Alabama has it right! We have already lost the abortion battle, which we may lose anyway, if we say murder is OK in some rare cases. It would be the equivalent of saying “well I guess you can murder that person because they had a poor or rough childhood and their quality of life going forward is, in my opinion, not worthy”. And there is where the problem comes in, “in my opinion” makes the killing about me and what I want or think and not about the decision to life being sacred to every single human baby, teen, adult or senior. We open ourselves up to the accusation that we are being inconsistent and hypocrites if we allow for exceptions of rape or incest and those accusations would be completely accurate. As Christians, sin is sin and the minute we start exceptions for sin is the very minute we lose the battle against evil. And just for the record, the church has and is already conceding “land for peace” with the secular society we find ourselves surrounded by in hopes of being seen as more compassionate or acceptable. This is so much a wrong, warped and short sighted focus as our holy Father in heaven is the only one we need to please. So I encourage all Christians to choose sides and choose a path and at the same time to be careful which one we choose. One of those paths leads nowhere good and we already know from scripture that most will take that much easier and broad path with lots of company. And although it is a much harder journey, I implore you to choose the very narrow pathway of real compassion which includes support for crisis pregnancies, housing pregnant teens, adoption and prayer. If you are truly “pro life” this is the only option that leads to true life, both on this earth for the not yet born and eternal life in heaven for those who choose that less traveled pathway.
- America is a Christian nation. There are still plenty of “die hards” out there still holding on to fantasy land. Contrary to wishful thinking, the moral high ground, once held by a more singularly focused majority of Christian/Catholic believers in America, has been ceded over to secular society and a cultural “Christian club” atmosphere significantly lacking in immovable and unchangeable standards. The unthinkable 50 years ago in terms of marital, moral and societal character has become tolerated if not boldly promoted in more and more denominations and churches across the breadth of this country. The mantra of being “on the right side of history” is being heard with increasing volume as the church attempts to “fit in” and be found relevant in the eyes of a society which has embraced a philosophy of “all of the above” when it comes to work and play. A humble attitude of servant hood, holiness and intercession is more imperative than ever in our role as “occupied” Christians.
- Divorce is not that big of a deal. This is a topic which, in most cases, requires one to change the entire focus and origin of marriage from being one of sacrifice, commitment and servant hood to a focus of selfishness and a “what makes me happy” attitude. Marriage was intended to be a picture of the unfailing commitment of God (the groom) to his people (the bride). So for the church to let this institution fall from its rightful position of highest importance and honor is deplorable. In fact, if any were wondering why answered prayer seems to be harder to come by these days one need only read Malachi 2:13-16 where God plainly states that our petitions and sacrifices are no longer acceptable because of the high divorce rate among His people. These verses should be an aha moment for the church but instead is perhaps our biggest area of denial. High divorce rates, which God clearly hates, are literally denuding the church of its effectiveness by surrendering this most important standard to the enemy.
- Pornography is primarily a problem among the un-churched. Patently FALSE! YOUR men sitting in YOUR pews in YOUR church are viewing pornography at alarming rates. All surveys indicate that pornography viewing among Christian men is on par and in some instances higher than that of their secular counterparts. Here are some statistics spanning 20 years. In 1996 an informal poll was conducted at a Promise Keepers conference which indicated that 1 in 3 of the attendees admitted to struggling with pornography. By 2009 a poll conducted by the Barna Group found 21% of Christian men saying they were fully addicted to porn and a staggering 64% saying that they viewed porn at least once a month. By 2014, just a short 5 years later, a new Barna poll saw that number had ballooned to as high as 79% among adult Christian males. This epidemic is also probably one of the single biggest contributing factors to denial #2.
Footnote: At a recent men’s meeting at our church only about 10% of the over 200 men present raised their hands when asked “who here feels comfortable praying with their wives”. Likely there is a direct and devastating relationship between that percentage and the percentage of those viewing porn since what guy is going to feel comfortable praying with someone they are being unfaithful too?
- Our Christian youth are remaining chaste. Again, patently FALSE! And again I’m talking about your youth in your church. Partly as a direct result of denials #2 & #3 with the added enticement of denial #5, our youth see little reason or import in purity and chastity and are in fact seduced in the opposite direction by media, movies and moral relevance. They have watched increasing numbers of grown adults, pastors or lay church workers getting caught up in divorce, adultery, affairs, pre-marital sex and pornography with little accompanying stigma, shunning or earthly consequences. As a result, they have grown to view participation in these areas as inevitable and the status-quo. What was once normal and healthy curiosity held back by well articulated and time honored standards of character and chivalry has morphed into rampant sexual experimentation run amuck as any consequences of sexual sin has been clouded as they witnessed the preceding generation’s promiscuity given a progressive wink and a nod. What has become accepted as normal in the church has little resemblance to biblical or traditional virtuous behavior. A study conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy conducted in December 2009 indicated that 80% of evangelical youth had had sex compared to the only slightly higher 88% of secular youth of the same age. Young Christians simply do not understand or care “what’s the big deal” as the church has failed miserably in articulating to them the abundant blessings and benefits of sexual holiness nor the dangers, statistics of sadness, divorce rates and diseases related to rejecting God’s plan.
- With the things people wear now days, modesty is not that big of a deal. Historically, everyone would have agreed that men are stimulated visually. With what “passes” these days as modest one would think this well established fact had gone by the way side. I’m here to let you know that nothing has changed in the water as myself and all the guys I know are still very affected visually by form fitting, almost revealing and “cute is the new sexy” attire popular in today’s society. And, truth be told, this is a contributing factor in denials #3 and #4. In no way am I suggesting Burkas as the norm for Christians. But surely we can find some reasonable middle ground between the biblically described “bloomers” under full length robes, as instructed for those who minister before the Lord, and the almost nothing is too tight or revealing practice we see common today. One need only do a Google image search of “sexy jeans” to understand that the very popular leggings and skinny jeans are understood by society to be “sexy”. Is this what we want to be seeing, teaching (by practice or acceptance) and displaying as normal among Christians. I am suggesting that it should not be so. When almost nothing is left to the imagination, as if men needed help with their imaginations (again see denial #3), where else can you go. I do not believe I should have to put a guard over my eyes at church. I have to do this all day long out in “the world” and I think church, at a minimum, should be a safe place for me, my sons and the men around me (to a person, this is the opinion of almost every guy I have discussed this topic with). Men are drawn away because of their own lust and they can’t blame anybody else. My understanding of the “preferring my brother” concept in scripture has me, for example, forgoing alcohol around a brother for whom this has been a struggle in the past and see this principal as applicable in being considerate towards all with modest dress, especially the weaker brother. And with the porn viewing stats in denial #3 it’s clear the overwhelming majority of us are that weaker brother.
- Why all the fuss about homosexuality? Simply put because it is sin and it destroys lives. It is included in a long list of sins in Romans 1 including gossip, murder, envy etc. for which there is a punishment of death. Churches left and right are falling all over themselves to capitulate on this subject. The Pastor of Hillsong New York, Carl Lentz, recently said “we have a lot of men and women who are gay in our church and I pray we always do”. This was his way of avoiding taking a firm position on the acceptance of homosexuality after a couple of men in their choir (one on staff) announced they were getting married. Can you imagine substituting a different sin in that narrative such as “we have a lot of pedophiles in our church and I pray we always do”? That would be absurd (at least as of this writing). Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God (no more or less than other sins) and even many in the gay community are skeptical about the goings on. The following article is a fascinating read. http://thefederalist.com/2016/05/16/loveless-narcissistic-sex-addicts-a-gay-man-critiques-his-community/
- The voice of the prophet is pretty much gone/ignored. That would depend on where you look and what kind of prophecy you are looking for. The last 3-4 decades has seen a different kind of prophet come on the scene. They tend to be more philosophical, political or personal in their target subject. I have no doubt that the Lord can use almost anyone to deliver His Word to His people. I fancy myself as having prophetic leanings but I am constantly reminded that a jackass did it once which hopefully keeps my errant ego in check. My personal take on the most common role of prophets (at least biblically) is one where the prophet indentifies areas of concern, gives a warning of impending consequences and offers steps of correction or repentance in order to prevent some or all of the fallout. Having witnessed numerous “personal prophecies” which have been delivered to others, and even myself, over the past half century, I have not always seen these types of prophecies producing enduring fruit or valuable direction. It certainly has happened, but it seems to be more the exception. Very recently some “prophets” identified a certain political candidate (now president) as “God’s man of the hour” – maybe, but also maybe not. The main thing I believe is lacking when it comes to prophecy and the prophet today is accountability. There were pretty severe consequences for false prophets in times past and I think many would think twice before opening their mouth if punishments were re-instated. I do believe there are countless prophets today calling for holiness, integrity and commitment – unfortunately fewer and fewer are listening.
- God’s message is one focusing only on mercy. This one is a “two sides of the same coin” issue or one of both/and. One of my main mentors when I was a young adult was Dr. Charles Farah of the theology dept. at ORU. He defined heresy as emphasizing one truth at the exclusion of another. This is exactly what is occurring with the plethora of “feel good” preachers pouring in over the horizon emphasizing all the blessings and none of the curses. The oft extravagant lifestyles and mansions combined with 6 & 7 figure incomes fly insultingly in the face of the lifestyle and message of the humble servant Jesus whom they claim to emulate. It is these same preachers who have been the quickest to capitulate on whatever is trending in society in order to maintain their popularity as their income and lifestyles depend on it. When a spiritual leader omits consequences or judgment from the narrative they likely do an eternal disservice to the hearer. This is unconscionable on the part of these self serving demagogues. The cost of discipleship is terminal as it brings us to the foot of the cross. It is at this beloved monument where true acceptance and riches are found as we follow Jesus, embrace holiness and find true joy in the knowledge that Jesus took our judgment on Himself.
- Love wins! This is actually not an area of denial as much as it is an area where wishful thinking is taking a front row seat. I’m referring to the very popular book of the same name (Love Wins) by Rob Bell. This is different than the preachers in denial #8 as Rob takes a more Universalist view of religion (I can’t bring myself to call it Christianity) in which any eternal consequences are non-existent, hell is not real and everyone will ultimately be “saved”. I can understand the immense popularity of this message especially for those with friends or relatives who have not accepted Jesus. The thought of some eternal physical punishment is not a happy one and to cast some spin on scripture which insures an eventual address in paradise is universally appealing. The knowledge that we serve a patient God who is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance affords me the peace to leave ultimate judgment to His discretion. But lacking a Judeo/Christian basis for a Universalist/no hell scenario, I cannot be party to a message which, according to the scriptures we have, defrauds the hearer by giving some transitory peace of mind.
- The road to heaven is wide and easy to find. No we would never actually say this, but the growth of the “Club Christian” atmosphere in the world defies the fact that scripture actually says the opposite is true. And although somewhat related to denials #8 & 9, this is perhaps the most sobering point to ponder here. I have a love/hate relationship with the parable in Matt. 20 where the kingdom of heaven is described as being like a land owner who hires various groups throughout the day and then pays them all the same as if they had all work the entire day. I especially like to think of God that way as I might be one of the last hires and I want all He has for me. But then the prideful part of me sometimes feels like the one hired first with an inability to appreciate the last person getting the same as me. I am so very glad to leave in God’s hands justice, reward and judgment. At the same time, He did leave in our hands an abundance of scripture indicating there is both judgment and mercy. In fact, it gives me great pause to consider the full context of Matt. 7:13, 14 which plainly states that the road to destruction is broad and MOST will find it and the way is narrow and hard that leads to life and FEW will find it. God, be merciful to me a sinner and please help me find that most narrow of pathways that leads to life eternal!
- I’m sure these are issues in some churches, but not in mine. That is why I call this the top things many in the church are in denial about. Having been youth pastors for the better part of 15 years in churches that would be considered very conservative and evangelical I can tell you my biggest concern is for our youth. I say it that way because most all of the denials above which directly impact adults have devastating consequences on our youth. Parents and pastors easily notice or identify problems with other churches or other people’s kids but are often blind to that which is closest to them. I personally know several circumstances where cultural Christian young people are having sex while their parents, youth pastors or churches are clueless. And I use the term “cultural Christian” very intentionally as this is the best way to describe the children of God fearing parents for whom Christianity is seen as a social identity instead of a relationship with Christ with eternal ramifications. If you are in denial that these are issues in YOUR church, then this blog is ESPECIALLY for you!
I am not suggesting this is a complete list.
PS Abortion: Thankfully this is not a denial in most churches. But I am not sure all Christians understand the absolutely demonic nature of what has become such a norm in our society. It is only in modern day in which the murder of babies either in or outside the womb has become acceptable. It was only backward and barbaric nations which practiced the sacrifice of babies. It was only amongst the most heinous of civilizations in which to slice a baby out of its mother and cut into pieces in their dying presence was considered the ultimate insult. Here are some facts to have at your disposal if you encounter someone considering abortion and they have no “moral” reason not to.
- 31% of women having abortions report suffering physical health complications (1)
- 10% of women having abortions suffer immediate, potentially life-threatening complications (2, 3, 4)
- Women have a 65% higher risk of clinical depression following abortion vs. childbirth (5)
- 65% of women suffer symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after abortion (1)
- Women’s death rates from various causes after abortion are 3.5 times higher than after giving birth (6, 7)
- Many women describe their experience as ‘a nightmare’, which can hardly be equated with ‘choice’. 60% of women surveyed after abortion responded that:’Part of me died’ (1)
- Suicide rates among women who have abortions are six times higher than those who give birth (7, 8)
- Abortion increases a woman’s risk of future miscarriages by 60% (9)
- Source: Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.
- Frank, et.al., “Induced Abortion Operations and Their Early Sequelae,” Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners 35(73):175-180, April 1985.
- Grimes and Cates, “Abortion: Methods and Complications”, in Human Reproduction, 2nd ed., 796-813.
- M.A. Freedman, “Comparison of complication rates in first trimester abortions performed by physician assistants and physicians,” Am. J. Public Health76(5):550-554, 1986).
- JR Cougle et. al., “Depression Associated With Abortion and Childbirth: A Long-Term Analysis of the NLSY Cohort,” Medical Science Monitor 9(4):CR105-112, 2003.
- M Gissler et. al., “Pregnancy Associated Deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 76:651-657, 1997.
- M. Gissler, “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63, 2005.
- Gissler, Hemminki & Lonnqvist, “Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study,” British Journal of Medicine 313:1431-4, 1996.
- N. Maconochie, P. Doyle, S. Prior, R. Simmons, “Risk factors for first trimester miscarriage—results from a UK-population-based case–control study,” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Dec 2006.
Note: Studies 6, 7 and 8 looked at death rates for an average for up to one year after the end of the pregnancy. Another study found that looked at suicide rates for up to eight years found that, compared to women who gave birth, women who had abortions had a 62% higher risk of death from all causes and a 2.5 times higher suicide rate. Source: DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.
#1 – Your business is NOT you. If you have a business you should ALSO have a Facebook page for your business and invite people to like/friend your business page. To mix your personal and business post on the same personal page is to presume upon others an interest in your business. Most of you know that Barbie and I make almost 100% of our income from our online business and apart from a rare update (maybe 3 or 4 times a year) you do not endure daily, weekly or even monthly business post for our lock company. If your business is indeed legitimate then you should conduct yourself accordingly and invite friends to subscribe to your business page and let them make that choice instead of making it for them and everybody else who sees their thread.
#2 – Think twice before liking something which is not of a personal nature. All of us like stuff. But all of us do not necessarily like ALL the same stuff. Limit your likes of random non personal stuff like the most recent gadget, political, religious or vacation spot. Just this week I scrolled through almost 30 “likes” in a row which had nothing to do with me or my interest. Most of us do want to see your personal pictures, plans or passions but not necessarily your most recent shopping or restaurant experience.
#3 – I love scripture, God and Godly exhortations. But sharing a bunch of spiritual memes, pictures of Jesus in the clouds with a scripture or pre-packaged motivational messages often (actually almost always) feels impersonal and trite. If you have an encouragement feel free to IM a personal note or at least take the time to write it out yourself instead of just clicking like or share on something canned.
#4 – Please consider carefully when you share something with curse words, gross or vulgar images. Not everyone is as mature as you in their ability to handle that type of stuff (read sarcasm).
#5 – We get it, you exercise. We do not, however, need to know every time you go to the gym. You can also substitute various other repetitive activities to this rule i.e. eating out, shopping, golfing, etc.
#6 – We get it, you are against (fill in the blank) and you are in favor of (fill in the blank). We do not need to be reminded daily or multiple times a day of these facts.
#7 – Take the time to check the validity of something before you share it. There are lots of bogus stories, fake pictures, scam free stuff etc. etc. out there. PLEASE, the old adage still holds true today, “if something sounds (looks, feels) too good to be true is probably is.” Google stuff or check it out on Snopes.com before you pass on questionable stuff. Oh, and for the record, the gargantuan cat hedge sculptures are photo shopped, Mel Gibson was never attacked and beaten in his youth and Mercedes is NOT giving away 10 cars.
#8 – As a general rule, try and stick to making comments about your own country. I really don’t think Americans should be giving strong political critiques of another countries election, immigration policy or other cultural practices and I believe the same should be true about other nationalities towards America. I am not speaking about expressing sympathy for tragedies or promoting positive or interesting news.
#9 – Don’t request or share stuff with the expressed desire for it to “GO VIRAL”. Going viral is a spontaneous explosion of interest or activity about a video or product not manufactured interest because you “begged” for it to go viral.
#10 – And last but not least, Do NOT, I repeat do NOT try and test or define any friend’s friendship with a challenge to like or share a post. Really???
Genesis 11:6 – The LORD said, “They are one people with one language. This is only the beginning of what they will do! Now nothing they plan to do will be too difficult for them.
God saw all the amazing things the “globalized” people of the earth were accomplishing and He saw it as a negative. Why would great advancements, huge building programs and international cooperation be seen as a negative? Because God knew that along with “nothing they plan to do will be too difficult” would also come an arrogant practice of anything goes.
So it has taken several thousands of years for the world to be “globalized” again to the point where language differences are of little consequence when all you have to do is hit “translate page” on Google or upload a comparable app on your smart phone for instant, real time translation. Just yesterday I saw and advertisement for an ear insert that instantly translates a language. There is again no language barrier in the world. As a result, truly amazing things are taking place in the advancement of the world in technology, medicine, farming, science, construction, manufacturing as well as equally negative, anything goes, factors of relativism, pride and debauchery.
An amazing amount of these “advancements” have taken place in my lifetime. I was visiting with my father a few months back and we were discussing the decline of the church’s influence in America in particular. He made the point that WWII was a significant factor in the beginning of the globalization of the world. Prior to WWII, the vast majority of people were born, grew up and died all within a few miles while all the time going to the same church, generally knowing the same people as well as being subject to the same peer influence and pressure for most social and character life issues. The effect of WWII on that localized influence was monumental. With the advancement and reduced cost of both local and international travel, it was no longer assumed that you would live and die in your “home town”. Troops from across the globe, in addition to fighting a war, were exposed to vastly different and exciting new states, countries and cultures. Combine this shrinking of the world via travel with the ease of international communication and collaboration and what was once the local village ultimately became the World Wide Web breaking down all remaining barriers.
Don’t get me wrong, I see it as a good thing when somebody in South Africa comes up with a piece of some medical puzzle and he is able to instantly collaborate with someone or even several someones in other countries to affect a breakthrough in medicine. That is not the problem God saw with common tongue and communication. It’s when some guy with a foot fetish, (or substitute some other fringe activity) who because of social media and the ability to search the whole world in an instant for others with the same interest, no longer feels alone and the need to hide or curtail his vice. He now feels validated and accepted practicing what would have otherwise been viewed as weird and perhaps even deviant to his local community. Don’t believe me. Oh you doubters, there are now foot worship fetish parties all over the world.
When it comes to appreciating nice looking feet, perhaps there is little concern for the decline of worldwide morality. There are, however, other incredibly destructive things which have come “out of the closet” in my lifetime. And I’m not just talking about homosexuality. In the big scheme of things, homosexuality may be one of the lesser evils which have found validation in today’s society as a result of the shrinking world. By far the most destructive things to emerge “triumphant” in modern society are areas in which the church has capitulated to “right side of history” and culturally correct or expedient practices. The reason falling standards in the church bears so much consideration is because, lest we forget, “judgment begins in the house of God” 1Peter 4:17.
I am going to be as blunt and honest as I can here because the future ability of the church to regain its effectiveness, influence and reputation in the world is at stake. Just a short biblical lesson shouldn’t be too tedious for those who already know and it will be helpful for those who don’t (of which there are apparently multitudes). From the very beginning of the establishment of the Jewish nation, leadership was admonished to not collect a big salary (multiply gold for themselves), to follow God’s eternal laws and to serve the people. Most of them unfortunately failed to do this causing countless reoccurring problems. Jesus however, as our most perfect shepherd/leader, did in fact model these eternal values by living a life of servant hood and sacrifice paired with an extremely modest lifestyle. How is it then that today there are so many “pastors” who insult God’s commands and the very essence of who Jesus is by embracing living standards more closely resembling the “lifestyles of the rich and famous”? It’s because they can go on line and find other pastors “succeeding” who have equally inflated opinions of themselves who live in million dollar homes and who collect 6 or 7 figure salaries.
It is primarily a modern day phenomenon in which a person can feel “called” into the ministry and service of Christ and have the prospect or expectation of being greatly enriched by doing so. And if we are going to be completely honest, even the un-churched are often all too aware of the commands in scripture for a modest lifestyle among Christians and these affluent and greedy mega-church practices, which more closely resemble those in the corporate world, have them dismissing and tuning out entirely because of the blatant hypocrisy.
I’m going to sound a bit liberal here for a moment (please forgive me) but how do so many churches justify cushy couches, fancy coffee bars and worship leader spot lights combined with a multitude of projector screens, mood lighting and the latest internet technology while we still have the destitute, lost and desperate right outside our church doors. I suggest it is our priorities which need remodeling – not our “out dated” facilities. And here is the kicker, those “bigger, better, more” accoutrements are the very reason we are not drawing in or retaining our young people as they see these things as a shallow mimic of their entertainment world. They are longing and searching for something very different than their most recent secular concert experience when it comes to engaging and worshiping a holy God – or was it for naught that God said “My ways are not your ways”? And in Romans 12 when God exhorts us “Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead change the way you think.” What follows is a list of activities of servant hood, giving, teaching, showing mercy etc. Conspicuously lacking is any mention of fancy buildings or big salaries. This is not to say that functionally appropriate facilities are not necessary, but they cannot take precedence over the work of the ministry.
There are many more factors which have led to the church growing in its irrelevance. In order to maintain those high salaries, fancy coffee bar lobbies and environmental sanctuaries, which by the way are resulting in ever increasing budgets, many churches have rolled over on many eternal biblical standards. They simply can’t risk losing those tithe dollars so in order not to offend the offenders, long standing Biblical laws are massaged and equivocated on to include a hate for divorce that mirrors God’s (Malachi 2:16), an intolerance for adultery, teen sex, gossip, greed, homosexuality and more. Pro-active mentoring and accountability for Godly character has become a fading and lost art. I offer one glaring example from Malachi 2:13 & 14 where God plainly informs His people that the reason He no longer pays attention to their prayers and sacrifices is because of the high divorce rate. Could it be stated any more plainly? And here we are today with divorce rates in the church approaching the same level as in secular society.
I hope you are able to track with me on this as to the negatives of the church being “plugged in” to the progressive globalized world. To possibly help illustrate this I will offer an example. Most of us Christians, as well as non-Christians, view the Amish and similar communities as old fashion, behind the times and maybe even a bit weird. But let’s give the benefit of the doubt for a minute and consider this quote from an article on the Amish Studies website.
“Why would God frown on a telephone? What sense does it make to keep a tractor at the barn but not take it to the field? Is it not inconsistent, if not outright hypocritical, to hire non-Amish drivers but refuse to own cars? And what could be the difference between 12-volt electricity from batteries and 110-volt current from public utility lines? These distinctions may look silly to outsiders, but within the context of Amish history they are important cultural adaptations that have helped to slow the pace of social change and keep worldliness at bay”.
Obviously the rejection of many types of technology hasn’t been a catch-all for the Amish, but in their close knit and tight communities the influence or validation of Biblically fringe practices have had little opportunity to foment and grow. Not too unlike it might have been 100 years ago in a smaller community where if some guy in your church is abusing his wife and the other men in the church find out, they would have taken that guy out and given him a good talking to or more depending on the level of abuse. Or if the guy with some other fetish or deviant inclination was unable to find others like himself in their town he might truly have understood that this was a lifestyle or way of thinking which he shouldn’t entertain. But today, it almost doesn’t matter what fringe or deviant interest you might have, you are sure to find a few hundred if not several thousands of people “just like you” amongst the billions of people in the world for the simple reason you were able to search it on Google or some other social media and even go the their annual conference.
And on a more broad note, how is it that so many young people today feel the freedom to be dismissive and rude to their parents, teachers and other community “elders”? Because they see it modeled every day on the latest TV sitcom, late night comedy “news” or selfie video on social media. And if all those other young people are doing it then it must be ok and all those grey headed people are just stupid and out of touch by trying to hold onto those outdated practices of honor, character, respect, morality and hard work. Even among many Christian youth it hardly even enters into their minds that the first commandment with a promise was to honor those “older” people in your life (parents). They have been brainwashed into believing they know better after finding validation for their attitudes with the latest trending YouTube video and they do not even hesitate to inform you of their new found enlightenment and your “old and busted” views.
How unfortunate that the globalization and shrinking of our world through the ease of communication, and the internet in particular, has spawned 2 very different results. One being the almost limitless capacity of our world to accomplish things formerly thought impossible as well as the ability for anti-God practices to gain an increasing foothold in the church because “everybody is doing it” and I can prove it because I read it somewhere on the internet today.
As much as it pains me (and the Lord) to say this, I don’t see things changing for the better in the church in general. So many have fallen hook line and sinker for the Joel Osteen, Rob Bell and Carl Lentz types who embrace feel good wealth fantasies, no worries about eternal punishment and an unwillingness to call blatant sexual sin – sin. I am feeling more and more that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically when He said that the path to eternal life is narrow and few will find it. I am challenged everyday to watch my attitudes, anger, impatience, un-forgiveness as well as my devotion to the principals of scripture and how it compares to the life of Jesus and the fruits of the Spirit. I have a long way to go, but I cannot turn aside from that narrow path to run across the median to that wide and inviting road shouting to the rest of humanity, and so many who call themselves Christians, “wait for me, I’ll catch up”. This is not about being on the right side of history. This is about being hidden in Christ and Him alone. And the promise is that if we do so we will be despised on this earth.
PS As I was writing this over the past few weeks, I felt strongly that it was a prophetic word for the church. I was praying the past few days for the Lord to confirm this word in my heart before I sent it out and this morning a good friend posted an excerpt from a short letter written by Derek Prince probably 25 years ago. That letter parallels this blog in several ways and I felt it was a confirming encouragement to go forward. Thanks Richard! Link below
I have never asked this, but if this blog speaks to your spirit, pray about sharing it.
I am seeing more and more post expressing shock and “oh my gosh” outrage over all the things being revealed about corruption in politics, the media, Trump, Hillary, Bill and almost anyone connected to them.
All I have to say is REALLY!!! Seriously, please quit with all the hyped/fake shock and outrage!
Where has everybody been for the last quarter century? Nothing that has happened here has any shock value to it for me. I wrote a book which covers some of these types of trends that I started almost 20 years ago and I blog about this stuff all the time. Anyone who is shocked is either being disingenuous or has spent the last 25 years at Disney World where every bit of dirt or trash is swept up before you have a chance to see it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am disappointed, disgusted, nauseated and saddened by all the lack of integrity and character. But shock? No, not shocked, as I am well aware of the depravity of our society that little would shock me at this point.
There are also choruses of people advocating a no vote or a vote for a third party and you are absolutely free to make that decision. But it might be important history for younger people to be aware of (because it was before your time or while you were still in grade school) that in 1992 we had a viable 3rd party candidate, Ross Perot, who garnered almost 20% of the popular vote in that national election in an effort to make inroads into challenging the corrupt 2 party system – and yes, I agree that it is corrupt. He made a notable showing, but that 20% of the vote is the very thing that ushered the Clinton’s into power. They may not be the most corrupt dynasty we have had (although I suspect they might be), but they are the current one. For 25 years we have been living with the severe consequences which occurred as a result of all those who either by a no vote or a vote for Ross Perot enabling the current levels of corruption we have.
I cannot and will not excuse or defend the corrupt or lewd actions of either candidate or party but neither am I shocked by them. But there is still something that I will be shocked by until the day I die and that is the fact that as a “civilized” society we still allow the mutilation and murder of babies who have either not yet been born or who are in the process of being born.
Perhaps the only thing I have to hope for in this current election season, (and I say hope because in life there are no guarantees) is that several of the honorable pro-life people on the list of 20 candidates for the Supreme Court which Trump has released as being his choices will have a chance to be appointed. The Democrats are afraid of this list and even Hillary acknowledged in this last debate that Trump will put people into the Supreme Court who can overturn Roe V Wade. All you have to do is take note that this issue (Supreme Court Nominees) is of one of the most frequently mentioned platform positions the Democratic party mentions about Trump when arguing against him being elected.
There may be no way to properly express the incredible importance of this power which will be placed into the hands of the next president which will have massive affect on certain aspects of the direction our nation takes over the next generation.
I also understand that some may want to distance themselves from this election and be able to say “I sure didn’t vote for him/her”. The reality is that we live in a secular and frankly evil and corrupt nation and unless you are going to remove yourself entirely from ever participating in the election process, you will most likely be voting for someone who represents very little of your values in the majority of future elections. As Christians there is little we can do beyond prayer, but I believe we must do what we can when there is a window of opportunity to help defend the most defenseless in our midst.
And who knows, Trump could drop dead the day after the election and Mike Pence could become president – hey, it could happen.
The ever changing “progressive” society we live in is becoming schizophrenic in it’s values. There are numerous states or municipalities who have recently enacted laws which capitulate to a small fraction of a percentage of our population. Now, if some guy on any given day feels like he is a woman instead of a man (or that he just wants to get his jollies) he can, with legal protection, go in the girl’s/women’s restroom. Here is why this is so messed up. Supposed this guy had gone into the women’s restroom the day before he gained his legal right to do so. He would have been arrested as a pervert/pedophile and would have a lifelong record as a sex offender. But just one day after the new law he can go in the women’s restroom, with the legal protection of the law, and the person who tries to prevent him will be the person who is arrested for discrimination and have to take “sensitivity training”. How can values change 180 degrees in just one day? This is why I call it schizophrenic as normal thought, reason and the values of the vast majority are outweighed and tossed out the window in favor of irrational, immoral and narrow laws giving into a very small handful of people.
States that have enacted reasonable laws to insure the privacy and security of children (and adults) to feel safe from voyeurism in the restroom are being attacked and boycotted for their horribly discriminatory practices. In just the past couple of weeks countless major corporations, concert artist and businesses have announced boycotts of a couple of these states. I have never been one to promote boycotts and I’m not going to start now, but just so you know, you would basically not be able to buy almost anything to sustain life if you were to boycott all the companies who have signed protest letters aimed at these states. And just for those of you who are saying to yourself, “there he goes again, exaggerating”, here is just one of the recent cases of someone using another states law which protects a person’s right to use the bathroom they feel they identify with.
The argument is that no one should have to suffer the stress associated with discrimination. So for the sake of less than 1/10th of 1 percent of the population the other 99.99% of us, to include our young daughters, will instead be forced to suffer the stress of not knowing if the girl/guy in the next stall is a voyeuristic pervert.
Why is this so important and why are special interest groups able to have such success promoting fringe movements? Because, frankly, fringe is becoming mainstream. Anybody who thinks this is not just the next step in the direction of legalizing pedophilia and sex with children is both wonderfully naive and unaware of many groups already advocating this or you have a unique ability to walk and live in denial. Anybody who is truly interested can dig a little deeper than a cursory Google search and find out that many of these special interest groups advocating these fringe sex, marriage and gender laws can be traced back to the gay, swinger and free sex movements of the 1960s. It is perverse, deviant, voyeuristic and devoid of any common sense. But it is unfortunately America’s new “normal”.
So what can Christians do? The main tool we have is prayer. Boycotting is unrealistic as we would basically have to go off the grid and become hermits in the mountains (as nice as that might sound) which of course is not fulfilling our calling of being “in the world but not of the world”. Our testimony is being forced into the realm of personal relationships and character as we go into all the world while occasionally using words when necessary. And if your Christ centered lifestyle is not sparking interest, or spite, in those you come in contact with, consider that you might not be doing it right.
Let’s be perfectly clear, If Trump is ultimately the GOP nominee I will, as I have stated in earlier blogs, hold my nose and vote against any of the current possibilities the DEMs may put forward by voting for Trump. But to also make it clear, Trump is in no way my preferred representative for president. A good friend pointed out the first few verses in 2 Timothy 3 the other day as a reason she (and I) would have trouble voting for Trump.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Unfortunately, we have way to many candidates on both sides this time around who might have several of the above characteristics underlined about them as well and our choice might very well come down to what may best be described as choosing the lesser of 2 evils. Not a choice I am looking forward to.
But what I would like to visit in this blog is the plethora of “prophets” and Christian “leaders” who have seemingly “anointed” Trump as some kind of Ester figure or King Nebuchadnezzar or Darius savior. Just today the leader of one of the largest Christian Universities endorsed Trump as God’s man of the hour.
Can someone, anyone – really anyone, please show me the scripture where Christians are supposed to promote, anoint or prophesy into places of prominence and leadership those who exhibit a large percentage of the negative characteristics listed in 2 Tim. 3. I can understand waiting until the last minute and, as I stated earlier, voting for the lesser of two evils, but this phenomenon of prophetic and spiritual support for Trump has me as baffled as Balaam’s ass and I must bray loudly in protest.
First I will deal with the Babylonian kings who were benevolent to Daniel and his 3 friends. I recognize that both Nebuchadnezzar and Darius protected Daniel and company and ultimately paid some homage to the God above all gods. But let’s be perfectly clear, Daniel, his 3 friends and the host of Israel were still very much slaves and captives in Babylon both before and after those kings “saw the light” and eased their incarceration. Is this what you are hoping for with Trump, some easing of conditions via a person who has almost no understanding of the most foundational tenants of our Christian faith – repentance and communion?
I would welcome someone who can personally assure me that Trump’s faith has some element beyond giving a cursory nod to a supreme being, pandering to a Christian university or pouring out praises to any of the many humanistic “I’m ok, you’re ok” feel good, positive thinking preachers out there who have chosen to abandon the doctrine of sin in favor of pop culture/right side of history capitulation. Feel free to post that character reference in the comment section of this blog.
At least not all sanity is lost as it was reported today that several prominent Christian women’s organizations came out against Trump in light of his oft vile and offensive words directed at females and his flip flopping record on abortion. (Right to Life and Concerned Women for America among them)
But some of these Christian (Men) leaders have even gone so far as to give Trump the “for such a time as this” mantle as if to compare him to Ester. I have read the book of Ester, I have studied the book of Ester, I love the character, bravery and humility of Ester and Donald Trump you are no Queen Ester – and neither am I for that matter. Please don’t insult the memory of Ester with that kind of comparison!
It is at this point I will make what will be viewed as my most controversial observation. Why would it be that men (in much higher numbers) are falling all over themselves to jump in lock step with Trump in contrast to far fewer percentages among women? I believe it is because of basic “machismo” male dominance to which Trump’s boisterous demeanor and rude treatment of women rings some un-civilized bell among men – yes even among Christian men. Women are much quicker to cut through this bluster and see it for what it is – a return to more archaic times.
I suppose I could begin to understand if all the fawning and praise was over Dr. Ben Carson who I do see as a brave, humble and Godly leader. But the title of “God’s man of the hour” or someone “for such a time as this” would be a challenging title for almost all the presidential candidates this season (in no particular order of scale). I do believe there are a couple of exceptions and I challenge you to do the hard work of research, study and comparing your values to the various candidates (and to God’s values). With much prayer and God’s intervention, we will hopefully be able to GLADLY cast our votes this coming November.
As a tool, I would suggest you take this comprehensive and un-biased questionnaire in order to see which candidate most closely agrees with your standards and areas of importance. You will get the best result if you answer all the questions in each category.