Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Matter of Perspective?

I make this post with some reluctance. And it's not because of fear of the subject matter. For anyone who has read The Seventh Sola since its 2005 beginning, my stance on biblical morality and sexual matters has been abundantly clear.

I stand firmly with the historic stance of the church on marriage, divorce, and the sin of sexual immorality, including defining homosexuality as sin.

My reluctance, I suppose, comes from the sinking feeling that I'm basically talking into a banshee wind. Others in recent days have made the point I'm about to make, and I feel the need to chime in and make it here. My hope—as much as I have—is that people will get past the politics and see the perspective that I and others have on our current media and political juggernaut. Our propaganda machine on full roar to push and repeat one idea until everyone mind-numbingly accepts it as a given and truth, and something to be celebrated, which it isn't. What am I talking about? Let me take you there in stages, and then maybe you'll get my point.

There is so much going on in the world today of great import. Global import. Matters of life and death.

1. We just went through a horrific terrorist bombing in Boston, with the reality that more of these bombings will happen in the future as Islamic terror sleeper cells become active.

2. We have a young Christian pastor in Iran in prison and threatened with execution merely because he chose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.

3. We had an enormous blast in West, Texas, that leveled a town and killed/injured a number of people.

4. We have Iran getting ever closer to a nuclear weapon.

5. We have North Korea threatening war and usage of nuclear weapons.

6. We have a severe drought that is still in place across much of the American Great Plains that will have an enormous impact on food prices, and possibly even food supply.

7. We have a debacle of a health care law that will plunge the country into even deeper debt, and more likely than not ruin the best health care system there is (although some reform is needed).

8. We have a gargantuan debt crisis that threatens the economic health of the country, and if the bubble finally explodes, it will make the Great Depression look like Boomtown.

9. We have an educational system in disaster, a spiritual crisis in the land, more broken families, more and more kids on prescription behavioral drugs, suicides at younger and younger ages, and a host of other concerns.

10. We have states in bankruptcy and people already maxed out in what they can afford to pay in taxes.

11. And among the worst of all, we have an abortionist doctor on trial in Pennsylvania for infanticide and murder, with the blood of who knows how many babies on his hands. And outside of Fox News and a few other outlets, the mainstream media largely ignores the story because it doesn't fit their tableau.

We have all of this, and much more. But what story leads the news for the past two days? A pro basketball player announces his sexual predilections to the media. We have a new cause celebre. A host of elected officials and executives race to the microphones to praise this athlete, almost putting him on a par with Mother Teresa. Even President Obama personally called the athlete to praise him for his "courage." But our president—who finds reasons to comment on a host of other local and not so local issues—can't be bothered to comment about live babies being butchered in a major city a few hours away from Washington D.C.

And the media won't pay any attention. Instead, they're caught up in their own crusade and blowing the horn as loudly as possible. The world could be running off the cliff like lemmings or possessed swine, and it wouldn't matter a hill of beans. Listen! I even think I hear Cassandra calling!

I knew even before I hit the first letter on the keyboard that this post will probably send a few into paroxysms of rage. Believe it or not, it's not really even so much that the lead story involves homosexuality. It's more sheer wonder at what makes news and what gets celebrated in this day and age. And in the meantime, a lot of people in a lot of places around the world are truly suffering death.

And we're obsessed with a basketball player and his sex life? I think, folks, we are truly in a Romans 1 moment in the United States:

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things." (Romans 1:18-2:2)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Illinois Floods!

Since Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued a "state of emergency" for severe flooding that has impacted much of the state, I thought I'd post a few pictures from behind my house in rural northern IL. While this is low-lying ground and is normally a partial swamp, much of this is actual flooding overflow from nearby Richland Creek and the Pecatonica River, into which the Richland flows.

The shot here immediately on the right is the swamp area, and as you can see on the right hand side of the road, the water is just beginning to overflow the roadway. It's gotten over the road badly enough in the past where the County has had to close the road due to high water, but thankfully it's never gotten quite up to the house, which is a short distance behind my car here.

The next shot is the north side of the Richland Creek bridge, which is located right past the area up in the first photo where the road begins to curve to the left. You can see just how out of its banks the normally narrow, placid creek is. The third and final shot is the north side of the road in the swamp. This swamp was completely (and abnormally) bone dry last summer in the drought, but even when it has water and muskrat or beaver lodges, it's NEVER this full. I would have arranged these pictures in more picturesque, publication style order, but Blogger either doesn't want to cooperate or I don't know how to do it. The latter is the most likely.

This may get interesting before it's over. More rain is supposed to hit tonight!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My "College of Musical Knowledge"

I often get asked where the breadth of my musical knowledge comes from, usually in connection with my age (52). For the mathematically inclined, that means I was born in 1960, and how could I possibly know who Benny Goodman is? For that matter, the Beatles broke up when I was 10, so how could I possibly know anything about the Beatles? I wasn't around when Bach, Mozart, Handel or Rachmaninoff were, so...etc. You get the idea.

Short explanation: heritage and broadcasting. That little shot of me to the right was taken when I was 3 or 4. I was listening to Mozart. My memory, by the way, goes back to infancy.

1. I love music.

2. Dad was born in 1917 in the Arkansas Ozarks. He was a bluegrass mountain music player. He also had a taste for classical music and violinist David Oistrakh. I had his music from birth.

3. Mom (born in 1923) loved classical music and church music. We went to church. We sang. Lots.

4. My oldest sister was born in 1944. I had her music in the house.

5. My next sister was born in 1952. I had her music in the house.

6. I read. Voraciously. Listened to lots of radio of all types from childhood on. A neighbor lady worked at a local station and needed my piping child's voice for a commercial, so she came over and recorded me. I was bitten with the radio bug pre-teen and never lost it.

7. The first radio station I worked at was the local one. I was 18. While there was a lot of news and information on this AM station, we also played music. And we played almost everything. I do mean EVERYTHING. Except heavy metal. This station played (and by virtue of being on the air, I played: adult contemporary, pop rock, country, big band, jazz, classical, Hawaiian music, country Gospel, bluegrass, Organ Music (the Magic Organ kind, mandated by the station owner). Get the idea?

8. When you're on the air and have to open your mouth, it helps to know a little about the subject of which you're speaking. I tried. Not perfectly, but I tried.

So there you have it. The reason why I have no mind left. Everything will remind me of some song. No matter where I am, no matter to whom I'm talking, no matter what subject is being discussed. Some music will intrude.

Oh, I forgot something.

9. I am a frustrated musician who plays bass, guitar and keyboards very, very VERY badly. More insanity causal issues. I'll get over it.

10. Finally, (and I'm not being tongue-in-cheek now), I owe my love of music and knowledge to the Master Musician Himself—the Lord, the author of music. The Bible is full of music, with instructions to . . . Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals (Psalm 150).

I had to chuckle when the late Christian singer Larry Norman asked "Why does the Devil have all the good music?" He doesn't. Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Remembering Margaret Thatcher

Having begun my past radio career in 1978, I remember very well the days when the late Margaret Thatcher made the news the following year—the first female prime minister in Great Britain. Yesterday, the Iron Lady passed away from a stroke. This story from ASSIST News has the essentials. Reading through Twitter and other news sites, I was surprised to see the level of vehemence that exists in some circles about Margaret Thatcher, but perhaps I shouldn't have been. Even when Ronald Reagan died here in the United States, there was quite a lot of vitriol aimed in his direction from the left. Sad, but so it goes.

Today, though, I want to leave you with a story that should leave a different taste in your mouth, and teach us all something. Think about a bomber for the Irish Republican Army terror group, and an aide to Margaret Thatcher. Can't imagine two more polar opposites, can you? Well, you'll love this ASSIST story as well, because it shows how these two polar opposites were reconciled in Jesus Christ. Yes, it can happen.

We need more of it.

Addendum: London's Daily Mail has a nice write up on Lady Thatcher and her career.

Monday, April 08, 2013

ObamaCare Hits Home

My weekend trip to the grocery store ended up being more maddening than usual. Before I tell you why, check out this story from The Hill. Apparently, the Democrats are getting worried about ObamaCare melting down before their eyes and becoming more unpopular with the electorate.

Anyway, back to the local grocery store. We saw a friend of ours who is a cashier at the store, and we were concerned that we had not seen her in some time. Come to find out, she is now only working two days a week. The grocery store, being unable to afford the costs of ObamaCare, had to reduce the majority of its staff to part-time, cancel their insurance benefits, and on top of it, no more vacation time. Several employees quit outright, and other older workers cut their own hours back, feeling it's not worth it to put in the time if you aren't adequately compensated.

No doubt, ObamaCare's most ardent supporters will charge the grocery store owners with being "UNFAIR!!!" - but face it—this is reality for many small businesses. They simply can't afford what the government is trying to force them to do. So everyday working people—the very ones Obama and his cohorts claim to care about so much—are the ones getting kicked in the keister. I hope they remember at the next election.

Sadly, I have little doubt that O's team are happy with this. They will next come down the pike with insisting that the country move to a single payer system—100% government run health care, which will lead to rationing boards and all of the things conservatives have been warning about for quite some time.

We'll be sorry in the long run. Very sorry.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

"Millennial Evangelical Youth" Need More Orthodoxy

I have to honestly say I don't always enjoy all I read in The Christian Post. They have some really great articles, but also at times give space to things better left unpublicized, or at least reported on more critically.

However, this article by Napp Nazzworth is a great read, and in my humble opinion, spot on.

The Institute for Religion and Democracy hosted a panel at Wheaton College on engaging young evangelicals in this challenging generation. The key speaker makes the excellent case that the up and coming generation needs more biblical orthodoxy, and much less emoting and "Oprahization" of the faith.

But I don't want to leave all the candy on the floor. Give the article a read and pass it around. And give the Institute for Religion and Democracy a check out also. They're a committed group of biblically conservative folks trying to restore biblical orthodoxy in mainline denominations.