlightening, as far as how church members should act upon their commitment to a local body of believers. As Smith wrote, “Our churches will be strengthened as our members see service not as a role on Sunday morning, but as a lifestyle lived daily.”

  1. Powerful Christmas perspective for the grieving

I have one more blog to boast. My friend and co-worker Hannah Hanzel wrote an amazing piece this week, “The 34th Christmas.”

Hannah has been blessed with a depth of spiritual maturity. It’s understandable, as a graphic designer, for her to have such a talent in creativity, but this young lady seems to apply her creativeness to her desire to grow in her relationship with Christ, in her study of the Bible and in her compassion for people.

“The 34th Christmas” reads like a Max Lucado commentary. If you or someone you know needs some encouragement this time of year, especially someone who may be grieving over the loss of a loved one, suggest to them this simple piece to read.

  1. The loss of a great Oklahoma Baptist leader

I attended the funeral of Lyle Garlow who served 35 years at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, mostly in the role of associate executive director. He retired in the early ’90s, but Garlow’s influence remains at the BGCO through those he mentored.

Many spoke of his leadership and his ability to plan and prepare. I have only known him personally after he retired and have been a big fan of his and his family, especially his wife, Willa Ruth.

I wrote about Dr. Garlow in next week’s Baptist Messenger and how his passing on Thanksgiving evening will become a memorable blessing for his family during future Thanksgiving seasons. May God bless Willa Ruth and her family during this time of grief.

  1. DHD is two years old!

On Dec. 1, 2014 I wrote my first Doyle’s Half Dozen. I am blessed to be able to share my silly thoughts over these past 24 months. Check out my very first DHD here.