Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking Control Again . . . Starting With Debates

First, I apologize for my dearth of posts lately -- not in number, but in substance. I have been so busy of late that I haven't had time for writing of this nature. I've posted a lot of clips, nuggets and links, but my own commentary has been rather sparse.

Next week, I will be out of town and my posts will be even more sparse for a while. Hopefully things will settle down in time and I can make this blog more of what I intended it to be. But until then . . .

I've been pretty riled this election season, for a host of reasons. It bothers me to see the country I love about to commit national suicide. But, as Kurt Vonnegut once said, "so it goes." Right now, I want to talk about the so-called "debates" on the eve of the last one this season.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. These are not debates. These are glorified news conferences governed by a biased media and a ridiculous "Debate Commission." The talking points are well rehearsed, and you can get very little of substance out of any of the candidates.

In future, I would like to see the public demand a real debate in real time. Take it away from the news media "moderators." Take it away from the "Commission." The two candidates going at it one on one as it was done with the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates. Here were the rules as they were back then:

The format for each debate was: one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute "rejoinder." The candidates alternated speaking first. As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.

No one knew what would be said in advance. There were no moderators to pick questions and steer the discussion. No one was concerned about time. And people actually paid attention.

Oh, yes. I can hear the caterwauling and objections already. The media won't like it. The public won't like it. They can't pay attention that long. It won't work in today's society.

Too bad. Do it anyway. If people want to know badly enough, they'll listen. And if they don't listen, they'll pay the piper later to the point that they'll listen the next time around.

And there should be some sort of sanction for media that don't report fairly or accurately. I'm really sick of the media, and I say that as a former "media."

But then, I'm a meanie.

P.S. By the way, everyone talks about polls and what they show. I've never been called for a poll in an election. Most of the people I know have never been called for a poll in an election. Who is being polled and where?

Don't you find that curious?


saunch said...

Amen Joel. These are not debates. I, too, as a former media person, can't stand the media. Nobody I know has ever been polled. I've only been polled once: When I was working Country music 20 years ago, some lady called and asked what my favorite juice was. I said "Newton" and she hung up on me.

lee n. field said...

Lincoln-Douglas debates?

I just, finally, read Neil Postman's _Amusing Ourselves to Death_. He specifically talks about them, and the kind of stuff you see now. It was a different age then. People went to that kind of stuff for _fun_ then.

In the TeeVee age, we have the attention span of a gnat, and there aren't many who are willing or able to follow an argument that lasts longer than a commercial break.

Phil Perkins said...

"It bothers me to see the country I love about to commit national suicide."

It's already dead. You're just smelling the rot.

Proof of this nation's spiritual death is found in what does not outrage it. Just as a man who isn't livid to learn of a murder or a rape is surely evil and spiritually dead, this nation is evil and spiritually dead. We kill thousands of babies a day. No outrage. We have socialists taking our democracy by fraudulently swaying the voting. No outrage. We have sodomites in the highest levels of our government. No outrage. And in our clergy. No outrage. Husbands and wives break homes as aften as not. No outrage.

And the Evangelical church is evil and spiritually dead. We have false teachers in our schools. No outrage. Preachers bribe the poor by promising that God will make them rich if they make the preacher richer. No outrange. Women supplant the created order by filliing our pulpits. No outrage.

This nation and it's clergy are evil. Come judgment upon us.

Phil Perkins.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would invite God's judgment.

Perhaps it would be better to pray that God would grant us repentance and have mercy on us.

Phil Perkins said...

Perhaps, you're right. But can you cite Scripture that prohibits the praying of imprecatory prayers?

You don't have to. And I didn't pray for that. I simply made a written exclamation expressing my desire for evil to be vanquished. And I don't expect anyone but God to be able to do it, so perhaps it was an accidental prayer.

On the other hand, it is not evil for a saint to pray for judgment on evil. David did it all the time. Paul wished for spiritual deceivers to be judged, or at least it seems so by the tone.

If you wish not to do so that is certainly up to you. But Scripture is clear. Read the "Lord's Prayer". Jesus, under the Roman tyranny, and the deceitful religious regime of the Jews of His time, instructed His disciples to pray for the Father's kingdom to come upon Earth. Escatologically that means judgment. Saints are told to look for the vengance of God to come.

So, judgment is something the righteous look for with both trepidation and anticipation.

There is a New Phariseeism in the land brought by those who say God is love and not much else. The new rules of the modern Pharisees are a set of unbiblical ethics. Don't be "mean". And "mean" usually means serious about holiness or actually being angry at sin. There are all sorts of things we can no longer say in religious circles.

Beware of these unspoken, but very active rules. The evil want the righteous to become intimidated so that they will not speak about sin.

Try this over the next few weeks and see if I'm all wet: As you read the Scripture, take note of how the prophets, saints, apostles, and Jesus spoke when dealing with sin. If you take some of their quotes, translate them into commen American vernacular and say things like them in your church you will find deep and vocal opposition. "You can't say this." "You can't say that." "You ought not scowl or furrow your brow." "Don't be negative." "Don't pray impreccatory prayers." Etc., etc., etc.

You will get all sorts of rules that aren't found in Scripture. And if you quote Scripture, you will find just how little the Scripture actually counts in "church".

I'll bet if you do that persistently, many will want you thrown out. They will be angry at you for being angry at sin. They will accuse of being hateful. While they will be unwilling to ever get red-faced at sin, they will get red-faced at you. Rather irrational, in my view.

Try it.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you read just a little bit too much into my comment.

Let me attempt to clarify.

I would not invite judgment on us but rather on God's enemies.

And if you quote Scripture, you will find just how little the Scripture actually counts in "church".

Not at my church.

Randy said...

Lee N. Field read a great book. I have mentioned that book, "Amusing Ourselves To Death" before myself. The whole debate system we have today is defunct. The old idea and your idea, Sola, is correct. Just let the speakers, well, speak.
The media is too biased, ratings oriented, slanted and debased to give an accurate portrayal. It would be better if McCain and Obama just "hammered" it out. Also, this country thinks too much in "sound bites." We need oratory, well thought out ideas and the candidates need to convey their true intentions. Forget time limits, setting up the straw-man, etc. and just have a good old fashioned debate!

Great post.


Phil Perkins said...

Try my experiment.

As to the Bible counting in your church, the only one I know from your church is you. And you've done two very unbiblical things. First, you criticezed me for a biblical practice--praying imprecatorily. Second, you have now said that if I pray imprecatorily I ought to do so concerning God's enemies. My words were concerning America and the Evangelical movement in America. Have you a biblical definition of God's enemies? Would it include false teaching? Child sacrifice? Lasciviousness? The encouraging of lasciviousness? (Am I spelling that right?) If your definition of God's enemies is biblical it will include this sort of thing. And Evangelicalism and America are filled with this sort of thing. And God's judgment begins with the cup of drunkenness. That is the steadfast refusal or inability to think straight in regard to matters of righteousness and God.

Does not that describe this nation?

I believe all these things are true of this nation and "the church" today. Sola calls us on it and that's why I read him.

Don't get mad--think it through.

I was once very like you. Throw away all the Evangelical books and media and spend hours every day in God's word reading it through over and over again.

It will change your life and your mind will work differently.

God bless. I wish you well, Stan,
Phil Perkins.

Anonymous said...

Relax. If you read my comment as criticism you're suffering from paranoia or something. I simply stated Perhaps it would be better to pray that God would grant us repentance and have mercy on us.

The Evangelical movement in America is pretty broad by design. If you're going to lump all evangelicals together as being God's enemies you have gone to far. And ALL of America? You've got to be kidding me.

You stated: I was once very like you.

You don't know me.

As for my church, the primary reason given to me when I have asked people what brought them to our church is the fact that the Word is preached.

Your tendency (at least in this thread) to paint with a broad brush has covered many of God's people. You should consider being more careful before cursing people as you did when you wrote the Evangelical church is evil and spiritually dead.

Solameanie said...

I think it is possible (and biblical) to pray imprecatory prayers, but we should also pray for God to bring people (and our nation) to repentance. As angry as we can get over the evil in our culture, we must always remember Jesus' rebuke to the "Sons of Thunder," as well as the lesson learned by Jonah when God didn't nail Nineveh when Jonah thought He should.

At the same time, we see the martyred saints in Revelation crying, "How long, O Lord?"

The long and short of it is that we should approach things like this with great care. We have a prophetic call to our culture -- including warning it of the consequences of sin -- yet also hoping and praying for yet more souls to be brought to repentance. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Phil Perkins said...

Broad brush? Have you ever said anything like "Democrats are liberal"? Certainly. Are all Democrats liberal? No, a few aren't. What you disparage is a common short hand, abbreviating a conversation by referring only to the vast majority. This is also a biblical practice. Many people groups are condemned or commended without any reference at all to the minority--in Scripture.

Have you complained to God on behalf of the Moabites? Or the Philistines? Or the Israelites of any particular generation that was under God's judgment?

Of course not.

Biblically, the Evangelical church is evil and spiritually dead with a few exceptions. It is the Evagelical church who presents TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, Billy Graham, James Dobson, Donald Miller and Oral Roberts to the world as brothers. You sell them in your book stores. If you personally don't, good. But I'm not speaking about you personally. I'm concerned about the majority. Two of these have denied the trinity. Graham has denied the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to God. Dobson has mixed psychology and Americanism with Christianity. And pretty much the rest of you have made no statement to the rest of the world disavowing these folk.

On the grass roots level, Evangelical rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, drug addiction, alcoholism, and felony convictions are about the same as the world around you. If two trees bear the same fruit, can they be different?

Broad brushing the nation, we consume and produce more pornography than any other nation on earth. I don't know if it's still true, but several years ago, Los Angeles county (yes, COUNTY)produced more illegal pornography than all the rest of the world combined. MTV started here and infects the world.
The world reveres and wants our Hollywood entertainment. American pop culture has poisoned much of the third world. We consume more illegal narcotics than anyone else. We are one of the most violent societies among the industrialized nations.

Now that's a broad brush, but it's true, none the less. There was a remnant in Israel, but judgment came nonetheless. Have you chewed out God yet for that?

I once thought as Evangelically as you. I don't know you, but I read what you wrote. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth...

Stan, you said, "If you read my comment as criticism you're suffering from paranoia or something."

I suffer from the abilibty to read English. I said something and you said I ought not do so. That's not paranoia. It's plain English criticism if we're honest.

And that's not a bad thing if I've done something unbiblical. You owe it to me if I'm your brother to rebuke me vigorously--Leviticus 19:17-18. (The NIV gives the best translation of this passage--though I very much dislike the NIV)

Speaking of that passage, it explodes an Evangelical fallacy. Read that passage for yourself and notice the relationship between love and reproof. Are they a contrast or are they a pair? It is VERY interesting.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

Yes, you're right. There's a real bind a guy gets in. God both loves and hates the wicked. As His children, we have a hard balance to achieve.

And I'm sure that I don't have all the answers on that. As I read the Scripture I am looking for clues to that balance.

If you wish to share with me passages that provide light, I'd appreciate that very much. I won't just read them. I'll study them in the original and in depth.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.

Anonymous said...

When you're through ranting I'll try to communicate with you.

I wish you well.

Phil Perkins said...

"Ranting"? "Paranois"?

Be logical. Be biblical. Do that and I'll listen. Intently.

In Christ,
Phil Perkins.