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Friday, May 31, 2019

Speaking the Truth

It is obvious that our job as followers of Christ is to speak the truth. Lies do not become us. Neither do false doctrines, misguided rants, or a lazy understanding of God's Word. As followers of "the Truth" (John 14:6), we must find the truth mandatory rather than optional.

However ...

... Scripture is clear. We must speak the truth, but we must do so in love (Eph 4:15). You see, it can be a pretty simple thing to declare with teeth bared what is true, but it can be a real challenge to do it in love. It speaks to the motivation, the aim, the purpose. Paul told Timothy, "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" (1 Tim 1:5). If love is seeking the best for others, our truth-speaking would need to be motivated by a grand desire to seek the best for others.

You must admit, that isn't always easy. I mean, listen to the lies that are told, even in Jesus's name. Look at the harm they do with their lies. Look at the outrageous things they say. No, it's not always easy. But it's always necessary. So we need to check ourselves. We need to constantly aim to love God and love our neighbors even as we aim to speak the truth.

I'm convinced, though, that perhaps the hardest place to speak the truth in love is someplace you might not have considered. That's when you're talking to ... yourself. What do you tell yourself? Is it true? Is it loving? Many of us are harsh on ourselves. "I can't do anything right." "I'm good for nothing." Others are lying to themselves in the opposite direction. You've met guys who think they're God's gift to women. Trust me; it's a lie. So we lie to ourselves in the negative and the positive. We tell ourselves we can't do "that" even if "that" is something God has commanded. Or we tell ourselves it's perfectly okay to do "this" even if "this" is something God has forbidden. We lie to ourselves about our abilities and our shortcomings, our weaknesses and our strengths, our character and our lack thereof. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not be.

We suffer from deceived hearts (Jer 17:9), so it's no surprise. Still, we're commanded to speak the truth in love. That would include those around us, obviously, but it is in our own best interest that we speak the truth in love to ourselves as well. Because we suffer from bad hearts and bad thinking and we need to be made new. It's a constant battle. And if we just ignore, it doesn't just go away. In a world full of lies (like identity by sexual preference, non-binary gender, gay mirage, confused morality, the right to murder babies if we feel like it, one-sided racism, "The Bible isn't a reliable document," the separation of church and mind, etc.), speak the truth in love -- to others and to yourself.

Thursday, May 30, 2019


What is integrity? Various dictionaries say things like "adherence to ethical principles" and "soundness of moral character" and "honesty." That kind of thing. These are certainly reasonable definitions of the word. I think, however, that a closer look at the origin of the word might give a more robust understanding of it.

You can probably pick out the root on your own. The word is tied to "integer." You know, a math word. In math, an integer is a whole number. No fractions, no decimal points -- just a whole number. That's because the original term refers to "undivided." Well that makes sense in terms of math. But what about integrity?

In its purest form, then, "integrity" would refer to being one, to being a single entity, to being undivided. We all have a variety of ethical principles. In some cases they're quite high and in others not so much. We are opposed, for instance, to stealing, but taking office supplies from work? Not so much. We think it's important to obey the law ... except when it comes to things like traffic laws. Those are more like suggestions. We believe that people should be kind and courteous but often seem to neglect it ourselves. We all have these things going on. Just as prevalent, we will often be one person to one group of people and another to another group. One way with family and another with friends. One way at church and another at work. One way with fellow believers and another in private. This is the opposite of integrity.

Humans of varying cultures and religions and societies and every other division we experience will have a variety of values and ethics. There tends to be, however, some underlying shared values. Most of us are opposed to killing for fun, just to pick an easy example. Another is integrity. No matter where we fall on the ethical scale, most of us respect people of integrity. People who are consistent with their own beliefs and values. I can, for instance, totally disagree with a Peter Singer who believes that apes should have the same rights as children and that humans aren't human until they're demonstrably self-aware. It goes right along with his humanistic, naturalistic philosophy and is the logical outcome. I respect that consistency while thoroughly disagreeing with the philosophy.

And therein lies the problem doesn't it? In order to have the kind of integrity I'm talking about, you'd have to have a solid basis for your values. I believe, in fact, that most of us operate in a form of integrity -- a oneness -- but we're not aware of what that is. If you hold at church that stealing is wrong and practice theft at work, there is a common value underlying both -- self. What works. What I feel will do the best for me. And, of course, that's a bad value for followers of Christ. We're told to die to self (Matt 10:37-39). No, what we need is a solid basis from a reliable source of just what ethics we should be following and then aim to have integrity -- consistency -- with that source. Because when we rely on ourselves as the source, we clearly suffer from bad thinking (Rom 1:28, 12:2) and deceived hearts (Jer 17:9). We need a suitable source (2 Tim 3:16-17).

The question for you and me, then, is do we have integrity? Well, no, I guess not. We all suffer from some inconsistency. So a better question is do we recognize our own lack of integrity and are we working toward mending that? Perhaps you have the kind of integrity that is a singular commitment to self. That's not too uncommon; it's just not a good thing. At least, not for God's people. So does your private life and your work life and your church life and your social life -- all of it -- reflect an undivided ethic? Does your life reflect what God says both in public and in private? Are you aiming toward ever-increasing integrity?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

"You're Not Pro-Life"

Recently I explained that I am not "anti-abortion;" I am "pro-life." I am not concerned about terminating pregnancies; I'm concerned about killing human beings. (That science confirms that the human life begins at the point of fertilization and ends at death is not up for contention. Whether or not it's a "person" at some point or another might be, but "human life" is not in question.) This, of course, is rational and reasonable, but it will certainly not move anyone who is pro-abortion. (I use the term here to indicate those who are advocates of abortion as opposed to those who aren't necessarily opposed to abortion but haven't actually done much thinking on it.) The pro-abortion folks will tell you -- trust me, they already have -- that "you're not pro-life because ..." and fill in a variety of possible reasons. You're not pro-life if you don't adopt all the kids that no one wants. You're not pro-life if you don't advocate a free preschool-through-college education for all kids. You're not pro-life if you don't favor free healthcare for all. The list goes on -- concepts like human trafficking, poverty, income equality, spousal abuse, the death penalty, etc. If you're not fighting on these fronts, you're not pro-life.

Let me point out a few flaws in this objection to the "pro-life" moniker.

1. The message is clear. "You say you're pro-life but you're not because you don't do what we define as 'pro-life.' Therefore, you're not in promoting life." What they fail to say, but is unavoidable from this position, is "Neither are we." It is a tacit admission that life is not their concern or priority. It follows necessarily that their statement is "We do not support life" as well. While we are deemed (sometimes incorrectly) "anti-abortion," it would appear that they could rightly be called "anti-life" to at least some degree.

2. The subject of "life" is huge. Life has requirements under all sorts of conditions and all sorts of ages and is incredibly complex. If Person A points at Item 1 that is a matter of life but neglects Item 243, that doesn't mean that Person A is not pro-life. It means that the topic of life is huge, and it means that Item 1 is the biggest sticking point at this moment. If human lives were not being legally terminated before they were born, the dialog could proceed to Item 243.

3. Life has all sorts of components, but sometimes I think we're supplying peripheral ones. For instance, "quality of life" is big ... but is it real? "Quality of life" refers to the standards of health, comfort, happiness, etc. that a person or group experiences. The difference between "life" and "quality of life" is that without "life," quality doesn't happen. Conversely, life without quality of life is still life. Connecting quality of life to pro-life is confusing categories. And we can discuss quality-of-life issues once we've secured life, but because we're not currently in a quality-of-life discussion doesn't mean it doesn't matter. It means that it doesn't matter for the lives that are being terminated. So "You aren't pro-life because you don't support a universal healthcare law" is a non sequitur. Can we discuss the lives you are ending before we discuss the health of the rest? We don't tell the researchers, "Stop trying to cure cancer when we have so many other health problems to deal with," do we? It is true that there is a lot more to "pro-life" than stopping abortion. It's just that this is the current fire (killing more human beings than any other cause of death) we're trying to put out. The other side of this coin is that the pro-abortion side actually believes that the value of a life is tied to its quality of life (consider their stance on euthanasia) while the pro-life side holds that human life has intrinsic value. So we're talking about a fundamental difference of valuation of human life. And that is at the core of this discussion.

4. It is, ultimately, a no-win situation. I know of quite a few people who are deeply committed to many/most of the issues that are on those lists of things that "must be addressed" and these people are pro-life. They want to save the lives of children in the womb. They have adopted and worked toward getting others adopted. They do help out new mothers, people who need help, etc. They're actually doing this stuff. But if you point this out, it is discarded. That is, it doesn't matter if there actually are pro-life people that meet the over-the-top requirements of the pro-abortion crowd for defining "pro-life." They will not admit that "pro-life" exists. If you point out that it does, they will dismiss it. Their objection is falsifiable, but they reject that. Bottom line, they don't care about the question of life. The question of personal freedom is the only one they care about in this context. It is, then, merely a smoke screen.

Pro-life simply means that we value human life. Some aspects related to human life are of more or less concern, but we value human life. That is, killing humans is a higher priority to address than making living humans more comfortable. Can we make that distinction and still be pro-life? Logically, sure. But if the goal is to deny the point, then, logic here will be denied. Ultimately, the question is not about human life or not. The question is about autonomy. Do I get to decide what I do? You'd think that it is patently obvious that we don't. We make laws for that purpose. But this question of the life of the unborn stands in the face of "I can do what I want with my body" whether that's to do that which causes babies or to do with babies what I want. That's why "It's life" doesn't matter to so many. It's not even heard over the ever increasing screech of "I will be like the Most High!"

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Succumbing to Pressure

It's sad to me, sometimes, to see how easily we Christians cave to peer pressure. And it's not merely a single event. We often alter our thinking because everyone else is.

Take, for instance, the term "gay." Yeah, yeah, we've dropped the "happy" connotation of the word and now it can only be used to reference same-sex relationships. (That's even too vague, isn't it? I mean, I have a lot of "same-sex relationships that are not "gay." But you know what I mean.) So if I say, "That's so gay," I'm commenting on something that calls to mind homosexual behavior of some sort, not some happy times. We've surrendered "gay" in our minds to mean "having sex with the same sex" without even recognizing that we did it.

Someone gave me a copy of the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) to read. It's basically the statement of beliefs and doctrines of the Southern Baptist Convention. In it, they had a section titled The Christian and the Social Order on how we should seek to improve society. One sentence in that section reads like this:
In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.
Now, I'm pretty sure that almost no one sees it here, but it's plain to me that this is another example of what I'm talking about. This sentence says we should oppose, among other things, "homosexuality." What is homosexuality? The dictionary will tell you that it is a state of being. You don't practice it. You don't do it. It is an identity. Why? Because that's what our world is telling us. Is it true? Consider. In Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth he writes about the subject. The New American Standard reads, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate , nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God" while the ESV says, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." You can see the difference there, right? The NASB (1977) used the word "homosexuality" because at the time "homosexuality" meant "the desire for the same sex," not an identity. Since then the term has become a reference to an identity, even "born that way," so the ESV is more specific, referring not to "it's who I am," but "what I do." We've bought a sinful behavior as an identity and continue to use the term for that.

One of the obvious ones is our use of the word, "marriage." In a recent "Ask Pastor John" piece someone asked John Piper, "If a gay couple gets converted, should they stay married?" Pastor John answered just fine, but you can see in the question the complete collapse of how we perceive things. This is simply because our society has told us that "marriage" means "two people in a sexual relationship with promises" or something like it. (In truth, I have yet to see anyone actually define marriage for me from that perspective.) Scripture talks about "two become one" and "a man leave his father and his mother, and hold fast to his wife" (Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5; Eph 5:31) making it a lifelong union of a man and a woman for purposes of mutual support (Gen 2:18) and reproduction (Gen 1:28). We -- Christians -- have so far embraced the modern version that many rebel at that definition not because it's not in there, but because we've so succumbed to peer pressure that we don't even recognize it anymore.

These are only examples. And they are intended for Christians. I'm not trying to complain or point fingers because I'm sure I have the very same problem. We live in a sin-sick world and are in constant need of being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). I'm only asking you to consider, to think, to look and see what you're saying and thinking. Because in this "total immersion" in sin that we live in, it is unavoidable that some of our thinking will be polluted by the poison where we live and we need to, with God's help, keep careful watch on our own thinking and perspectives. "Be sober-minded; be watchful," Peter tells us. "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9). That's all I'm saying.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day, 2019

Sadao Munemori
Born in Los Angeles, California, to Japanese immigrant parents in 1922, Sadao grew up in Glendale and graduated from Abraham Lincoln Senior High School in 1940. In November of 1941, he volunteered for the Army and was inducted in February of 1942. Like all other Japanese-American soldiers, he was removed from combat training and put into menial labor within the United States while the rest of his family were incarcerated at Manzanar. In 1943 he joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Comprised entirely of second-generation Japanese-Americans (called "Nisei"), his unit was designated the 100th infantry. His group was sent to Italy to encounter some of the toughest fighting taking some of the greatest losses with the highest success rate. In the battle for Monte Cassino they went from 1300 to 500 members in a 5 month campaign.Twenty-two members of that group were awarded Medals of Honor. On April 5, 1945. Munemori was with his unit near Seravezza, Italy, pinned down by superior enemy forces in strong positions. His squad leader was wounded, so he chose to make a one-man assault through direct fire and took out two machine guns. He ran back for cover but a grenade thrown at him bounced off his helmet into the shell crater two of his men occupied. He jumped on the grenade, saving their lives at the cost of his own.

Sadao gave his life defending his men and a nation that had turned their back on him.

Vito Bertoldo
Vito Bertoldo could well have been the model for the Captain America story. Small and skinny, he tried to join the Army multiple times but was declared 4F because of his eyesight. As the war progressed and their standards fell, he finally got in, but with limited duty. He served as a military policeman and a cook. His regiment was in France in 1945 when the battalion command post came under artillery attack.

Bertoldo stood on guard over 2 command posts against a German infantry and armored force that overran the battalion's main line of resistance. He set up a position in the middle of the street to improve his field of fire and laid there for 12 hours in plain view repelling multiple attacks from small-arms, machine gun, and 88-mm tank gun fire. Then he retreated into the command post and fired through the window. One shell blew him across the room, but he recovered his weapon and went back to work. Two enemy personnel carriers and a tank took position near him, so he waited until more than 20 Germans disgorged from the carriers, then leaned out the window and killed them all while the tank fired at him. When the command post evacuated, he remained behind to cover their retreat, engaging in a day-long battle with multiple waves of enemies. He held off an attack from an 88-mm gun covered by a tank and 15 infantrymen. The gun fired into the building and knocked him down, but when they started to retreat he returned, dazed, and killed several withdrawing troops. While the second command post planned its withdrawal, he ignored the barrage and tossed white phosphorus grenades into the advancing enemy until they retreated. Another tank fired and blew him across the room again, but he recovered his rifle and single-handedly covered the withdrawal for more than 48 hours without rest or relief. All told, he killed more than 40 hostiles, injuring an unknown number, and barely escaped with his life.

We honor these men as heroes who gave all they had to protect our freedoms, sometimes even at the cost of their lives. They displayed courage and principles that seem hard to find today.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Because of Mercy

In Genesis we read of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two "men" (who we realize are not actually men, but angels in human form) go to the city. Lot takes them in, but "before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them'" (Gen 19:4-5). Others will try to tell you that they just wanted to get to know the new visitors, but clearly that was not the case. Lot told them, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly" (Gen 19:7). "Wickedly"? How is "Introduce us to your friends" wicked? No, they didn't suffer from an abundance of friendliness. They wanted to know them as Adam knew Eve (Gen 4:1). Need I say more? Well, the crisis is averted (by blinding them all) and the men (angels) tell Lot to get his family out of the city because they were sent to destroy it (Gen 19:12-13). So the morning dawned and the angels said, "Go!!" (Gen 19:15) ... and the text says, "But he lingered" (Gen 19:16). He lingered? He hesitated. He didn't go. He stood still. He was told what was coming and he didn't move. He even knew what was right, but he didn't move. The Scripture says, "The men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand ... and they brought him out and set him outside the city" (Gen 19:16). God's messengers dragged Lot to safety. "Hey, hang on a minute," I can hear some complain. "What about human free will???" Apparently these angels didn't get the memo.

Now, you'll notice in that verse I just quoted (Gen 19:16) that I put an ellipsis. That's those three dots that indicate omitted words. I left something out. What did I leave out? God is kind enough in His Word to give us the reason that God's messengers overrode Lot's will. The phrase stuck between those two sections reads, "the LORD being merciful to him." Now, that's interesting. Genesis says that Lot lingered when told to run and God's men dragged them out by the hand. Why? Because God was being merciful to him. Peter describes Lot as "greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked" (2 Peter 2:7), but he still lingered and God had to -- no, chose to rescue him.

We believe, by and large, that God respects Man's Free Will and won't transgress it. From this and other biblical references I think it's clear that we're wrong. He didn't get Paul's permission to knock him to the ground (Acts 9:3-6). He didn't get Abimelech's permission to prevent him from sinning (Gen 20:3-7). He doesn't always let us do what we want. Sometimes He does; sometimes He doesn't. One thing we can be sure of. What He does -- allowing us to sin or not -- He does out of mercy. Sometimes it's a painful mercy and sometimes it's a saving mercy, but it's always good. And that ought to give us some measure of comfort. And something to ask for. "Please, heavenly Father, when I hesitate to run from evil, take my hand and bring me out." Amen, Lord.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

News Weakly - 5/25/19

Media Bias
Last week Taylor University had its commencement and made news because Vice President Mike Pence gave the commencement address against the wishes of many. They protested because he was too ... Christian ... and Taylor, being a Christian school with students and faculty who declare their faith, certainly shouldn't have a Christian speaker. Well, the university stood its ground and Pence spoke. Here's where you see the media bias. All the media -- even Fox. The headlines were all about "graduates walk out on Mike Pence's speech." The headline is accurate; some did. But the story includes the fact that of 494 graduates, most remained seated. They even gave Pence a standing ovation. The fact that "dozens" of graduates and faculty walked out because they opposed the vice president's biblical values is appalling, but it is a minority. Very few who see this story will come away with that conclusion. Media bias? I think so. But it could also just be the nature of news. Not walking out on a speaker is not news. On the other hand a large group of graduating students giving the vice president a standing ovation? I'd think that might be news.

News or Not
The headline read, "AOC calls for impeachment" or something like it, so I thought, "Not news." I mean, that's not a surprise, right? Nothing new. But wait! What if she was calling for her own impeachment? Now that would be news. So I checked out the story. Not news. She wants Trump gone. As always. But wait! The story says that Nancy Pelosi is reluctant to proceed with impeachment proceedings partly because Republicans control the Senate and partly because polling has shown that Americans are divided on impeachment and less than half support it. Now that's news. It's news that less than half support it and it's news that Pelosi was concerned about what the people wanted. Well, okay, that last wasn't quite accurate. She was concerned about alienating voters. Alright, that's not news.

Wondering Out Loud
I'm just wondering here. Joe Biden is considered the current Democratic forerunner in the race for 2020 (among, what is it now, 23?). We currently reside in a "believe the woman" culture. "If she makes the accusation, it's true. Burn 'em to the ground." So why does Joe get a pass? His tagline is "Make America Normal Again." Is Joe saying, "Be like me"? Why are the Democrats completely silent on the various accusations against him? I know, there are lots of nuances here, but it seems like the heavy-handed hatchet that has been applied across the board in the last couple of years without proof or consideration of "how bad was it" has been suddenly and radically withheld here for reasons I don't fully understand. Mind you, I think the whole #MeToo thing has been weaponized and I firmly oppose "guilty until proven innocent." I'm just looking at what appears to be another double standard. "It's bad if your people do it, but not at all if it's one of ours." Maybe they just don't really care about women and sexual abuse?

A Gomer Pyle Moment
You may not remember Gomer Pyle. He was a character on a TV show. One of his best known phrases was a deeply-Southern-accented, "Surprise, surprise!" Really good for sarcasm. Like when you read that Greg Johnson, the pastor of the church that hosted the Revoice Conference last year, came out as gay in Christianity Today. "Well, looky there! What a surprise!" Right? Perhaps you don't remember the Revoice Conference. It was put on by "Christian" group ostensibly aiming to tell Christians who experience same-sex attraction how to deal with it in an "historic, biblical sexual ethic." (That last quote is from an article written by Greg Johnson.) "So," we ask, "Greg, how are Christians who experience same-sex attraction supposed to deal with it in the historic, biblical sexual ethic?" I would guess his answer now would be, "Well, give in to it, of course, right?"

Pro-Life Outrage
Abortion is very legal in Virginia (where the governor talked about deciding whether or not to let a baby live if it was born live after an abortion attempt), so you can imagine the outrage when a shelter euthanized a healthy dog so it could be buried with its owner who died. Yes, that is outrageous. Killing babies? Not so much.

Not Surprising Study
The Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution released a study that asked the question, "Is faith a global force for good or ill in the family?" As our secular world tells us today, the obvious answer is "No!" I mean, how many TV shows or movies give us happily married couples with a genuine religious faith? Very few. The society is telling us that true happiness comes from dumping that religious baggage and getting free. And, as you might expect, coming from me, the study shows the opposite. Surveys from 11 countries found that "highly religious couples enjoy higher-quality relationships and more sexual satisfaction, compared to less/mixed religious couples and secular couples." Did not see that coming, did you? Other findings were equally impressive. It is clear that a stable home produces a better chance for positive outcomes for families. As it turns out, highly religious couples tend to have more stable and more satisfying relationships than the mixed or secular couples. In fact, the study indicated that the highest levels of relationship attachment, commitment, sexual satisfaction, and stability were found in the couples who were highly religious and held traditional views of gender roles. The highly religious couples report the lowest rates of domestic violence. And it appears that families that pray together (the operative word is "together") apart from religious services and meals actually report the highest positive relationships. You know, "the family that prays together..." and all that. Surprise! Or not.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The Babylon Bee

No deep truths here. Just for fun.

I like the Babylon Bee. Yes, it's "your trusted source for Christian News satire" (which makes it stunningly embarrassing for those who have asked Snopes about if these stories are true), but it's also pointed. And it's not always at "them." It is just as much at "us." Take, for instance two recent stories. In one the headline reads, "Elizabeth Warren Surprises Grads By Announcing She Will Sharply Increase Their Taxes To Pay For Their Student Loans." Warren is "quoted" as saying, "You heard me right: total loan forgiveness in exchange for crippling taxes. What can I say except, 'You're welcome!'" Humor that makes a point. Then the Bee turns right around with the headline, "Scholars Now Believe Phrase Jesus Wrote In The Dirt Was 'Own The Libs'." You know that's aimed at us Christians because unbelievers wouldn't even know what the headline was referencing. "Jesus wrote a phrase in the dirt??" No, Christians, that one is aimed at us.

Recently conservative commentator Candace Owens had her Facebook account suspended. Now, mind you, Candace is a female, black, political activist that is pro-Trump and critical of Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Party, so, of course, the Babylon Bee had to put up the "Facebook Claims Party Celebrating Candace Owens's Suspension Was 'An Honest Mistake'" story to poke fun at Facebook's "Sorry, that suspension was a mistake." And Candace actually had to explain to folks that it was satire.

Some of it is just fun, like the Southern Baptist pastor who had to resign because he didn't like casseroles or the guy who interrupted the worship song to point out grammatical errors on the lyric slide. They lampooned the Star Wars fans who were demanding a rewrite of The Last Jedi with their story, "Angry Fans Petition God to Rewrite Ending of the Bible." There has been a lot of abortion stuff like the woman who thought that "healthcare" meant "tearing a human being limb from limb" or the story that linked the death of Grumpy cat (an actual news story) with abortion -- "Nation Takes Break From Killing Babies To Mourn Death Of Cat" -- or the uproar over Alabama's new law to save human lives and the immigration current events to give us the headline, "Caravan Of Unborn Babies Heads Toward Alabama To Apply For Asylum" or the one that points out the other side's view when a man encounters the bizarre notion that a woman wouldn't think that it was okay to kill babies in the womb. "She must be brainwashed." One that made me snicker was the headline, "Man identifies as Woman Just Long Enough to Voice Valid Opinion on Abortion." They made a point in satire that I tried to make in conversation when they reported how experts are warning that "Murders Will Just Occur In Back Alleys If Murder Outlawed." Theirs was funnier than mine.

If you haven't taken a peek at the Babylon Bee, you might give it a try. I like to see the ability to point to some truth with humor. They do that pretty well. For some laughs or even for some pointed humor, they're quite good ... even if sometimes it's pointed at you and me. Especially you.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Don't Call Me "Anti-Abortion"

It is no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I am opposed to terminating the lives of the unborn. And it follows from that for most people that I am "anti-abortion." I mean, isn't that a given? You're either in favor of something or against it. If you're not in favor of abortion, you're anti-abortion, right? In most cases that would be accurate. In mine it is not.

If "abortion" is defined as "the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy" (and that's not the same as a miscarriage, sometimes called a "spontaneous abortion"), then I am not opposed to terminating a human pregnancy. "What??!!" I can hear some (on both sides) cry. Let me be clear. I do not hold a human pregnancy as sacrosanct. I don't see it as worthy of defense or possessing innate worth. If I did, then a miscarriage would be a miscarriage of justice, for instance. It is not the pregnancy I am concerned about.

Science unavoidably holds that the first stage of human life is the fertilized egg. Not the unfertilized egg or the sperm, but the point at which that egg is fertilized by that sperm. When the two entities merge, we have human life. This isn't a religious conviction or a moral opinion or a philosophical position. This is simple, unadulterated, uncontested biology. The first stage of human life is the zygote. The last stage (assuming no intervening events) is old age and death. Everything else in between is simply various stages in the human life.

So far I haven't said anything controversial. All sides agree. They may not admit it, but what I've stated is certainly the truth. They may argue about "personhood" or some other arbitrary other concern, but what I've stated thus far is without contention. Now we enter another realm. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ, who said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Scripture is the God-breathed Word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17). Included in that, then, is the simple, straightforward claim that humans are unique on this earth by being created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). God said, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image" (Gen 9:6). Human life, then, has intrinsic worth assigned by God as His image-bearers. Even if we were to set aside religion, most normal human beings hold that people have intrinsic value. That may be under closer scrutiny these days, but we mostly still know that's true.

Given, then, the confidence that human life is valuable, it would seem unavoidable that ending human life would be an assault on the value of human life. As such, I am opposed to killing humans. I am opposed to killing old people, young people, men, women, children infants -- all humans. It may be, on some occasions, a necessity, primarily to save lives. We go to war, for instance, to stop the killing of innocents. I get that. I'm not a pure pacifist. But in general, terminating the life of a human being without just cause is a bad thing because humans have significant value.

I am, then, pro-life. I am not anti-abortion. If medical science produced an artificial womb system that would allow doctors to remove a human being from the womb of a mother before the pregnancy ended, it would still be an abortion, but I would have no moral objection. I am not opposed to terminating pregnancies. I am opposed to terminating humans.

Both Mitt Romney and President Trump classify themselves as "strongly pro-life" but are, in fact, anti-abortion and not pro-life. The difference? They would limit abortions but make exceptions for rape and incest. Is what is created in the case of a rape or incest life? It is, without question. They want three exceptions - rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. Abortion foes would certainly except rape and incest because they're opposed to abortion. Pro-life advocates would wish to protect life and not punish that life because their fathers were rapists or relatives.

I should point out that I skipped, in that last thought, the "life of the mother" phrase. In the case of pro-life versus anti-abortion, the life of the mother would indeed be a concern. Any rational person knows that there might come, albeit rarely, circumstances that require that one life must be terminated in order to save another. In other cases the prognosis is that carrying a baby to term will likely kill both. In the pro-life view, the key issue is life, so saving lives is right. Terminating a pregnancy to save the life of the mother is not inconsistent with a pro-life view. Along these lines, I've seen protests about rape or incest of a child ending in pregnancy. "It could kill that child to bring that baby to term." I think I just expressed my response to that from a pro-life perspective. Saving lives is always a good idea.

I know. The media and, thus, your everyday followers of all things media will continue to call me "anti-abortion" and continue to claim that the only reason I am "opposed to abortion" is because I'm a man who wants to control women. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Don't call me "anti-abortion." I am pro-life.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Not Enough Faith

There is a perception among believers and skeptics alike that faith and science are enemies. I have to disagree. Anything you believe requires faith, whether it is God or "Science." My problem is I don't have enough faith to believe a lot of what is passing for "science" these days. Consider the following questions and the responses from a strictly materialistic science perspective versus a theistic perspective. Ask yourself, "Which is more reasonable?"

Why is there anything instead of nothing?We don't know. Apparently everything came from nothing.An eternal, uncaused God made everything.
How did life originate?It came from inorganic matter that became organic that became complex organisms by chance.The complexity of life came from an intelligent Designer.

The theists are the ones described as "faith-based" and "anti-reason" while the materialists tell us that everything came from nothing by chance ... but they can't be sure. They find that answer more satisfying; I think it is evasive, ignoring the obvious.

Skeptics like to complain about the "God of the Gaps" fallacy. The idea is that whenever we come across some fact that can't be explained, all we have to do is say, "Well, God did it." We find a gap in our scientific knowledge and we simply fill it with God. I can understand the complaint. If the "God did it" claim is the end of the study, then it is not helpful. Modern scientific endeavors were originally predicated on the Christian belief that we have a God who is rational and, so, we should be able to examine His creation and figure out how He thinks about these things. It is "thinking God's thoughts after Him." So halting that effort with a simple "God did it" isn't helping, even if it's accurate. Unfortunately, the skeptics don't seem to notice that they use the same argument. When they discover something they can't explain, they simply retort "Science will figure it out." It's their own "god of the gaps" (without the capital "G" for god). We believe God did it; they believe their god, Science, will reveal it. But for them it is not possible that God did it, so they cannot allow for that answer. They have the same problem. I say, "I've considered the two options and decided that a theistic answer makes more sense." They say, "We will not allow a theistic answer, so we'll have to make sense without it." Which is more reasonable?

I don't have that kind of faith. When I look at what clearly appears to be designed (even they can't avoid using that language) and say, "The best explanation for that is it's designed," their "we don't know, but it has to be from nothing by chance and science will show us how some day" seems like more confidence in a less reasonable position than I know how to muster.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Knowledge Puffs Up

Paul wrote, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Cor 8:1). I'm pretty sure that this is not what he meant, but there is certainly a potential parallel in the media.

The news media is not new. We've always had means of disseminating information about what's going on around us. In earlier times it was, obviously, not nearly as efficient. In today's technological world, it is huge. Almost instantaneous. If not instantaneous, often nearly instantaneous, fed by eyewitnesses with smartphone cameras. If something happens, it seems, we'll know about it. Or ... will we?

The human body is a marvelous thing. (Bear with me here; I'm not rambling.) We have sensors that detect everything from a bug on our leg to a breeze in the face. Eyes, ears, smells, tastes, all sorts of inputs feed into our brains and our brains take it all in and give us a host of conclusions regarding the data. The problem is all our extremely sensitive sensors are working all the time providing more information than our brains can actually handle. So built into our brains is a component called the thalamus. This functions as a gate keeper, determining which sensory signals are relayed to the conscious mind. The best way you can see this is in smells. You know how that works. You get a strong smell and wonder what it is. However, after a short time, it's gone. Leave the room and come back, and the smell is back. The thalamus says, "This is a new smell and you need to evaluate it." After a little while, it concludes, "It is no longer an urgent factor." Leave and come back, and the smell registers again as an urgent factor.

The news is like that. We think that we're learning everything that happens via the news media. We know, however, that this not true. "Everything that happens" is way too big to be encompassed. So we don't get everything. We get the "urgent factor." We get the outliers, the new things. According to this story, the reason we use the term "news" is that in the 14th century the term was used as a plural for "new." It was intended to express the things that were new. And, if you think about it, that's basically what "news" is. We don't hear everything; we only hear the outstanding, the unusual, the news. That is, not the normal; it's the unusual. Consider an example. In 2016 there were 37,806 vehicular deaths. Wow, that's a lot. Well, sort of. In terms of 100 million vehicle miles traveled, we're looking at 1.19. Did you see that? On average, in order to have one person die on the road, you have to drive 100,000,000 miles. That's a long way between traffic deaths. In terms of 100 thousand people, that was 11.59 people killed. That is, in a group of 200,000 people, 199,977 did not die on the road. You understand that this is a death rate of 0.011% among people or 0.00000012% in vehicle miles. Let me put that another way. In 2016 323,370,000 Americans traveled 3,174,000,000,000 miles. Of those, better than 99% did so without dying. That is huge. Did we hear it in the news? Well, no, of course not. It's not news because it's not new, it's not abnormal, it's not pressing information. Our "thalamus" media filtered that out for us and only mentioned the accidents. In fact, mostly only the big ones. None of that penny ante stuff. Because that's not news.

It's what we would expect. This isn't a complaint or pointing fingers. This isn't a problem. What is a problem is when we don't understand that the news is only giving us an extremely small portion of what is. We hear the outstanding, the unusual, the rare, the shocking, the horrible, maybe even the wonderful. We do not hear the normal. "Normative" means "that which defines 'normal'." The news is not normative. But we think it is. This is why we have parents being arrested for child endangerment because they let their preteen walk two blocks to the park without parental supervision. It's not because it's dangerous to do so. It's because we don't get it. We have some knowledge, but it's puffed up. It's misguided, misapplied, missing the mark. We think "Kids go missing all the time" because we heard the news about a kidnapping or two and fear ours will, too, forgetting that the kidnapping was news, not normal. We hear that a black kid was shot by a police officer and buy the chant that black people are harassed all the time by cops, forgetting that the tragedy was news, not normal.

We live in a world flooded with news. News from far and near, news from friends and family, TV news, Internet news, social media, anything you can imagine. It has been said that a lie travels around the world before the truth can get its boots on. One study says that false rumors actually do go faster and farther than the truth. In all of this, we forget that news is "new" plural and not "normal." So why do we let the sensational, the unusual, the deviations and anomalies dictate our lives? Why do we make so many major decisions on so many minor events? Why do we assume the unusual is the normal? It's a lie from the father of lies. Don't go there. That is puffed up knowledge. And it makes a mess when we think we're simply aligning ourselves with truth.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Beyond Lost Causes

There are those in the faith that argue that you can lose your salvation and those who argue you can't. The debate goes back and forth. I am not planning to solve that here. I want to go beyond that. In the debate, one of the favorite passages brought up by the "See? You can lose it" side is found in Hebrews 6. I would suggest that this text is not saying what they think it is saying. The author of Hebrews says this:
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (Heb 6:4-6)
"There!" they say. "It says right there that you can be a genuine Christian and then fall away." Let's consider that for a moment. If you read the text, you might note immediately that the point is not about losing salvation. The text is about a particular impossibility. The question answered here is not "Can you lose your salvation?" but "What happens in the case of someone like this who falls away?" There is something impossible here. What is it?

The text talks about those who have met certain criteria -- been enlightened, tasted the gift, shared the Holy Spirit, tasted God's Word and the powers of the age to come -- and then fall away. It is a case. "In the case of." That is, "Here's a bucket that we will label 'Hebrews 6:4-6' and anyone that meets those requirements will be put into this bucket." You see, then, that at this point the bucket is empty. It is simply defining the case. There is debate about what the criteria prove. Is it a saved person or an "almost saved" person? Do these terms describe a genuine believer or one with dead faith? We can debate that, but what is not debatable is the result. Anyone who meets these criteria and falls away cannot be restored to repentance. End of story. No further hope. Very sorry indeed. That is the point of the text. In the case of those who meet these criteria, there is no hope.

Perhaps you're a "I think you can lose your salvation" type and use this text as proof. If so, you will need to recognize that the point of the text is that there is no "yo-yo salvation," no "I'm saved now" then "Oh, not now" then "Yep, I'm back." If this text proves what you intend -- salvation can be lost -- then it also assures you that once it is lost, it cannot be regained. No hope. Perhaps you're not that type. Perhaps you're the other common one -- "Those things do not describe true believers; they only describe people who are fully exposed to the faith." That's fine, but keep in mind, the text is about an impossibility, and if you're right, you are declaring that those who are fully exposed to the faith and fall away cannot be saved ... ever. Because this text is not about having or losing salvation; it's about an impossibility.

But, like I said, I don't intend to solve that dilemma. I want to go beyond that. I want to go to the next step. I want to go to hope. Whatever this text describes -- not saved or saved but lost it -- the outcome is the impossibility of salvation. "Hang on," I think we would all say, "that's really bad. How do we avoid that?" And that is where I want to go. So did the author.
Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Heb 6:9-12)
If "impossible repentance" is hopeless, the aim of this text is "the full assurance of hope." If "that is impossible," what possibility are we looking at? Note that the author was sure of something. "Better things." "Things that belong to salvation." That is, "You see that bucket we labeled? You are not that case." Really good news. How did he know that? Two things were obvious -- their work and their love for the saints. The Hebrews to which this was written had tangible work and love for the saints and these continued. That, dear reader, is what Scripture says provides "the full assurance of hope until the end." (See also 2 Peter 1:2-9.)

Given the previous impossibility of repentance, this is really, really big hope. This is marvelous assurance. And it's yours for the taking. If work and love are natural results of being born of God (Eph 2:10; Php 2:12-13; 1 John 4:19), those born of God will be marked by this. Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The unavoidable sequence there, then, is you become His disciple and it follows that you love one another. It is an unmistakable mark of being His disciple. All have it.

That first passage is really ... unpleasant. You can debate "It says you can lose your salvation" or "No, it doesn't," but in the end the real question is the horrible truth that whoever it's talking about has no hope. And we do not want to be that guy. We don't want to be that case. We don't want to fall into that category. The passage that follows then, is one of remarkable hope. If you belong to Him, the work He is doing in you and through you and the love you are sharing with His people because of the love He gives you will show it and you can have full assurance of hope. I guess the only question that remains is do you have signs of work and love for the saints? That's not a question I can answer for you.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

There, There

You've seen the movie, I'm sure. (Almost doesn't matter which movie I'm talking about; there are a lot of them.) Things are going along swimmingly and then a crisis occurs and all looks hopeless. And the nice person comes to the hopeless one, wraps their arm around them and says, "There, there ... things will get better." And I think, "Well ... maybe ... in your writers' haven." Because if we are to actually examine the facts, things don't always get better. We hope for the best and sometimes it doesn't happen. We pray for healing and they die instead. It is unimaginable that one so young would come down with cancer; surely there is something good around the corner. But sometimes there isn't. Oh, sometimes there is, but can we count on it? Experience would say we can't.

The movies don't help us. Oh, I get it. They're intended to tell a story. It needs to be a story we want to hear. And, frankly, we have enough pure reality. We want a happy ending. So they tell us stories with happy endings and we're happy. The girl gets the guy. The problem is solved. The princess lives happily ever after. No, it never happens that way in life (that "happily ever after" thing), but that's okay. It was just a story. Except that we have this tendency to take our stories and apply them to real life and then wonder what happened? I prayed; why didn't God do what I asked? I did what God wanted; why didn't I succeed? I tried to be good; why did things go so wrong? I remember the story of a pastor and his son who died in a fiery car crash on the highway. A reader asked me, "Where is your God now?" because we all know, don't we, that bad things aren't supposed to happen to good people. So our well-intentioned but woefully short "There, there" doesn't cut the mustard. And even that Christian movie about how things were going so bad and then the protagonist turned to Christ and everything came out okay turns out to be unreliable.

The Christian life isn't about better circumstances. Heaven isn't about a better place. It's about the presence of Christ. The presence of Christ eclipses the pleasures and tames the pains of this world. This is just to say, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:34). Paul offers a better way.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Php 4:10-13)
Some would like us to believe that the "better way" is "Things will be better in heaven" or "Life is hard; get used to it." They want us to believe that we just need to lower our expectations and sacrifice any sense of hope or joy for the here and now and muddle through until you get to the other side. "Heaven is a wonderful place," they tell us. "Just wait!" Just another, "There, there." Paul disagreed. He did not say, "I've learned in whatever situation I am to endure bravely." He said, "I've learned to be content."

It's not a case of "Bear up and get through this." Biblically, that is not always the best advice. Jesus didn't send us a Comforter because we needed a Trainer. He sent us a Comforter because we will, in this life, need comfort. A drill sergeant has his place, but not the whole place. We are called to take up our cross (Matt 16:24), but there is, in all of it, a place for joy (James 1:2-4). Knowing where we're going and Who is on our side and what He can do, we can actually rejoice in hardship and be content in both "plenty and hunger, abundance and need." We don't do it alone. We don't do it by toughing it out. We do it "through Him who strengthens me."

I want to get to that point. Not the point of "There, there" with short-sighted platitudes and "It'll be okay" comfort. I want to get to the point where I rejoice in difficult times, where "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Cor 12:7-10). I want to get to the place where I can bless God "who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Cor 1:3-4). I want to be where Job was when he declared, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:21).

Saturday, May 18, 2019

News Weakly - 5/18/19

You've heard "innocent until proven guilty." It is the law of the land. Well, it was. Now it's "guilty until proven innocent" in some cases and, in growing numbers, "guilty regardless of any evidence." Think "she claimed sexual harassment" and you know, regardless of who he is, he's guilty with no chance of recovery. Lost reputation, lost jobs, lost families ... oh, yeah, and maybe even a trial at some point. Well, it's getting worse. The quintessential example of sexual harassment today is Harvey Weinstein. He is currently on trial. Of course, he has already lost his job, etc. But the court is out to determine if he's innocent. (We've already determined that he's guilty.) The latest news, however, is that his lawyer is being fired for representing him. "Harvard will not renew the appointment of Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. and his wife Stephanie Robinson when their term ends on June 30." Why? Students were upset that he was practicing law by being on Weinstein's legal team. You know, like the Constitution holds: everyone has the right to representation. Not in American jurisprudence. Not in this social climate.

A Thinking Approach
In response to Georgia's new law protecting the living, Alyssa Milano has come up with a bright idea. "Join me by not having sex until we get our bodily autonomy back." Huh? Yes. "Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy." Well, now, she's thinking, and that's what I like. If women who do not want to get pregnant stopped getting pregnant, I bet there would be a drastic drop in babies killed as a birth control. I like it.

Why Is It ...
when Attorney General William P. Barr refuses to testify in front of Congress he's an evil man, but when Bradley Chelsea Manning refuses he/she is a hero?

Filed Under "Is This Trip Really Necessary?"
You may or may not be aware of Arthur, a PBS children's animation coming to its 22nd season. It is an educational series for children ages 4-8 starring Arthur, an aardvark, and his friends and family. It has taken on such issues as dyslexia, cancer, diabetes, and autism. Oh, and now gay mirage. One of the male characters comes out as "gay" and then "marries" a male. Because one thing that every 4-8 year-old needs to know is the insanity of marriage without definition and the erasure of morality in your sex life. I mean, right?

No Justice
Author Natasha Tynes did the inexcusable. She reported a black Metro employee who was eating on the train in violation of the Metro rules. When she approached the woman about it, she was told, "Worry about yourself." Clearly the only reason this Jordanian-American woman did such a thing was because the woman in question was black. And, justly or not, she has lost her book deal over it. "We ... have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it's acceptable ..." the publisher said. I'm impressed with the level of commitment a book publisher has to high moral values ... which, of course, I expect is pure bunk. More like, "We're not going to think about it, examine it, and definitely not going to take any heat for it." The woman that was breaking the company rules will not face any consequences and the woman who reported it pays the price. Seems completely fair. Entirely based on the premise that the only reason a person would report a black person for anything is racism and racism alone.

Defying God
The "acceptable" god of this age is Science, with its infinite knowledge and infallibility. Okay, so that was sarcastic, but you get the idea. "Don't talk to me about your religion," they will tell us. "We have Science now." Except, of course, when it comes to things like human reproduction. While parts of the country are plunging toward more readily executing humans, a few are trying to save them. The argument is "If we have a live human being, we protect that live human being." So Alabama is on the verge of passing their own "heartbeat" bill. And the rest of the world applauds because Science tells us unequivocally that the human life begins at conception and ends at death and everything in between is a continuum of that human life. Oh, wait ... no. They're not applauding. Why? Because when it comes to Science versus "my convenience," the god, Science, loses. No applause for what is deemed "the country's most restrictive abortion ban" when Science calls it "human life." The governor signed it, but the ACLU will certainly sue to end babies' lives as quickly as possible. And, of course, I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court will side with "a woman's privacy" and the idea of a "non-person human being" over the rights of human life that gets in the way, but we'll have to see. It is a shame to see this kind of blasphemy perpetrated toward Science, isn't it?

A Busy Abortion Week
In similar news the headline reads, "Missouri Senate passes bill to ban abortions at 8 weeks" when, if Science was heeded, it should read, "Missouri Senate passes bill to protect more human lives." The story says, "Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp told colleagues. 'We cannot paint with a broad brush and interfere by putting a law forward that tells them what they can and cannot do.'" Really? I thought that's what laws were for. This one still needs to go through the House before it goes before the governor ... before being attacked by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU and shot down by the courts.

According to the CDC, in 2017 the leading cause of death among children from birth to 4 was unintentional injury, totaling 1,267. For the year. A 2017 CNN report said that in the U.S., guns kill 1,300 children each year. Over a year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are over 3,000 abortions per day in the U.S. Per day. In a year we terminate over a million human lives with legal abortion. So while we scrabble for better gun control and call for safer conditions for our children, we demand the right to continue murdering the youngest humans at will. And they tell us it's just because of patriarchy -- "owning women." They say that conservatives are evil because they won't pass stricter gun control laws. What should we conclude about the pro-abortion crowd that applauds ending a million lives a year primarily as a birth control measure?

The Unknown Goal
At the Cannes Film Festival this week Julianne Moore assured us that in order to achieve gender parity it will be necessary to have quotas. Now, mind you, I wasn't aware that the goal of business and industry was gender parity. No one told me that the reason we have companies is so that we can have parity. I guess if they want to have more female plumbers, engineers, professional sports players and the like, they should see to it. And I suppose that the gender parity folks will be getting to work on insuring that 48% of nurses (90% of nurses are female), elementary and middle school teachers, HR managers, social workers, counselors, and more will be men, given the overwhelming lack of parity on those fields. If we want to make a more efficient economy, we will need to have more diversity. And I'm pretty sure that we'll need to continue that correction of disparity when it comes to race as well, so you should expect quotas in that form, too. I'm sure. Am I saying I'm opposed to diversity or more women in the workplace? Not at all. I'm saying that we seem to have lost our way when it comes to the purpose of Hollywood or other jobs. We will need a complete redesign of parity as the goal and not, you know, employing people and making money.

Not the Ordinary
This is good. What does the Bible say about itself? Jared Wilson gives a listing book by book. Maybe not news and certainly not "weakly," but I thought you might benefit from it.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Accepting Christ

I know, I know, it's petty. It's just me. It's just words. It's just in my mind. But I've had a problem with this concept for a long time. So let me say at the outset that I am not faulting anyone who uses the term and I understand that, in general, people who use the term mean no harm or intend no error. I'm not complaining about anyone at all. You're safe. It is only a simple, potentially dangerous way of thinking that concerns me here. So I'm bringing it up.

We all know that they way you become a Christian -- the way you get saved -- is to accept Christ, right? No worries there. We're all clear. Except that you won't find that term anywhere in Scripture. Nowhere does it say we "accept Christ" in any sense. What does it say? It says we believe in Him (John 3:16; Rom 10:9). In John's gospel he often uses a phrase that is literally "to believe into." The other term we get is receive. John wrote, "He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:11-12). (Note that "receive Him" is paralleled in that verse with "believed in His name." Apparently there is a sort of equivalence there.) Paul wrote, "As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col 2:6). We receive Christ and we believe in Christ. Wait ... where's the "accept Christ"? It's not in there.

One website called WikiDiff helps analyze the difference between terms. For the difference between "receive" and "accept" it says, "As verbs the difference between receive and accept is that receive is to get, to be given something while the other party is the active partner (opposite: to obtain) while accept is to receive, especially with a consent, with favour, or with approval." Since "accept" is "to receive" here, there is only a small objection I have. Do you see it? Receive is to get, where "the other party is the active partner." The one getting is not active. "Receive" is passive. On the other hand, "accept" includes "with consent, with favour, or with approval." And therein lies my concern.

We do not "approve" Christ. We don't give Him our "okay." We don't come to Christ with a clipboard, verify the "shipment," and give our consent to receive Him. We don't give Him final approval -- "Okay, You're alright; I'll let You in." Biblically, we "receive" Christ. There is not one, single instance in Scripture of people "accepting" Christ.

Again, I'll point out that this is a minor point, a small thing. I would hope that those who call us to "accept Christ" have no intention of suggesting that we should "approve of" Christ, that we should "give him our 'okay'." I'm pretty sure that most of them are thinking in passive terms. "Here He is. Take what is offered." They mean "receive." I just want to be sure that we aren't thinking in terms of "accepting a delivery" where we first verify it and then give our approval. Trust me; He doesn't need your approval. If we are deigning to allow Christ into our lives, we're doing it wrong. The biblical version is one of submission (James 4:7), not approval.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Guilt by Melanin

"Guilt by melanin." I read that phrase recently -- can't remember where. I was really struck by it. Melanin, I'm sure you know, is that which determines our skin pigment. (Technically, melanin is the dark pigment, but you get the idea.) We've arrived, it seems, at this point where you can be declared guilty because you are white. That's the main theme in the "reparations" debate. "You're white. That means that you are guilty of your parents' sins of racial slavery from the 18th and 19th centuries." There's no question. There's no doubt. There is no trial, no exoneration, no "innocent until proven guilty." The trial is simple. "Are you white?" If yes, GUILTY! In a recent interview with a black1 female dean of Union Theological Seminary's Divinity School, Kelly Brown Douglas, we learned that you cannot follow Jesus if you're white. Guilty. (Tragically, that video begins with the white pastor of the place admitting he's white and explaining "My pronouns are "he" and "him.") In a tweet in April she said, "Just because you look like a white American doesn’t mean you have to act like one. The first step on the road to recovery is to own one’s whiteness and realize how it keeps you from your true identity as a child of God." (Can you imagine if someone wrote, "Just because you look lik a black American doesn't mean you have to act like one"?) Recently respected InterVarsity Press published a book titled Can "White" People Be Saved? The Amazon offering says, "No one is born white. But while there is no biological basis for a white race, whiteness is real." Guilty.

It's not just the far left here. Prominent Southern Baptist pastor, Thabiti Anyabwile, talking about Martin Luther King Jr., has said, "My white neighbors and Christian brethren can start by at least saying their parents and grandparents and this country are complicit in murdering a man who only preached love and justice." In this case he obviously wasn't suggesting you can't be saved if you're white; you're just complicit in murder.

I remember years ago I was talking with a (black) coworker and brought up Jesus. "Oh, no," he said, "I want nothing to do with your Jesus and your Christianity. That's a white man's religion." A response that had me dumbfounded. Jesus wasn't white. There is no racial component in Christianity. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Many in America (and elsewhere) today have decided to import into our morality, our racial views, and, most importantly, Christianity itself an anti-white racial component. Guilty by melanin. If you're white, you're guilty. The means by which you get saved from this is to stop being white. Now, obviously they don't mean that you have to change your skin color. You just need to change your background, your upbringing, your religion, your culture, your society, your friends and family ... well, everything, I guess. Because you're white. But that's not racism, right?

How is this any different than James' concern over showing partiality on the basis of wealth (James 2:1-9)? Seems basically the same to me. Showing partiality to rich people over poor is just as bad as white people over black, black people over white, or Americans over other nationalities. These have no place in Christianity. Neither does "guilty by melanin." Nor "guilt by Y chromosome." Or "X chromosome." Or ... you get the idea. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream of a time when people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Keep dreaming.
1 I have recently started to rebel against the "African-American" term for "black," but not for the reasons most might think. I don't care about the "hyphenated American" concept and have no opposition to "African-Americans." I am simply trying to be more inclusive, since not all blacks are from Africa. There are blacks from the Caribbean Islands and blacks from Australia (also known as "aborigines") and blacks from many other places due to transplant and such. Labeling all black people in America as "African-American" excludes all the rest, including those who don't live in America. I'm trying to be inclusive.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Radical Christianity

We decry radicals. Radicals like the extremists in favor of killing humans because human beings are the primary cause of all problems in this world. Radicals like radical Muslims who blow up buildings and seek to kill infidels. Radicals like those outlandish folks who, in the name of Jesus, loudly declare that all bad things that happen are God's judgment because of gays. Radicals like the anti-abortionist (you can't call this one "pro-life") who blows up abortion clinics and kills abortion doctors in the name of "life." We are not happy with radicals.

Christianity, on the other hand, is radical at its core. What most would term "radical Christianity" is normal Christianity according to Scripture. I mean, what else can you conclude?

Everyone knows, for instance, that good works reflect well on you. So why would Jesus say, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt 5:16)? We do good works and He is glorified?

But that's trivial. James said, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials" (James 1:2-4). Really, James? "All joy"? Peter said, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Peter 4:12-13). "Not surprised," perhaps, but "keep on rejoicing"? He even said that it is God's will that we suffer for doing what is right (1 Peter 3:17). What's with that?

Most disturbing, perhaps, is the kinds of things Jesus said about everyday disciples. He told His disciples, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matt 10:37). That seems odd. He said, "Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory" (Luke 9:26). Which of us hasn't been ashamed of Him and/or His words? He boldly stated, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matt 16:24). Wow! That's serious.

These things are "normal Christianity." It is a life lived for others (Php 2:3-4), sure, but ultimately for God's glory (1 Cor 10:31). Everything for God's glory. It is a complete reversal of our views on husbands and wives (e.g., Eph 5:22-31; 1 Cor 7:3-4; Matt 19:3-6). In a world dedicated to self -- to personal comfort and pleasure -- "normal Christianity" is a life that starts with denying self and taking up a cross. What does this look like? To Christ, it looks normal, right. To the world, it is radical. We need to be that kind of radical Christians. How would your life look different if you were that kind of Christian?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

On the Decline

"Now that was an E-ticket ride!" The phrase referred to a time when Disneyland was free to enter; you simply paid for rides. And they sold ticket books. "A" tickets were the trolley's on Main Street and "C" tickets included some of the mid-range stuff like the Jungle Cruise, but the best tickets were the "E" tickets. Those were the coasters, the fun stuff, the thrill rides. That was then. Today the phrase has no meaning because those who remember that time are few.

When I was young the phrase was "every day of the week and twice on Sundays." What was that? It was how often we were at church. Of course, it was an exaggeration. We skipped a few nights. But certainly there was Sunday morning (for both a church service and Sunday school) and Sunday evening and Wednesday night prayer meeting. It is my suspicion that I've just used several terms that have no meaning to many because those who remember that time are few. "Sunday evening at church?" "Prayer meeting?" We just don't do that anymore. Jesus said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer" (Mark 11:17) and I don't think there are very many gatherings of believers today that would be classified as "a house of prayer."

The question I have is "Why?"

In Acts the first church met "day by day" at the temple or in homes (Acts 2:46). They devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship and prayer (Acts 2:42). Today? Not so much. They also devoted themselves to "the breaking of bread," and any good baptist does that, but that other stuff? Not really. Why is that?

Pressures of Life
In today's world there are lots of demands on our time and resources. Work, family, church, television, social media ... oh, wait, maybe those last two aren't as much ... well, they really are, aren't they? If you go to work and you spend the day at a job and then you come home and eat and have just a few hours between dinner and bed time, what can you do? You have just a few hours to do all the rest. And if we were going to go to church or prayer meeting or other such stuff, that would mean we would miss a favorite show or have a hard time getting Sally to her ballet lesson or whatever else could have been done then. I'm not saying these aren't real or valid. I'm simply saying these demands on our time, money, and other resources exist. They compete with the possibility of a Sunday evening worship time or a Wednesday evening prayer meeting. And those things don't fare as well as those personal things we need to do.

Easy Living
I think another major factor is our modern lifestyle. For centuries we've tried to move toward more leisure. We've arrived. We are an entertainment culture. We have lots of stuff and lots of distractions and lots of amusements. These aren't the same things as pressures. These are things we like, not necessarily need. Why go to the laundromat when we can have a machine in the house? And, of course, running down to a local stream to beat the clothes on a rock to clean them is out of the question. We figure we have a right to come home, kick back, and unwind from a long day of work ... or leisure ... or whatever the long day contained. Comfort is our cause.

Lots of Material
With all the demands on us, we need to consider priority. What is it we need? What is it that is most valuable? What has the highest returns? That kind of thing. So getting Sally to that ballet lesson makes Sally happy and maybe gives her some skills, some grace, some coordination, lots of good things. How about that Sunday evening meeting? Well, that's good, too, but we already have lots of good material for that. We have study guides and books on Romans and helpful DIY "fix your life" books -- sure, sure, they're from a Christian perspective, so they're all good -- so that would automatically lower the priority of those things, right? A good prayer meeting is fine, we're all pretty sure, but put up against the other good materials we have available, is it really that important? Can't we just read a prayer guide and do it on our own? (Really! We do it on our own! Are you questioning that? Okay, we can do it on our own.) In a sense, then, the materials -- guides, books, etc. -- we have available can tend to push us away from Sunday evening services and Wednesday night prayer meetings.

Unasked and Unanswered Questions
Let's be honest. There is another serious question that we do not ask but often wonder about. Why are we praying? I mean, seriously, does it really make a difference? Why go to a prayer meeting? Is it going to change things? Will it actually save Mrs. Smith's marriage? Will Mr. Jones get that job after so long without work? Do we actually think that, because we prayed, John's cancer will be cured? Practically speaking, does prayer really accomplish anything? We don't voice that, but it nags at the back of our minds. Besides, can't we handle most of that? Don't we have counselors for the Smiths, job fairs for the Joneses, and doctors for John? If we already have things in place here, is prayer really making that much of a difference? Is corporate prayer better than private prayer?

We are in a world hostile to Christ. Scripture says it (Rom 8:7), but you just have to look around to see it yourself. Worse, some of that comes from us. We prefer comfort to conviction. We figure we have all we need. We are rich, we have prospered, we need nothing (Rev 3:17). We are not zealous (Rev 3:19). We're just not that bad off. All that Sunday night church and Wednesday night prayer meeting stuff is all well and good, but really, with all things in view, are they really that important? Really?

I would say, "No." Oh, don't misunderstand. They are. But they are not commanded by God. They are not biblical requirements. "Thou shalt meet on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights." It's not in there. So they are important not in the sense that we're sinning, but in the sense that they illustrate our heart problem. We have moved away from vital prayer lives and a zeal for Christ and His people. We nod our heads at "love God and love one another" but then pull away to our private, comfortable corners to do that only if it serves our personal agendas. They beg the question, "Why don't we want to spend time with God and His people?" To our shame.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Biblical Commentary on Abortion

In discussions on abortion, I've seen this passage used to say that God doesn't care about abortion.
When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exo 21:22-25)
"In this passage," they say, "you can see that the only concern here is for harm to the woman. No harm to the woman? No penalty. Harm to the child? Irrelevant." I think this reasoning is 1) patently false and 2) the text actually supports the pro-life view.

Consider. The premise is a pregnant woman is hit by some men, intentionally or not, causing the child to be released. That's the subject. That's the prime condition. The rest of the text is about what should happen. Without any disagreement, the text says "if no harm" then the judge determines a penalty and "if harm" then the penalty is "life for life," etc. We're all clear on this. The question, then, is harm to whom?

Pro-abortionists say it's the woman. I think the text and evident reason makes that nonsense. The subject is not the woman. The subject is not even the "abortion" -- the termination of the pregnancy. The subject is the result of that termination. If the point was "don't harm a woman," there were already sufficient laws on the books to cover that. "Terminated pregnancy" would not be a factor. The only possible subject here is the baby that comes out as a result of the hit.

Look at it this way. If the text was saying, "If you hit a pregnant woman and her child comes out and the woman dies, it is the death penalty," it would be perfectly redundant. If you hit a pregnant woman and her child did not come out and she died, the penalty would be the same. If you hit a woman who was not pregnant and she died, the penalty would be the same. This cannot be the point of the text. There is no question on the laws of what to do to someone who harms another (especially a woman). The question being addressed here is "What about the unborn?"

In this scenario, then, if the baby presents prematurely from the action and is born healthy, there is a payment for the perpetrator. If the baby is harmed, there is the same rules applied to human life -- "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." If the baby dies, it is the death penalty. If the baby loses an eye, so shall the perpetrator. And so on. The "life for life" clause is the standard human ruling (Gen 9:6) -- capital punishment for murder. That is the standard pro-life position; a child in the womb is a human life deserving of all the care and protection of any other human life. The Bible concurs. Modern society does not. You decide which is right -- God or the pro-abortion folks.

And Science
In reading the text above, I was looking at the research from science as well. From Princeton University, "The following references illustrate the fact that a new human embryo, the starting point for a human life, comes into existence with the formation of the one-celled zygote." The references argue (from science, not religion) that the first stage of the human being is the fertilized egg. Each zygote carries a unique set of DNA which is not identical to either the mother or the father. By six weeks this being has its own heartbeat, not it's mother's heartbeat. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) agrees that human development is a "continuous process that begins when an ovum is fertilized by a sperm and ends at death." "As far as human ‘life’ per se, it is, for the most part, uncontroversial among the scientific and philosophical community that life begins at the moment when the genetic information contained in the sperm and ovum combine to form a genetically unique cell." The question is not "Is that a human life?" at the point of conception when the sperm fertilizes the egg. The only question they can offer is "Is it a person?" So they create the "non-person human being," a division which the ACOG says "is arbitrary at best." The American College of Pediatricians "values all human lives equally from the moment of conception (fertilization) until natural death. Consistent with its mission to 'enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being,' the College, therefore, opposes active measures that would prematurely end the life of any child at any stage of development from conception to natural death."

That is, the argument that this is purely a religious objection is false.

Sunday, May 12, 2019


We, as a nation, are losing our religion, so to speak. Church attendance is down. The "Nones" -- those who consider themselves "spiritual" but unaffiliated with any religion -- are on the rise. There are more atheists and more apathetics -- "Is there a God? I don't much care." Even among self-styled Christians, the trappings of religion are waning. The Bible? Well, a nice book, perhaps, but not that important. Doctrine? It's really a personal thing, don't you know? Is there a real devil? I read somewhere that in 2001 66% of baptists didn't believe Satan was a real being. Others are really keen on Jesus ... except let's not talk about His virgin birth or His deity or His resurrection. In fact, we should probably avoid that whole "died on the cross" thing, too, since there is a broad spectrum of theories about that. Indeed, religion in general including Christianity in particular are on the decline in America.

One particular aspect, however, is still pretty popular. That would be the notion of angels. We like angels. We know that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. We know that they flit around on feathery wings and look out for us. Some of them are pretty cuddly, aren't they? Of course, very little of this corresponds to biblical images, but that doesn't stop most people, does it?

It is interesting to me, then, how the author of Hebrews compares angels to Christ.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. (Heb 1:1-4)
Hebrews is saying, "You like angels? Then get a load of Jesus!"

Angels are God's created messengers. Jesus is God's uncreated Son. God made the world through His Son (Heb 1:2). (That makes it really difficult to call Him a created being since "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3). He can't have made Himself, can He?) Angels are created; He was not. Angels operate as God's messengers; Jesus is "the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Heb 1:3). God Incarnate. It's interesting, too. God did not send an angel to obtain purification of our sins. They didn't have all the necessary qualifications. Only God's Son had all of them. So only He could make purification of sins. Angels are around the throne of God (Isa 6:1-4). Jesus is at His right hand (Heb 1:3).

And that's just a beginning. The author of Hebrews builds and builds on this theme. Angels? Good. But they pale in comparison to the Son of God. Because of the supremacy of Christ, even over angels, we can conclude, "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" (Heb 2:1-2).

The logic is unavoidable. Angels? We love 'em. Well, if that's so, you're gonna need to bow and worship the Son of God because He is so very much more. Don't neglect that.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

News Weakly - 5/11/19

Who's Next?
Most thinking people see folks like Alex Jones and Louis Farrakhan as unsavory and potentially dangerous individuals. Most people, then, would see Facebook's announcement that they will ban these people from Facebook and Instagram as a good thing. Surely Facebook (as a private entity, not a government entity) has the right to choose who they will allow free speech to on their platform. I'm just concerned that the parameters are a bit vague. "We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology," a Facebook spokesman said. So what about individuals (like you and me) or organizations (like the church) who hold that homosexual behavior is a sin or that science indicates that gender is binary? Is that promoting or engaging in violence or hate? I don't think so, but I think if you ask the masses, they'd say it is. But it gets worse. Facebook isn't banning them for what they say on their account; they're banning them for what they say elsewhere. Farrakhan, for instance, hasn't engaged in violence or hate on Facebook, but he has made anti-Semitic remarks in his speeches, so he's right out. Christians, you're next if you hold to biblical principles and views. I note, also, that those who genuinely hate Christians and even promote or practice violence against them are not likely to be banned from Facebook, etc. Facebook is deciding 1) what they classify as "hate," 2) which hate to ban, and 3) which hate to allow. (Note: Their statement on the subject says that their primary concern is conservative hate speech. The headline you will not read is "While Cracking Down On Fringe Conspiracy Theorists, Facebook Accidentally Bans CNN.")

The Nonsense of the Modern Culture
Following up on a previous story, the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, signed legislation that would save lives -- in Georgia it looks like around 30,000 a year or so. He signed it "to ensure that all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn and prosper in our great state." Of course, there is little applause. The media is calling it an "early abortion ban" instead of its actual name, the "Living Infants Fairness and Equality Act," because everyone knows that living infants deserve no fairness and no equality unless their mothers say they do. Don't worry, folks. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU is on this and they will fight to eliminate the parenthood of as many women and the civil liberties of unborn children as they can.

And, of course, the mouthpiece of America has its say. Hollywood is declaring it will boycott the state of Georgia for defending babies. "Dirty rotten Georgia! Why can't you discard babies like everyone else does? Killing 30,000 babies isn't a tragedy; it's a good start!" Thank you, Hollywood, for your wise and tender input.

Christine Quinn, the former speaker of the New York City Council, assured CNN watchers that "When a woman gets pregnant, that is not a human being inside of her. It is part of her body ..." I guess it becomes a human being ... when it leaves her body? When its viable? No, they New York law allows for abortion any time. So it's not clear when it stops being "part of her body" and becomes "a human being." Clearly not when it has its own separate heartbeat. One college student assured us that a baby that survives an abortion attempt is not a baby. Go figure. What is?

(On a related note, can somebody help me? One of the most common concerns people raise is, "When abortion becomes illegal, women will still have them but in dangerous ways, so we have to keep it legal." How does that logic work? "If we outlaw heroine, we know people will still take it but in dangerous ways, so we need to keep it legal." "If we outlaw child molestation, we know people will still do it but in dangerous ways, so we need to keep it legal." Can anyone make sense of this for me?)

In Contrast
In contrast to the "illegal" desire of lawmakers in Georgia to save lives, baseball fans have decided that Trevor Bauer should die ... because of a rough night pitching against the White Socks. Bauer revealed numerous death threats through Instagram But, I suppose that's not a contrast. That's agreement -- human life is of no value if it doesn't give me what I want. Sorry, Mr. Bauer. Sorry, kids. I guess we all lose.

Pubic Education
The opening line of this news item says, "California has overhauled its sex education guidance for public school teachers, encouraging them to talk about gender identity with kindergartners and give advice to LGBT teenagers for navigating relationships and having safe sex."

You may be surprised. I was. I thought they already encouraged gender identity issues in the youngest and gave advice for teenage sexual deviancy, so that it is an overhaul surprised me. That there are still Christians sending their kids to public schools in California surprises me, too. Mind you, I'm not reflecting on Californians. "Parents and conservative groups assailed the more than 700-page document as an assault on parental rights, arguing it exposes children to ideas about sexuality and gender that should be taught at home." It's the overbearing, far left, immoral California government here in play. I mean, seriously, is it the school's job to teach middle-schoolers about safe masturbation? Come on!

The Mile High City
It appears as if Denver is aiming to be more of a "mile high city" than merely in elevation. Colorado already led the charge in making DUI more than driving under the influence of alcohol by legalizing recreational marijuana. As a result DUIs and emergency room visits are on the rise. Who'd have thought? Now they've decided to legalize hallucinogenic mushrooms. Seriously, what could go wrong? The goal, they say, is to remove substances from the controlled substances list. That way less people will be arrested. More people hurt, maimed, killed, harmed ... maybe ... but not arrested, you see? And if it's off the controlled substances list, doesn't that make it no longer harmful? Must be, considering our current social climate where we define reality, not the other way around.

Assuming Rights Not In Evidence
"'Hopefully this is the day discrimination against businesses that publicly espouse religious convictions comes to life in Texas,' said State Rep. Judy Johnson, D-Carrollton, after using a procedural maneuver to shut down debate of the so-called 'Save Chick-Fil-A' bill before it began." No, that's not quite what she said. Yes, that's what she intended. She believes that governmental entities should take "adverse actions" against organizations that espouse religious convictions over LGBT concerns. That is, while religious freedom is a constitutionally protected value in America, "the gender with whom I want to have sex" trumps that right regardless of what anyone thinks. I'd like to think that she is alone or at least a minority in the Texas government that holds to this, but the story says, "Lawmakers cheered its demise," so I think that would be optimistic of me. Instead it looks like the intent is an actual, head-to-head battle between religious freedom and gay rights in Texas, too. Don't worry. It's not just Texas.

Filed Under "Politics"
Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar made the news again when she slammed Israel for refusing a generous gift from Palestine. Hamas, she said, had spent lots of time and money picking out those rockets and freely launched them to Israel, and Israel retaliated with violence. Appalling!

Must be true; I read it on the Internet.