Friday, July 03, 2015

An Annoyed Aside to Blogger

As you'll notice from the previous post, the formatting is somewhat messed up. For speed, it's much easier for me to copy and paste text rather than having to rekey the whole thing. And as usual, when I copy and paste, I have to go back and fix spaces, odd characters that were not in the original, etc. I do not have time to do that today. But it's very irritating. You ought to be able to copy and paste "as is" without having to go back and spend hours re-editing and cleaning. I don't have time.

And They Don't Even Get 30 Pieces of Silver

(Sola's Note: Joseph and I have been friends for many years. He's a brilliant thinker. Posted with permission)

By Joseph Ravitts

Here I am, sixty-three years old at the time I write this, and I'm being reminded of high school. Teenagers will debase and embarrass themselves in frantic efforts to be more popular; to gain the approval of the football quarterback and the head cheerleader; to be cool. And mere trifles like their own parents, or genuine friends who aren't cool enough, are often thrown under the bus in the process. Nor does it stop when they go on to college. Nor does it stop in adult society and the workplace. Whatever trend, or faction, or well-hyped lie gains popularity, fools will dump everything of real value for the sake of believing that now they're "insiders" at last.                                                

We've all seen celebrities who only are celebrities because someone _told_ us to regard them as celebrities.  Right now, collective celebrity status has been conferred on a subculture of people who don't like a basic rule for human relationships which has worked for THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE. Accordingly, millions of professed Christians  are stampeding  to beg for the approval of this latest "head cheerleader;" and, revealing their true priorities in life, they have decided that if Jesus Himself wants any more attention from them, He is required to join them in slavishly agreeing that marriage must be redefined because the cool people want it redefined.   
                                                                                                                                                  
What I have just said is a generalization, and we can't afford to _stop_ with easy generalizations.  There are many different ways by which people _arrive_ at this feeling that same-sex "marriage" is the cool thing that must be accepted.  I will try here to place the possible underlying motives on a sort of  scale, from the least blameworthy to the most blameworthy. Of course, a person capitulating to the gay aristocracy may have two or more of the motives at the same time. The motives are my central interest here; the _effects_ of homosexuality have been discussed elsewhere to good purpose, which is why the hard left wants all dissent to be gagged and silenced. Keep in mind that I'm talking about _straight_ persons who decide to give a blank check to _other_ people's aggressiveness in homosexual behavior.

The least blameworthy motive is a desire to make amends for all the times when homosexual persons, like Harvey Milk, became victims of criminal violence. This, unlike most of the motives, reflects credit on the person who feels it. But gay radicals exploit it shamelessly, pretending that American homosexuals NOW are in every bit as much danger from gay-bashing crimes as they ever were. That's why they want us to go on believing that Mathew Shepard "was murdered by right-wing Christian homophobes just because he was different." This lie has been well refuted by now; not only were Shepard's killers not any kind of Christians, but one of them was a _bisexual_ man with whom the victim had formerly had sex.   

The next most decent motive is an emotional concern for "fairness." It's redundant to call this motive emotional, since they all are; but a purported ethical position on fairness is less _obviously_ emotional than the perfectly human feeling of horror over a violent death. So I say explicitly that  this one is emotion-based.  Since popular culture  has invested over four decades in convincing us that the only justice is _distributive_ justice, it has become easy to say, "Just give everyone the same thing." Once people are waving the word "equality" around frantically enough, they can prevent themselves from _thinking_ about whether the particular equality du jour can fit inside the _definition_ of the thing we're trying to be "equal" about. From the Bronze Age forward, everyone has always understood that marriage brought males and females together-- first of all to make babies and raise them, but affection was also known to arise. Now, however, gays only need to press the emotional button of other people's wish to see distributive justice, and the same button disconnects all awareness of the significance of the fact that gay relationships _don't_ create children. Fertility and barrenness  are declared to be equal, because we want to be "fair."     

The last motive I can think of with any positive moral element in it specifically points to children. Orphaned, abandoned or abused children are tragically numerous, and isn't _some_ sort of parenting for them better than none? Well, yes, a three-year-old is less likely to starve in a home with gay caregivers than she is in an alley; and she is less likely to be physically injured in the care of two lesbians or two gay males than in the clutches of a drunken sadist who loves beating defenseless children. But "better than  nothing" is not synonymous with "best." It is a self-evident fact that gay caregivers deprive a child of one sex of parent in a primary role. I have not seen or heard any gay person _answering_ this  objection, only _denying_ that it has any importance. We've just come through about forty years of being endlessly told that women _must_ be included in every area of human activity, but now suddenly it's okay to _exclude_ women from being full-time hands-on mothers in gay-male households. 

Speaking of children, another factor assisting the gay-marriage cause is the nationwide undermining of parental authority _over_ children. Television and movies have been telling us for decades that children are brilliant and parents are stupid, and this attitude has leaked into real life sufficiently that parents are under pressure to agree with practically everything their children do. I remember the first time I saw the TV talent show "The Voice;" there was a girl contestant who had done her best to look like a boy, and who openly and fiercely expressed utter scorn for the whole concept of femininity to which her _Christian_ parents had been accustomed. The parents were shown briefly, and they had capitulated to her perversion. Hard for them to do otherwise, with the game now rigged against them. 

Next.... there's laziness. Plenty of nominally Christian people want to take the path of least resistance. Even when no threat of death, grave bodily harm, arrest, or impoverishment is at issue, they don't want to have to bother _examining_ any complex questions. They want everything to be made simple, and what could be simpler than repeating the one-syllable word "love" without asking whether some approaches to love might be accompanied by unwise and unhelpful choices? But forced simplicity is the _enemy_ of understanding.

Closely related to laziness is fatalism. Some Christians carry the idea of predestination so far as to imagine that _whatever_ happens, loathsome though it may be, must have been positively _desired_ by God, not merely permitted. On that view, any attempt by us to change or influence _anything_ in the world around us equals "rebellion against God's will."                                                                                                                                                    

It keeps going downhill from here. Next we have plain pragmatic FEAR. Considering the indisputable fact that people today _don't_ get punished for saying that _traditional_ marriage is bad,  but _increasingly_ do get punished in some way if they dare to disagree with homosexual dogma, there is realistic cause to be afraid of what will happen if you swim against the current. Can you say "They fired the boss of Mozilla," boys and girls?    

Then there are professed Christians who never did have the boldness to take a public stand for the truth of Biblical faith, but who would have been able to get away with just not saying anything. What leads them to decide _not_ to be silent, but rather actively _join_ the campaign for anything-goes pansexualism? I said above that the desire to be thought of as hip and cool, the longing to be one of the enlightened humanists, was reached by many paths, hence this listing.  But some people START OUT FROM this desire for in-crowd status. It certainly is overwhelmingly powerful, and will cause the brain and the backbone to fall right out on the ground, where they lie forgotten right next to everything that may have been learned from Godly parents.

Which brings us to the _very_ worst of the motives which have come to my mind. More than any of the others, this motive will cause a person whose own sexual taste still is heterosexual to become _similar_ to the gays in an important way. Tragically occurring even among persons who have appeared to be Christian for many years, it is the desire FOR GOD NOT TO HAVE REAL AUTHORITY; the desire that we should be able to dictate to Him, instead of obeying Him. It is the desire to call the shots for the Almighty, telling Him, "We're more sophisticated than You, so if You want us even to bother with Your church anymore, You need to accept us rewriting Your Word." Those who confront God with this ultimatum think they are doing God a favor by consenting to worship their own customized version of Him, a version which exists only to give blank-check approval to whatever the revisionists want to do, say or have.    

Yet even these traitorous apostates, who have (in their own minds) cut God off at the knees, will flatter themselves for being ever so "spiritual."  And when an informed and Bible-believing person raises any challenge to the gay-marriage dogma, in a supreme irony, they accuse _that_ person of "not acting Christian."       

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Flags, Fury, and Fundamentals

History (and theology) has been a lifelong study of mine, as readers of my blog know. I have weighed in from time to time on matters related to the Civil War, racism, etc. Since the Confederate battle flag controversy has begun raging again, I might as well offer some comment, but with a different twist. 

Not long ago, I said elsewhere online that it's a difficult issue for me with my Southern roots. While the cultural climate right now declares that the flag is nothing more than a racist symbol, that is not quite accurate and the issue is far more nuanced. People still argue today over the causes of the Civil War. To be sure, a few nut jobs out there and racist groups have taken this symbol and use it to push their ugly, hateful ideology. But most Southern people do not see the flag in that light. I do not agree at all with FORCED removal of the flag. But as a Christian who sees the cause of Christ as my only reason for being, I am willing to give it up for the sake of love. Many blacks today see it in a racist light and it's painful to them. I understand that. Given the dynamics of a leftist educational establishment that marches in lockstep with the media and church leaders who are more liberal political activists than they are pastors, you'd be fighting a very uphill battle in trying to give a more balanced view of both the flag and the Civil War. 

And let's be clear. You cannot credibly deny that slavery and racism were involved in the Civil War, and racist attitudes persisted for years after it was over. I find it ironic that the Democrats use this as an issue to bash Republicans, but Southern Democrats were the ones who created this flag and wanted to maintain the institution of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Many early black leaders were Republicans. It took Republican support to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The political dynamic changed over the years, and quite a few of these Southern Democrats migrated over to the Republican Party. But it's disingenuous for Democrats to run from their history. 

But that's another subject. Right now in talking of being willing to give up the flag for love's sake, I'm talking about a matter of the heart first, with the Gospel as the paramount driver. Anyone who knows me or heard me on the air knows my feelings about race baiters and gas throwers like Al Sharpton. He has a "Rev" in front of his name but I have never heard the man preach one Gospel sermon. Ever. 

Here's what I used to say on Christian radio a lot - to the fury of some of more politically active Christians who usually misheard what I was saying. While I support Christians being politically involved and making our voices heard, I believe that far more time and money was spent trying to effect societal changes through politics and the ballot box than we spent proclaiming the Gospel, winning people to Christ, and then allowing the Holy Spirit to effect His changes in peoples' hearts, which has direct impact on worldview, morals, values, etc. Remember Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority in the 70s and early 80s? Millions of dollars raised and a few political victories, but in time it was swept away and the nation went further left. In the 80s and early 90s, the Christian Coalition largely took the Moral Majority's place. Millions of dollars were raised and a few political races were won, but in time it was swept away and the country moved farther to the left. Conservatives (theological and political) never gained any control of educational institutions, media networks, film studios, or any of the other things that help move the needle in the culture. 

Worst of all, generations of kids grew up absorbing the impact of a lefty educational system and a society that largely embraced postmodern thought. In the church, we were so consumed with drawing people in through marketing techniques, hot worship bands, stage shows, and a watered-down Gospel. Postmodern theology took its toll, and today we have resurgent antinomianism as a result. Look at the Republican field and see what we have. 20 some odd candidates running, and among them how many will end up being truly constitutionally conservative, and willing to FIGHT for it? How many got elected over the past 35 years with Christian conservative support and money, only to end up caving to the left about every time when it counted. If I'm tired of anything, I'm tired of that more than anything else. I'm tired of being fooled by so-called constitutional conservatives, and I'm tired of the church aping unbelievers to be cool and trendy. If the church gets back to being the church, and gets busy proclaiming an unwatered down Gospel, we just might be surprised at what happens in the culture. Let's do both - speak our minds and vote in elections. But the Gospel is our top priority. At the judgment seat of Christ, we're not going to be asked how much time we spent working for a political candidate or fighting for a temporal political or cultural symbol. We'll get asked what we did for the Kingdom. My time on earth is getting shorter and shorter. I don't want to waste any more time.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Significance of the Rainbow

Knowing I have a mixed audience, I tread a careful line. I have fellow Christians as well as non-Christians who are part of my life. I have never been ashamed of the Gospel, but also recognize that some will never (outside of divine intervention) will never see things as I do. But this hit me so forcefully today in the Sunday school I am teaching that I had to share it here. As my Lord said 2,000 years ago - "Let him who has ears to hear, let him hear." 
If God is anything, He is consistent. The parallels between Bible days and today are often amazing. Follow me in thought here, with this as a given: if you do not share my faith, blow it off and ignore it. If you have a more liberal view of my faith, blow it off and ignore it. If you share my Bible-believing, conservative evangelical faith, see it and be amazed. 
Per the Bible, God destroyed the earth in the Flood in the days of Noah due to the totally wicked, corrupt practices of the people. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their evil, wicked, corrupt practices. While non-believers assume Christians are only concerned with sex sins, the truth goes much deeper, and sex sins are only a part of it all. Greed, violence, robbery, hate, etc. are all in the mix. 
How interesting it is to me that when God destroyed the world in the Flood, He gave the Noahic Covenant including the rainbow as a sign of His promise that He would not destroy all life through water again. He kept His promise and has not done so. But the Lord Jesus, in prophesying what would happen in the Last Days before His return and the final judgment, said things here on earth would be as it was "in the days of Noah, and in the days of Lot." And what does the gay rights movement choose as their symbol? The rainbow. They do not see that the rainbow was the sign of a covenant reached after God destroyed the antediluvian world due to sin. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was all part of it. 
We are now under a state of grace, where God commands all to repent and trust in His Son for forgiveness of sin and salvation. It is not cheap grace, but grace paid for by His precious blood, and if we are truly born again, we will have the same attitude toward sin as He does, and want to turn AWAY from it, not toward it. We are in grace now, but the sands in the hourglass are running. Instead of seeing our warnings as loving, and sharing the desire of the Lord that not one should perish, but turn from their wicked ways and live, the unbelieving world calls us hate-filled bigots.
And they adopt the rainbow as the ultimate sign of rebellion and giving God the middle finger, rather than remembering the history and reason the rainbow came into existence in the first place. 
If I was someone who drooled at the mouth at the thought of sinners going to Hell, I could well understand the caricature of evangelical Christians. But God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and neither do I. I would much rather that people repent and live. 
And to blunt the final, expected retort, I do not write any of this in self-righteous judgment. My own unregenerate heart is as black and wicked as anyone else's. I need the Lord, and only through faith in His shed blood on my behalf can I hope to enter eternity forgiven. I hope that is the message people hear, but I am not optimistic. Instead of a loving, prayerful heart praying that my loved ones will be saved and live, I no doubt will be called a hateful, judgmental bigot. Another sign that many do not even want to hear or understand. And further confirmation of the Lord Jesus' own warnings. "They hated Me before they hated you. And they will hate you because they hated Me first."

Monday, June 08, 2015

Tony Banks: Best Political Song (With a Jaundiced Eye)

Not the clearest photo of Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks that I could find, but I liked the shot of him surrounded by keyboards. So I used it.

But this isn't about Tony's brilliant keyboard playing. It's about his brilliant writing. I wish Tony's albums had gotten more of a listen by radio. Each album had songs that were hit worthy. But one in particular from his solo album "Still" always stands out because it has to be one of the most deliciously keen, incisive, and cynical takes on politics I've seen. It's called "Red Day on Blue Street." You can give it a listen here.

What is almost preternatural is that this song came way before Bush vs. Gore in 2000 — really before the whole "red state vs. blue state" thing became a byword. And that got started when USA Today published a map of that election showing a mass of red states where George Bush won a vast majority of counties across America, but the Electoral College decides presidential elections. The map was a bit misleading because it did not take population centers into account.

Another thing: Tony is English, and typically isn't all that concerned with American politics. I think his target was politicians in general. I have a hunch the song is applicable in the UK and in America. The Tory/Conservative Party in the UK is not exactly comparable to the Republican Party in the States, although there are some similarities. Also, the Labour Party is not an exact duplicate of the Democratic Party in America.

All this said, Tony delivers a sharp stick to the gluteus maximus of politicians, and I enjoy every minute of it.