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Thursday, October 31, 2019

In the Beginning

Someone once said that the most offensive verse in the whole Bible was Genesis 1:1.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)
That's not so bad, right? Well, not until you see the whole ramifications. God started it. God made it. God owns it. As Creator, God even has the right to determine what the purpose is for everything ... over against many of our own declarations on that subject for various things. God has all the rights to it, where "it" refers to all that is. And we just won't stand for that.

So we make everything about our favorite substitute for God -- ourselves. All things begin and end with us. We seek first to glorify ourselves. We sing songs about the greatest love being loving ourselves. Even our altruism (disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others) is actually driven by a sense of "Doing nice things for others makes me feel good."

Worse, we tend to make our efforts with God aimed at ourselves. We want worship services to make us feel good. We sing songs that we like, largely about how we feel about God. Many song services in many churches these days are aimed at harnessing our feelings rather than glorifying God. Many worship leaders consider the congregation before they consider the Audience -- God. We fail to make disciples or bear one another's burdens or love one another because it's just too much work for us.

Let me make a suggestion: It's not about us. God didn't make us for our sake. He didn't save us for our sake. Worship is not intended to make us feel good. Hebrews describes Jesus as "the author and perfecter of faith" (Heb 12:2). All that exists comes from Him, through Him, and to Him for His glory (Rom 11:36). He is the originator, the sustainer, and the ultimate point of it all. And here we are making it more about us than Him.

I'll be honest; this isn't an easy thing. It goes against human nature. A truly selfless individual is nearly impossible to find. We are wired to seek our own interests first. And not in a good way (Php 2:3-4). So maybe we need to go back to the beginning -- Him. Maybe we need to remember the origin -- Him. Maybe we need to call to mind the One who sustains it all ... and I mean all. Maybe we need to think about where everything is aimed -- His glory. Often. Repeatedly. With assistance from others. Lest we risk keeping ourselves as our own best gods.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Why We Can't Win

Greta Thunberg gave her emotional speech to the United Nations with her own "How dare you?" and "We are watching you," but didn't explain what she wanted them to do. Oh, maybe something like "Cut global carbon emissions by more than 65% before 2025" or something like it. "But," I want to ask, "How???" She's not saying. She's just demanding. "No justice, no peace," they chanted not because the case had not been tried, but because it didn't get ruled the way they wanted it to be ruled. That is, "We define justice and you either go along or face war." Of course, since we can't really be sure what that definition is from moment to moment -- "Okay, so you want this guy released for doing what you want that guy executed for? I'm not following." -- so we can expect war at any moment. And you ... you dirty, rotten Christians. Standing on the Bible about "God created male and female" like that means something about humans and gender or "A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" like that defines marriage or something. What's wrong with you? You shouldn't be allowed to believe that stuff and we intend to bring legal action. Oh, sure, we buy into the First Amendment ... just not for you.

We can't win. You know that, don't you? You can present to Greta and her cronies all the science and data and facts and evidence and problems and alternate solutions and it just won't matter. "She's a 16-year-old girl for pity sake. You're going to insult her? Lots of kids feel like she does." True, but that just means that lots of kids are unclear on the concept. But you can't win that one because facts aren't the issue; feelings are.

We can't win. "What are you; a hater? Are you opposed to love? What makes you think you know what God thinks anyway? Leave it to us; we do." Facts, Scripture, reasoning, logic, all of that is pointless here. Hang onto that stuff and you will find yourself on the "wrong side of history" not because you're wrong, but because they aren't concerned with facts; they're concerned about feelings.

The perception is often "Liberals operate on feelings but conservatives operate on facts." Maybe. Probably not. Because the problem isn't "liberal" or "conservative." At least, not biblically. The problem is what Scripture calls "the futility of the mind" (Rom 1:21; Eph 4:17). Sin rots the brain. The more sin that is indulged produces more rot. Some parts are actually non-functional in the Natural Man (1 Cor 2:14). Offering good arguments, actual evidence, and coherent reasons are all well and good -- and we should -- but we're not dealing with actual intellectual problems. We're dealing with sin-sick minds, and appealing to the best of them won't get very far when the best of them are corrupted, deceived, blinded. When the world operates on insatiable sensuality (Eph 4:19) and we're trying to push rational thinking, don't count on that going well.

The good news is we don't have to. We aren't expecting to turn hearts and minds. That's God's job. We're expected to "give a reason for the hope that lies within us" (1 Peter 3:15), to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3). The results are in God's hands. That's the job of the Holy Spirit. So, no, we can't win. But God can.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Looking Good

We have a number of problems in our world. Always have. Currently we face crises like political problems and an environmental apocalypse and mass shootings and hatred in terms of race, sexuality, etc. ... or not, depending on your perception. No matter how you view it, though, we certainly face problems these days.

For each problem we have solutions or, at least, actions we've come up with to mitigate them. Vote for someone on "our side" and we can ease the political problems. Stop using plastic bags and the environmental apocalypse moves one step further away. Control or even eliminate guns and children won't be killed in bulk in schools. Penalize those who are "haters" and hate will abate.

Unfortunately, most of our solutions are optics -- they're intended to make you feel better because it looks like we're doing something. As my (trite) examples demonstrate above, we really don't have solutions. But that won't fly. That doesn't improve our mood. So we try to look good at solving problems with heart-warming approaches. As our youth demand these days, "Do something." Well, dears, we are. Are we doing what you want? Probably not. Are we solving the problems? Surely not. But we're looking good trying. And that should make us all feel better.

Monday, October 28, 2019


When we use the word today, we mean "one sex partner at a time." What we fail to grasp is how far that is from the meaning of the word.

The word comes from the Latin monogamia which was derived from the Greek word of the same construction. It is a two-part word. The "mono" refers (obviously) to "one" and the "gamy" refers to "marriage." Monogamy, then, refers to "married to one." We actually know this. We understand "bigamy" ("bi" = "two") means "married to two people" and "polygamy" ("poly" = "many") means "married to more than one." In neither of these two cases does anyone think in terms of "having sex with two" or "having sex with many." We understand that it means "married." We just ... forget in the case of "monogamy."

Why is that? Well, I'd assume that it's partly because of our general floccinaucinihilipilification of marriage in general. (I had to throw that word in there. It means "the estimation of something as valueless.") We have, over the past 60 years, worked hard to diminish "marriage" until it is mostly meaningless. In 1900 the divorce rate was 0.7 per 1,000 people. In 1960 (actually down from a rash of divorces after World War II) the rate was 2.2 per 1,000 people. In 1967 "no-fault divorce" came home to roost and by 1970 the rate was at 3.5 and by 1980 it was at 5.2 per 1,000 people. It is interesting to note that, on one hand, the divorce rate had dropped to 3.4, but that can be misleading since marriage rates have plummeted so greatly. From 1900 to 1998 they were between 8.5 and 12 marriages per 1,000 people, but by 2012 it was down to 6.8 per 1,000 people. Obviously with marriage at an all-time low, divorces would drop significantly as well. Factor in the growing demand for "let me be me" thinking -- "me first" ideology -- and the embrace of contraception (providing for sex without consequences and a diminishing of reproduction as part of the definition of marriage) and the approval of "no-fault divorce" alongside the devaluation of marriage entirely as shown in the marriage rates, it would stand to reason marriage has lost its meaning. By "meaning" I don't just mean its definition. I mean its significance, importance, value, solidity, everything that goes into what marriage means.

When California was debating the first "no-fault divorce" laws, they feared it would allow men to walk out more freely than before. As it turns out, 80% of divorces are filed by women. Years ago I read that in 1980 for every 600 men that initiated the divorce 1 wife would initiate the divorce. In 1990 that statistic was 12:1 ... where for every one man who initiated it 12 women would initiate it. The numbers may not be the same, but the principle is. Where "sacrifice for the greater good" was once a virtue, now it's "my own good." The decline of the "stay-at-home mom" to the two-income family makes more women self-sustaining without a husband to help. And marriage bleeds a bit more.

"What difference would it make to you if they legalized gay marriage?" was always the question put to me. It was not an adequate question. We've shifted "monogamy" -- married to one person for life -- to "married to one person at a time" to "having sex with one person at a time." Marriage is devalued to a minimum. Now they're fighting for the next step that those rotten LGBTQ folks neglected -- removing the stigma of "consensual non-monogamy." Because "If it feels good, do it" has replaced marriage, monogamy, self-sacrifice, and more. Because "what I want to do" defines what is good. Sexual morality used to be subject to values like virtue, sacrifice, and the welfare of others, but no more. And when "if it feels good, do it" becomes the ultimate moral good, you can expect "kill someone if I feel like it" or "you owe me a living wage" or the like to follow right on its heels. Like we're seeing today.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

When I Die By and By

Paul wrote, "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Php 1:21). How does that work?

Many Christians don't understand the second part. I mean, isn't the whole point of life not to die? It's a reflex, a natural thing. We all have the self-preservation instinct. So "to die is gain" seems like nonsense.

In truth, to believers that should be the most understandable. Jesus said that if we are forgiven much we love much (Luke 7:47). So if we are the forgiven, we should love Him dearly. And if we love Him dearly, where else would we long to be than in His presence? If you could go to heaven with the promise of happiness and comfort and well-being and no more sadness, but were told that Jesus wouldn't be there, would you do it? Christians would say, "No!" So to die is gain. No longer suffering from the flesh (Rom 7:24). Always in His presence. Soaking up the love that cannot be known (Eph 3:19). Absolute perfection.

So, why is it that Paul, in that Philippians passage, opts to live rather than die (Php 1:21-26)? Why is it that we aren't saved and immediately whisked away to be with Him? Because to live "means fruitful labor" (Php 1:22). To live means participating in God's work. To live means keeping His commandments (John 14:15). To live means making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them all that Jesus taught (Matt 28:19-20). "To remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account" (Php 1:24). Because the believer living the Christian life gives "ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus" (Php 1:26).

We aren't here as a test. We aren't here as a torment. We are here because, being here, we can be part of God's work, we can be Christ's body, we can participate in His plans. We can, by service to Him, worship Him (Rom 12:1).

And that's the problem, isn't it? Most of us think, "To die is gain? I don't want to die." But that "I don't want to die" is not "so that I can do more for Christ." It's more at "I've got a lot more stuff I want to do for me before I go." Wood, hay, and straw (1 Cor 3:11-15). Wouldn't it be better to long to go but enjoy doing His work for His glory in the meantime? Win-win.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

News Weakly - 10/26/19

This is what inclusivity looks like
Chick-fil-A is closing its first restaurant opened in the UK just six months after it opened. Why? The protests over "the company's opposition to same-sex marriage." Mind you, the company has no position on same-sex marriage. The owner has his personal position, but it is not a company position. Mind you, Chick-fil-A has never turned away a same-sex couple from any of their stores. Ever. So which is the more inclusive group? Chick-fil-A which will serve anyone in the friendliest manner possible or the LGBTQ organizations that declare "You are not welcome anywhere in the UK"? If you answer the latter, you are using "inclusive" in a way that doesn't fit the definition.

Worst President Ever
"House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) chastised House Republicans on Monday night for retaliating against his efforts to impeach President Trump rather than assisting in the process." Because in politics the only good Republican/Democrat is the one that agrees with the Democrats/Republicans. What kind of nonsense is this? Did he and Pelosi really think they would agree with the Democrats on this?

Schiff labeled Trump "the most dangerous and unethical president in American history." I am on record for opposing Trump for president, but, seriously, Mr. Schiff, the most dangerous and unethical in history? Worse than Warren Harding and his graft, secret oil deals, and Teapot Dome scandal? Worse than Andrew Johnson who opposed the 14th Amendment? Worse than Richard Nixon who was forced to resign for his illegal activities? Worse than James Buchanan who failed so badly in derailing a civil war that it has been referred to as "Buchanan's War"? Even USA Today reports that Trump is the third worst president of all time. "The president I hate the most" would be reasonable and truthful.

Ambulance Control
In Oslo, Norway, an armed man stole an ambulance and hit several people with it. The injured included a woman, her twins in a stroller, and two others. Police don't know if it was terror related, but the parliament is moving quickly to establish some strict laws regarding who can own and who can operate an ambulance in order to prevent further incidents like this.

The school security guard that was fired for asking a student to stop calling him the N-word was rehired. That's better.

Just a Fun Story
A 9-year-old Minnesota boy entered a 5K race. He didn't finish it. Instead, he accidentally followed the 10K route. In that race he did quite well, finishing in just over 48 minutes, one minute before the 40-year-old man who came in second place. Nice. (On a side note, the story I read said that the boy ran his first 1K race at 18 months. Really?)

Gender Insanity
Jeffrey Younger is a father who has been trying to protect his 7-year-old son, James, from being castrated. The boys mother has been seeking to transition him into a female with puberty blockers, chemical castration, and cross-sex hormones. On Monday a jury in Dallas ruled against Mr. Younger on an 11-to-1 vote. Mr Younger argued that his ex-wife was transitioning James against the boy's will. Jeffrey will be forbidden to refer to James as a boy or take him around people who do not affirm that he is a girl and would be required to affirm James as a girl and to take a class on transgenderism. Mr. Younger said he was not opposed to the transition; he was opposed to imposing it on a 7-year-old. (Also of interest: the mother admitted that the boys were not biologically related to her. They were the product of in-vitro fertilization using a donated egg.) On Wednesday the judge ruled that the jury's rule of Sole Managing Conservatorship by the mother over James would be a joint conservatorship instead, so the father will be included in the medical decisions for James.

Doing this to a 7-year-old seems crazy. Doing it to a 7-year-old that doesn't want it is unconscionable. Apparently the mother decided James was a girl when he was 3 because he picked a toy from McDonald's that was usually for girls. Proof? No, insanity.

A Useful Tool
Kanye West released his new album, "Jesus is King." That's on top of his "Sunday Service" gig. Mind you, not all Christians are pleased about it, but I'm hopeful .. where my hope is in God. "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice" (Php 1:18).

Cruelty to Animals
The house passed a bill that would make animal abuse a federal offense. Torturing babies to death is still a mother's right.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Basically Good

The most common perspective today is that people are basically good. Sure, there's some bad ones, but, in general, we start out good.

There is a problem with that position. If humans are born good, why does no one end up good? Okay, that's one problem. The fact is that the Bible contradicts it.

In the Psalms David wrote, "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies" (Psa 58:3). Now, I don't know about you, but it looks like David is saying that the wicked are wicked from birth. I mean, I'm not trying to read things into this; it just appears to be what it says. Elsewhere David wrote, "I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa 51:5). David is saying he was born in iniquity and had a sin nature at conception. And God said, "The intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen 8:21).

It is not possible to believe these Scriptures as they are written and assume "People are basically good." Either the Scriptures are wrong or the premise about people being good is wrong. Now, mind you, the texts don't argue that children are born as sinners. They are born with a sin nature. Sin isn't being born or even being human. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), replacing God as Lord with my own lordship. The fact that "all have sinned" (Rom 3:23) suggests that all have the same original nature, that "Natural Man" is spiritually dead (Eph 2:1), inclined only to evil (Gen 6:5), incapable of understanding the things of God (1 Cor 2:14), and more. We do not pay a penalty for a sin nature, but we do pay a penalty for sin, and we sin because it is in our nature. Simply put, a universal result ("all have sinned") requires a universal cause. As such, arguing that people are basically good denies the fact that all have sinned and minimizes sin itself.

I don't think we get it. I don't think we recognize the magnitude of God in all His glory (Rom 3:23; Isa 6:3; Psa 36:1; Rom 3:18). We've minimized Him either in presence or in essence; either He's not really here or He's not really what He has revealed about Himself. I don't think we realize the depth of our sin problem. We're "basically good" and Paul is thoroughly wrong when he claims that "there is none who does good; no, not one" (Rom 3:12). Having diminished God and improved our own condition, we surely cannot grasp how big our sin problem is. That's why we're shocked at the concept of Hell and outraged at the notion that God might judge us and lacking in the gratitude and love that the forgiveness of great sin produces.

Jesus indicated that the person who is forgiven much would love much (Luke 7:47). I believe He meant both Himself and others. We who are forgiven much are grateful to Him and more tolerant of others. (FYI, that was "tolerant" in the dictionary sense, not the common misuse.) We who are forgiven much see His grace and mercy and sacrifice as far more precious. We who are forgiven much don't have any misconceptions about how good we are. Some won't like it much, but I suspect it is a more biblical view as well as a more deeply satisfying experience with God.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

When I Am Afraid

Psalm 56 is a psalm by David, written when the Philistines seized him in Gath (1 Sam 21:10-11). As his friends and enemies trampled him, he wrote, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in You" (Psa 56:3).

Why? Why would someone trust in God when they are afraid? I mean, it's not like God always prevents pain. It's not like trusting God guarantees our comfort, our health, our well-being. The Bible doesn't teach that if you trust God, everything will be peachy for you. So why should we trust in God when we are afraid?

It is not based on us -- our comfort, our health, our ease. It is based on a view of God. It is based on confidence in His character. We believe that God is good (Mark 10:18; James 1:17; Psa 145:9; Rom 8:28). Our word, "good," actually has its origins in the word "God." He defines good. We believe that God is love (1 John 4:7-8). That doesn't mean He's a hunk of gooey warm feelings. It means that He defines love. He is the source of love (1 John 4:7). We believe that God has all power (Gen 17:1; Rev 1:8; Rev 19:6). Nothing is too difficult for Him (Jer 32:17; Matt 19:26). We believe that God is sovereign (Eph 1:11; Acts 4:24; 1 Tim 6:15). He always accomplishes what He intends (Dan 4:35; Psa 115:3).

Starting first with God, then, we go back to us. We face dire circumstances, painful events, bad people, a host of difficulties. Scary things. God doesn't offer a promise that we won't. What we know is that God is in charge of everything, He is good, and He is accomplishing His will. That God loves us. On the basis of His nature and promises, then, we can be confident in pleasant and unpleasant, good and not so good, success and defeat, comfort and discomfort that He is still on the throne, He is still accomplishing His good will, and He loves us.

All of us can say with good cause, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in You" (Psa 56:3).

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


If you're not aware of it, sometimes I like to give a name to these posts that appears to be one thing but is actually another. So "Orthodoxy" was not actually about orthodoxy, but about right-thinking, for instance, and "Dangers of a Bad Diet" was not about what we eat, but about Adam and Eve eating the fruit. You get the idea. So I will tell you up front this one is not about "marriage equity" or "equal pay" or "equal rights" or the like. Just letting you know.

In Paul's epistle to the church at Ephesus he spends 3 chapters talking about truths that are important. We're blessed (Eph 1:3-14) emphasizing "in Christ" and "for His glory." He talks about the problem of sin (Eph 2:1-3) in contrast to God's mercy and love (Eph 2:4-10) and the problem of Gentiles without God or hope (Eph 2:11-12) in contrast to Christ's work of removing the barriers to make "one new man" (Eph 2:13-22). He explained his magnificent mission to the Gentiles (Eph 3:2-13) and prayed that believers would know the unknowable love of Christ (Eph 3:14-19) because of "Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (Eph 3:20). Big stuff. And then he writes,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called." (Eph 4:1)
"Consider your calling," he says, "and let your walk reflect that calling." Or, "The way you live your life should be equal to the calling with which you were called." (See? Equality.)

What does that look like? What does "a manner worthy of your calling" look like? Paul lists some characteristics -- humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love (Eph 4:2) -- but the primary one is this: "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). Now, step back a moment. The topic is "What does it look like if you are walking in a manner that corresponds to the calling you have received?" Paul says it has some character traits, but the big one is the unity of the Spirit. Interesting, considering that it looks like a lot of disunity among Christians.

Paul goes on to specify the unity he is talking about. It is not, contrary to popular belief, everyone thinking alike. It is not everyone doing the same thing. The text from Eph 4:11-16 describes different functions -- gifts Christ has given to the church to grow believers into maturity. Not the same thing. Different body parts doing different things (Eph 4:16). So what is the unity? He specifies one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God (Eph 4:4-6). Unity in that.

Here area the necessary questions, then. Given the calling (Eph 1-3) and the command (Eph 4:1) to walk in a manner worthy of that calling, are you aware of your calling? Is your aim unity in matters of the body of Christ, the Spirit, our hope, our Lord, the faith, and God? (Baptism takes a little more explanation.) Our character and our lives ought to be equivalent to our calling ... which is huge. If they are not, is it because we don't grasp our calling or because we aren't interested in submitting to God? Something to consider.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Orthodoxy has various meanings depending on its use and application. For instance, the "Eastern Orthodoxy" refers to a particular group, while "historical orthodoxy" refers to a set of beliefs. Generally, I use the term to refer to "historical orthodoxy" -- the historical Christian faith. Not today. The word comes from two Greek terms. The "ortho" part refers to being right, correct, truthful. The "dox" part refers to belief, thought, or opinion. You can see, then, that the basic concept is thinking right, whether it is in religious terms or otherwise.

In observing people over my lifetime, I've discovered that there are two basic concepts that need to be right if we are going to be "orthodox" in our Christian faith. Get just one of these wrong and everything gets twisted, skewed, off the rails. These two basic concepts are "Who is God?" and "Who is Man?" Simple. And yet, so elusive. We have a clear explanation in our bibles about the nature of Man and we have lots of description about the nature of God. It should be simple. But if we don't get those two right, we can end up very wrong. Scripture says that the heart is deceitful (Jer 17:9) and describes Satan as "the father of lies" (John 8:44). Since this is true, it would stand to reason that we would very likely have faulty views on God and Man.

Take Man, for instance. (I'm not talking about males. I'm talking about mankind -- humans.) We have some very typical, very wrong views on human beings. A lot of us believe that people are basically good. Contrast that with Scripture that says, "There is none good" and emphasizes, "No, not one" (Rom 3:12). That's not "basically good." We believe that humans, intrinsically, are valuable. Biblically, humans are created beings possessing only the value that God places on them, not some inherent value (Gen 9:6). We tend to believe (and I've heard Christian songs declaring) that we are worthy of God's attention. The Bible describes us as dead in sins (Eph 2:1) and Man as "a maggot" (Job 25:6) and "a worm" (Job 25:6; Psa 22:6). We ask why God isn't taking better care of us and Scripture asks, "What is Man that You are mindful of him?" (Job 7:17; Psa 8:4; Psa 144:3; Heb 2:6). We think we can handle it ourselves and Scripture argues we cannot. We argue that we're not that bad and Scripture argues that we're worse than we know. We argue that it's all about us and Scripture says it is not.

How about God? What kinds of things do we get wrong with Him? Look at the Bible and find out how God describes Himself. He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Sovereign, loving, just, etc. I don't know of a single, abundantly clear attribute of God in the Bible that is not denied by people, including believers. Instead of "King of kings," we tend to think of Him as our butler, required to do what we say and provide what we want. Many of us think of Him like a wise old grandfather, somewhat remote, somewhat kindly, somewhat of a friend, but certainly not the Transcendent God of the Bible. Others consider Him cruel and others as "my buddy." We're not convinced at all that God is as serious about sin as Scripture says He is. We think of Jesus as a nice guy, a good fellow, but not a payment for sin. Some think He was a social justice warrior and doesn't actually care much about sin. Some think He would make a good Democrat (if you're a Democrat) or a good Republican (if that's your political leaning). And to many the Holy Spirit isn't really a big deal at all. A spirit, a wraith, perhaps moving but not convicting by any means. Not really a person. All of these are faulty perceptions about the declared nature of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Most of our problems seem to occur when we come to our theology starting with humanity. We start with an inaccurate view of Man. We elevate human beings in ability, righteousness, and value. Then, through that filter, work our way through to an inaccurate view of God. Having elevated Man, we find a diminished God. As a result, we produce a theology that is not premised on what God has revealed about Himself and not accurate in its representation of our own natures. This is the orthodoxy I'm talking about. Before we begin to operate on false notions about Man that result from and produce false notions about God, we should begin with orthodoxy -- right thinking -- and discover what God says about Himself, first, and what God says about His creation -- Man. Going about it another way will only produce error ... of increasing proportions.

Monday, October 21, 2019

American Morality

The Gallup organization has been tracking this for some time. In March of 1996 they asked the public, "Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?" Twenty-seven percent said "Yes" while 68% said "No." They tracked it over the years. The highest point was in May, 2018, where 67% said "Yes" and 31% said "No." Currently (May, 2019), it is 63% for and 36% against. In 2008 when California was arguing with itself and the courts over the concept, only 40% of Americans thought same-sex marriages should be recognized. In 2015 when the Supreme Court legislated "same-sex marriage" from the bench, 58% of Americans were in favor.

The numbers are interesting. In 23 years the public opinion shifted 40%. That's a rapid change in a relatively short time. The fact that the "approval rating" actually dropped by 4% most recently is curious. The realization that a clear majority of Americans opposed "same-sex marriage" when the courts were demanding it is telling. But the other thing that struck me about the figures was that high point of 67%. The sense we get from the media and the public is that "You nearly nonexistent folks who disagree with the concept are not worth considering." The fact is that 1) at the highest point it was 2 out of 3, not 9 out of 10 or 95 out of 100 like it is typically presented, and 2) "majority" was not a consideration when the idea was being pushed in the first place, but appears to be now. A larger percentage of people opposed "same-sex marriage" in 1996 than currently favor it now.

All this to say that "what is right" is not determined by public opinion. In the case of "same-sex marriage" "what is right" was determined first against public opinion. Two of three opposed it in 1996. President Obama stated his opposition in 2008. "What is right" is not determined by law. In the mid 90's President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, blocking the government from infringing on a person's exercise of religion without a "compelling government issue." Currently the Equality Act has been passed by the House and is now in the Senate aimed at removing protections from religious organizations in regard to LGBTQ issues. If passed, faith-based organizations will not be allowed to discriminate for hiring, etc. on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Your church thinks that homosexual behavior is a sin and God only made two genders? Too bad. The new law contradicts the old law (and the Bill of Rights, but who's counting?). The courts don't decide "what is right." They may decide what is legal. They may decide what will be done. They don't decide what is moral.

Where does that leave us? Well, on one hand we have the principle of objective morality -- morality that is based in absolutes. If there is a God, that God gets to say, "This is moral and that is not" and no opinion, no legislation, no court gets to decide He's wrong. He is the standard and everything else must comply or be wrong. Or, morality is purely "what is right in his own eyes" (Judg 17:6; 21:25). Each of us determines right and wrong and no one can compel anyone else to share a common moral perspective. This, of course, is not feasible. So we have this current moral ground where small groups with sufficient emotional force can bend a nation's moral outlook to their will with use of propaganda and "hate lists" and "hate maps" and adjectives to be avoided at all costs (e.g., "hater," "bigot," "homophobe," etc.) and even legal action get to define a nation's morality on their own narrow vision. Like in Georgia where threats from the NFL and Hollywood and the Walt Disney company forced the governor to veto a bill defending religious freedom.

So where does that leave us? God is out. His moral views are irrelevant, regardless of whether they're right or best or authoritative. Public opinion is only relevant if it agrees with the powers that be. And we can be pretty sure that this will continue to edge religious freedom out of the nation even if the Bill of Rights guarantees it. "Your moral outlook is irrelevant; come to the dark side." That's today's outlook.

Sunday, October 20, 2019


If we are commanded to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), when do we stop?

If prayer is our communication with God, how important is that to us?

If God answers prayer, what is there we wouldn't want to pray about?

If Jesus taught that we "ought always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1), how much should we pray? 

H.B. Charles Jr. wrote, "Prayer is arguably the most objective measurement of our dependence upon God. The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle. The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own."

I'm starting to think I don't pray nearly enough or big enough.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

News Weakly - 10/19/19

Ban Hand Guns!
A Kansas 13-year-old female middle school student has been charged with felony criminal threat when she answered a classmate's question in a discussion, "If you could kill five people in the room, who would they be?" with a "finger gun" pointing at four students and herself. Another student "felt threatened" and reported the "criminal threat" on the school's online anti-bullying app. In other news, a 6-year-old was held for psychiatric evaluation of possible suicide when a fellow classmate saw him picking his nose and believed the finger configuration felt like a "gun in the face" image, suggesting possible suicidal tendencies. And a 14-year-old boy reported the girl he tried to ask to the homecoming dance and turned him down because it made him uncomfortable and he felt threatened. Okay, the last two were made up ... but why not?

The New Violence
During that lovely CNN LGBT town hall with the Democratic presidential candidates recently, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson got herself in trouble. She was handed a card that said something like "Shea Diamond would like to ask a question," and she introduced Shea ... as "Shay," like 99% of us would if all we had was that written name. Of course, "Shia" was offended. "It's violence to misgender or to alter a name of a trans person ..." Now, I'm not entirely clear at this point. Obviously the person introducing her didn't do this intentionally, so "alter a name" doesn't have to be on purpose to be violence. Beyond that, is it only violence if it is a "trans person," or does that apply to everyone? We are reaching new depths when "I'm sorry; I didn't know how you wanted that apparently ordinary name pronounced in a totally unusual fashion" is "violence." I would guess that the "violence" of "misgendering" (using the "wrong" pronoun, essentially) is also in view over at Air Canada because they will no longer address passengers with "ladies and gentlemen" since there are clearly people crazy enough to think that there is something else out there.

The Other New Violence
Maybe not so new, but, according to economists at UC, Berkeley, the effective tax rate for billionaires under Bernie Sander's plan would be 97.5%. Seems reasonable ... you know, if theft is "reasonable."

Turning Nasty
Of course, they always do. These campaigns always turn nasty, even between "allies." So it's no surprise that Sanders thoroughly insulted Elizabeth Warren by declaring that she is a capitalist. The scum.

Like We Said
Dr. Steve Jacobs has reported that 96% of the 5,577 biologists he asked affirm that a human life begins at fertilization. Like we've been saying. And, of course, the notion is not well received. Like we've seen so far. It was interesting that 96% of biologists said life begins at fertilization and 80% of the public said they trust biologists most to determine when human life begins, but this kind of thing won't significantly change minds ... because it has never been about "life" or facts.

Makes Sense to Me
So, last July the UN Human Rights Council presented a report that blamed the government of Venezuela for allowing disease and using public food aid for political purposes. The report gave evidence of human rights violations including torture and killings. So, as you might expect, Venezuela won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. Wait ... what? Oh, that's okay. The council also has Libya and Sudan on it, two other nations accused of human rights violations. I suppose it's not as pithy, but I think we can think about this as a replacement of the old "having the fox guard the hen house" idiom. Hey, I think we could save money if we hired violent prisoners to guard the prisons, too. Makes sense to me.

I Knew It
"Research suggests the ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie triggers the same addictive response in the brain as cocaine and marijuana." I knew it! Who can resist those delicious chocolate chip cookies? Turns out grandmas around the country were pushers. "How about a nice chocolate chip cookie, little boy?" A sample and you're hooked. Insidious.

Why K-Mart Is Declining
A recent study suggested that being exposed to artificial light -- specifically blue light -- can reduce longevity and cause damage to eyes, brains, and mobility. Says so right here. Take that K-Mart.

Further Down the Rabbit Hole
Wait ... what?? So, the story is that a black security guard at a Wisconsin high school was fired for using the N-word. "Wait," you might be asking yourself, "a black guy was fired for using the word?" Sorry, not that simple. He was fired for using the word because he asked a student to stop calling him that. "West High Principal Karen Boran informed parents by email that 'regardless of context or circumstance, racial slurs are not acceptable in our schools.'" Unless, of course, you're the student using the word. Apparently the student faced no consequences. (The cartoon accompanying the story has the school district firing him saying, "Because we are a welcoming school district which celebrates diversity and tolerance, you're fired!)

Breaking News
Congress passed an emergency measure to protect Syria's border, but works hard to eliminate protections at the U.S. border.

Must be true; I read it on the Internet.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Why is There Sin?

Have you ever wondered about that? I can tell you the skeptics have. It's the problem we call "theodicy." If there is a God, why is there evil?

I heard in church the clear answer to the question. If God is omniscient and omnipotent and loving and all that, why didn't He make Adam and Eve incapable of sin? Why not avoid the whole "evil" thing altogether? Well, it's clear. God wanted humans to love Him of their own free will. Now, I get it. This is a popular answer. It is, for most, the answer. But I have some problems here.

The suggestion on one hand is that this is an adequate answer. "So, God wanted people to love Him freely, so He made them capable of eternal damnation?" On the other hand, the suggestion is that we can actually exercise our free will and choose God. The Bible says otherwise (1 Cor 2:14; John 6:64-65; Eph 2:1-3; Rom 8:7; etc.). As a pure function of human free will it just can't happen. It only happens by a work of God. There is, of course, another problem with that answer. It's not biblical. It might ring true to us humans, but it isn't found in Scripture.

Does the Bible, in fact, offer an answer to the question? Does God's Word answer the question of why an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God would allow humans to sin? As a matter of fact, it does. In Paul's epistle to the Romans he writes, "What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory?" (Rom 9:22-23). The text there says that it was God's will -- God's desire -- to show His wrath and to make known His power in order to make known the riches of His glory.

"That's an answer?"

Indeed it is. Consider. There are lots of things that we cannot know without a frame of reference. Quite often that frame of reference is the opposite. We know light because we know darkness. We know cold because we know hot. We know pain because we know comfort. In this case God wanted to display His glory more thoroughly. The only way we could know justice is to have a lack of righteousness. The only way we could know grace is to lack merit. The only way we could know mercy is to deserve something else. So much of who God is can only be known by our shortcomings. And remember, the one who is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47).

This, in fact, is an answer. First, it is biblical. Second, it is correctly aimed -- it starts with God first. And, of course, it properly informs us. Even where it contradicts the "free will" answer. "Wait, you mean I couldn't choose to come to Christ all on my own? Wow! That means His grace and mercy and power are huge!" But, of course, I'm pretty sure a lot of Christians will disagree here. And that's fine. I can see the draw. It certainly elevates the human being. It does call into question all those contrary Scriptures. Sure, there is some form of free will. ("Some form" because some people make demands for a definition that is not biblical or even rational.) Yes, we choose Him. Yes, He wants -- commands -- us to love Him. I just think that He enables that choice that we make because, well, that's what I see in my Bible. And I find that answer satisfying and biblical.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

What Are You Thinking?

When I was growing up my stay-at-home mom did most of the discipline because she was right there. I remember, though, on those few occasions when my transgressions were sufficient to be elevated to my dad, he seemed to always ask the same question. "What were you thinking?" Now, truth be told, the honest answer might have been something like, "What makes you think I was thinking?" It seemed like adults thought that we kids thought these things through and then, for whatever fine reasons we could come up with, carried out our hijinks. Not really. We did what we felt like.

I think it's generally the case. I don't think we think as much as feel, react, just do. We operate largely according to our nature, not our thinking. I was talking to someone the other day about their teen and some new, sinful actions and attitudes they were seeing. "I think it's the kids they're hanging around with." I don't. I think that we align ourselves with certain people because they strike a chord in us that we like. Maybe we weren't aware that we liked it before. Maybe that chord hadn't been struck before. But when they strike it, we find we like it. It resonates with us. It is us. Further, I think we know this, too. After all, aren't there people with whom we "have nothing in common"? They do not align with our values, our likes or dislikes, the things we really associate with. So when our associations cause us to go off in a wrong direction, it's not the fault of the associates; it is our own. They simply bring out in us that aspect of our sin nature that we like. We don't think it through. We don't examine it, evaluate it, consider all the pros and cons, and conclude, "Yes, I think this one makes more sense than the previous." So you'll hear young people (for instance) offering lame excuses like, "I don't think I'm convinced anymore that this whole 'Christianity and God' thing is true." What they mean is "I want to do what I want to do and will ignore those things that get in the way." Not thinking; feeling.

This runs counter to much of parenting and counseling. "Let's talk it through. Let's try to convince them. Let's give them our best arguments." Because we think that they're thinking about the things they're doing. They're not! So we offer sage advice and sound reasoning and they ignore us and we just can't figure out why. "What are you thinking?" What makes you think they're thinking?

Paul was clear. "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood" (Eph 6:12). It's not. It's not a struggle against bad thinking, although bad thinking is part of the problem. It's not against political foes or philosophical opponents or a poor education. Our struggle is against "the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12). The people of this world aren't merely misguided. They walk "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:2). Like the dangerous demons of Matthew 17, "This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" (Matt 17:21). We are damaged -- all of us. We need to have our minds renewed (Rom 12:2). We need to be aware that our hearts are deceived (Jer 17:9). We need to understand that everyone, us included, suffers from "the law of sin that dwells in my members" (Rom 7:23). As we engage our world, we need to be aware that the power we need to deal with those around us isn't a better-tuned argument or a well-placed verse. Those might be good, but only in the power of Christ in you. That's what we need.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


We live in an "inward" world. The "important" part starts with "me" and works outward from there. Generally, the farther out it gets, the less important it is. It's normal. It's what we do. It's exactly the opposite of God's design.

God's demand is that we begin with Him. That's more difficult than we originally imagine. He is not holy. He is not holier. He is holiest. He is the ultimate holy. He is "holy, holy, holy" (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). The concept is that repeating it emphasizes it and the concept of "holy" is "apart, separate, other." So we have this "separate" emphasized to the ultimate. That's as far out as it gets. And God says, "Start there." "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matt 22:37). Start there. Then, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Go there next.

Lest you think I'm overstating it, Paul writes this: "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Php 2:3-4). "Count others more significant than yourselves." That's quite a task. That's what we're supposed to do. No ... more carefully, that's what we're designed to do. "Love God, love others, I'm #3."

I think the notion of "outward" rather than "inward" is actually jolting to most humans. I suspect this malfunction is at the core of our sin nature. In Romans we find that a critical component of our sin problem is that we "exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things." We substituted us and the rest of creation for the Creator. What would it look like if we actually started with God first and others second? I try to imagine a world predicated on that "outward" perspective and I find it almost impenetrable, but quite pleasant. Certainly revolutionary from our world's current point of view.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


The latest entry from the DC Comics is the new movie, Joker. I haven't seen it. A friend wanted to know why I wasn't interested. Our conversation made me wonder and I'm sure you'll be able to help me figure this out.

The movie's website describes it as a movie about Arthur Fleck (played by Joaquin Phoenix) who is struggling to find his way in Gotham's fractured society. "Caught in a cyclical existence between apathy and cruelty, Arthur makes one bad decision that brings about a chain reaction of escalating events in this gritty character study." The idea appears to be the sad, sad story of a mistreated guy who only wants a little attention -- he dreamed of being a comedian -- and becomes a supervillain for it. It appears that the reason Joker is such a bad guy is because he has inner demons, and the people of Gotham can be a cruel group of people. So we have a motive for the mayhem and perhaps -- just maybe -- we should feel a little better about this poor tortured soul with his pseudobulbar affect (an actual medical condition that causes uncontrollable outbursts of laughter) who just becomes as bad as people make him. I wasn't interested.

My friend didn't understand why. "Will it change your life? Will it change your views? Will it change your values?" And this gets to the question I'm pursuing. Most of us like to think that we are not shaped by the entertainment we indulge. We poo-poo those people that claim "Violent video games and cartoons make violent kids" and the like. On the other hand, we also know that's not entirely true. For instance, pornography, like an insidious drug, gets into your head and twists your perspectives without you even knowing it. It is indeed a dangerous thing to even dabble in.

So we do recognize that some entertainment is uplifting -- positive influence -- and some is dangerous -- negative influence. But what about the rest -- the stuff in between? What part of it is actually influencing us and what is just deflecting -- simple entertainment? Does that even exist? Or does everything influence our thinking one way or another whether or not we're aware of it? I prefer to think that it's not a given that all that we observe has some influence. I don't think I believe that.

Biblically, we know that David wrote, "I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless" (Psa 101:3). Note that it's not "evil"; it's worthless. That sounds neither positive nor negative -- and he was going to avoid it. We know that Paul wrote, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Php 4:8). So it would seem that God (through Paul) does have an opinion on what we think about. That would surely place severe limits on the movies and music we imbibe (since so much is not in those categories).

What do you think? Not so much about the movie; I don't much care about that. I mean about the idea, about the danger of watching and listening to "harmless" stuff that could actually harm or, dare I say it, might even be sin? Can it be dangerous? Can it be wrong? What do you think?

Monday, October 14, 2019

What do you mean?

Now, this is interesting (at least to me). Apparently, without conferring with me, there is an argument going on amongst Christians as to whether David committed adultery with Bathsheba or rape. Alexander Abasili has written a paper on it to demonstrate that the definition of "rape" in the Bible is not the same as the definition of "rape" today. According to Abasili, biblical rape only occurs when a man uses physical force. In our modern version, rape occurs when consent is not given. Thus, what David did with Bathsheba may have included the force of his office, but in biblical terms it wouldn't have been classified as rape. (I'm not here to solve the question; I'm just reporting the argument.)

It was interesting to me because when I started pursuing the question from the direction of defining rape, I found out that we've redefined it. According to the Justice Department, in 2012 the government redefined rape as "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." The original definition was "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will." You can see in the original definition only a woman could be raped and in the new definition it is "the victim." In the original version it was "forcibly and against her will" and in the new one it is "without consent." (There is an interesting discussion of the evolution of the term in U.S. rape laws here.)

I don't know if you recognize the difficulty here. It is the same difficulty those debating the issue of David and Bathsheba face. In the original definition here in America, force was required to commit rape, just as it was in the biblical definition. Today, we no longer limit rape to that definition. Well, actually, we've redefined "force" to include any sort of coercion at all. In the original version it was "against her will" and in the new it is "without consent," which is actually not the same thing. The former is a negative and the latter is a positive. The "against her will" requires a "no" answer and "without consent" requires a "yes" answer. (Part of the reason for that is that some are incapable of giving consent. For instance, people below legal age of consent cannot give consent no matter how many times they say, "Yes.") The new definition specifies, "Physical resistance is not required on the part of the victim to demonstrate lack of consent."

Mind you, I'm not saying the new definition is wrong, bad, or unwarranted. Not at all. I'm simply pointing out, as I appear to do too often, that our words change their meaning. It is not fair to change the meaning of a word from "then" to "now" and then reapply our new definition to "then." As the Justice Department document points out, "Because the new definition is more inclusive, reported crimes of rape are likely to increase." And the unavoidable conclusion is sure to be, "Rape is on the increase." Or "David raped Bathsheba." I use this just as an appropriate illustration of an ongoing problem for us these days. Two people use a word together, one changes the meaning and reapplies that meaning to the other, and we have a major disagreement. Over a word. I'm not saying it won't or even shouldn't. I'm saying be aware of it. "What do you mean?" is a really good question even if it is rarely asked.

Sunday, October 13, 2019


In our current society the key component is "me." It is the individual. That's the basic part that can then be used to configure the other parts -- couples, parents, families, communities, and so on. Makes sense. Or so it seems. So we also assume that's the basic component of Christianity: "me". Because of this notion, we will find plenty of worship love songs that sound a lot like "Jesus is my boyfriend." Because of this idea, we will hear believers saying apparently biblical things like, "Jesus is my Bridegroom." Because of this idea, you find genuine believers who feel no compulsion to be part of a local body of believers. "You and me, Lord. You and me." And I would suggest it's somewhat in error.

In the Old Testament, God chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen people. In a sense, that was the end of the individual (Gen 12:1-3). After that they were "the children of Abraham." A group. Israel was the nation that housed "God's chosen people." a group. The group (obviously) was made up of individuals and God interacted with individuals -- I'm not saying that individuals are not in view -- but it was almost always with a group view. In his epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul writes about believers as being "God's field, God's building" (1 Cor 3:9). When he says, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Cor 3:16), he is not speaking of "you" as individuals, but "you" plural. The "temple of God" is the community of Christians. We are called the "body of Christ" (1 Cor 12:12, 27), not as individuals but as a group. He says "we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (Rom 12:5). Yes, individuals, but not for individuals -- for the body of Christ, the Church. In Ephesians Paul speaks of the elimination of the divide between Jew and Gentile.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Eph 2:13-16)
"One new man." That's his phrase. That's what Christ has done. Elsewhere in Ephesians he compares marriage to the relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph 5:31-32). Not individuals. Jesus is the Bridegroom to the Bride, but the Bride is the body of believers, not individuals.

Christianity doesn't ignore individuals. We are gifted by the Spirit individually, but as parts of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27), those gifts are for the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:7; Eph 4:15-16). We are each responsible to follow Christ, but the aim is the building up of the body. We are individual components of the temple of God. We are individuals that, as a cohesive group, make up the Bride of Christ. So individuals are not unimportant, but we are not the focus. Christ is. His body is. His Bride is. To the extent that the individual believer is contributing to Christ, to the body, to the Bride is the basic measure of whether or not he or she is following God's plan. As such, "Jesus is my boyfriend," "I am the Bride of Christ," and "Just You and me, Lord" don't make much sense in a biblical worldview (Eph 5:21; Mark 10:35-45; John 13:35). In the human body, individual cells that are simply pursuing their own path have a designation. They are called "cancer." So if you aren't part of a local group of believers today, why aren't you?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

News Weakly - 10/12/19

You Will Know Them By Their Fruit
So, here's the primary story. "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is asking the U.S. district court in Arizona — a border state where many of the migrants were initially detained and separated — to award damages to thousands of migrant families who have been separated by the U.S. government since 2017."

I find it odd. I find it odd that the American Civil Liberties Union is suing on behalf of non-Americans. I find it odd that they're suing for those "since 2017" when it has been the practice of the U.S. government to separate families since long before Trump took office. I find it odd that no one would think, "What does this have to do with American civil liberties and why is it only the current administration in the crosshairs?" But, then, I guess it's not that odd. The motivation is clear; it is neither "American civil liberties" nor "family separations."

(That we would even have such a word seems bizarre.) Detransitioning refers to the process of changing back from transitioning from gender A to gender B so they can be gender A again. A woman who did it says there are "hundreds" of young trans people seeking help to detransition. You won't likely hear that news in many places because it goes against the current societal narrative and if you hear about it it will be outrage, not support for the same reason. There have been those who have sued their parents for having them circumcised at birth. I'm just wondering if we'll be seeing lawsuits from young adults whose parents helped them transition at a young age and then decided they didn't want to be that way.

You've Come a Long Way, Baby
Times, they are a'changin'. Bob Dylan was right about that. We have generations (plural) now who have been raised on television and technology and the Internet and it's really making a difference. says that 50 years ago (1969) 3 of 4 26-year-olds were married and living with their spouse. That number has dropped to 1 in 4. In 2018 there were 300,000 more 26-year-olds living with their parents than with their spouses. Oh, yeah, that's progress.

Ruling on the Bible
Dr. David Mackereth was a disability assessor for the UK's Department for Work and Pensions until last year when he was fired. Why? He wouldn't use the "preferred pronouns." If a woman is a woman, Mackereth would use "she" or "her" even if the poor woman believed she was a he. Mackereth took it to an employment tribunal where they tossed his case out like yesterday's trash. Citing his belief in the truth of the Bible -- specifically the truth of Genesis 1:27 -- and his lack of belief in transgenderism, they ruled that his views are "incompatible with human dignity and conflicts with the fundamental rights of others." Oddly, they all agreed that "Christianity is a protected characteristic." Where he went wrong was thinking that Christian beliefs are a protected characteristic. (Seriously, that's what they said.) When the Bible dares to disagree with the current morality, it becomes "incompatible with human dignity" and no longer deserves to be held or allowed. Yeah ... you go with that.

Doesn't Have Your Back
Trump goes toe to toe with Democratic foes, stands his ground against China, and gives no quarter to North Korea, but pulls out troops protecting Kurds because ... what ... Turkey asked him to? Barely has it been accomplished when Turkey moves to cut off Kurdish forces. Meantime Trump promises to "totally destroy" Turkey's economy if they don't play nice. It's not very often you see this many GOP members outraged with their own president.

For you Trump supporters, remember this when you are tempted to think that Trump has your back. Trump has his own back and don't count on anything more.

As Expected
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke declared in a CNN town hall event that he "would strip churches and other organizations of their tax-exempt status if they refused to support the LGBT cause by opposing same-sex marriage." As expected (John 15:18-21). (Mind you, I'm not a big fan of "tax exemption" for churches as a means of controlling what they say, nor has, historically, the government had to secure the rights of churches to not be taxed. But, hey, it's the world we live in.)

Breaking News
Have you read about this one? Apparently Russia is launching an investigation to determine if any Democrats have ties to the United States. "'We feel very good about our agents that have secured all leadership positions in the Democratic Party,' Kremlin Director Boris Yeltsin said."

Must be true; I read it on the Internet.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Passive Thinking

"Whatcha thinkin' about?" "Oh, nuthin'." I'm sure you've heard it. I'm sure you've done it. The truth is we are never thinking about nothing at all. What we might do is "passive thinking." The separation here is "active thinking" versus "passive thinking" (as opposed to some sort of bizarre "zen" notion of idling in the mind in order to discover the "Light of the Intelligence" or some such). In active thinking you're pursuing something. You're analyzing something. You're planning something. You're engaging your mind for a purpose. In active thinking you're trying to solve a problem, whether it's inquiry or curiosity or direct problem-solving. In passive thinking you're ... not. Whatever rolls through your mind rolls through your mind. You may or may not pick any of it up to examine (switching to active) but you're just cruising along in mental autopilot without analysis or examination.

Studies have suggested that your brain is more active when you are asleep than when you are watching TV. Television is generally what we call "amusement." Fittingly, "amusement" comes from the French "amuser", a two part word with "muse" at the end -- "to think" -- and "a" at the beginning -- "not to" -- thus, "not to think" or "not thinking." That is the point of amusement -- passive thinking.

The problem is that in passive thinking we are not analyzing what is going through our heads. In this state it is possible to feed stuff to your subconscious without your permission, so to speak. You didn't examine it. You didn't approve it. You just ... dumped it there. So when your favorite talking head makes truth claims, you are far less likely to analyze them than you might be, say, in an actual conversation. When TV detectives solve a case in a day because their DNA analysis gave them an answer in minutes, we nod and say, "Yeah, that's the way it works." Except, it doesn't. At all. (Trust me; I know.) But we dumped it in there without any effort, so it's now a fact. And we dump a lot of garbage into our brains without thinking about it just by means of this "passive thinking" that we thoroughly enjoy in our living rooms in front of our screens.

I don't think we think about (yes, playing on the same concept) the stuff that we are subjecting ourselves to. Or our children. It's TV, right? It's entertainment; that's all. What's the big deal? So we buy in on the news stories and assume that kidnappings and rapes and airplane crashes and -- whatever the news these days is covering -- are at an all-time high because we saw it on the news. Cops are mad killers, especially of black people. We know that because we've seen the news. That's why people are uncomfortable around police officers. Of course, it's not true, but we've shoved this stuff into our brains without analysis and then assumed it to be true because "It's in there."

We do this far too much, and not just in front of our televisions. We do it on the Internet. We do it listening to music. We do it in conversations. We consume stuff without evaluation, not realizing that we're consuming lies. Lies about morality, lies about reality, lies about society, lies about us and others. We do it sitting in church. "Wait ... what??" Yes. Remember the noble Bereans? They listened with minds in gear so that they could examine the Scriptures "daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:11). They took it in, but they took it in actively with a verifiable truth source as a guide ("the Scriptures"). As a result, "Many of them therefore believed" (Acts 17:12). Not passive; active.

When they were teaching me to drive, they told me, "Don't look at the parked cars; look where you're going." "Why?" I asked. "Because you'll always go where you're looking." So we sit there and calmly imbibe of society's kool-aid -- television, movies, music, Internet and other sources -- passively injecting poison into our brains and wonder why Scripture can seem so foreign to us at times or why there is such differences of opinion even among believers. No wonder we are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2). We've certainly done enough damage to them. And we keep it up because we've been told that it's just harmless entertainment. (In a hypnotized monotone: "Yes, master, it's just harmless entertainment.")

Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Cautionary Tale

Those who knew me in my youth -- high school and into my early 20's -- often consider me a "cautionary tale." "Yeah, that Stan, he really made mistakes. Don't do what he did." With all the news recently of well-known Christians who come out and say, "I figured it out! This Christianity stuff is bunk and I'm leaving!", you have to wonder what to make of it. What kind of cautionary tale are these? Back in the 16th century a guy named John Bradford, observing some criminals being led to the scaffold, said, "There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford." You have to ask, "Could it happen to me?"

Since I believe in the Perseverance of the Saints -- that those that truly belong to Christ ultimately end up in His presence -- you'd think I'd have to answer, "No! Can't happen." I think, perhaps, my answer might surprise you. Do I think that I could commit the apostasy of Hebrews 6:4-6 and go to hell? Yes, I do. That seems contradictory, I know, and that's why I thought I'd explain.

I think Scripture is clear.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (John 10:27-29)

And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:39)

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. (Rom 8:28-30)
Just a sample. Of those whom are His, He loses not one. No one (including me) can take them out of His hand. All will be raised on the last day. He will complete it. Those whom He predestined He justifies and glorifies -- no breaks in that chain. Those who belong to Christ will ultimately end up in His presence. And, yet, I hold that I could commit sufficient sin to end up in hell. How?

A basic premise of Christianity -- true Christianity -- is that we are saved by grace apart from works (Eph 2:8-9). We get that. But a goodly number of Christians -- genuine Christians -- believe it in one hand and discard it in the other. Sure, we're saved by grace apart from works, but we do produce the faith required to do it. Most of them will argue, "That's not a work." Given the biblical position that natural man is dead in sin, following the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:1-3), hostile to God (Rom 8:7), blinded by Satan (2 Cor 4:4), not even capable of understanding the things of God (1 Cor 2:14), and so on, it would seem like a significant work for a dead, angry, sin-ruled, blind, uncomprehending person to be able to produce faith. I don't believe we do.

You see, I believe in the Sovereignty of God. I believe that God chooses who will be saved "from before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4) and predestines them for adoption (Eph 1:5) and accomplishes this apart from what we will or do (John 1:12-13; Rom 9:16). My salvation is not my doing; it's His. His alone. I believe that faith is a gift from God (e.g., John 6:64-65; Rom 12:3; Php 1:29; 2 Peter 1:4) that we exercise when God enables us to (John 3:3; 2 Tim 2:25; John 10:26; 1 John 5:1). I believe that we are saved for good works that He prepares (Eph 2:10) and we maintain our salvation by His work (Php 2:13) and we cannot make a practice of sin because of His work in us (1 John 3:9). I believe, then, from Scriptures like these and so many more that while I on my own am thoroughly capable of messing up my own salvation, it is not my capabilities that are in view. It is God's. Every passage that points to assurance that we cannot be lost if we are once saved points to God's work, not our own (e.g., 1 Thess 5:24; 1 Cor 1:8; Jude 1:24-25).

The reason that I can know that I have eternal life (1 John 5:13) is not that I am confident that I can't sin myself to hell; it's that I have confidence in the Sovereignty of the God who saves. It's not that I am sure of my ability to maintain my salvation (e.g., Heb 10:36; Matt 10:22; Matt 24:13; Rom 2:7; 2 Peter 2:20; Php 2:12). In purely human terms I don't have that ability. It is God who holds me. From beginning to end it is God who calls, saves, maintains, and brings me home. Truly, then, when one who we all see as a Christian walks away (1 John 2:19), I can say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." My eternal security is in Christ.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019


I've seen the mantra: "Love is love." At first it's a "duh" statement ... until you see the rainbow behind it. Oh, that is what you're talking about. So, let's see; "love is love." Is that what you're claiming? I love pizza and you love your dog and we both love our mothers. Is love love? "No, no, we're just talking about who you can have sex with and who you can marry." Perhaps. It doesn't look like it from here. Because I love pizza and you love your dog and we both love our mothers and there is nothing in there about sex or marriage. "No, no, we're just talking about the LGBTQ folk who you want to restrict." Perhaps. It doesn't look like it from here. Because the "B" of your acronym is for the bisexuals who are attracted to both genders, but you won't allow polygamy (more than one husband or wife) or polyandry (a woman with more than one husband) or polyamory (marriage (or otherwise) of multiple partners regardless of gender) -- only two. Because "love is love" only in those circumstances that you allow and not in the circumstances that run counter to my beliefs. "Love is love" is inconsistent.

"Do you people even know your own Bible? Jesus said, 'Judge not that you be not judged.'" "Yes, He did. What's your point?" "Well, you guys are wrong for judging others and wrong for claiming to speak for God and wrong for using the Bible as your litmus test for truth and wrong, nay, evil for suggesting that the Bible says these things are sins and those things are deserving hell and all that." "Sounds very judgmental to me." "That's what we said!" "No, it sounds very judgmental of you to tell us all the ways in which we are wrong and even evil. How is that not judgmental?" Non-judgmental people are inconsistent.

"Dan Cathy is the CEO of Chick-fil-A. He has donated to anti-LGBT causes and openly stated his opposition to gay marriage. He is clearly a bigot and a hater and a homophobe. Not like us. We don't want his restaurants in our town. We are inclusive and he is not. We are tolerant and he is not. We will not include him in our inclusiveness or tolerate him in our tolerance. Never mind that nothing that goes on in his restaurants reflects any negative attitudes towards anyone at all. We will not be inclusive or tolerant in the name of being inclusive and tolerant!" Inconsistent.

"You tell us the Bible says X. You tell us it means X. You claim to be speaking for God. We know better. The Bible appears to say X but clearly means W and not at all what you think it means. You misread and misapply and misuse it while we, for the most part, don't read, apply, or use it at all. You're wrong, wrong, wrong for telling us that we're wrong. You should be more gracious like we are." Inconsistent.

I believe in love but believe it has definition and when it is outside of that definition it is not love. So to say "This is love and that is not" is not inconsistent. I believe the Bible, so when Jesus says, "Judge not," I pay particular attention. When He says, "Take the log our of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matt 7:6) in the context of "Judge not," I don't assume He means it in an absolute sense, so when I rightly take care of the "log" in my own eye before concerning myself with yours, it isn't inconsistent. I believe in being tolerant of good and intolerant of evil, so being intolerant in some cases is the right thing to do. Consistent. I believe the Bible is God's Word and, so, if it says it and clearly means it, I have no problem arguing that "God says what His Word says He says." It is not inconsistent with the premise. I strive for consistency -- internal and external. I think a lot of people don't see their own inconsistency. But, then, I'm not sure how many people see consistency as a virtue, based on a lot of what I see out there today. Wait ... what do we call that when people put on masks of "love" and "acceptance" and "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" and such but don't actually possess them? I've been calling it inconsistency. I think Jesus called it hypocrisy.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Do Justice

The Bible is clear. God loves justice. "What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8) Abraham knew it. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" (Gen 18:25) And, look, it is abundantly clear that God doesn't merely love; He is love (1 John 4:7). Paul says that the love of Christ is so big that it cannot be known (Eph 3:19). We know these things.

So the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) among us will strike up the band and cheer us on to love justice and to love our neighbors. And, in principle, we had better agree. It isn't their idea; it's God's idea.

You noted, I'm sure, my hesitation. "In principle," I said. Suggesting, "Not necessarily in practice." Yes, that's what I meant. Because, you see, as soon as this parade heads down the street it takes a sudden turn in a different direction. As I've written about on more than one occasion, they take "justice" and "love" and redefine them and then reapply this new meaning on our parade and expect us to follow.

"You love justice, right? It is unjust that anyone should have less than others, isn't it? It is unjust for a company to pay less than a living wage, right? It is unjust that a woman would be denied the right to choose her method of preventing reproduction, surely! We're all in agreement, aren't we? Patriarchy is unjust. Equal pay for women is just. Justice requires that anyone who wants to come into this country must be allowed to and supported in it. Justice demands gender and sexual orientation diversity." And so it goes. Investopedia defines "Social Justice" as "a political and philosophical concept which holds that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, well-being, justice, and opportunity." It's about the "poor and marginalized," but, again, the terms remain undefined or ill-defined.

So some of us begin to lag in the parade. "Um, hang on a minute, when did we sign up for your version of the term?"

"Well," they tell us, "you are certainly in favor of love!" "Yes, yes we are ... but, again, your version? Not so sure." Because their version is schizophrenic. It includes sexual relations, then makes those sexual relations inappropriate when they feel they should be. "Yes, if a man loves a man he should enjoy sex with that man and even marry him. If a man loves his mother, he shouldn't. If a man loves two women he might be allowed to enjoy sex with them, but never marry them. Yes, you might love pizza, but don't think about sex or marriage there, because while we assure you that love is love, that doesn't mean that love is love as you think about it; only as we think about it."

That, of course, is the problem. Justice is defined as they want to. Love is defined as they want to. But if we're talking about justice that God loves and love that God demands, shouldn't we be talking about justice and love as God defines it?

Justice is -- should be -- easy to define. Biblically it is what is right. Simple, right? Except that we like to take the next step and fill in "what is right" without regard for what God says is right. So biblically we find that is wrong to favor the rich over the poor (James 2:1-7), but it's not right by definition that no one should be poor (e.g., John 12:8; 2 Thess 3:10). It is biblically right that we should take care of the needy (e.g., James 1:27; Gal 6:10; Prov 21:13; 1 John 3:17-18), but not without limits (e.g, 1 Tim 5:3-16).

Biblically, love is self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence. It is commanded, so while it might have an emotional component, that would be a result, not a definition of love. (You can't command feelings.) Biblical love comes from God (1 John 4:7-8). We have a list of characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. Love pursues the best for the one who is loved, sometimes painfully -- painful to the one who loves and/or painful to the one who is loved. Love is not embracing sin (e.g., 1 Cor 5:1-5; 1 Cor 5:9-11; 2 John 1:10-11; Titus 3:10).

What can be termed "social justice" is indeed found in the Bible. Just not the whole of what today's SJWs preach. Much of what SJWs claim as social justice isn't biblical, yet they try to tell us we need to do it. Conversely, without a doubt you and I are not doing enough of what the Bible refers to as social justice. We err on both sides -- not doing enough good for others and not doing enough of the hard task of calling others to repentance when they are wrong. We must love -- love God and love others -- and we must love justice. We're not doing these nearly well enough. We must recognize when voices tell us we need to "care for the poor and marginalized" as matters of justice and love when they are not speaking of the biblical poor and marginalized in terms of biblical justice and love. But that error on their part doesn't relieve us of our error in not doing it biblically.

Monday, October 07, 2019


Just taking a day off. First time in ... I can't remember when. Back tomorrow.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

A Powerful Prayer

In the third chapter of Paul's epistle to the church at Ephesus, he offers a prayer for the church. It's a big one ... much bigger than it first appears.
I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith -- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:14-21)
Now, to be fair, Paul is not very good at writing in English. I mean, this is a huge run-on thought. Notice that he starts in verse 14 with "I bow my knees before the Father" and does not end that sentence (because he doesn't end the thought) until "... filled with all the fullness of God." One thought. And one big thought.

What is his prayer for the church at Ephesus? He prays that God would grant them strength. And not just any strength. Strength according to the riches of His glory. Strength through His Spirit. Not natural strength. For what? What does he want to accomplish that requires all this strength? "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Okay, so he's asking that God would grant them supernatural, Holy-Spirit strength for the purpose of having Christ dwell in them. Apparently that requires a lot of strength. But why does Paul want Christ to dwell in them (To take up residence in them. I mean, that's really big on its own.)? So that they might know the love of Christ.

Yes, that's an actual summary, but it doesn't do it justice. Paul asks for the Spirit's empowerment so that Christ may dwell in them so that they might comprehend (grasp, hold, take as their own) "what is the breadth and length and height and depth" of His love. All aspects. Every direction. How big it is. He says that to grasp this they must first be "rooted and grounded in love." Because love is the defining characteristic of the saints (John 13:35). Love for God and love for others. Rooted and grounded in that love.

So ... how big is it? How big is the love of Christ? Paul makes a bizarre statement here. He wants them to "know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge." Well, now, that's odd. Oh, I know ... Paul is using two different words for "know" here. One is head knowledge and the other is experiential, right? No. The "know" he speaks of here is knowledge and the "knowledge" he speaks of is the root word for the word, "know," that he used. So he really does want us ("With all the saints," remember?) to know what cannot be known. The sense here, then, is that we would have flashes of knowledge, moments of clarity, that we would know personally when the occasion arises some component of that which, ultimately, exceeds complete knowledge. That's difficult, but he says that this limited knowledge of Christ's ultimately unknowable love will cause us to be filled with all the fullness of God.

What follows is, perhaps, one of the grandest "amens" of all time. Paul has just asked God for the clearly impossible. He asked for God to give us the strength of the Spirit to have Christ in us so we can have knowledge of His love that exceeds knowing. So, how can we say "Amen"? From whence comes any possibility of "let it be so"?

Paul re-addresses his prayer. "To Him who is able ..." And then he strings together such a string of superlatives that both he and our English translations have a hard time expressing it. He is able ("has the power for") to do ("to actually execute") "hyper hyperekperissou" all things. You will notice that the prefix of that second word is the same as the prior word -- "hyper" -- from which we get our word "hyper" (go figure). Same idea. "Beyond." Think, "Wow, that kid is really hyper." Paul is speaking here of something that is hyper hyper. And he's not done. That tail end -- perissou -- might mean "abundantly," but it doesn't. It actually means superabundantly. In itself it is a superlative. So Paul says that God is able to do "superabundantly beyond beyond" something. Way past a simple "more than." Beyond what? What you can ask. Hmm, okay, we get it. God is certainly able to exceed our requests. Or think. Wait, that's much more. We can ask a lot, but I'm pretty sure we can imagine much, much beyond that. And He has the ability to actually accomplish "superabundantly beyond beyond" what you can even imagine. How? Wait for it. "According to the power at work within us." He accomplishes all that using power that He already has invested in us, working in us -- already present and in use ... in us.

Paul breaks out into a doxology here, and if you've been paying attention, you would, too. "To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever." All that Paul prays is to God's glory. All that he prays is according to God's glory. All that Paul says he wants for believers and that God can do in believers is to God's glory. Throughout all generations. Forever and ever. A thoroughly grand "Amen" at the end of a massive "amen."

So I'm wondering. If you believed that -- that God was capable of vastly exceeding your wildest dreams and that the power to do so is it already at work in you -- how would that change your prayers? If you believed that the basis of the Christian life was love -- the love of God and love for others -- how would that change your actions and attitudes? You see? A really huge prayer.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

News Weakly - 10/5/19

Directed Discrimination
New York City has issued new rules about hate speech. You cannot threaten to call ICE or refer to someone as an "illegal alien" (because "illegal alien" is a thoroughly accurate but "derogatory" term). There will be no discrimination in New York City (except, of course, for those who think that ICE might serve a good purpose or that people who come into the country illegally are "illegal" -- those can be discriminated against). Each offense is punishable with up to a $250,000 fine. We'll see if that passes a "free speech" challenge.

Follow the Money
According to CNN's story, Bernie Sanders has a new tax plan ... targeting income inequality. The stated goal is to "penalize companies who have large disparities in compensation between their highest paid officials and median workers." Because the function of government today is to literally take from the rich and give to ... well, the government, I guess. Note that this is on top of his plan to tax the wealthy to pay for "Medicare for All." Now, it's interesting to me that folks like Bernie are wealthy by my standards, but they're careful not to include themselves in these "income inequality" issues. And I would imagine that those (like Bernie) pushing a new America (read "socialist") wouldn't much care about trifles like the Constitution. Mind you, I'm not defending the greed of the wealthy. I just don't have any reason to trust the greed of the government either.

Former Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has urged Republicans not to support Trump's reelection. "My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles," he wrote. Now I have a dilemma. (Okay, I had it before and it hasn't gone away.) I am a registered Republican who could not support Trump for president in 2016. I'm facing a second presidential election with Trump as the Republican offering again. I actually agree with Flake that we shouldn't be supporting Trump for reelection. I am not being listened to. (Surprise, surprise!) So what's a Christian to do? People tell me that to not vote for Trump is to vote for the Democrats' candidate (which, from what I can see, is a vote for Socialism). Christians tell me that to fail to support Trump for president is to fail to support the party of the faith, so to speak. "If you're not for Republicans, you're for baby-killing, God-hating, sin-loving Democrats." (That line of reasoning, by the way, is one of the reasons I so seriously opposed Trump in 2016. I believed supporting a man of his moral character and childish behavior would redefine what "Republican" and "conservative" and even "Christian" meant in this country. I believe I am being proved correct.) So I have a choice of being called a traitor to the party, a traitor to the nation, a traitor to the faith, and a supporter of everything I abhor from the Left or I can toss all my principles and vote for a man I consider to be the worst thing to happen to the party, the country, and the church in my lifetime. Nice dilemma, eh? It's a shame that Christians in America today have begun to associate a political party with Christianity when Scripture itself won't do it.

As expected, a federal judge blocked Georgia from putting their child protection bill into effect. "This is a victory for Georgia and the people," Planned Parenthood spokesperson, Barbara Luttrell said, ignoring the millions of dead babies for whom it is not a victory. Nancy Pelosi argued that saving the lives of the most vulnerable Americans is ignoring basic morality despite the fact that she classifies herself as a "devout practicing Catholic." I will never understand the pro-abortion version of morality. Apparently it's "whatever I want to do ... Oh, no, not you." We've had the #MeToo thing going on; it should be #MeFirst as the definition of American morality.

This week Amber Guyer was found guilty of murdering a young black man named Botham Jean. She was an off-duty police officer who claimed to have walked into the wrong apartment by mistake, mistook him for a burglar, and shot him to death. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison. One particular aspect of the story was Brandt Jean's victim-impact statement. Brandt is Botham's brother. Quite a message. When the judge hugged the convicted killer after the sentencing and gave her one of her own Bibles, people objected. "This judge choosing to hug this woman is unacceptable," wrote former ESPN anchor Jemele Hill. The private gift of a Bible from judge to convicted felon will not go unchallenged, of course. And there is apparently no forgiveness for some ... and not in a good way (Matt 6:14-15).

Politics as Usual
In California (of course) a charity event to honor a fallen officer was indefinitely postponed because the Thousand Oaks chief of police objected that Republicans were invited. Thousands of dollars had already been raised for families of fallen officers, but they're returning the money to the donors because Chief Tim Hagel argued, "This is not Trump country ... We don't want Republicans here." "We're not bringing the honor guard. We're not coming. We're not going to be there, not supporting it." I'm not clear about what level of hate for Trump and Republicans is needed to produce this kind of assault on fallen officers and their families, but it isn't coming from the Right here. It is often the Left complaining "Those on the Right are doing nothing but politics." It's clearly not the Right this time.

Truth in Reporting
Last week a 12-year-old girl from the same Christian achool where Karen Pence (Mike Pence's wife) works reported that three white boys cornered her on the playground, held her down, insulted her, and cut off sections of her dreadlocks. People were (rightly) outraged. The school was (rightly) appalled. An investigation was (rightly) begun. This week the girl admitted she made the story up. The event didn't happen. The story was false. Her grandparents (who are her legal guardians) apologized to the school, the families, and the boys involved.

I am glad that everyone took it so seriously and glad that the grandparents made no effort to deflect and glad that the truth came out. Unfortunately, much of the media has gone out of its way to avoid "the rest of the story" and many who have pointed to this story as proof of Christian racism have failed to admit that the story was false. The story includes liars and people with integrity. Most of the media outlets don't suffer from excessive integrity.

More White Supremacists Revealed
After the Anti-Defamation League last week declared the "OK" hand symbol a hate symbol for white supremacists, new images have surfaced revealing Obama and the Clintons as white supremacists.

Must be true; I read it on the Internet.