I’m all for equality when it comes to the genders, I think women have been superior far too long:). But in all seriousness, last night’s Super Bowl commercials and half time show was sure sending a mixed message when it came to women. There were several commercials highlighting the amazing abilities of women and emphasizing that women can do incredible things – to which I say yes and amen. These commercials were appropriate and respectful and in line with the “Me Too” movement striking out against the objectifying and abuse of women. Then you have a halftime show that had JLO stripper pole dancing while wearing a crotch emphasizing outfit. This nasty exhibition objectifying women was in complete contradiction and contrast to the efforts of those respectful commercials. Progressive culture wants to have its cake and eat it too – well I’m going to call it what it is on its face – complete and utter hypocrisy.
I have been watching with interest and sadness all the protest and vitriol in response to Trump being the president elect. There is simply no precedent for this level of reaction to the civilized exercising of our civic responsibility in voting for our top leadership. Calls for the elimination of the Electoral College, threats to move out of the country combined with American flag burning, vandalism and chants of “not my f***ing president” and “stupid rural people” are being seen and heard in the streets and college campuses coast to coast. And not just a few people in a few places, 10s of thousand in dozens of places across America. So, what were our fore fathers thinking?
Well first of all I can tell you they were in fact thinking and even though I am solidly one of those rural people who grew up in West Texas cotton country, I did at least learn to read which, when applied to history books, has enabled this “stupid rural” person to learn a few things.
There are subtle yet vital differences between a pure democracy (i.e. popular vote) and a representative democracy (Senate & House of Representatives and Electoral College). And it was in fact history which caused our founders to choose something other than a pure democracy as our form of government since all previous democracies had ultimately destroyed themselves. They also had a central founding principal which was that all men are created equal in stark contrast to the ruling elite practices of the countries they had come from. It was this commitment to equality which caused them to choose a representative democracy. Keep in mind; it was in fact the ruling elite of the day which penned the documents upon which we launched our union. But those ruling elite saw the wisdom in structuring our government in such a way that smaller or less populated communities and states (where our food, manufactured goods and raw materials came from) were represented in such a way that the highly populated cities and states couldn’t “run rough shod” over the “rural” people groups. A very simple example might be 10 groups who collectively use a particular venue. 8 groups have 10 members each and 2 groups have 50 members each. If run in a purely democratic fashion the 2 larger groups, which would likely have similar “wants” for the venue, could band together and completely ignore the “wants” of the other 8 groups even though the other 8 groups use the venue 4 times as often. But a wise manager (government) would see the wisdom in giving measured control to the 8 smaller groups so they feel like they have equal ownership.
That is a very brief and incomplete explanation, but it hits most of the high points as to why they did what they did. They simply wanted to put into practice, and not just words, the principals that would support the revolutionary concept that all men are created equal.
So today you have pockets of those “ruling elites” (college students, millennials and Hollywood types to name a few) out there on the streets and social media attempting to undo the framework put in place to try and insure the longevity of our “union”. So what if the “stupid rural” people carried the day. It’s not the end of the world as some are acting like! Put your big girl panties on, stop your crying and strategize how you’re going to work to change things over the next 4-8 years and perhaps flip the leadership back over the next few election cycles. Because, let me tell you, the rash of colleges who have canceled test, handed out hot cocoa, offered therapy dogs and passes to skip classes to those students traumatized by the election results only reinforces your privileged mindset and won’t help one bit in the end. As a country, we will get through this, but we need each other, the smart ones, the “stupid” ones, everyone – warts and all.
I write my blogs as an outlet, sometime as an outlet for passion, sometimes for a prophetic word and sometimes in disgust and anger. This is one of those disgust and anger times (with likely prophetic overtones). I have to be careful as my much more mercy oriented wife exhorted me to be cautious about what I might say, but I am getting closer and closer to “taking numbers and naming names” when it comes to some of the bile I see “Christians” spewing. This will be short but goes to the core of Jesus, the Gospel, the Love of the Father and asking “just where is YOUR home?”
This blog is simply posing the question “what are the really important things in your ‘Christian’ life”? And yes, I put Christian in quotes a second time as I suspect there are many out there who are just playing church because it’s the cool thing to do but who have little willingness to actually embrace the heart of the Father. 2 Peter 3:9
Is prayer in school important to you? What about tax deductions for donations to the church? Are the Ten Commandments carved in stone and place in your town square important to you? Is the preservation of your earthly home and your earthly country your focus? Are Easter bunnies and Christmas lights on your list of top ten things you must have to enjoy “your” Christianity? Then it’s just that, “your Christianity”, and not the one that I read about in the Bible which places our citizenship in an eternal heaven and not some fading home on this earth to try and fight for and preserve for “just us Christians”.
I am not saying that those things are bad, not at all. But I am saying that if devotion to things like the ones mentioned above take priority over opportunities to lovingly rub shoulders with those who don’t know Christ then you yourself have not experienced the fullness of the love of Christ in your own life. And this is why I call it monumental selfishness because you are choosing temporal things over the call to share eternal joy with someone who isn’t “like you”!
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.
This is a follow-up blog to the one I wrote yesterday about the inability of secular society to stomach true Christianity in their midst. Again, as I have written several times, this has nothing to do with tolerance, equality or getting their cake baked. They simply cannot swallow the idea of a judgmental God who also stands at the ready to redeem and save any who would humble themselves.
Several years ago Barbie and I read together Ben Carson’s book Gifted Hands. It was truly an inspiring book on several levels. He was born into poverty and rose to the absolute pinnacle in the field of pediatric neurosurgery. As an inner city youth he rose faster than any one before him to the top of the ROTC program in high school. But most importantly, as an angry black youth, he rose out of his rebellious, angry and hatful attitudes as a result of a salvation experience with Jesus.
But to non-believers, this is myth and cannot happen in real life! It’s just a story, and it must be discredited at all cost in order to preserve our right to do as we please. So bring on the attacks and deep investigating into the life of a teenage boy while in grade school some 50 years ago. They simply cannot reconcile that someone displaying good character today could have once tried to attack his mother or stab a relative over 5 decades ago. It’s not possible, it sounds to ….. how can I put it ….. fantastical. And of course we don’t believe in fantasy, right!
No, we don’t believe in fantasy, but we do believe in a redemptive God who can turn even the worst of us around and cause His light to shine.
And it’s not only the liberal left who are out to discredit Ben’s changed life. Just this week in an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump totally dismissed any possibility of it being a redemptive God story stating that the only thing that can bring that kind of change to someone is pills or drugs. I guess that also says a lot about Trump’s understanding of Christianity – which he claims some form of adherence to.
No, here again is a prominent public figure unashamedly modeling Jesus and His life changing redemptive power and this narrative is totally incompatible with unaccountable secular humanism.
As for me, I choose to see this as a wonderful example of the unlimited potential of Christ in the life of Ben, me, you or anyone who would yield to Jesus.
The leading story on national news last night was “outrage” at the actions of a compliance officer at a school as he physically took down a student and arrested her. The short version of the video looks pretty violent and would certainly raise questions as to whether his actions were appropriate. But if all 3 videos are watched and the full story is told we “should” see a very different picture.
This girl was violating school policy with her cell phone, was robbing attention and time from the rest of the class and had been asked several times to leave the classroom with a warning that the compliance officer would be called. This girl refused to obey the authority of the teacher, the compliance officer was called and he began respectfully requesting (at least 4 or 5 times) for her to voluntarily leave the classroom. The girl continued in her arrogant disrespectful state even after the officer informed her that he would remove her by physical force if she did not comply. She did not and he did (remove her by force). The 3rd video even shows the girl striking the officer with her fist.
School officials said about the event – “What we all watched on that shamefully shocking video is reprehensible, unforgiveable and inconsistent with everything that this district stands for”. I totally agree with that statement but from the opposite side as the school official meant it. He was shockingly speaking about the actions of the compliance office and not the rebellious spoiled little twit who was causing the problem. I don’t know about you, but if I had refused to obey a teacher when I was in school, the teacher would have called coach Beagle, he would have totally man handled me, taken me to his office for 5-10 serious swats, I would have then been expelled from school for 3 days and my parents would have been called to school for a counseling session exhorting them to take responsibility to teach me how to respect authority.
Seriously, you hire a compliance officer and then fire him for forcing students to comply??? Sadly this story is indicative of the tearing down of the basic concept of respect in our country and turning it on its’ head where the person in the wrong (the girl) will probably sue and get a windfall of cash because the poor baby actually had someone make her obey. Obedience training was obviously not on the menu in her home and the person hired to fulfill a specific job is fired for doing just that. You tell me; what is the next step he could have taken after 15 – 20 minutes of absolute refusal to comply with her authorities? Officers are specifically trained to do the take down quickly and aggressively in the event the person being taken down has a weapon.
Even more sad than this story is that the view of the authority of the bible has been similarly lost on church going millennials who see little value in virginity, respect for elders or the doctrine of sin in general. But don’t blame only the young people, just this week a well respected Christian leader was quoted as saying that he was trying to correct “some local churches which (errantly) believe that if you are not living like a Christian then you are probably not a Christian”. This seem to me like a redaction of the “by their fruits you will know them (Christians)” scripture (Matt 7:16) from our bible. Consider Isaiah 5:20 as a warning to anyone daring to flip the biblical status quo when it comes to respect, character and other biblically based themes.
“How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn what is bitter into something sweet and what is sweet into something bitter”
I will try and keep this one as short as possible but I am outraged. I don’t know how many noticed the story this week where an Office Depot refused to print some flyers for a lady because the flyers were in opposition to Planned Parenthood. This is wrong, it’s unacceptable and the height of hypocrisy. But perhaps not in the way you might think I am writing about. You see, the woman has decided to sue Office Depot for discrimination and that is what I am furious about.
The subject matter on the flyer was as Godly as could be including a prayer for the unborn, statistics about abortion and was part of a weeklong prayer and fasting campaign in Chicago to help change opinions about abortion. I fully endorse and applaud the motive, the flyer, the fasting and the prayer.
But I believe the woman should have simply thanked Office Depot and gone down the street to Kinko’s or some other copy place and gotten her printing done. To handle it the way she did served up the biggest disservice possible to Christian businesses around the country. Why you ask.
How can Christian businesses hope to have the freedom to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding or refuse to host a gay wedding at their church or chapel if we then turn around and make a big scene when a secular business declines our business because they have equally strong objections to the services we request of them. This is hypocrisy in is raw and purist form. And don’t even start splitting frog’s hairs with me about private as opposed to corporate or religious convictions as opposed to personal secular convictions. If we want to have a snowballs chance in hell of being treated with some modicum of respect and freedom in the open practice of our Christian faith, then we must “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. So if we want the freedom to refuse service, then we MUST show the same respect and allow them to refuse service.
Fellow Christians, we have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We are now the foreigners living in a strange and foreign land and we have to start showing the grace and humility that must accompany our lowly visitor status. Sure it’s going to get a lot worse, but why hand opportunity for mockery and ridicule to our secular society on a golden platter – it only plays right into their already degrading opinion of us.
If it was God’s kindness that led us to repent should we not see that He set that example in order for us to do likewise in our attitude towards the rest of the lost and un-churched – Rom. 2:4
I am no saint, but my West Texas “ole fashion” upbringing forces me to take a short excursion into the political realm for a short blog. I have been watching with some interest, if not good dose of curiosity and confusion, at the meteoric rise in the poles of one Donald Trump. The reason I say confusion is because I have never witness someone garner so much attention and popularity for being openly rude and offensive except for maybe in the boys locker room. Sure, the quarterback or top pop guy in school can get a few laughs and attention when he tells gross or rude stories behind the closed doors of the “men only” protection of a room shared by showers and toilets.
One of the values I learn while growing up was both biblical and cultural and that was to treat women with respect. And whereas the Donald has done a great job of stirring the pot and charging the discussion around several subjects which can sure use some good debate, he has in my humble and old fashion opinion”, sullied the waters of debate and threatens the reputation of the Republican party. His attacks on women put him in a category I can only describe as pig territory. Historically he has called Rosie O’Donnell names like slob and big fat pig, Arianna Huffington a dog adding he understands why her husband left her for a man. He has suggested, incestuously, that he would date his daughter if she wasn’t … well… his daughter. Just since the current campaign started he has irreverently attacked Megan Kelly of Fox News and just yesterday saying about Carly Fiorina “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” And just for the record, I have not listed here the worst comments he has said as I want to keep it PG.
So can pigs fly? You be the judge!
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.
There is a famous quote from John Lydgate which says “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. There is a serious problem in trying to please more and more people more of the time. The value or significance of the pleasing “thing” is continually diminished in substance and scope. It’s like trying to find a drink that everyone will enjoy. You might love soda, tea, coffee or a nice glass of wine. But you will not find a consensus with everybody so you start diluting the offering more and more until you have nothing left but water and you still won’t make everybody happy.
It was announced last week that Target will change the toy and bedding department in their stores to be “gender neutral”. If they had done this with no fanfare we would probably never be the wiser. But they didn’t! They made the point they are no longer going to label toys or isles as being for boys or girls, effectively choosing gender neutrality. This marketing plan appears to cater to those who, although being only a small fraction of a percentage of the population, are militant, loud and influential and who identify as gender neutral.
What about the other 99+% of the population who still identify as male or female. Have we become merely “chopped liver” in the presence of right side of history activism and politically correct mantras? A full 22% of our population identifies as Catholic. Would Target ever stop selling contraceptives to cater to this less loud or less militantly active group? Of course not!
I received my annual Consumer Reports survey this week. It was interesting to find out they too have blurred their aim when addressing gender and social statuses. At the beginning of the survey I could choose male, female or other. Later on in the survey when asking who drove the 2nd car, I was only offered “significant other” instead of spouse. Really, my wife of 34 years was reduced to nothing more than “other” status.
For the record, I don’t plan to boycott Consumer Reports or Target at this point. The fact is I’m hedging my bets because, in the not too distant future as our entire society goes down this road, our idealism expressed through boycotts will leave us starving and with no place to shop. We must understand these actions are the result of a mental disease which is at near epidemic levels today. I call this disease nothingness. And it produces just that in those infected by it – nothing. Nothing to stand for, nothing to do with religion, nothing to value, nothing to fight for and most importantly nothing in anyway related to a Creator God.
One of my favorite movie lines come from the Patriot when Mel Gibson and his younger sons are going to rescue his oldest son from an unjust arrest and execution. They are hiding behind a log above the road where the soldiers are coming and he ask his sons “what did I teach you about shooting”? His boys reply “aim small, miss small”. The full clip is below and if you would rather not watch the bloody part you should stop at the 2:00 mark.
Aim small, miss small! How profound that line. How effective purposeful targeting like that can be. They were after something valuable. Their father and their lives had prepared them to handle this moment. And because they held their ground, fought hard, took intentional and careful “aim” they succeeded in their goal.
But to look at the US and the world is to watch an increasing percentage of the population headed into the void of nothingness. Male, female doesn’t matter, husband and wife doesn’t matter, religion is seen as harmful and judgmental and to have strong opinions or convictions is viewed as anti-social and hateful. But no matter how hard they try and improve the world by diluting humanity down in gender, social and religious identities they will, in the process, loose everything and be left, in the end, with nothing.
As Christians, we have something to offer. But all too often we make the mistake of cramming instead of offering. I love the quote which is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words when necessary”. What we have to offer is in no way neutral or nothingness. It is in fact polarizing, challenging and confrontive. It doesn’t look like Joel Osteen with his I’m ok, you’re ok and everybody’s ok milquetoast “Koolaid”. Nor does it look like hateful Westboro’s, “convert or die” congregants. But somewhere in the middle, guided by the loving and convicting power of the Holy Spirit is the heart of God crying out for holiness, a laying down of one’s life in servanthood and a returning to the rock of our salvation – Jesus, who considered Himself as nothing so we could be, eternally, something.