From a terrific piece by Pastor John Ortberg at huffingtonpost.com:
Both President Obama and Governor Romney have had to repeatedly address their views about an itinerant rabbi who lived 2000 years ago.
But why does anyone care?
Yale historian Jeroslav Pelikan wrote, "Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western Culture for almost 20 centuries. If it were possible, with some sort of super magnet, to pull up out of history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?"
It turns out that the life of Jesus is a comet with an exceedingly long tale. Here are some shards of his impact that most often surprise people:
In the ancient world children were routinely left to die of exposure -- particularly if they were the wrong gender (you can guess which was the wrong one); they were often sold into slavery. Jesus' treatment of and teachings about children led to the forbidding of such practices, as well as orphanages and godparents. A Norwegian scholar named Bakke wrote a study of this impact, simply titled: When Children Became People: the Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity.
Keep reading for the other five shards.
The one predictable element of this fall's U.S. presidential campaign is that it will be called "the most important election of our time." As the last one was called, and the next one will be.
Meanwhile, the unpredictable influence of an unelected carpenter continues to endure and spread across the world.