Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Heartbreaking Headlines

It passes comprehension. Why would a 28-year-old German pilot named Andreas Lubitz intentionally crash a Germanwings jet into the French Alps? That seems to be the conclusion about yesterday's tragedy according to this report in the London Daily Mail.

Indeed, why? To show you how we can all make knee-jerk assumptions, when I first heard about this disaster and where it happened, my first impulse was to question whether there was a radical Islam link. But that does not appear to be the case here. So the truism certainly applies—do not make rushes to judgment when you hear a story in the news.

Today my prayers are with the families of the victims, the airline employees, and of course, the family of Andreas Lubitz. No doubt they are more grief-stricken than anyone.

We live in a fallen world. Only in the Lord Jesus Christ is there ultimate hope of peace, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation. May He give us the grace, enabling, and platform to proclaim it more than ever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hitler the Evil, Ungrateful "Artist"

Must be something in the air. The Obama Administration barely conceals its contempt for Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East. Argentina uncovers an old Nazi lair intended to hide ex-German officials after World War II (many ex-Nazi regime members fled to South America).

And now we have a Hitler watercolor on sale. Yep. You can read it right here. I suppose from an artist standpoint, it's not bad. Average still life watercolor. I can see it being a conversation piece and understand why it would be worth money to some. As for me, I wouldn't even want the thing in my house.

To me, the most ironic evil part of the story is the fact that a Jewish art broker tried to help the young Hitler sell his art. What did he get for his kindness? His art gallery was taken over and the broker deported to a ghetto, where he died. Par for the course.

But thank God, there is justice in eternity.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Persecution in Central Asia

I forget at the moment who said it, but there's an old quote along the line of "If sin wasn't so deadly, it would be comical."

Considering several of the former Soviet nations in Central Asia, it's not hard to have that line come to mind frequently because of the serious persecution of Christians there. And the persecution is so mindless. Stupid even. And for why?

Pictured to the right is the country of Turkmenistan, considered perhaps the most restrictive nation in Central Asia when it comes to Christianity. Although the country's constitution and basic law claims religious freedom and adherence to human rights, in reality these claims are farcical. I want you to read this account published in Forum 18. A Turkmen believer describes some of the endless harassment faced by churches and individual believers there.
Considering the genuine criminals running around like drug dealers, murderers, and the like, doesn't the government have anything better to do with its time? Perhaps, if they are really concerned about social ills, they might consider being supportive of the church instead of hassling it to death. They might be surprised at how things in the country will improve.

Of course, I'm being somewhat rhetorical. We know from God's Word that Satan hates the Lord Jesus and His church. We know that the world hates Jesus Christ, and Jesus Himself warned that His followers would be hated because they hated Him first. I know it. But it still frosts me.

It's so, so very stupid.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Wearisomeness of Politics

A little reflection from a very tired man. My basic personality is to be too trusting although my journalistic training required skepticism in the best sense. When you are friends with people (no matter what their persuasion), your natural reaction is to believe what they say. I think it's the natural reaction of most to believe what they hear in the media - mainstream or not mainstream. Most of us do not have the time or the resources to "fact check" every report we hear out there. I haven't been employed in broadcast journalism now for 21 years, having been in Christian radio and then Christian missions focused overseas. However, I did co-host a talk show for a long time where I didn't have to be "objective" and could do more editorializing.
So where am I at now, having been burned now and then by passing a few stories on only to find they were either entirely false or only half-truths? My late grandfather once said "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see." As a Christian, I would never want to KNOWINGLY pass on false information. It is possible to have a different perspective on an issue and what someone says may not be false - just a different view. You have to try and discern the difference. I'll tell you what I really find loathsome.
It's sad enough to have extreme activist types in both political spectrums that knee-jerk and pass on the latest horrific threat, honestly believing what they've read lock, stock and barrel. But I loathe political "strategists " who KNOW the stories they circulate are false or distorted, and who KNOW that they're ginning up unrest to achieve their desired political outcome. It's detestable.
I really would love to see political discourse leave aside the ugly name calling, personal attacks, vilification, impugning of motives etc, and see a true discussion of an ISSUE looking quietly and rationally at the pros and cons, and a civil debate on the ISSUE without making it personal or demeaning. But I think those days are gone. Politics has always been a contact sport and it's always had an ugly side, but I've never seen it this bad. Every day, I find myself getting angry and wanting to lash out with an intemperate remark. I can't always resist the temptation, and shame on me.
A final observation. If the politicians we elect are really as evil and wicked as they have been portrayed and sometimes appear (and I think some are), we are in real, real trouble.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An Extremist by Any Other Name?

*Edited to add a line on Christianity

This won't be a long, polemical post about the silliness going on in Washington about the Obama Administration's refusal to call a spade a spade (radical Islam). I'll just draw a few analogies.

1. Mao Tse Tung, Chou en Lai, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, and Vladimir Lenin weren't really Communists. They were just a perversion of Communism.

2. Adolf Hitler wasn't really a Nationalist or a Socialist. He amalgamated and perverted the two.

3. Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and Tojo weren't really Fascists. They were just perversions of Fascism.

Shall I go on? I suppose we could try and resurrect Marx and Engels to conduct a doctrinal purity text on various Communists and Marxists around the world. I suppose we could look into the philosophical underpinnings of National Socialism and Fascism, and do a purity check to see how historical regimes described under those banners fared in terms of purity.

Now, I suppose the mischief-minded might want to apply the same general analogy to Christianity. After all, self-professed Christians and "official" Christian churches have done terrible things in the name of Christ. If I were to say those events were "perversions" of Christianity, would I not be falling on the same sword? Not really. The reason I can say that is this: to be able to perform the atrocities that were performed in history within Christendom, the New Testament and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ had to be ignored completely. The Bible itself warned that many would come in the name of the Lord and not be of Him, and that many false teachers would arise who would depart from biblical truth and lead many astray. The above philosophies have no such provisos. And a very, very strong case can be made from Islamic Scriptures that justifies the things done in its name. There are reform-minded, liberal Muslims like Dr. Jasser who want to disovow this past and change Islam to embrace Western, democratic values, but they are going to have a very, very difficult time doing so.

After a while, this just gets beyond stupid. Things are what they are. Communists and Marxists are Communists and Marxists. Radical Islamists (or Radical Muslims) are just that. No more, no less.

Add on to the above a statement like this, made maybe in 1938: "Well, we can't call them Nazis! That might offend and radicalize them, and cause even more adventurous young men to join their cause!"

I think I've made my point.