History can teach us if we let it! (Captain obvious)

Although I am a Christian, with scripture and the laws of God holding a prominent place in my heart and life, you don’t actually have to be a believer in order to make certain choices given our extensive knowledge of history – unless of course you are intent on repeating it which seems to be the status quo most of the time.

Although some may not view Leviticus as a historical book I am going to “enter into evidence” Leviticus 18 for your thoughtful consideration for the purpose of this blog.  In that chapter God indicates actions which have caused judgment to fall on all the former inhabitants of the lands, which in this particular case refers to the land to be given to the descendants of Abraham.

The actions identified in Leviticus are of two specific categories.  One is sexual activities ranging from adultery and incest to homosexuality and beastiality and the second is killing or burning the innocents (babies) which in that day were an offering to the god Molech.

At that point in Leviticus we have a minimum of 1500 to 2000 years of recorded history to verify that no people group survived who began to practice these types of activities.  And now here we are with an additional 3500 years of history to seemingly confirm that any country which was given over to sexual or social activities which did not align with the more conservative Judeo/Christian ethics (and again although I am referencing religion I am doing so in regards to recorded history) have not survived long historically.

I recognize and understand to some extent the laws of physics such as gravity, Newton’s law of motion and others.  But what if what we have seen in history is another level of laws for the physical earth which were also set in place from the beginning which cannot be ignored any more than you could ignore gravity regardless of whether you believe it or not.  In Leviticus God refers to the land “vomiting out” people groups who participate in the practices listed earlier as if the actual physical land may have some involuntary gag reflex that plays a role in cleansing itself of people who violate these laws.  And He promises the same judgment for the Israelites if they participate likewise.  And our recorded history really does seem to confirm this to be the case.

gravity

So why should any country or people group today expect that they have somehow learned the secret of immunity to the moral laws of the universe which seem to be just as unbreakable even if somewhat less predictable in the timing or means of execution (double entendre).

So whatever you want to call it, free sex, choice, abortion, “love wins”, MYOB, equal rights, gay or women’s rights; history and the laws of the universe will not be changed or persuaded by some progressive school of thought.  I find it especially ironic that many progressives call it “being on the right side of history” to give in and practice such activities.  Have no doubt, history (and God) will not be mocked.

Not my (kind of) president!

Trump is not the kind of (read character/personality) president I would prefer.  But then neither was Kennedy, Nixon, Bill Clinton or Hillary (if she had been elected).  Personally, I think Ford, Carter, Reagan, the 2 Bush’s and to some extent even Obama conducted themselves with a demeanor that honors the office.  I’m not sure I see that happening with Trump.  He, unfortunately, is another in a category of what appears to be self serving, and, with Trump in particular, generally not presidential (my opinion).  But alas all those mentioned before, and now Trump, were and are our (speaking of the citizens of US) president.

Was he (Trump) locker room boasting or has he actually grab women inappropriately?  I don’t know and I suggest neither do you.  To talk that way is wrong and insulting to women and to actually act out that way is criminal.  I will tell you that I am VERY glad that hidden microphones were not around for some of the hurtful things I have said to Barbie and she feels the same way about some of the things she has said to me.  We have truly done more damage to each other by some of our unrecorded words that anything I or Trump may have boasted about in the “locker room”.  In fact as I have asked around, most admit that we are fortunate microphones were not hidden in various places for some of the worst things we have said.  This in NO WAY excuses what I have said to Barbie or the demeaning way Trump spoke about women.  But it is disingenuous for most of us to have some huge moral outrage at Trump while at the same time thanking our lucky stars under our breath that some of our “locker room” outbursts were never recorded.  It is at this point I want to apologize to all women for any of the untoward things I have spoken in the past which were insulting towards women.  I am glad there were not many, but I am guilty.  I am far sorrier for how I have hurt my wife with my reactive or cutting words which actually did damage.

So I get it, Trump is not my kind of president either, but he IS my president.  And I actually held my nose and voted for him as, given the candidates we were afforded, I was driven to a single issue and that was abortion.  This single issue is defining and dividing our country more than race, gender questions or cake baking.  It is an issue that gained significant traction out of the free love generation of the 60’s and the lack of wanting to take responsibility for what all that unaccountable sex produced.  Just to be clear, this is a maturity and a responsibility issue not some benign choice issue.  A majority of Americans oppose abortion on demand.  Science has learned so much since the early 70’s to include the awareness of immense pain the not yet born baby can feel after just a few weeks of growth.

Consider this, we would all be outraged if somebody cut open a beautiful Labrador dog, pulled half a dozen puppies out and cut them into pieces.  In fact that person would be arrested and prosecuted for animal cruelty and would likely spend time behind bars.  But do the same thing in a PP office and a million people marching for women’s rights will cheer as if that act somehow preserved civility and rights.  Or the fact that the majority of women who identified as pro-choice, once shown an actual video of a C&D or partial birth abortion change their position right then and there.  My son Chad and I were discussing this subject this morning and he said that a nice white sanitary veil has been hung up to obscure the reality of what is actually happening behind the closed doors of abortion clinics and that people have bought into an idea of freedom, choice and rights that is actually anything but.

I had a close and long time friend write something on facebook this past week to the effect of “if my friends who voted for Trump don’t get it, then just listen”.  So this past Saturday, my wife and I watched and listened to CNN and other mainstream media outlets as the “march for women’s rights” events were televised.  Maybe it is just us “stupid rural” folks, but to watch Ashley Judd’s rant or Elisabeth Warren describe the things she wants to fight Trump about was to end up very confused.  I will just put Ashley Judd aside as I don’t even know what to say about her, but I did not hear very much of what Elisabeth Warren was fighting for that Trump would disagree with or that Trump has not already joined in the fight for.  In addition to listening, we also watched.  And what we saw confused us even more.  For a crowd that was (in truth) protesting Trump’s disgusting antics as much or more than they were advocating women’s rights, we were frankly disgusted by many of the vile signs, costumes and gestures.  Remind me – what was this march about???  We saw signs covering the gamut of subjects, most of which had little or nothing to do with women’s rights.

Now top all that off with the fact that if you were a Trump supporter or a pro-life woman, your rights were not to be included or protected in this “noble” cause.  In fact, you were not welcomed and if you did show up you were threatened and actually chased from the parade route.

So after actually listening and watching Barbie and I did in fact learn a few things.  We learned that well over 50% of the women in America were simply “not welcomed” to this party supposedly promoting all women’s rights.  We learned that Ashley Judd is just plain crazy.  We learned that many people are, justifiably, upset about Trump’s foul mouth and perhaps actions and are willing to get out and march about it.  We learned that the “everyone is welcomed to join” does not actually mean everyone.  We learned that if Trump voices support for something it is ignored but if Elisabeth Warren is for the same exact thing everyone cheers.  We learned that Madonna wants to “blow up the White House”.  We agree that it’s wrong for Trump to say disgusting things but don’t understand why countless people wearing vagina costumes out in public is somehow ok.  We learned that an anti-Jewish and anti-Israel Palestinian woman was one of the main organizers of the march which doesn’t sound very inclusive.

Most of these fears being expressed appear to be red herrings to me.  I haven’t heard Trump or anybody he has appointed wanting to invalidate gay marriages, destroy the arts (although in my opinion government has no business spending tax dollars there but that is not an attack on the arts), undo LGBTQ rights or in any way destroy education (although this should only be handled at the state level in my opinion).  And even though Trump would be called a climate denier, to a person, everyone he has appointed who has been asked in the vetting hearings, agrees that climate change is real.  I have not seen any suggestion or indication that any US citizen might be marginalized because of race, gender or religion in fact, Trump has a better record of equal pay in his businesses than Hillary did among her own staff.

Bottom line, listening should be a 2-way experience.  But we have learned that it is not always that way.  We also leaned that to be included, welcomed or not ignored means something very different with those who lean left than those of us who lean further to the right.  It is normally portrayed that the left is the inclusive and non judgmental crowd but this past weekend would suggest the opposite is actually true.

What difference a day can make!

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.

http://www.kgw.com/news/local/washington/seattle-man-in-womens-locker-room-cites-gender-rule/45248512

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.

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.

“Cherry picking” how do we (the Church) decide what is right and wrong in each generation?

This blog is about trends in the church.  It is not a judgment, but rather general observations of how the “rules” of the church have been a moving target over the centuries and especially in recent decades and years.  Not all apply to all churches or denominations, but there are trends that are telling and I believe it is important for us to consider the how and why of trends in Biblical obedience especially as it relates to us today.

Not to put 100 years ago as some “benchmark” of holiness, but rather as a point on a historical time line of trends for which there was relatively little change prior to and significant change since.

Here are some generalities which applied across a wide berth of Christianity 100 years ago.  Divorce was almost unheard of and had a very negative stigma attached to it.  Virginity before marriage had a high value and those who fornicated were considered unclean, spoiled or “easy”.  Preaching on the doctrine of sin was a dominate subject from the preacher often with pulpit pounding “hell fire and brimstone” sermons.  A pastor wasn’t and didn’t marry a divorcee.  There were no questions relating to the acceptability of homosexuality.  Same sex marriage was not even on the horizon.  Acceptance of gay preachers was not a possibility.  Modesty, especially among those on the platform, included longer, looser fitting dresses for women and suits or ones best “Sunday go to meeting” clothes for men.  Make-up, fancy hair styles and lots of jewelry were rare.  Getting a tattoo was not an option.  People didn’t work or shop on “the Lord’s day”.  Even in my lifetime, if there was a store open on Sunday, there were “blue” laws prohibiting the sale of most non-food items.  Elders or deacons and their wives were held to the highest of Biblical standards.  Young people were included in “big church” right alongside their parents.  “The rod” was not spared in both church and home discipline.  Drinking was very much frowned upon ultimately influencing prohibition.

Almost without exception, all of the above practices of 100 years ago had their roots in specific scriptures which prohibited or commanded certain activities.  For example:  Lev. 19:28 ..you must not tattoo your body.., Prov. 23:13 …do not withhold spanking from your child.., 1 Tim. 3:11 ..a deacons wife cannot be a gossip.., Eph. 5:8 ..don’t be drunk with wine (alcohol).., Mal. 2:16 .. I the Lord God hate divorce & Jesus in NT Matt. 19:8-9 ..you divorce because of evil hearts and if you remarry except for adultery you are also guilty of adultery.., Lev. 21:14 ..a priest must not marry a divorcee…, Ex. 28: Those who serve around the alter were to dress extremely modestly – least they die.  I could go on, but you get the point that common practices of 100 years ago (and largely the previous 1900 years for that matter) had their foundations in scripture.

What has influenced such significant change in the last 100 years?  And although I don’t want to write more than necessary, here are examples as to why I ask.  Again, I am not making judgments here but rather objective observations.  Divorce is largely a non-issue in churches today.  Young people do not highly value virginity and most have little resistance or hesitancy to fornicate (and most parents are oblivious to this fact).  Immodest dress, by comparison, is not only common in church in general but even on the platform among ministers (short, tight, leggings, etc).  You can be arrested for spanking your children.  Young people have their own “age appropriate” services.  Everything is open on Sunday and many are required to work on Sunday.  We have same sex marriage and full acceptance of homosexuality not to mention male and female gay pastors and priest.  I recently witnessed the installment of a deacon/elder whose wife does not meet the wifely requirements found in scripture.  Many pastors are divorced, married to divorcees or have been caught in adultery with little if any consequences to “their ministry”.  I think it would have been in the mid 80’s when I last witnessed a pulpit pounding sermon on sin accompanied by shouts of how God hates it interlaced with God’s love for us as the reason we shouldn’t sin (thank your Brother Bill).

Because of the variety of scriptures being from both the Old and New Testaments, we cannot simply say, “well that was the OT”.  I also feel it is too convenient to say “well that was for an older time” since it is primarily “modern” history in which the greatest change has occurred.  Did the industrial or computer age affect God and His standards?   And although I picked a point 100 years back, most of these changes I have personally witnessed in my lifetime.  Can we really, with a straight face, say that we know better today what Godly modesty looks like than they did 50, 100 or 4000 years ago?  Has divorced somehow become sanitized and thus acceptable.  Do we no longer need pastors, elders and deacons to be of the absolute highest moral character?  Have scientist revealed some revolutionary DNA discovery that supersedes God’s laws on gender and sexuality?

I would love to hear your thoughts as to why it is you think we have had such an editorial view of scripture of late.  I suggest that pop culture with the aid of the information age has led to these drastic changes in the church.  And we are not without scripture itself warning against this.   In 1 John 2, the author gives a list of people to whom he is writing.  Old, young, fathers, little children, basically everyone; and he gives the clear exhortation to not follow all the popular cultural things that are happening in the world because they are simply not from God.

Give me your thoughts and where you think the next scriptural editing might take place.

Love Wins – Really?

Just a short blog having to do with some facebook discussion surrounding my blog from yesterday about the Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and her being jailed “until she changes her conscience”.

A family friend posted something referring to the verse in the bible indicating we are supposed to obey the governing authorities (Rom 13:1) making the point that Kim was not obeying scripture by keeping to her convictions if it involved breaking governmental laws.  I brought up the verse where Rom. 13:1 is trumped (no presidential reference here) by Acts 5:29 where we are supposed to obey God rather than man if it comes down to a laws involving sin.

For the most part there was lively debate (although some found it hard to stick to the actual subject) until someone (claiming to be a lover of Jesus) said she hoped that lesbians perform gay sex in front of Kim the whole time she is in jail.

I called this person out suggesting that the “love wins” mantra seems to eventually fall apart when they don’t get their way and that I couldn’t see Jesus wishing that punishment (watching gay sex) on anybody and questioning how that could be loving.  This person’s response was to send me pictures of homosexuals kissing.  This was combined with comments from this person’s (I presume also “Jesus loving”) spouse quoting scripture to me from 1Cor. 13 about the characteristics of love.  When I asked if they were in agreement with me that it would not be loving to force someone with a conviction against homosexuality to watch gay sex and their reply was that the gay sex was representative of that 1 Cor. 13 kind of love.

This was open debate and comments offered by those claiming to be “lovers of Jesus”.  As sad as it is to say, I can actually imagine a day when some porn star, rapist, child molester or murderer will be seen thumping their chest and pointing to the sky in some act of “devotion” to Jesus.  We have already seen, gay pastors and VS models who claim to be Christians.  Not making a comparison, just being honest about how far we have degraded in just a few short years.  Immorality is like a landslide once it gets going there is little chance of stopping it until you reach the very bottom.

Maranatha – Lord come quickly!!!

Update:  I didn’t realize there are already numerous “Christian” porn stars who pray before filming.

MARANATHA!

Special interest demanding special treatment!

Have you ever been asked by your employer to do something you didn’t want to do?  I suspect almost everybody would answer yes to that question.  But has your employer ever asked you to do something, which although not against the law, you have strongly held religious convictions not to do.  Such is the case for a county clerk in Kentucky named Kim Davis.

As of this year, it is no longer against the law for same sex couples to get married.  The same is also true that it is not against the law to fornicate, eat shell fish, watch porn, work on Sunday or drink alcohol.  But least we forget, keep in mind drinking alcohol, pornography, certain activities on Sunday and adultery have been against the law in our country in recent history.  And it should come as no surprise that some of these things, including same sex marriage, have been at times against the law in the US since our country’s founding had significant roots in Judeo-Christian beliefs.

But to my knowledge, and I did do a search, no has ever been arrested for refusing to obey an employer when asked to sleep with a client, work on Sunday, watch pornography or take a client out for a cheeseburger (as a practicing Jew).  It is truly a shock that we have gone from gay marriage being against the law to a county clerk being arrested for not issuing a marriage license to a gay couple in less than a year.

So for those of you who think the LGBT community doesn’t demand (and get) special treatment over EVERYBODY else, take a good look at this county clerk who followed her strongly held religious beliefs.  She has now been arrested and will reportedly remain in jail until – as reported on the news tonight – “she changes her conscience”.  “Changes her conscience”?  Not only must we endure a degrading society, but now we must comply (read change our conscience) or be arrested.  Big brother is truly getting too big (for his britches).

Kim Davis was prepared to face the consequences for her refusal which would have presumably been dismissal.  Oh, but that would never have been good enough to please the LGBT crowd.  Just like other cases such as those who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding, the LGBT community wants her to be forced to pay large and punitive monetary damages.  Not too unlike the mantra of extreme Islam which is not satisfied to just disagree, you must convert to their way of thinking or pay a monetary sum.

This story would have been thought laughable just 20 years ago and because immorality always spirals downward, don’t you dare be surprised at what will face Christians in the future.  Seems like I’m not the first one to suggest not being surprised at what awaits believers.  1Peter 4:12, 13

This county clerk has only been a Christian for about 4 years after a depressing life of failed marriages and children out of wedlock.  But there was something that caused her to take her faith seriously and I can only hope I will be as faithful when the time comes for my faith to be tested.

Life’s consequences & harm reduction!

Growing up my parents emphasized the principal of cause and effect.  In essence, this was all about reaping what you sowed.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Where I have sown hard work and integrity I have reaped the benefit of a great 34 year marriage, a home, transportation, respectful and loving kids/grandkids and the peace of mind that only can only come from a clear conscience and a deep relationship with Jesus.  When I have tried to make shortcuts in life I have found the gain to be less than beneficial and short lived.

Take my shed for example.  Maybe I have had a trade show or a project in which I took my display or several tools out and when the show or project was over I didn’t take the time to put everything up in its place.  Sure it may have saved me some time on the front end, but in the last couple of weeks I have spent probably 15 – 20 hours picking up, organizing, cleaning and working on my shed as it had gotten to the place where I couldn’t even get around or find stuff.  I just wish I would learn my lesson because this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I have had to repeat this scenario.  But in the big scheme of things I haven’t really caused any long term harm or eternal profit from either my shed laziness or cleanliness.  There are other things of a similar nature to the shed story like taking aspirin for a headache because someone forgot to drink their morning coffee or drank too many Margaritas the night before.

Then there are things which seem like a good idea at the time but which can leave significant problems or devastation in the end.  Take the free distribution of clean needles to drug addicts or condoms to prostitutes or high school students.  Lots of good arguments can be made for trying to mitigate the negative effects of these challenges.  But truth be told, this kind of help serves simply as a crutch to enable bad behavior and which can even be viewed as tacit approval of the harmful activity.  Probably the most glaring example of this kind of “harm reduction” is abortion.  Someone is pregnant, they were raped, they have no money or husband and having a baby right now is simply not convenient to their current stage in life.

These examples are just a sampling of hundreds of tough life challenges which if practiced or handled in short cut fashion yield long term devastating consequences.  That is life without hope.  That is life without REAL help. That is life without God.  And life like that really sucks and most often ends in despair, desperation or worse.

God’s laws of conduct were not written to keep us from having “fun”.  The Father knows how harmful certain activities are and He was gracious enough to warn us and direct us away from danger by providing us with an operating manual for humans – the Bible.  Maybe you are one of those who thinks you should be able to huff paint fumes and not loose brain cells or share drug needles and be immune from hepatitis.  What about being able to have free sex or gay sex and not get a sexually transmitted disease or eat only junk food and not get sick.  But then you would be one who thinks he know better than God as He is the one who designed those consequences in order to direct, scare and keep us away from activity which hurts us.  A fair amount of our medical research and practices are harm reduction based as they are geared in the direction of trying to eliminate naturally occurring problems resulting from not obeying Gods laws.

cause & effect

For Christians, there is a double whammy for not honoring God’s directions for life.  To start with you damage yourself (and often those around you) and secondly you damage the reputation of Christ.  I am amazed at how many young people who go to church and profess Christ have chosen to rebel against their loving heavenly Father as if they know better.  One of the most common indications of their rebellion is fornicating with their girlfriend/boyfriend and more recently delving into the same sex arena.

On some level the church only has itself to blame for this.  In many cases our churches and society have effectively removed many visible consequences and barriers relating to sin.  Whether sexual sin, gossip, divorce, gluttony or greed, we rarely correct, confront, rebuke or remove the offending brother, sister or couple.  Instead we offer marginally effective and short sighted, harm reduction (read sin consequence) alternatives.  You can get surgery to counter act your over eating and under moving, bankruptcy for over spending or under working, divorce for under committing or for over lusting, escaping to our private homes or changing churches for over talking (gossip) and adoption or abortion for being overly intimate.

Side Note:  On the gossip subject I think many people will just arrogantly stand there and do it anyway.

Actually I am in the harm reduction business as I manufacture and sell high security locks to prevent trailer thefts.  The tag line for my Ft. Knox Locks business is “Setting the gold standard in protecting your assets”.  You have to wonder how protected the “assets” of all those Ashley Madison customers feel about now knowing their names have been made public as having an account on the “Life is Short, Have an Affair” website.  Here was a secular company trying to eliminate or reduce any consequences for having an affair.  How did that work for millions?

There are naturally occurring bad consequences for sin and those consequences were inherently designed to hurt us and thus turn us away from harmful activity.  But remove or lessen the cost and impact of sin and guess what?  Sin abounds – who knew?  God knew: which is why He made a way to escape eternity’s ultimate judgment and perhaps even some of the consequences while here on earth.  Why don’t we focus on the fact that there are abundant and wonderful benefits for honoring and obeying God’s laws?  But instead people have been trying for millennium to skirt the consequences of breaking God’s laws to no avail.  It may seem that some succeed or that they succeed for a season of time.  But sincere Christians must stop banging their heads against the laws of God.  You will lose in the end.  And you are just as likely to take others with you down that broad and socially accepted road that leads nowhere but self gratification – and then you die.  But for those who choose the narrow, unpopular and less traveled road labeled “servants of the most high God” those good consequences and promises of the Father await.